11 Best Solar Panels for Camping: Charge Your Batteries (GoPro, iPhone, Tablet)

GoPro Accessories

In this post, you'll learn about the 11 best solar panels for camping and hiking. Solar chargers are one of the best ways to charge your GoPro batteries while traveling.

11 Best Solar Panels for Camping

11 Best Solar Panels for Camping

It's too bad that canoes don't come with power outlets. Then camping would be perfect.

Keeping our devices charged up can be especially challenging while camping and traveling. The best option I've found is to use a solar panel with a power-bank to store the solar energy.

How to Charge with Solar Panels While Camping

There are three primary ways to use a solar panel while camping and traveling:

  1. Charge directly from the solar panels: Connect your GoPro or phone to one of the USB outputs. You’ll need constant direct sunlight for this to be a good option.
  2. Charge from the solar-charged battery bank: Use your power bank (which charged during the day) to recharge all your device batteries (GoPro, phone, etc) at night. Just plug your charger directly into the battery bank. 
  3. Direct connect the power bank to your GoPro. This is a great option for night lapse shoots. Power banks are multiple times more powerful than the standard internal GoPro Hero4 battery. I easily shot an 8-hour night lapse of the milky way using an 8000mAh power bank – and the battery still had juice to spare in the morning.

In this post, I'll share the best solar panels for camping. The term “best” can be fairly subjective. To determine the best options, I considered specs, prices, and hundreds of online reviews. If you have an opinion to share, please join me in the comments at the end of the post.

Top 3 Solar Panels For Camping

If you don't want to read the full post, here are the highlights. These are my favorite three: the best deal, the most powerful and the least expensive solar panels.


Best deal: 15W PowerPort by Anker

Based on the combination of specs, power and price, I feel that the 15W PowerPort (Anker) is the best deal of all 11 options.

Check current price on Amazon

It comes with everything you need: powerful solar panels, 2 USB outputs, intelligent power that matches your device. Add a 20,000 mAh power bank and you'll never run out of power while camping again. Weighs just 12.5 oz.


Most powerful: 24W Waterproof Solar Panel by RAVPower

It comes with 3 USB outputs, waterproof nylon, mounting hooks and an impressive 24W of power. It doesn't include a battery – but you can add a 20,000mAh power bank for about $26.

Check current price on Amazon

While this is less powerful than the large panel by Goal Zero (see option 8) it is much more portable (folding to the size of a small laptop).


My favorite: 14W SunJack Solar Charger

sunjack review solar chargerBased on the combination of specs, power and price, I feel that the 14W SunJack is the best deal of all 11 options. It comes with everything you need (panels, cables and 10,000mAh power bank).

Check current price on Amazon

And I've seen it work even better than advertised. It folds to the size of an iPad in a protective case and weighs just 2.3lbs.

Best solar charger for camping

Okay, so you want all the detail? Great! Here are my choices for the best solar panels for camping – ordered by brand.

Let's get started!

SunJack Solar Chargers (3)

These lightweight solar panels are made by GigaWatt and all come with a battery bank. Read my SunJack review at the end of the post.


1. 7 Watt SunJack Solar Charger

This lightweight solar charger produces 7 watts of power with high efficiency monocrystalline solar cells.

Comes with fabric loops and carabiners to easily mount this panel on a backpack, bike or the side of a tent.

Check current price on Amazon

  • Wattage: 7 watt
  • Includes battery: Yes, a 4000mAh fast charge battery that will charge in approximately 5 hours.
  • Special features: Weighs just 1.6 pounds and the included battery holds enough charge to power up to 4 smartphones.

7 Watt SunJack Solar Charger


2. 14 Watt SunJack Solar Charger

I personally own this charger – and I love it. I've found this model to charge even faster than advertised.

And the 8000mAh battery is amazing. One evening, I charged 5 GoPro batteries (2 for the Hero3 and 3 for the Hero4), one phone and an iPad. And it still had charge left over.

Check current price on Amazon

  • Wattage: 14 watts
  • Includes battery: Yes, a 10,000mAh fast charge battery that will charge in approximately 5 hours.
  • Special features: Comes with a battery bank, carabiner clips, and weather resistant case. No need to order anything additional.

sunjack review solar charger


3. 20W SunJack Solar Charger Kit

Like the 14W model (above) this is also a 4-panel charger. It is slightly larger (10″ x 7.5″) than the 14Watt model (6.75″ x 9.25″) and it produces more power.

This kit comes with dual 8000mAh battery banks.

