Portable solar panels are the best way to charge up your RV batteries while camping if you don’t want to mount panels on the roof of your camper. If you want to strategically place your panels in the sun while having your RV in the shade, or if you have a delicate roof like on a bumper-bull, portable solar panels for RVs, travel trailers, truck campers and vans are a great solution.
They’re also a great option for tent camping if you have gear you need to keep charged on the go.
But how do you pick the best solar panel kits for your needs? Well, it depends on how you plan to store and travel with them, how many watts you need, and what your budget is.
In this post, we’ll be going over the best portable RV solar panels from different brands, and what you should be shopping for as you make your choice.
Portable Solar Basics
Here are some features you’ll need to consider about a portable rv solar panel setups before making your choice.
- Some come with carrying cases, some don’t.
- Most come with a built in charge controller, with varying degrees of quality.
- Some solar panel brands have great customer support if something goes wrong or if you panel stops charging. This is an important factor to consider if you’re not solar savvy yourself.
- Most are rigid panels, but you can also get flexible solar panels and use them as a portable solar panel option.
- Most come in 100 watt configurations, and we wouldn’t really recommend anything below this, as you want to be sure the effort of carrying around and putting out your rv solar panels pays off.
Portable Solar Panel Reviews: Our Top Picks
Our methodology for picking the best portable solar panels is simple: the brand must be a high quality panel with good reviews, it must have a charge controller included because we are discussing solar for RVs after all (unless the panel is flexible), and it must have an appropriate dollar per watt price for the quality offered.
We’ve also broken down our top portable solar panels by wattage, because your cargo space may be different depending on what type of camper you have or how many batteries you need to keep charged exclusively on solar power.
The most popular portable solar panel brands are definitely Zamp solar, Renogy, and Go-Power, but we have included a variety of options to suit your price point.
Best 100 Watt Portable Solar Panels:
-Renogy 100 watt
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable 2Pcs 50W Solar Panel Suitcase Built-in Kickstand with Waterproof 20A Charger Controller
3 used from $168.72
-Zamp 140 watt
Zamp solar Legacy Series 140-Watt Portable Solar Panel Kit with Integrated Charge Controller and Carrying Case. Off-Grid Solar Power for RV Battery Charging - USP1002
$694.27 in stock
-Topsolar 100 watt
Topsolar SolarFairy 100W Portable Foldable Solar Panel Charger Kit 18V DC Output for Portable Generator Power Station + 12V RV Boat Car Battery + USB & Type C for Cell Phone Tablet
$149.99 in stock
-Eco-Worthy 120 watt
ECO-WORTHY 120W Foldable Solar Panel for Jackery Explorer/Flashfish/BALDR/Goal Zero Portable Generator Power Station, with 20A Charge Controller to Charge 12V Battery
-Gopower 130 watt
Best 200 Watt Portable Solar Panels:
-Renogy 200 watt
Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable 2Pcs 100W Solar Panel Suitcase Built-in Kickstand with Waterproof 20A Charger Controller
$327.72 in stock
-Zamp 230 watt
Zamp solar Legacy Series 230-Watt Portable Solar Panel Kit with Integrated Charge Controller and Carrying Case. Off-Grid Solar Power for RV Battery Charging - USP1004
$1,038.31 in stock
Best flexible solar panels:
Comes in 50, 100, and 175 watt versions
Renogy Flexible Solar Panel 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Semi-Flexible Bendable Mono Off-Grid Charger for Marine RV Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces
Topsolar 100 watt
Topsolar Flexible Solar Panel 100W 24V/12V Monocrystalline Bendable - 100 Watt 12Volt Semi-Flexible Mono Solar Panels Charger Off-Grid for RV Boat Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces
$89.99 in stock
Best Portable Solar Panel & All-in-one Combos
These are great as an all-in-one solution if you need a portable setup. The powerstation that comes in these kits includes a lithium (LiFePo4) battery, a solar charge controller, and an inverter all in one simple box!
Jackery Solar Generator 1000, Explorer 1000 and 2X SolarSaga 100X with 3x110V/1000W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Emergency…
BLUETTI EB55 700W/537Wh Portable Power Station with PV120 120W Foldable Solar Panel Included, LiFePO4 Battery Pack w/ 4 AC Outlets, Solar Generator for Outdoor Camping Home Vanlife Off Grid Emergency
$818.00 out of stock
ROCKPALS 300W Portable Power Station with Solar Panel 100W, Solar Generator with Panel Included for Backup Power, Outdoor Adventure and Camping
What is the best portable RV solar panel?
If you don’t want to comparison shop and simply want to know what’s the best portable panel for any travel trailer or camper, we recommend the Renogy panels as the best mix of quality and value. If money is no object, or your camper comes with a Zamp connector from the factory, go with the Zamp panels.
Benefits of Portable Solar Panels
- You can move the panel anytime to be directly in the sun, even if your RV is in the shade.
- You can angle the panel to line up perfectly with the sun, which is perfect for lower winter sun angles, when rooftop panels will naturally absorb less power for your batteries.
- You can supplement your solar system as needed, without having to mount additional panels on your RV roof.
- You can use them in any camping situation, since they aren’t attached to a specific RV, so whether you’re tent camping or taking the RV out, they can be used.
- They don’t require any involved setup or drilling of holes in your roof to be used.
There are some CONS as well – namely that you have to transport them, set them up, and break them down every time you’re setting up or taking down camp. You also have to be careful that they don’t get knocked over by the wind, or run over by a car. But, that comes alongside the benefits as well! If you need to supplement your solar power and don’t mind the setup and takedown, portable solar panel kits are a great option for you.
Portable Solar FAQs
How many solar panels do you need for your RV?
The number of watts you need really depends on your power needs. If you’re just charging a phone or couple of other small things, 100 watts could be plenty. If you’re trying to keep your RV batteries charged, the general rule of thumb is to have twice the wattage of your batteries amp hours. So if you have 100 AH of batteries, you should be good to go with 200 WATTS of panels. Keep in mind this is a very general recommendation and it depends on how much sun you can get each day and how much power you’re using during the day and overnight. A battery monitor, like this top choice Victron SmartShunt (or the previous gen BMV-712, which offers longer range bluetooth), will help you decide if your current panels in your solar system are sufficient!
What can a portable solar panel power?
They can power anything from your phone to your RV solar system, depending on what type of connectors the panel has. We recommend simply plugging them into your RV house batteries and then charging up any devices with your actual RV instead of worrying about what the panels can power directly, unless you’re simply using it on a camping trip or road trip without a rig.
How long do portable solar panels last?
Rigid models are known to last longer than flexible models, and the higher quality you get, the longer they’ll last. But generally, they won’t stop producing power unless something on them breaks – whether that’s a charge controller or the panel glass itself (and even with the glass broken, it will still produce power.) This is the importance of choosing a panel brand with great customer service, because if your panel stops working, they’ll be willing to walk you through troubleshooting steps, sometimes down to soldering new diodes in if you’re comfortable with that kind of troubleshooting.
Are folding solar panels any good?
Yes! Folding solar panels are just as good as roof-mounted solar panels. They just have a hinge that allows them to fold up into a suitcase style for easier transport. Some people are known to remove these hinges and roof mount them when they no longer want the feature of portability, so you can rest assured that rigid foldable solar panels are just as high quality as regular ones.
When picking solar panels for RVs, what do you think you would prefer – roof mounted or portable solar panel kits? They each have their pros and cons. Sound off in the comments on what you prefer to charge your batteries with!