Last Updated 22 June 2024

Best Solar Chargers for Wild Camping and time Off-Grid

Check out the Destiny River Round-up

by Jacob Rose

Foldable Solar Chargers of all sizes for phones, fridges and power stations.

Greetings, outdoor enthusiasts and gadget geeks. It's me, Jacob Rose, your go-to guy with a penchant for putting tech through the wringer. With 15 years of professional button-pushing, screen-tapping, and wilderness wanderlust under my belt—not to mention a resume that casually flaunts my past life as a gear guru at Hewlett Packard Labs—I'm here to lay down the solar-soaked truth about portable power. In today's electrifying showdown, aptly titled Best Solar Chargers for Wild Camping and Time Off-Grid, I'll be comparing three solar titans: the award-winning, origami-esque Jackery SolarSaga 100W; the pocket-sized, fabric-clad powerhouse BigBlue 28W; and the behemoth ALLPOWERS 400W that's practically a portable sun. Stick around (seriously, you'll regret it if you don't) as I shine a light on which one of these sun-sucking marvels will keep your gadgets grinning even when you're miles away from the nearest outlet. And trust me, it's more gripping than trying to set up a tent in a hurricane.

Editors Choice
Image of Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel for Explorer 240/500/1000

​Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel for Explorer 240/500/1000

The Jackery SolarSaga 100W Monocrystalline Solar Panel is durable and if the sun is strong it's an ideal way of creating off-grid, clean, renewable power

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Power Output100 watts
Weight4.69 kgs
Warranty24 months
Efficiency23 %
WaterproofIP65 
Outputs / ConnectionsUSB A x 1, USB C x1 
Folded Dimensions610 x 535 x 35 cm
Unfolded Dimensions1220 x 535 x 5 cm
Overall
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Runner Up
Image of BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Foldable Solar Charger

​BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Foldable Solar Charger

Perhaps a bit large to be truly convenient, but good value and will get your phone, or other equipment back to life in a stitch.

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Power Output28 watts
Weight1.15 kgs
Warranty12 months
Efficiency23 %
WaterproofIPX-4 
Outputs / Connections3 x USB A 
Folded Dimensions28 × 19× 4 cm
Unfolded Dimensions103 × 28 × 0.5 cm
Overall
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​Worthy Alternative
Image of ALLPOWERS 400W Foldable Solar Panel with MC-4 Output XT60/DC Adapter

​ALLPOWERS 400W Foldable Solar Panel with MC-4 Output XT60/DC Adapter

400W is impressive, and in full sun this very large panel can achieve it. Worth considering if you don't need anything especially resilient or convenient.

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Power Output400 watts
Weight18.5 kgs
Warranty24 months
Efficiency22 %
WaterproofIP67 
Outputs / Connections4 x USB-A, 2 x USB C, 4 x Plugs 
Folded Dimensions104.9 x 53.1 x 6.3 cm
Unfolded Dimensions104.9 x 264 x 1 cm
Overall
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​#1 Product Recommendation

Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel for Explorer 240/500/1000

The Jackery SolarSaga 100W Monocrystalline Solar Panel is durable and if the sun is strong it's an ideal way of creating off-grid, clean, renewable power

Power Output100 watts
Weight4.69 kgs
Warranty24 months
Efficiency23 %
WaterproofIP65 
Outputs / ConnectionsUSB A x 1, USB C x1 
Folded Dimensions610 x 535 x 35 cm
Unfolded Dimensions1220 x 535 x 5 cm
Overall
Image of Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel for Explorer 240/500/1000

Overview

To summarize, the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel for Explorer 240/500/1000 Power Station appears to be have been designed for outdoor adventurers, particularly those who require a reliable source of power. The device is equipped with USB outputs, providing portability and convenience for users who may need to charge multiple devices simultaneously. High efficiency rates have been reported, capable of producing more energy than chargers used at home. Moreover, customers have highlighted the product’s customer service for replacing faulty units.

Despite all these positives, it is still important to consider the cost and reliability of the product. Several users have reported issues such as limited sunlight and shadow substantially reducing power input, or the panel failing to send any charge to the battery. In addition, Jackery's warranty is only applicable for 24 months, raising concerns for buyers who may not have access to its customer service.

If users intend to take their outdoor exploration to the extreme and require a reliable source of power, then the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel could be a worth-while investment. The device is portable, convenient, and most reviews suggest its high efficacy rates in sunny climates. However, if campers are looking for a cheaper and more dependable source of power, then they should research remain cautious and assess other similar options.

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​Our #2 Recommendation

BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Foldable Solar Charger

Perhaps a bit large to be truly convenient, but good value and will get your phone, or other equipment back to life in a stitch.