Check current price on Amazon

  • Wattage: 20 watts
  • Includes battery: Yes, 2 x 8000mAh fast charge batteries that both charge in approximately 5 hours.
  • Special features: Comes with a battery bank, carabiner clips, and weather resistant case. No need to order anything additional.

sunjack dual battery solar charger

Anker Solar Chargers (2)


4. 15W PowerPort Solar Lite by Anker

This 2-panel solar charger comes with 2 USB ports – that allow charging two devices at once. Works with all the latest devices.

Panels are sewn into weather resistant polyester canvas. The eye loops make it easy to mount on a backpack, clothesline or bike rack.

Check current price on Amazon

  • Wattage: 15 watts
  • Includes battery: No. Consider Anker 20000mAh PowerCore.
  • Special features: 15 watt SunPower solar array is 21.5-23.5% efficient, providing enough power to charge two devices simultaneously.

5. 21W PowerPort Solar by Anker

This 21 watt, 3 panel solar charger has 2 USB ports for simultaneous dual charging.

Compact size (11.1 × 6.3in folded or 26.4× 11.1in opened) and stainless-steel eye-holes on each corner allow easy attachment to backpacks, trees, or tents.

Check current price on Amazon

Lightweight (14.7 oz) and ultra-thin design (1.1in folded or 0.2in opened) make it ideal for long treks.

  • Wattage: 21 watts
  • Includes battery: No. Consider the Anker 20000mAh PowerCore.
  • Special features: 21.5-23.5% efficient, providing enough power to charge two devices simultaneously.

Goal Zero Solar Recharging Kits (3)


6. Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit with Nomad 7 Solar Panel (Goal Zero)

This battery by Goal Zero has some nice specs. It is waterproof and can charge both the included batteries (4 AA) and your usb powered devices.

While the battery can charge in 6 hours via USB, it takes just 3 hours to charge via the included solar panels. To put this in perspective, the 14W SunJack will charge a larger battery in half the time – and for less money.

Check current price on Amazon

  • Wattage: 7 watts
  • Includes battery: Not the standard power bank, the included rechargeable 4AA batteries are a nice feature. The battery charger will reach full charge via solar panels in 3 hours of full sun or 6 hours via usb.
  • Special features: Comes with battery charger (AA/AAA)

7. Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel

This 28 watt solar panel is made with the efficient mono-crystalline silicon.

Check current price on Amazon

  • Wattage: 20 watts
  • Includes battery: No. Add the recommended Yeti 150.
  • Special features: These large panels (11 x 16) can be chained with more panels to reduce charge time.

8. Goal Zero 50 Watt Boulder Solar Panel

These 21.75″ x 26.75″  panels generate 50 watts each and can be linked together to maximize collection power.

While these are great for collecting power for heavy consuming devices – they are not very portable when compared to the other options on this page.

Check current price on Amazon

  • Wattage: 50 watts
  • Includes battery: No. Add the recommended Yeti 150 or Yeti 400.
  • Special features: These are high producers and come with a removable kickstand for ultimate portability.

RAVPower and Wildtek Solar Chargers (2)


9. 24W Portable Solar Panel Charger by RAVPower

This four panel solar charger is the most powerful option we reviewed (with the exception of Goal Zero panel – see option 8).

This solar panel comes with 3 USB ports and produces up to 2.4A per port when used in direct sunlight. While it doesn't come with a power bank, it is easy to add one.

Check current price on Amazon

  • Wattage: 24 watts
  • Includes battery: No. You might consider adding the best-selling 20,000mAh Power Bank by Anker.
  • Special features: The panels are made of very efficient (21.5 – 23.5%) monocrystalline silicon. It comes with waterproof nylon to protect the panels – and includes 4 hooks to mount the panel anywhere (tents, trees, backpacks, etc.).

10. 21W Wildtek Waterproof Solar Charger (Dual USB Ports)

This is a powerful solar panel. It has 3 panels and two USB outputs.

This is the first fully waterproof (when stowed) solar panel – including the USB ports. The solar cells are high efficiency – almost 2X more than competing brands.

Check current price on Amazon

  • Wattage: 21 watts
  • Includes battery: No. You might consider adding the best-selling 20,000mAh Power Bank by Anker.
  • Special features: It ships with built in stand to get optimal sun exposure. And its SmartCharge Tech detects your USB device and delivers the optimum charge.

