HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PORTABLE SOLAR CHARGER FOR OFF-THE-GRID HIKING
Off-the-grid hiking refers to backpacking or hiking in wilderness areas that are not accessible by roads and, therefore, not connected to the power grid. This means that hikers must be self-sufficient and carry all necessary supplies, including food, water, shelter, and navigation tools. Off-the-grid hiking can be a challenging and rewarding experience, but it also requires a high level of preparedness and knowledge of survival skills.
One of the main advantages of off-grid hiking is the opportunity to disconnect from modern technology and civilisation and to experience the natural world more naturally and authentically. It also provides a greater sense of self-sufficiency and self-reliance and a physical and mental challenge.
Off-grid hiking can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Still, it’s essential to be well-prepared and have the necessary skills and equipment to stay safe and comfortable in the wilderness. A portable solar charger is an essential component of off-grid hiking equipment. This type of charger is an effective means of supplying power to electronic devices during hikes and can also be utilized for camping and other outdoor excursions.
WHAT IS A PORTABLE SOLAR CHARGER?
A portable solar charger or solar panel is a device that converts sunlight into electrical energy that can be used to charge batteries or power electronic devices. These panels typically consist of photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity and may include additional components such as charge controllers, inverters, and battery storage. Portable solar panels can come in various sizes and wattages and can be used for various applications, including camping, offgrid living, and emergency preparedness.
FACTORS WHEN CHOOSING A PORTABLE SOLAR CHARGER FOR OFF-THE-GRID HIKING
When choosing the right portable solar panel for hiking, there are a few key factors to consider. Portable solar panels, also known as solar chargers, are a great way to power electronic devices while on the trail and can also be used for camping and other outdoor activities. However, with so many available options, knowing which is the best fit for your needs can be challenging.
Size & Weight
When selecting a portable solar panel, the primary considerations should be the size and weight of the panel. Hiking frequently involves extended distances and challenging terrain; therefore, it is essential to opt for a panel that is lightweight and easy to transport. One should aim for panels that weigh less than 2 pounds and possess a compact design. Furthermore, it is crucial to take into account the panel size when folded, as it should be able to conveniently fit within a backpack.
The next factor to consider is the power output. Portable solar panels are rated in watts: the higher the wattage, the more power they can produce. For off-the-grid hiking and camping, a panel with a power output of 5 watts or more is ideal. This will be enough to charge a small electronic device such as a phone or camera, but more than this is needed for larger devices like tablets or laptops.
Type of Solar Cells
The type of solar cells used in a solar charger can affect its efficiency and power generation. There are two main types of solar cells: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline cells are more efficient but also more expensive, and they are also more durable and can withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions. Polycrystalline cells, on the other hand, are less efficient but less expensive, and they are also less durable than monocrystalline cells.
The Efficiency of the Solar Panels
The efficiency of a solar panel refers to the percentage of sunlight converted into usable electrical energy. It measures how well the panel can convert photons from the sun into electricity electrons. The efficiency of a solar panel is typically measured under standard test conditions (STC), which include a solar irradiance of 1,000 watts per square meter, an air mass of 1.5, and a cell temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. The efficiency of a solar panel can vary depending on the type of technology used, but typical efficiencies for commercial solar panels range from around 14-22%. Higher efficiency panels are generally more expensive, but they can produce more electricity in a smaller area, which can be beneficial in certain situations.
High-quality solar chargers like the Texenergy Infinite Solar 24 have a conversion efficiency of up to 24%, one of the highest available, providing enough power to charge two devices simultaneously. It is also IP65-rated, waterproof and dustproof with efficient monocrystalline solar panels.
Type of Charging Ports
One essential feature to consider is the charging ports the solar panel has. Some solar panels come with multiple charging ports, allowing it to charge multiple devices simultaneously. This can be a great feature for hikers, as it allows you to simultaneously charge your phone, camera and other electronic devices. Other solar panels come with USB charging ports, which are compatible with many devices.
Durability is also an important consideration when choosing a portable solar panel. Look for panels that are made with durable materials and have a weather-resistant design. This will help to protect the panel from damage caused by rain, wind and other extreme weather conditions.
Cost of the Portable Solar Charger
Finally, it's essential to consider the cost of the solar panel. Portable solar panels can range in price from less than $20 to over $100. While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest option, it is essential to bear in mind that a lower cost may not necessarily equate to a better value. Cheaper solar panels may be less efficient and less durable than expensive ones.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT PORTABLE SOLAR CHARGER FOR YOUR NEEDS
When selecting a portable solar panel for hiking, it is important to consider factors such as the panel's size and weight, power output, type of solar cells, charging ports and durability.
Additionally, the cost of the panel should also be taken into consideration. Portable solar panels are a useful tool for staying connected and powered during hiking and other outdoor activities. Therefore, a portable solar panel is a valuable piece of gear for any outdoor enthusiast.