Wouldn't it be nice to spend a few days hiking trails, hills or biking in nature? Sure, but can you really leave your phone or GPS behind? For most of us, the answer No, because there may be an emergency and we need to call for help. With solar panels and battery packs, we do not have to.
In the past, solar power was only used for homes and RVs, but now with portable solar panels and chargers, you can put them in a backpack. Now you can hike, boat and camp as much as you want without worrying about where to charge your phone and other electronic devices. Having the sun as your energy source is truly free energy.
What Size Solar Panel is Best for Backpacking?
- Size, weight, and physical dimensions are important. After all, we're after portability, right? The answer is, it depends on what you're trying to do.
- It doesn't matter if you're traveling in an RV or yacht. You can carry a good sized solar panel with no problem with the battery and inverter.
- If it's biking, hiking or backpacking, it depends on how much you can carry comfortably. Your pack may look light now, but after a few hours of hiking you may not feel the same. Most backpackers prefer solar panels for a pound or less, but that's up to you.
- Check the weight and dimensions of the product. The dimensions given may refer to when the panels are folded or laid out. Weight may also refer only to panels, not accessories.
Solar panels may be light, but they are durable enough to handle rough terrain. You don't want to drop the panels, be careful, but there are bound to be some bumps when you pack. A high-quality panel should be able to handle it without cracking. Some panels are waterproof, but do not submerge them in water. Waterproof means the panels will work even when it rains. But don't make it a habit. Continued exposure to rain reduces the efficiency of the panels.
How To Calculate Solar Power Requirements?
For example, you have a cell phone with an 8Wh (watt hour) lithium-ion battery. If you run out of battery every day, you'll need more than 8 hours to recharge. Solar charging is not perfect and there will always be some energy loss in the process. For an 8Wh phone, you'll need about 9.6 watt hours for a full recharge. Next you have to consider how much sunlight is available. Sunlight varies by location and season.