Nekteck Solar Panels (1)


11. 20W Solar Charger with 2 Port USB by Nekteck

This three panel solar charger weighs just 20 oz  and measures just 11.8″ x 6.5″. Easily mounts on a backpack (as shown) or a bike rack.

Check current price on Amazon

This panel features high efficiency silicon (21-24%) that provides enough power to charge 2 devices at the same time.

  • Wattage: 20 watts
  • Includes battery: No. Add the Anker 20000mAh PowerCore
  • Special features: Comes with a battery bank, carabiner clips, and weather resistant case. No need to order anything additional.

Up and Coming: Suaoki 14W Solar Charger

Another model that I am testing is the Suaoki 14W Solar Charger. It has dual ports and is water resistant. I like that this is super lightweight (just 14 oz) and can charge 2 devices at once.

Check current price on Amazon

Watch for a full review soon. 


Top 3 Solar Panels For Camping

To help you make some sense of this list, return to the top of the post to see my top three choices.


How to Charge Your GoPro with Solar Power

In this post, you'll learn how to charge your GoPro battery with solar power.

how to charge your GoPro

Note: SunJack sent us a review copy of the 14W Portable Solar Charger at no charge. They did not pay for a review and our comments and opinions remain our own. 

So you want to charge your GoPro battery with solar power? Here's how:

3 Ways to Use Solar Power

  1. Charge directly from the solar panels: The SunJack has two USB outputs – one can charge the included lithium-polymer battery and the other can charge your GoPro. You'll need constant direct sunlight for this to be a good option.
  2. Charge directly from the included 8000mAh battery bank: Use your SunJack battery bank (which charged during the day) to recharge all your device batteries (GoPro, phone, etc) at night. Just plug your charger into the battery bank. I have some aftermarket battery chargers that will charge up to 3 GoPro batteries at once.
  3. Direct connect the SunJack battery bank to your GoPro. This is a great option for night lapse shoots. The included battery is 7 times more powerful (8000mAh compared to 1160mAh) than the standard internal GoPro Hero4 battery. I easily shot an 8-hour night lapse of the milky way – and the battery still had juice to spare in the morning.

While it sounds okay to charge from the solar panel directly, this isn't the easiest. Likely you'll need your batteries charged as you head out. I recommend charging the battery bank during the day (option #2) and using that to charge your devices at night.

sunjack review solar charger

Why Solar Power? 

In addition to being clean, renewable energy, solar power is incredibly convenient.

If you are always near an outlet, you don't need to worry about this. But if you like to hike and camp – you'll need a source of power. I used the SunJack on two recent camping trips and it saved me. I would have had to bring a backpack full of GoPro batteries. Instead, I brought just a few and charged them every night.

external gopro battery solar power

Pictured with the GoPro Hero4 Black, mounted on the Pedco UltraClamp. This setup is shown with option #3 (see above): directly powering the GoPro with the SunJack battery bank. 

SunJack Portable Solar Charger Review

I've been using the 14Watt Portable Solar Charger for a few months. Here's what I think of it so far:

The bottom line: This is my first successful test of a solar-powered product. I've had numerous solar powered flashlights that would take forever to charge – and then quickly lose the charge. I've used this product for the past couple of months and I'm impressed. The unit has performed better than advertised and it has saved me on two recent camping trips. I will definitely continue to use this – and recommend that you pick up one of your own. They offer three different sizes – make sure to check them all out before you order. The 5W model might do all you need.

Product specs: This foldable solar charger folds to the size of an iPad in an Otterbox case. It weighs 2.3lbs and measures 6.75″ x 9.25″ 1.75″. The case has eye loops and carabiners for mounting /hanging on trees, backpacks or clotheslines. This model produces 14 Watts of power using 19% monocrystalline solar cells. (More on the type of solar cells at the end of the post.)

Charging time: I timed the charging time by placing the panels in direct sunlight. I began at noon (11:55am) with one bar. It was fully charged by 3:25 pm. It charged 80% in 3.5hrs. At that rate, it would have fully charged from empty in just over 4 hours. This is even less than the 5hrs that the company advertises.

Battery life: The SunJack 8000mAh battery has five LED lights – each representing 20% of battery life. One evening, I used the fully charged battery to charge 5 GoPro batteries (2 for the Hero3 and 3 for the Hero4), one phone and an iPad. And it still had charge left over. On another night, I shot an 8-hour night lapse (the camera was on all night) and it still have 40% charge in the morning.

Positioning: While the solar panels will continue to collect solar energy with some cloud cover, it will slow it down. Even in direct sunlight, it's best to play with the angle – so the panels can get the most direct sunlight possible.

