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Planning your next outdoor adventure is always easy; you list the places where you want to go, you bring the items you think you will need such as clothes, food, and other important things like your gadgets. But if you are going to bring your gadgets, you will certainly need a power source to keep their batteries full at all times. This is where you can rely on a good portable foldable solar panel.
But space is an issue that cannot always be addressed properly. If you have a small car, you cannot hope to pack all your things inside and bring them to the campsite in one go.
Now introducing such an innovative product will make your outdoor trips easier and stress-free.
What is a foldable 12v solar panel?
12v foldable solar panels are normally small individual solar cells that can be folded onto themselves to form a thin sheet, which is then like any other material, made into whatever shape you want it to be.
The standard size for these sheets is usually around 2 feet by 4 feet; this may not sound big but once they are produced and formed into whatever design or shape you choose, they become much bigger than anticipated.
They also come ready-made with an attached electronic circuit board, known as MC4 connectors (as seen on the image above), meaning all you have to do is plug your device into the panel and keep it facing toward the sun for it to charge its battery life. There are no big cogs or electricity schemes, you simply plugin and start charging.
Why do you need a foldable 12v solar panel?
There are many reasons why you should purchase foldable solar panels, but the main two are because they are very easy to use and transport.
For example, if you were going camping with your friends or family, everyone would have a different idea of what they want to bring.
Some might prefer having their phones next to them for safety purposes just in case there is an emergency that requires contact with others.
Others may want cameras so they can capture every moment during their trip.
While magic carpets will always be special, it is not always safe to travel on one.
All these devices take power to run so everyone will need cords and electricity plugs for them right?
This is where foldable solar panels come in, all you have to do is place them in the sun for a few hours and your devices will be fully charged from scratch so you can all go back to enjoying your time together.
In addition, many power outlets are not necessarily located right next to each other in certain areas.
If they were then there would definitely be a way for people to connect their devices that run out of battery easily.
However, the places where one outlet is placed may be far from another so while you can use a cord to connect them, it will always be a hassle and batteries will run out quickly because of this.
Having a foldable solar panel will allow you to plug in all your devices without needing any outlets at all!
This way no devices will need to run out of power unless they are plugged in for too long (which would require everyone else with their own separate device to come together with you who has the bigger battery pack).
Foldable 12v solar panel: Pros and Cons
Although this product has not been widely advertised like other household products, it does have its pros and cons which you should be aware of.
These foldable solar panels 12v come with an array of benefits which make them one of the best decisions when planning for outdoors.
On the other hand, they also have a few setbacks that need to be reviewed before purchasing them.
Durable and lightweight
For starters, these panels are lightweight and very strong; this is due to their outer shell being made out of silicon cells which greatly increases their durability while making them lighter than ever before so carrying them around isn’t much of a hassle. They also come with two options: either fixed at one angle or adjustable to different angles depending on your preference or need.
The panels are waterproof, meaning that they can withstand the test of time and last for years without weathering; this is because silicon cells are known to be more resistant than other solar cells which makes them great for all weather conditions.
Another benefit of a foldable solar panel is that its small size means you can easily pack them away when not in use. This feature is ideal for keeping them safe during transit or while charging your phone/device inside of your bag.
Longer charge time
Foldable solar panel units are really inefficient compared to normal stationary ones. This is because each cell sends energy back into the battery separately. This means that there are times when the energy being transferred isn’t enough to charge your device leading to a longer charge time.
The panel units do not have any cables or wires so instead, they come with MC4 connectors which are not compatible with all devices. However, this can be avoided by investing in additional parts before you go on your trip.
Not enough power during bad weather days
Bad weather is another setback of these foldable solar panels. There are times when the voltage isn’t enough whether due to bad weather conditions or other environmental factors outside of your control. If you are located where rain and snow are persistent, you won’t be able to gather enough solar energy to power your devices.
How to pick the proper type and size of foldable solar panel?
The first thing to think about when picking out the proper type of solar panel is what you plan on using it for.
If it is for backpacking, then a small one will be fine. A small solar charger will fill your charging needs.