Power Output28 watts
Weight1.15 kgs
Warranty12 months
Efficiency23 %
WaterproofIPX-4 
Outputs / Connections3 x USB A 
Folded Dimensions28 × 19× 4 cm
Unfolded Dimensions103 × 28 × 0.5 cm
Overall
Image of BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Foldable Solar Charger

Overview

In conclusion, as a digital nomad working in the creative and IT fields, finding high-quality and ergonomic products that enhance my work setup while maintaining excellent quality is crucial. The BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Foldable Solar Charger has truly been a game-changer for me.

The triple USB ports with SmartIC Technology ensure optimal charging efficiency, allowing me to power multiple devices simultaneously at a maximum output of 5V/2.4A. The Auto-Restart function is a fantastic feature as it automatically adjusts the current and resumes charging, even in challenging conditions such as passing through shadows or on cloudy days.

The impressive energy conversion rate of up to 23% has left me truly impressed. Even on cloudy days, I was able to obtain around 40% charge on my power bank over an 8-hour period. This reliability is perfect for camping scenarios or reducing reliance on the electricity grid at home.

The compact and lightweight design of the BigBlue solar charger makes it incredibly convenient to carry. It fits snugly into any camping backpack or hiking daypack, ensuring that I stay connected and powered up no matter where my adventures take me.

Furthermore, the wide compatibility and inclusion of a Type C cable have made charging my Android devices effortless. The panel even charged my iPhone 12 Pro by 50% in just 30 minutes, showcasing its effectiveness even under full sun conditions.

While there have been a few minor drawbacks mentioned in user reviews, such as the phone getting hot in the pouch and the lack of an indicator for charging, overall, this solar charger has proven to be reliable and efficient. With solid sunlight, it has the capability to charge a phone from 0% to 100% within a few hours.

In my opinion, the BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Foldable Solar Charger is an excellent product at its price point. It has allowed me to charge multiple USB devices and even a large power bank without the need for a wall socket. However, it's important to note that its effectiveness may be dependent on good sunlight, as cloudy days can affect its performance.

Overall, I highly recommend the BigBlue Foldable Solar Charger for digital nomads seeking convenience and eco-friendly charging solutions. It may be slightly on the larger side for true convenience, but it provides good value and can quickly revive your phone or other equipment in a pinch.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which solar charger is the lightest and most portable for wild camping?
The BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Foldable Solar Charger is the lightest and most portable option, weighing just 1.15 kgs and with compact folded dimensions of 28 × 19 × 4 cm. It's designed to fit easily into any camping backpack or hiking daypack.
Which solar charger has the highest water resistance rating?
The ALLPOWERS 400W Foldable Solar Panel boasts the highest water resistance with an IP67 rating, meaning it's completely protected against dust and can withstand temporary immersion in water.
What is the power output difference between the three solar chargers?
The Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel has a power output of 100 watts, the BigBlue 28W Solar Charger has a power output of 28 watts, and the ALLPOWERS 400W Foldable Solar Panel is the most powerful with a 400-watt output.
Are all the solar chargers equally efficient?
No, the Jackery SolarSaga 100W and the BigBlue 28W Solar Charger both have a high conversion efficiency of 23%, while the ALLPOWERS 400W Foldable Solar Panel has a slightly lower efficiency at 22%.
How do the unfolded dimensions compare between the solar chargers?
The Jackery SolarSaga 100W unfolds to 1220 x 535 x 5 cm, the BigBlue 28W Solar Charger unfolds to 103 × 28 × 0.5 cm, and the ALLPOWERS 400W has the largest unfolded dimensions at 104.9 x 264 x 1 cm.
Which solar charger offers the best warranty?
The Jackery SolarSaga 100W and the ALLPOWERS 400W both offer a 24-month warranty, which is double the 12-month warranty offered by the BigBlue 28W Solar Charger.
Which solar charger is best for unexpected power outages?
The Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel is particularly suited for unexpected power outages, as it can be paired with Jackery Explorer portable power stations to build a green Portable-Solar-Generator System.
Do any of the solar chargers come with a kickstand?
Yes, the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel comes with a kickstand, allowing you to easily adjust the angle to optimize solar capture.
Are the USB ports on these solar chargers protected against the elements?
Yes, all three solar chargers have protective features for their USB ports. The Jackery SolarSaga 100W has an IP65 waterproof rating, the BigBlue 28W has a cloth flap and rubber cover, and the ALLPOWERS 400W has a durable ETFE coating and is IP67 waterproof.
Can the BigBlue 28W Solar Charger automatically adjust the current?
Yes, the BigBlue 28W Solar Charger features SmartIC Technology, which allows it to automatically adjust the current and has an Auto-Restart function that doesn't require reconnection after moving out of the shade or on cloudy days.
Which solar charger is best suited for charging laptops?
The ALLPOWERS 400W Foldable Solar Panel is best suited for charging laptops due to its higher power output and multiple adapter options. The BigBlue 28W Solar Charger is not recommended for all laptops, as compatibility depends on the specific parameters of the device.
How do the unfolded dimensions compare between the solar chargers?
The Jackery SolarSaga 100W unfolds to 1220 x 535 x 5 cm, the BigBlue 28W Solar Charger unfolds to 103 × 28 × 0.5 cm, and the ALLPOWERS 400W has the largest unfolded dimensions at 104.9 x 264 x 1 cm.

