How to Camp with Solar Power

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Camping with Solar on your next Carefree RV trip
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How to Camp with Solar Power

There’s something refreshing about leaving your regular life behind for a day or two spent out in nature. It’s good for mind, body, and soul to immerse yourself in nature, to breathe deeply of fresh air, and potentially to unplug from the constant stimuli of your cell phone.

 

But even if you do want to spend a little time off the grid, you’ll still need some kind of electrical power, whether to operate your GPS or simply to ensure that your phone works in case of an emergency. And that’s to say nothing of the creature comforts that some campers like to bring with them: Microwaves, audio systems, and the rest.

 

As you consider different ways to power these items, you may wish to think about solar power. There are a number of solar panel options for your RV camper, which will allow you to enjoy some electrical power with minimal disruption to the natural world. Take a moment to consider a few of the basics of camping with solar.

 

When looking at what is an ideal full system configuration for an RV, typically one would want to consider the expectations of a system and limitations of the RV, and then build the system around these expectations and limitations. In most cases you want to start from the roof and work your way down.

 

Why Go Camping with Solar Panels?

To begin with, it may be helpful to consider some of the primary reasons for bringing solar panels with you while you camp. 

 

There are a number of factors that make solar power the most suitable energy source for your next camping trip, including:

 

  • You don’t have to camp near a power station. Using solar panels will give you the freedom to explore more widely, without feeling the need to park your camper close to an existing power center.
  • You can save money. Relatedly, with solar panels, you don’t have to pay to use power stations. (While many campsites will allow you to charge your equipment for free, they typically make you pay to camp there, which goes right back to our first point.)
  • You can travel light. RV solar equipment usually has a small footprint. It’s certainly easier to carry around than an armload of batteries, generators, etc.
  • You can minimize disruption to other campers. Generators are also incredibly noisy. With solar panels, you can minimize disruption to other campers (to say nothing of wildlife).
  • Solar power is a clean energy source. One of the main reasons to use solar power when you camp? Solar power is a clean, renewable energy source so you are able to camp without contributing a lot of pollution.
  • You can avoid the need for campfires. Cooking by campfires can be fun, but it’s also the leading cause of wildfires, which can really harm local wildlife. By using solar panels to power a small oven, you can avoid this altogether.

 

These are just a few of the reasons to consider using solar panels when you camp.

 

Types of Solar Panels for Camping

As you prepare for your next camping trip, it’s helpful to do your due diligence by sorting through the different types of solar panels that are available.

 

Portable solar panels can be classified into three types based on the material used to make their cells, including monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film, whether you use them as camping solar panels or as everyday on-the-go device chargers.

 

Basically, solar panels for camping can be divided into two basic categories: Stand-alone panels, and panels with built-in batteries.

 

  • Stand-alone panels generate electricity, but they don’t store it. As such, they can be used to power devices directly when the sun is shining. They can also charge an external power station. Some of these panels can be folded up, making them easier to transport and to position where you need them, while others are more rigid in their construction.
  • Panels with built-in batteries can not only harness the sun’s energy but also store it as useful electricity, eliminating the need for an external power station. These panels are often more versatile and useful than stand-alone options, but also heavier and a little bit more difficult to transport.

 

As you consider the right solar panels for your camping needs, there are a few factors to keep in mind. These factors include:

 

  • The size and weight of the panels (and how easy they will be to take with you for camping, hiking, etc).
  • Portability and ease of setup.
  • Durability, specifically how well the panels will hold up to exposure to dust and water.
  • Total power output and amperage.
  • Charge time and run time.
  • The total cost of the solar setup.

 

Finally, make certain that you look for solar panels that have the right connectors and wattage for the devices you wish to charge. Many of today’s best RV solar panels are fairly universal, but it’s still important to double check.

Using Solar Power on Your Next Camping Trip

Whether or not you choose to harness the power of sunshine to fuel your RV, taking a break from the open road is necessary from time to time. Instead of backing up your RV into the family driveway and parking it for the season, leaving it obtrusive and unattended, come home to Carefree Covered RV Storage.

 

Solar power can be a convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly way for you to enjoy some time off the grid… but not too far off the grid! It takes a little bit of research and consideration to decide on your optimal solar setup, but the good news is that there are plenty of easy and affordable ways to get into the solar camping life.

 

the team at EcoWatch


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