But if you are planning on taking part in any other outdoor activity where the weather might not be optimal, having something stronger would be ideal.
If you have lots of gadgets that require charging like your laptop or phone, then investing in a slightly larger foldable solar panel would offer more benefits than sticking with the smaller ones.
This is because they return voltages that are high enough to charge most electronic devices without problems whereas the smaller panels may take hours to do so.
When measuring your travel space and weight restrictions, make sure to pick out your solar panel depending on what you plan on taking with you.
For example, if it is just for backpacking then a small foldable 12v solar panel would be ideal but if you require something that can also charge your laptop and accessories then investing in a slightly larger one might not be such a bad idea (depending on the size restrictions of course).
A great investment to make when looking into a foldable and portable solar panel is getting one that has an angled design; this means that you won’t have to guess the angle at which you’re supposed to set it up in order for it to collect energy.
This might not seem like a huge deal at first but having the wrong angle will either cause it to undercharge or overcharge your device depending on what time of day it is due to the sun’s position in the sky.
With all these perks, there are still some setbacks that need attention before making a purchase just so you don’t waste your money on something that may not be useful or fit your needs.
One downfall would have to be its size and efficiency because each cell sends energy back into an attached circuit board separately and there are times when the voltage is too low to charge your device.
This can be avoided by investing in a solar charger to attach directly with your car if you are on long road trips or just want your phone/device charged fast.
For those who enjoy hiking and camping, this would be perfect for conserving some of the extra energy stored from basking in the sun all day; after all, isn’t doing anything out in nature supposed to give you a sense of renewal?
If you plan on investing more time outside during winter seasons or often find yourself at places with bad weather conditions more often than not, it might be best to find a foldable solar panel that has high efficiency and converts the most possible light in order to supply your device with enough energy before it runs out of battery.
If you are looking for something that is easier than setting up an entire camp, but can still give you the sense of freedom by having access to electricity when on long road trips or hiking/camping, then investing in an eco worthy foldable solar panel would be perfect for your needs.
By using these folding solar panels, you can charge your devices without running down your car’s battery. This is because they absorb energy from the sun and store it into an attached electronic circuit board until needed which helps save gas if you plan on going on plenty of outdoor activities like fishing trips, hiking, camping, etc.
Depending on what your needs are, a foldable solar panel charger comes in a variety of sizes, and the larger they become the more efficient they will be at collecting energy from all light sources including shaded areas which are perfect for those who go on day trips often.
If you are looking for something eco worthy that can give you energy straight from sunlight, it is best to look out for these panels with an efficiency of around 20 percent so it won’t waste precious energy collected during cloudy days or seasons where there is less sunlight.
What are the best foldable solar panel brands in the market these days?
If you are going to be purchasing a foldable solar panel, there are a few things that you need to consider before taking the plunge.
You want to find something durable and efficient so it won’t waste any of the energy being collected from the sun.
There are a lot of brands out there but here are a few of them that have been proven to be dependable:
- Jackery – Jackery’s SolarSaga 100 W solar panel module is a gorgeous and distinctive creation from Jackery. Since 2021, this California-based company has been creating green energy solutions for the United States market.
This model is portable since it can be folded and carried anywhere with a comfortable grip. The back kickstand on the design supports two panels that are divided into two separate parts and have a 45° inclination on any surface. The conversion efficiency of this module, which stands at 23%, is one of the best available.
The solar briefcase includes two USB output chargers for charging smartphones and other small electronics. One of the USB ports is a USB-C (5V/3A) port type, while the second is a USB-A (5V/2.4A) port type. The solar briefcase also has an Anderson Connector with a DC output of 18V and a 5.55A built-in short circuit, overvoltage, and surge protection.
- Renogy – Renogy is one of the most well-known and highly regarded solar companies, which is why it frequently receives outstanding feedback. The company sells portable solar kits, deep cycle batteries, charge regulators, inverters, and cables.