The Sunjack Solar Charger comes in 3 sizes:

  1. 5 Watt SunJack Solar Charger: This 2 panel solar charger comes with a 10000mAh fast charge battery that will charge in approximately 5 hours.
  2. 14 Watt SunJack Solar Charger: This is the model that I have. It comes with an 8000mAh fast charge battery that will charge in approximately 5 hours.
  3. 20 Watt SunJack Solar Charger: This is their largest solar charger and is slightly larger (10″ x 7.5″) than the 14 Watt model. It comes with 2 x 8000mAh batteries that will both charge in 5 hours.

Unboxing the Sunjack 14W Solar Charger

Watch on YouTube

SunJack 4-Panel Solar Charger Review

Watch on YouTube

how to charge your GoPro solarDifference between Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline Solar Cells

This solar charger is powered by 19% monocrystalline solar cells. What's the difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells? Good question. Here's how I understand it.

  • Monocrystalline silicon (mono-Si) cells are made out of a cylindrical silicon ingot. It is easily recognizable by it's even color and uniform external appearance. This indicates high-purity silicon. Mono-Si solar panels have higher efficiency rate because they are made out of the highest grade silicon. They are also space efficient and last longer than other types. Because of their purity, they also tend to perform better in low-light conditions. Monocrystalline silicon has a 15-20% efficiency rate. 
  • Polycrystalline silicon (p-Si) is the alternative material. The first solar panels created (back in the 1980's) were made with this less expensive and less efficient material. It has an efficiency rate of 13-16%. 

How many watts does a solar panel produce? It depends on four factors:

  1. The sun's intensity
  2. Solar cell efficiency (are your solar cells made with monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon)
  3. Solar panel size
  4. The amount of sunlight directly hitting the panel

In the case of the 14W SunJack, the combined wattage from four panels is 14 watts. That means that each panel produces 3.5 watts. This changes with the different sizes of solar panel.

portable solar charger

Should you get a SunJack solar charger? If you like to travel (bike, hike, camp or road trip) the answer is probably yes. Just take a few minutes and compare the different sizes of SunJack chargers to make sure you get the right size for your devices. If you are unsure, I think the 14W model should do everything you need – I've been very happy with mine.

And that's how to charge your GoPro battery with solar power.


Your Turn

Have you used solar chargers? How do you charge your GoPro batteries charged while traveling? Have you tried one in my list? Please join me in the comments!

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Hi, I'm the Author!

Bryan Haines is co-editor of ClickLikeThis: GoPro tutorial blog. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of GringosAbroad (Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with ClickLikeThis.

6 comments… add one
  • Jack Nov 30, 2016, 5:06 am

    Hi there! I think this portables chargers (solar) good decide to take it on holiday camping with myself. I use on of this portable solar charger during four monthes and it’s great! I can do anything with my phone and another devices! Thanks to the author for this good article!

  • Lewis's Maygru Apr 21, 2017, 1:58 am

    Your links for the 7W Sunjack take you to 14W. 7 watt doesn’t appear to be available on Amazon. Otherwise great article.

  • Mo Sep 8, 2018, 7:45 am

    I bought a Feelle 3 panel solar charger with 24000mah li-poly pack built in. Folded its the size of a large cell phone in an Otter box.

    The item is made China but Feelle is an American company so the QC is fantastic. I have 2 of these things and for hurricane season. Now to be fair ive never done a full diacharge recharge on these. Inusually do a swap since i have to sets. Last year (hurricane matthew i think) i was without power for 15 days. I have a small gen but only run it to cool donw the fridge and a small window AC a few hours at a time. I relied on these solar panels to recharge our cell phones. During the storm we recharged 2 Galaxy phones 3 times each from one panel. The next day it was a mix of sun/rain so i set the panel outside to recharge all day and the next and started uaing the other panel to charge phones. We charged 2 phones 4x each on the second panel. On day 4 we swapped the panels and charged the two phones on the first panel again about 4x each over two days and then swapped again. This worked until it rained solid for two days and i had to charge both packs from the generator, but Id say it was otherwise enough light gathering over 2 days to fully/mostly recharge what was taken by the phones…pretty efficient. With another hurricane season stirring up, ill likely have another chance to test them out and report back.

  • Cartcrown Oct 9, 2018, 7:01 am

    Hi,
    The article is awesome and very useful and it’s provide excellent information about solar power charger.

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