Living on a camping trailer is nearly impossible without a solar panel.
Charging your phone, laptop, and other electronic appliances will be hard and you won’t get the luxury of lights and fans.
Now one might think the solution for this problem is pretty simple “just buy a solar panel.”
But, the reality is very different.
If you don’t know which solar panels are good for Camping trailer, you can end up wasting time, money, and energy.
That’s why to help you pick the right solar panel for your trailer, we’ve picked the top 3 panels in the market.
Furthermore, to help you understand how solar panels work and which type of panel is best for you there is a small buyer’s guide after the 3rd product.
If you’re interested in reading the buyer’s guide, skip the three products.
And if you’re ready to make the decision, read our product reviews thoroughly.
1. Renogy 100W Foldable Portable Solar Panel
Renogy is one of the most popular brands in the solar industry and Renogy 100W Foldable Portable Solar Panel is one of their best products for camping trailers, RV, and etc.
This panel can produce enough electricity to keep multiple lamps, bulbs, chargers, and fans running for the whole night.
If you thought that was impressive, read the following bullet points:
- The panel has a compact and beautiful design.
- There are two Monocrystalline 50W and 12V panels.
- A waterproof backlit LCD screen that displays operational information and error codes. Plus, the screen is already installed in the backside of the panel.
- A waterproof charge controller that keeps the battery from overcharging, overloading, short circuiting and many other things that could damage the battery.
Plus, the charge controller can be attached with almost all types of batteries. AGM, GEL, and flooded batteries.
- A long 10ft cable with alligator clips that come in handy if you have to place the solar panel a few feet away from your trailer.
- A durable and adjustable aluminium frame that’ll keep the panel safe from corrosion.
- The solar panel can survive strong rain and snow storms.
If you want to find out more about this panel you can do it by clicking here.
The waterproof charge controller.
The waterproof LCD screen.
Compatible with all types of batteries.
10 ft cable with alligator clips
- A bit heavy.
- Not easy to assemble.
Weight: 25.6 lbs
Foldable Dimensions: 19.9” x 27.2” x 2.8”
2. Go Power! GP-PSK-130W Solar Panel
The GO Power! GP-PSK-130W Solar Panel is a great option for people who are living/want to live a road lifestyle.
It has a 10amp solar controller built into it and under ideal weather this device can produce up to 160W per hour.
When the battery is fully charged it can run a small camping trailer or a mini RV for hours.
The device is pretty easy to set up (it won’t take more than 2 minutes). Plus, it has a pretty fast charger.
Furthermore, it’s compatible with all types of batteries.
Now, let’s talk about the safety and security functions of this device.
For starters, there is a built-in corrosion resistant aluminium frame. Then, the device is water, wind, snow, and dust proof.
And finally, there is a charge controller that keeps the battery from overcharging, overloading, and short circuiting.
See what users have to say about this panel.
- Corrosion resistant aluminum frame.
- Compatible with all types of batteries.
- Super fast charger.
- Wind, dust, snow, and rain proof.
A bit hard to carry.
Many people complain that the charge controller is not wired properly and they had to wire it themselves.
Weight: 28.7 lbs
Dimensions: 32.48” x 2.76” x 19.88”
3. Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panel
Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panel is arguably one of the most beautifully designed solar panels in the market.
At 11.65 lbs it’s already light but to make it even easier to carry, the device can be folded like a briefcase and you can grab it by the handle in the middle.
The device has two 50W Monocrystalline panels and each has a kickstand that makes it easier to adjust the panels to a 45° angle at any surface.
The efficiency rate of this panel is one of the highest in its price range (23%).
There are 2 USB output chargers. USB-C (5V/3A) type and USB-A (5V/2.4A) type.
These USB chargers are great for charging small electronics such as smartphones and laptops.
Furthermore, there is an Anderson Connector with a DC output of 18V.
As for safety, the device has a built-in security system that protects it from overcharging, surging, and short circuiting.
And the device is compatible with AGM and GEL batteries.
