IS SOLAR POWER SUITABLE FOR LONG DISTANCE BACKPACKING?
Solar energy, a powerful energy source, has been widely used to generate electricity for residential and commercial places. However, solar power can also be a viable option for long-distance backpacking. This energy source can be used to recharge batteries, power electronics and other essential backpacking gear, including smartphones, headlamps and GPS to name a few.
There are several benefits to using solar power in backpacking trips, and there are certain essential items that can be used along for a more efficient and sustainable backpacking experience.
DECIDING ON THE AMOUNT OF POWER NEEDED FOR A LONG-DISTANCE BACKPACKING TRIP
Know the number of devices carried or to be used during the journey. Ensuring the devices and the amount of power they utilise in watts will help comprehend what solar panel size and capacity will be ideal.
For instance, a 24W portable solar panel with good sun exposure will be perfect to charge devices like mobile phones, GPS and headlamps.
However, if the devices are more power-consuming, a bigger solar panel may be required, which may not be feasible for a long-distance backpacking trip, as the weight can get heavier. In such a case, a combination of power sources such as solar panels with a portable wind turbine will be the perfect solution to charge devices more efficiently.
This is a workable combination as portable wind turbines, such as the Texenergy Infinite Air 18, are compact, lightweight and easy to carry on backpacking journeys.
BENEFITS OF UTILISING SOLAR POWER ON A LONG-DISTANCE BACKPACKING TRIP
Backpackers can use portable solar power to reduce their reliance on traditional sources of electricity. They can carry it anywhere conveniently to charge their gadgets even in remote locations without access to an electrical outlet or grid.
By harnessing the sun’s power through a portable solar panel, backpackers and campers can reduce their carbon footprint and help protect the earth’s natural resources. Solar panels do not produce any emissions, keeping the environment free of air pollution. By using solar panels instead of a regular generator, the number of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere can be reduced.
Portable solar power systems allow backpackers to generate electricity from the sun, which can be used to recharge their devices and other gear. The convenience and reliability of having solar energy make it an ideal choice for hikers, campers and backpackers. They are lightweight and easy to transport, allowing the freedom to explore remote locations.
Solar power systems only require an upfront investment, making them cost-effective energy sources in the long run. They are compact and require zero maintenance. They run entirely on sun exposure, making them a great option for backpackers. As a result, most portable energy systems, such as solar panels and wind turbines, are great, cost-efficient power sources for backpackers and campers who have good exposure to the sun and wind.
Ease of Use
Portable solar power is one of the most convenient, viable and reliable sources of energy for long-distance backpacking trips. Unlike other energy resources such as generators, portable solar energy requires minimal setup for cords and plugs and no additional fuel or battery replacements. These panels can be easily connected to a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, lamps and GPS, powering most of the technology that is needed on the trail.
Efficient and Reliable
Solar power systems are extremely efficient in good sun exposure. A reliable portable solar panel, such as the Texenergy Infinite Solar 24, can have a conversion efficiency of up to 24%, which means it can convert up to 24% of the sunlight that hits the electrical panel. This is one of the highest available in the market and can charge two devices simultaneously.
They can be relied upon to provide a steady stream of power for small devices. Unlike battery-powered energy sources, which can run out of juice at crucial moments, solar panels will keep delivering power as long as there is the sun shining overhead.
LIST OF ITEMS NEEDED TO UTILISE SOLAR POWER ON A LONG-DISTANCE BACKPACKING TRIP
A long-distance backpacking trip requires the right gear for a comfortable journey. A list of items needed to utilise solar power can help ensure that backpackers, hikers or campers have everything they need to make the most of their time in nature.
Portable Solar Panels
The most important item to keep during a long journey is a portable solar panel. It should be lightweight, foldable and strong enough to withstand the weather conditions. A solar panel should be adjustable, so it can be easily moved according to the sunlight availability in a particular location.
Portable Power Station or Power Bank
Solar panels are unable to generate electricity at night, as they require sunlight; in such a case, a power bank, an additional power-storage battery, can come in handy. A portable power station can be a great option to charge during the day while the devices are all being utilised and cannot be charged. This will help backpackers power their devices later at any time of the day or night without having to worry about sun exposure.
Suitable Power Cables
Since most of the devices used while backpacking is USB compatible, it is important to bring along USB cables and adapters that work well with the portable solar panel. This will ensure that all the necessary gadgets can be connected to solar power to charge and utilise anytime without interruption.
HOW TO UTILISE SOLAR POWER ON A BACKPACKING TRIP
It is important to understand how solar power can be utilised effectively on a long trip so that all useful gadgets are charged efficiently. To utilise solar power on a backpacking trip, one needs to focus on packing the right equipment, identifying a suitable location and fixing an appropriate time for the solar panel to charge the devices.
Identify a Suitable Location
The ideal location for setting up portable solar panels is facing true south if the area is located north of the equator. In this way, the solar panel can be exposed to the maximum amount of sunlight throughout the day, increasing the rate of energy production. The optimal angle for a portable solar panel should be tilt between 30 degrees and 45 degrees so that it is facing directly towards the sun. The angle can be adjusted depending on the camper's location.
Fix a Duration
Once the portable solar panel is set in a suitable location, ensure to set a specific time frame to charge the devices. Since the sun’s rays are strongest from 11 am to 4 pm, depending upon the weather, it is usually the best time to use solar panels to charge the devices and get maximum energy from the solar panels.
Consider the Amount of Power Needed
When selecting a solar panel, it is essential to consider the amount of power required and the size of the solar panel, as mentioned earlier in the article. Larger panels may provide more energy, but they are also bulkier and heavier. Consider the energy needs carefully before selecting a solar panel.
MAKING THE BEST OUT OF PORTABLE SOLAR PANELS ON A LONG-DISTANCE BACKPACKING TRIP
Harnessing solar energy for a long backpacking trip is a great way to ensure that backpackers have a reliable and renewable source of power on their adventures. Investing in the right knowledge and equipment is essential to make the most out of portable solar panels.
With the solar power system set up rightly, backpackers can utilise solar energy effectively for extended periods without interruption. Make sure to learn the basics of solar power and get familiarised with the additional compatible items to ensure that solar panels remain functional and efficient throughout the journey.
Additionally, pairing solar energy with wind energy can be a great way to increase access to renewable energy to have an increase in charging. A portable wind turbine such as the Texenergy Infinite Air 18 would be an excellent choice to assist backpackers to make the most out of their backpacking experience.
The Texenergy Infinite Solar 24 solar panels and wind turbines are perfectly compatible to generate a highly efficient, powerful charging system. By combining Texenergy wind turbines with solar panels, backpackers can receive a 30% to 50% increase in power during the day to charge the devices.