The Renogy 100-Watt Monocrystalline Foldable is a ready-to-install off-grid system. The product comes with an integrated waterproof Voyager charge controller that is already set up and linked in the back of the panel, as well as two 50W monocrystalline 12V panels and a 10 ft. cable with alligator clips.
The heavy-duty handle and protective casing of the corrosion-resistant aluminum stand are two of the outstanding features of this product. The Voyager waterproof charge controller is also compatible with lead-acid and lithium battery packs, including GEL, AGM, and flooded batteries, allowing you to store all of your storage options.
- Goal Zero – The Goal Zero Nomad 20 is a great portable solar kit. It has a built-in junction box and a smart charging chip that allows you to charge your devices using solar power via USB ports.
Any of Goal Zero’s power packs, such as the Yeti 150, Yeti 400, or Venture 30 can be used with portable solar panels.
This foldable solar kit is a 20-watt foldable solar kit that uses monocrystalline technology. The Goal Zero Nomad 20 does not store energy itself, so an external battery pack is required to retain the excess solar power.
To power 12V electronics like smartphones, GPS, iPods, and Goal Zero power packs, the product is a portable solar solution. The Nomad 20 solar panel is also waterproof, weather-resistant, and compatible with additional solar panels to boost charging speed.
The product has been used in numerous disaster areas across the country, and it has safely provided solar energy in places where the power grid is not accessible.
- HQST – Another firm, HQST, provides off-grid solutions to the market, ranging from premium folding solar panels, starter solar kits to marine solar panels.
This Portable Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase kit comes with a 100 W polycrystalline solar panel solution. It also includes a travel bag, making it ideal for the mobile solar industry. The solar panel has 36 solar cells and a 22 V open-circuit voltage.
In addition, it has a PWM charge controller that is compatible with 12 V and 24 V battery systems, along with 10 feet of wiring to connect your charge controller with your battery. Overvoltage protection, three stages of charging, and a recharge time of around 2 hours are all included in the charge controller.
This folding portable solar panel has a specific temperature sensor that ensures accurate recharging of your battery bank.
The nicest thing about the kit is that it’s lightweight. Because the modules are not hefty, you may take them with you everywhere. You can use your devices all day long while connected to the batteries.
What to look for when buying foldable solar panels
Choosing portable solar panels is not hard, but there are certain factors you need to consider. Here are some of the factors you need to think about when shopping for foldable solar panel units whether online or through a real shop:
The first factor to consider when buying a foldable solar panel is usage. What are your solar panel’s purposes? You may need to alter your search criteria depending on the objective of your solar panels.
If you only have a few devices such as a cell phone, tablet, LED flashlight and lamp, camera, and a drone to recharge, you will need a small folding solar panel with one USB port. However, if you have devices that require great power such as a laptop, TV, Bluetooth speaker, or a small fridge, then you definitely need a larger solar panel to supply them with enough energy.
If you like camping near a body of water, waterproofing is another feature that you need to include in your consideration list. Moisture is electricity’s greatest enemy, so if you don’t want your devices to get damaged with just a small splash of water, you need to pick the most waterproof solar panels in the market.
Crystalline technologies, which are most popular in the grid-tied and off-grid markets, include polycrystalline and monocrystalline modules. They can be divided into polycrystalline and monocrystalline modules, with the former having a larger market presence.
Because efficiency values are so important for portable solar applications, it is recommended that you choose the monocrystalline technology because it is considered to be the most efficient.
Owing to their flexibility and small size, thin-film solar panels should also be included in your consideration.
The downside is that efficiency values are generally low when compared to monocrystalline, but their advantageous mobility in the portable solar panel industry is invaluable.
One of the most significant things to look for when it comes to foldable solar panels is efficiency. It is a measure of how effectively solar energy is converted into DC electricity.
If your efficiency is higher, this indicates that your solar panel will be smaller and produce the same amount of power while achieving a better conversion rate.
This is something you do not want to mess around with when it comes to trimming costs.
One of the most essential assets and indicators is efficiency, which equals less weight, smaller area, and excellent performance as well as the highest efficiencies being designed by only the best manufacturers.
Another crucial element to consider is weight. You’ll want something lightweight for comfort while camping.