Plus, there is a corrosion resistant aluminium frame and the device is wind, rain, and snow proof.
Check the price and more details about the panel here.
- 2 USB output chargers for charging small electrical appliances.
- Light and foldable. Thus, pretty easy to carry.
- Anderson Connector with a DC output of 18V.
- Battery doesn’t overcharge, surge, or short circuit.
- Compatible with AGM and GEL batteries.
- Aluminum frame that protects the solar panel from Corrosion.
- Water, wind, and snow proof.
- Dust may decrease the efficiency rate a little.
- Many people complain that USB ports don’t work properly.
- Kickstands can be a bit hard to fold back.
Weight: 10.33 lbs
Dimensions: 22.83” x 19.69” x 2.36”
Buyers guide on how to buy a solar panel for a small camping trailer
Although the panels mentioned above are the best we’ve found in the market, it’s good to have the information about this technology if you want to make a wise purchase.
That’s why we’ve written this small guide on how to choose the right solar panel for your small camping trailer.
The guide covers solar technologies, types of solar panels, and tells you what features to consider.
Now that you’re familiar with the purpose of this guide let’s dive in.
There are 2 types of solar technologies and below they are described in detail.
Crystalline solar panels use silicon to convert the sun’s wavelengths into electricity.
These panels are currently dominating the globe. About 95% of the global sales of solar panels are of Crystalline panels.
The average lifespan of these panels is 25 years which is higher than Thin film.
This technology is perfect for both commercial and residential use.
Thin films use barium zirconium sulfide to produce electricity.
At the same size, barium zirconium sulfide produces more electricity than silicon. That’s why Thin film panels are more affordable.
While these devices account for only 5% of the global sales of solar panels, many experts believe this could increase in the future.
The average lifespan of thin film technology is 20 years.
Usually, these panels are used in commercial areas.
Types of solar panel
There are three types of solar panels: 1 type is Thin film and the other two types fall under the category of Crystalline solar panels.
The name of these two types are Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline.
Below we’ve highlighted the differences in all three types.
While this type is the most expensive of the three, it’s also the most efficient.
They are produced from a single source of silicon and In general, the efficiency rate of these panels is 23%-25%.
These panels are the best option for small camping trailers.
These panels are a bit cheaper and a bit less efficient than Monocrystalline panels.
Unlike the farmer technology, Polycrystalline uses multiple sources of silicon to produce electricity. That’s why their average efficiency rate is 20%.
Although panels with higher efficiency rate are more suitable for camping trailers, if you’re tight on a budget these panels are a good option.
The cheapest and the easiest to maintain option on the list.
But, these perks don’t come without a cost. Thin films are also the least efficient of the three types and they have the shortest lifespan.
The average efficiency rate of thin films is 15%-18%. We don’t recommend buying these panels unless you’re under an extremely tight budget.
Features to consider
While there are many features to consider when buying a solar panel, we’ve written the most important ones below.
Efficiency rate: This one is a must to know. Without knowing the efficiency rate of your solar panel you wouldn’t know how much electricity your solar can produce.
Robust frame: The frame of the solar panel plays a huge role in panel lifespan.
Panels with robust frames last a decade or even longer than panels with weak frames.
Warranty: A long warranty is a must feature for any solar panel.
Without a long warranty, if your panel malfunction after a year or two you won’t be able to get a new one.
Ideally, your panel should have a warranty of 20-30 years.
IEC 67130 Safety Standards: All panels should follow these standards. If your panel doesn’t follow these standards, you might be putting your life at risk and your panel is more than 3 times likely to get damaged.
IEC 61215 Stamp: This stamp means the panel is tested and proven to survive all sorts of weather.
Without this stamp, your heart will beat faster whenever it’s raining.
Buying a portable solar panel is a great option for people who live a road lifestyle.
By reading the buyers guide we hope you’ve understood how to pick the right solar panel for you.
At least one out of three panels mentioned in this post is going to be a great option for you, choose the one that best suits your needs.
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as an electrical and electronic engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.