The world is full of some iconic and pretty spots for nature lovers. And if you like adventures, Glacier National Park, Grand Canyon, and Big Sur are all within your reach. If you’re someone who loves camping and backpacking, you better know how to survive without any comfort. However, with the advent of Solar power for RVs and camping, the experience has become much more intriguing and luxurious. You can charge your phone, cook a hot breakfast, lunch & dinner, and even turn on your AC in your trailer.
In fact, solar panel technology has advanced so much over the past few years, which not only makes them portable and lighter but more affordable too. Gone are the days when campers had to carry heavy generators behind their campervans.
Now, campers can actually enjoy what they are up to, getting a wholesome experience with full amenities. The technology behind solar power for RVs and Camping is making a world of difference. Let’s see how.
How Do Solar Panels for RVs and Camping Work?
When we talk about solar panels, it is common to visualize a picture of big panels installed on the rooftop. Of course, it is impossible to carry such giant panels to camping. Fortunately, the specialized solar panels for campers are much more portable, lighter, and durable enough to carry on long road trips.
At the same time, the convenience doesn’t affect their efficiency. Camping solar panels work exactly like their rooftop counterparts. They get energy from sunlight, transport it to the inverter, and then output the clean electricity to power large as well as small appliances.
Camping Solar Power Kits to Get Started
Let’s understand the components and kits you will require to install solar panels on your RV for camping.
The battery bank is the core of your RV’s solar power system. It allows you to store the power that you get from the sun. Without a battery, your RV would have no power at all. Your solar panels will keep your battery bank charged and ready to use.
However, not every battery bank is the same, and some are not good for solar systems. They can’t handle the changing charge cycles that solar systems have. Lithium batteries are the best option for solar systems. They last longer and perform better than lead-acid batteries.
RV Solar Panels
Your RV solar panels will be installed on the top of your RV. They absorb the sun’s energy in the solar cells and send it to your battery bank through a charge controller. You can have your solar panels flat on the roof, or you can use a special mount that lets you tilt them toward the sun. You will require a 50 amp solar panel kit.
The charge controller goes inside your RV. It connects your solar panels and your battery bank with wires. The charge controller makes sure that your batteries charge at the right speed. You need a charge controller to stop your batteries from getting overcharged. If you have an MPPT charge controller, it will also make your panels work as efficiently as possible.
Your batteries give you 12-volt DC electricity. You can use this to power any 12-Volt devices or appliances in your RV, like the 12-Volt (cigarette lighter) ports. But if you want to use 120-volt AC electricity to power things like a laptop, a coffee maker, an Instapot, or anything else that needs AC, you will need an inverter. An inverter changes 12V DC power to 120V AC power.
You will put your inverter inside your RV, as close to your battery bank as you can. Your AC devices and appliances will get the power from the inverter after it changes it from DC to AC. The blue boxes are inverters that are part of a custom-made Van Electrical system.
Benefits of Using Solar Power for RVs and Camping
Using solar panel for camping is a smart and eco-friendly decision that you won’t regret. It may take some time to find the best camping solar panels for your needs, but the rewards are worth it. Here are some of the reasons why you should use portable solar panel system while camping
Quiet and Clean Power
One of the drawbacks of using a generator for camping is the loud and annoying noise that it makes. It ruins the calm and relaxing atmosphere that you came for. Instead of hearing the soothing sounds of nature, like the flowing river or the singing birds, you have to listen to the constant roar of the generator. At the same time, Solar panels are quiet and discreet, providing you with power without disturbing your day.
Solar energy is a green and clean way to power your camping adventures. It uses sunlight, which is abundant and free, and does not harm the environment. On the other hand, generators run on fossil fuels, which are polluting and depleting the earth’s resources. If you are a nature lover, going solar is a great way to show your respect and appreciation for Mother Nature.
Power on the Go
With solar panels, you can go wherever you want, as long as there is some sun. You don’t need to rely on any cords or cables or stay in a crowded and noisy campsite. You can explore the wilderness and enjoy the beauty of nature, without any limitations.
What Can You Power with RV Solar Panels?
With Solar power for camping, you can power a number of big and small appliances, including:
- Cell phones
- Air conditioner
- Water heater
Factors that Affect the Output of Solar Panels for RVs
When you are looking for a portable solar panel for camping, you need to consider how much power you will use during your trip.
Different types of camping, such as trailer camping or tent camping, have different power demands. You also need to think about the factors that affect how much power your solar panels can generate, such as
Solar panels depend on the sun, so the weather is a key factor in their performance. Your solar panels will not work well on days that are cloudy or rainy. You will have less energy to run your camper on those days. But if you have a good system, you should have enough power saved in a battery from the last sunny day.
