More than 40 million people participate in camping activities each year. The number of households that own an RV hit 11.2 million in 2021, with over a million people living a full-time road life. Whether you’re tent camping, car camping, or boondocking in an RV, camping with solar provides a free source of energy, allowing you to power the essentials. Follow these five tips for successful solar camping!
1: Know how much electricity you need when camping with solar
It’s easy to underestimate how much power you use every day – whether it be your phone, computer, and minifridge when car camping or your entire home when you live or travel in an RV. Put your math muscles to work and add up how much wattage all your equipment uses and multiply that by the number of hours you anticipate using it daily. With this information in hand, you’ll know how much solar power you need.
2: Purchase the right solar panel for your needs
You need to consider a couple of things when purchasing your solar panels. First is how much power you need for camping with solar. The panels you choose should supply you with more power than you think you use. This offers flexibility when you aren’t getting direct sunlight, reducing the output. Another decision you face is whether you want rigid, mounted panels or flexible, portable ones.
3: Make sure you have enough energy storage
You may purchase panels that can supply you with more than enough power, but you’re likely to run into trouble if you don’t have sufficient storage. Sealed AGM or lithium batteries are the best bet for their efficiency and low maintenance when you’re on the move. You’ll also need a charge controller when camping with solar so that your panels don’t overcharge your batteries.
4: Know whether you need an inverter
Imagine your surprise when you head out camping with all your solar equipment only to discover you can’t charge your computer. Batteries provide a charge to equipment that runs on a 12-volt DC charge.
But your outlets are likely set up for 120-volt AC power to supply electricity to things like your coffee maker, computer, and cell phones. Newer vans, campers, and trailers may have an inverter built into the system already. If not, you’ll need to have one installed.
5: Consider your camping options
While camping with solar opens up a new world of opportunities to get away from it all, you do need to consider your camping options. Parking in the desert in the middle of summer certainly offers plenty of sunlight, but you won’t have enough power to run your air conditioner to keep you cool! Save the desert for your winter vacations and head to the mountains in the hotter months.
Find everything you need for camping with solar