If you’re going trekking, you’ll need ultra-lightweight portable solar panel kits. The top choices in this category are low-weight portable solar chargers with USB ports for phone charging and folding solar panels with integrated USB ports for charging phones.
Solar Panels vs Solar Blankets: Which one is the best?
Solar blankets are a fantastic investment for frequent travelers who want to save space and weight.
While traditional solar panels are less expensive, solar blankets provide excellent quality and durability.
The greatest advantage of solar blankets is their flexibility; you may use them in many ways, including hanging them from your awning, draping them over your vehicle’s bonnet, or laying them across the windscreen to gather amps!
Unlike conventional foldable solar panels, solar blankets are more efficient. They are made of a lighter material and designed with a higher density of thin-film solar cells.
Solar blankets are also a smart choice for those who do not have an RV. You can just hang your solar blanket on the roof of your car to charge your batteries while you are camping. You can also benefit from the shade it provides if the sun is too much for you.
But the only problem with solar blankets is the high price tags that come with them. If you are on a tight budget, it might be best to just get several portable fans instead because they are much cheaper than the more efficient foldable panels.
If you plan on going out often and don’t want to make any sacrifices when it comes to energy conservation, then investing in a top-notch eco-worthy solar panel is definitely worth it compared to getting several battery-operated fans or camping cooling blankets that can run out of power rather quickly.
You will get your money’s worth if you find one with an efficiency rate of 20% or higher at collecting sunlight during cloudy weather conditions or winter seasons where there is less sun around. Remember, if you are looking for something that is easier than setting up an entire camp, but can still give you the sense of freedom by having access to electricity when on long road trips or hiking/camping, then investing in a foldable solar panel would be perfect for your needs.
Today’s generation takes everything they need with them wherever they go; whether it’s for work or just pleasure, there are tons of electronics that require steady batteries. Luckily for us, we live in a time where companies create portable solar panels that allow us to continue using our devices even out in the wilderness.
These days, it is becoming more and more common to find folding solar panels like this because people are always looking at ways to conserve energy which contributes to saving resources as well.
How to clean your foldable solar panels properly?
Dust and grime can have a significant impact on the performance of your portable solar panel. Unwanted elements can settle on the surface of the solar panel, thus affecting its sunlight-absorption capability. In an outdoor setting where sand and dirt are more common, this is especially true.
Solar panels are dependable, but they do need some care. It’s important to keep your solar panels in good shape. Every so often, perform basic maintenance on your solar panels. The cleaning procedure is simple and takes only a few minutes.
The first thing to realize is that cleaning the solar panel is quite simple. All you need is a soft brush or sponge with a tiny bit of water. Detergent, chlorine, or any other liquid are not required. In fact, strong chemicals might be abrasive to the solar panel and cause damage to the solar cells, which might eventually lead to cell damage.
To ensure that you have a long time to enjoy your portable solar panels for solar energy production, simply apply water (don’t use water with high minerals) to the sponge or wet cloth and begin cleaning.
Avoid employing high-pressure water to do it, among other helpful cleaning hints. To clean your solar panels, you might need a hose, but the pressure is not the same with rooftop solar power systems as it is with portable solar panel kits. Furthermore, because your portable solar power kit is made up of only a few solar panels, you won’t be sacrificing much.
How to Prevent Your Foldable Solar Panels from Being Stolen
Despite the fact that the advantages of portable solar power greatly outweigh the drawbacks, there is one thing left for you to consider. How can you keep your precious foldable solar panels safe from thieves at all times?
Solar panels for camping or recreational vehicles may be exposed to potentially hazardous circumstances, allowing thieves to take advantage of them. Installing a solar panel alarm system is a wonderful alternative to minimize the risk of stolen solar panel kits.
Alarm systems for solar panels may not be a popular product in the market yet, but there are still some decent alternatives to consider. You can use other alarm systems to notify you if your solar panels move away from your position. It can also produce a noise that might annoy the person trying to take them away.
You can also use stainless steel bolts or chains that connect the foldable solar panels to other supports, such as a table that would be challenging to remove.