​Conclusion

In summary, after meticulous analysis and drawing upon my 15 years of expertise in assessing technology and outdoor equipment, the 'Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel' stands out as the top recommendation for wild camping and off-grid ventures. Combining its high efficiency, portability, and convenient design features such as a kickstand and multiple USB outputs, it provides a reliable and user-friendly power solution for explorers. While the 'BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Foldable Solar Charger' and 'ALLPOWERS 400W Foldable Solar Panel' both offer their unique advantages, such as additional USB ports and higher power output, respectively, they cater to different needs and preferences. Ultimately, it's essential to consider your specific energy requirements, the gadgets you plan to charge, and how the solar charger will fit into your adventure gear. Regardless of your choice, always keep an eye on current promotions – technology deals change rapidly, and savvy shoppers often find that the best time to purchase is when a price cut makes a high-quality product like these solar chargers even more appealing.

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Jacob Rose
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Traveller, writer and travel-writer. Often accused of insufficient planning and poor impulse control, but happier for it!

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Buying Advice for Portable Power Supplies for Camping

Traveling, whether for leisure or work, often requires us to carry multiple devices, all of which need to stay powered. A reliable portable power supply can be an invaluable asset, particularly when you're on the move. This guide focuses on key factors such as battery life, safety, weight, charging times, charging options, and other crucial points to consider when buying a portable power supply for travel.

Battery Life:

The battery life of your portable power supply is undoubtedly one of the most critical factors to consider. This often depends on its capacity, measured in milliamp hours (mAh) or watt-hours (Wh). Higher capacity models can deliver multiple full charges to your devices, making them excellent for extended trips away from power sources. The Anker PowerCore 20100, for instance, provides enough power to charge a smartphone several times over, which can be a lifesaver in travel situations.

Safety:

A power supply is a device you'll be using daily, and often while you're on the go, so safety is paramount. Quality power supplies will have features such as overcharge, short-circuit, and overheat protection to ensure the safety of both the power supply and your devices. Renowned brands like Anker, RAVPower, and Aukey have stringent safety standards and certifications, which should provide peace of mind.

Weight and Size:

For travel convenience, a portable power supply should be compact and lightweight. However, there's often a trade-off between battery capacity and portability. High-capacity power banks are generally heavier and larger, so you'll need to find a balance that suits your needs. Power supplies like the Jackery Bolt 6000 mAh strike a good balance, offering a significant amount of power in a compact form.

Charging Times:

The time a power supply takes to recharge itself is also a significant factor. Look for a model with a high input rate, which means it can recharge itself quickly. Features like Power Delivery (PD) and Quick Charge (QC) can dramatically reduce the time it takes for your power supply to recharge. Remember, larger capacity power banks will naturally take longer to recharge, regardless of these fast-charging features.

Charging Options:

The versatility of a power supply largely depends on the number of output ports it has and the types of ports available. Look for power banks with multiple outputs if you plan to charge more than one device simultaneously. USB-C ports are becoming more standard and can deliver fast charging for compatible devices. Additionally, some models feature AC outlets or DC ports, enabling you to power more substantial devices like laptops.

Additional Features:

Many portable power supplies offer extras that can be very useful for travelers. Some feature built-in cables, eliminating the need to carry extras. Others have a built-in flashlight which can be handy in an emergency. Also, consider the build quality and durability, particularly if you'll be adventuring outdoors.

In Conclusion:

In conclusion, when selecting a portable power supply for travel, consider your specific needs in terms of battery capacity, safety features, portability, charging speed, and versatility. Extra features like built-in cables or a flashlight can also add significant value. By weighing these factors, you'll be able to select a reliable and convenient power supply that suits your travel needs.

Our Editor's Recommendation

Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel for Explorer 240/500/1000

The Jackery SolarSaga 100W Monocrystalline Solar Panel is durable and if the sun is strong it's an ideal way of creating off-grid, clean, renewable power

Check Latest Price
Image of Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel for Explorer 240/500/1000