Solar panels rely on sunlight to function, so you might think that the more heat, the better. But that’s not true. Solar panels perform best in mild climates, with temperatures around 24 degrees Celsius. When it gets too hot, the output will drop a bit, but you won’t notice much difference.
As we said before, you need to know how much power you will use during your camping trip. If you want to run a fridge all day, charge 7 phones, use a hair dryer every morning, and have a lot of hot water, you will need a lot more power than someone who only needs a solar panel for their basic backpacking trip. If you overload the power source, your solar system will not work well.
Best Solar Panels for RVs
After reading about the benefits of solar power for RVs and camping, you might be gearing up to buy one. But how would you determine which is best for your needs? Well! Leave it on us as we have listed out the 5 best solar panel systems that will not only power up your RV but also save money and provide you the peace of mind you’re actually searching for.
DOKIO 110w 18v Portable Foldable Solar Panel Kit
Dokio 110w Portable Solar Panel Kit is a powerful solar panel kit for frequent campers. It has a handy carrying handle that makes it easy to carry and use. You can use it for camping, picnicking, climbing, hiking, or in emergencies to charge your car battery.
It has a high-efficiency monocrystalline solar cell that gives you more power efficiency even with a smaller panel size. It also minimizes system losses by reducing mismatch loss; all DOKIO solar modules are 100% EL tested and have no hot spots.
|4.2/5 based on 2757 reviews
|110W, 160W, 220W, 300W
SUNTHYSIS 100W 12V Portable Foldable Solar Panel Kit
SUNTHYSIS solar panels can work with different types of batteries, such as CAR/RV, GEL, Lithium, Flooded, Lifepo4, AGM, Lead-acid, Marine Batteries, and other Power Station, etc. It also has a handy USB port that can charge your phone, tablet, camera, and other gadgets directly from the sun.
The SUNTHYSIS solar panel is designed to withstand harsh environments and weather conditions. It has a sturdy aluminum alloy frame and bracket, a durable TPT backplane, and an IP67 waterproof and dustproof technology.
|4.6/5 based on 56 reviews
|100W Panel -20A Controller and 180W Flexible Panel
Trenkyo 100W Portable Solar Panel
The Trenkyo solar panels are a complete RV solar system. They have a high-quality mono-crystalline core and a waterproof coating that makes them durable and resilient in outdoor settings. They can resist water splashes with their IP65 rating, so you don’t have to worry about rain or snow.
The Trenkyo solar panels use advanced multi-layer cell technology to capture sunlight and convert it into electricity with up to 25% efficiency. They deliver superior performance and reliability for your rv solar system.
|4.1/5 based on 8 reviews
|30W, 100W and T101
ALLPOWERS SP027 IP66 Solar Panel Kit
If you are looking for a portable and powerful solar panel kit, you might want to check out the ALLPOWERS 100W model. This product boasts a high efficiency of up to 22%. It is also 1/3 lighter than other solar panels with the same power output.
The ALLPOWERS 100W solar panel kit is designed to be foldable and easy to carry. It has a sturdy and waterproof nylon material and an adjustable bracket that lets you capture the optimal amount of sunlight. Plus, it has built-in short circuit and surge protection technology that ensures your safety and that of your devices.
|4.4/5 based on 349 reviews
WETOWN 100 Watt Solar Panel Portable
The WeTown foldable Solar Panel SP100W is a great choice for anyone who needs a reliable and portable source of solar power. It uses Monocrystalline Silicon solar cells that can convert up to 23.4% of the sunlight into electricity.
The best part is that you can easily connect two SP100W Solar Panels together using the XT30 parallel ports in the handle, and get a 200W output system in no time. The WeTown foldable Solar Panel SP100W is truly a plug-and-play solution for your solar needs.
|4.6/5 based on 43 reviews
|50 amp Solar Panel Kit & 100W
Is Solar Panel for RVs Worth the Investment?
A solar system may not be a good investment for you if you only camp at places where you have access to electrical hookups for your RV and your gadgets. But you might want to consider solar panels if you don’t like the sound of your generator while camping at such places.
But if you enjoy boondocking – camping at places where there are no electrical hookups – like beaches, state parks, or the desert, then a solar panel system is a great way to enhance your camping experience. Solar panels offer quiet power and reduce the need for a loud generator to keep your batteries charged. At the same time, Solar power for camping price is much lower than traditional methods.