You may also want to install a key lock between the portable solar power system and the battery in order to prevent unauthorized persons from removing or moving it.
An HD camera is another viable option to protect your solar panels. If you leave your belongings at the camp but still have your smartphone, you will be able to check it using mobile data. It may not be able to prevent the intruder from stealing your portable solar panel, but it will identify the culprit’s face if you decide to bring the matter to the police.
Finally, you can record the serial number of your portable foldable solar panel. The serial number may be followed, and if the thief is stupid enough to try and sell it, he or she can be identified and tracked. If you don’t have the receipt anymore, the serial number will be your conclusive proof that the foldable solar panel charger belongs to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it true that foldable solar panel units are rubbish?
No, it is not true. It all depends on the technology that they use for their solar panels.
Friday and Saturday campers: eco-worthy foldable solar panel units would be your greatest choice when it comes to a portable energy source. They are less expensive and more versatile than standard solar panels. They are also bigger but more lightweight than conventional solar panels, though. If you’re only taking the essentials with you, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Can a foldable solar panel save me money?
Having foldable portable solar panels can help you save money because it will recharge your devices using free solar energy. If you also have a portable power bank, you can store some energy there right after your devices are full.
Can I leave my foldable solar panels outside when it is raining?
Your foldable solar panels may be waterproof, but it is not totally free from water damage. To prevent your folding solar panels from being damaged, it is best to bring them inside your tent or car when not in use. This way, you can prolong its life and save money in the process.
How long do foldable solar panels last?
The lifespan of foldable solar panels is typically 20 years or more if you take proper care of it.
Do foldable solar panels need extra gear to work?
Foldable solar panels do not require any additional equipment or gear because they already come with everything that you will need: the panel, alligator clips, and a charge controller. There is no need to buy anything else to make these devices work.
Can I use foldable solar panels for my car?
No, foldable solar panels should only be used for smaller electronics such as tablets, smartphones, laptops, and even LED lights. It may not generate enough juice for your car so it would be best to install an actual solar power system instead.
Can I use my portable foldable solar panel to recharge my electric car?
No. If your electric car has run out of battery, you will need a special charging place for that. Your portable foldable solar panel will not be able to do anything about that.
What do I get from a foldable solar panel kit?
You can get a foldable solar kit that is fully equipped with everything you need to charge your devices using the power of the sun. The kit includes a folding solar panel, alligator clips, and a user manual to help you begin charging your gadgets immediately.
Do I have enough sunlight for my foldable solar panels?
As long as there is sunlight, you can use your portable folding solar panel even on cloudy days or during nighttime. No matter what the weather condition is outside, you will always have access to free and eco-worthy energy provided by the sun.
How long will a 100-watt portable solar panel charge a battery?
A 100-watt solar panel capable of generating 1 amp of current will take 5 to 8 hours to fully charge a considerable-sized battery.
What can a 100-watt portable solar panel kit power?
A single 100-Watt solar panel kit may charge numerous tiny appliances, including cell phones, LED lamps, small ceiling fans, routers for WiFi, laptops, and other small electronic gadgets. Larger appliances like heaters and TVs require more than one 100-Watt solar panel.
Overall, foldable solar panels 12v are a great alternative for those who don’t want to be limited to an outlet or a power bank whenever they are going on a trip. They do come with their own disadvantages but what product doesn’t? The whole point is to make the best out of every situation and these solar panels certainly provide you with that option.
Different sizes are available depending on your mobility, budget, and the amount of energy you need to keep stored. The best thing about these panels is that they aren’t permanent which means you can store them in your car or backpack until it’s needed. Taking them out is super easy too since all you have to do is attach the panel wherever there is sunlight exposure with an attached clip hook. If you plan on going on long road trips often then investing in one that has a cigarette lighter socket would be even better so that there won’t be any hassle in setting it up whenever it runs out of battery.
So what do you think about this new and eco-worthy technology? Would it help make your next trip easier and more enjoyable? Share your thoughts down below! Thanks for reading!