Best Portable Solar Chargers

These Rugged, Portable, Lightweight Solar Chargers Keep Your Devices Juiced Up

Portable solar chargers provide a great way to assure that your electronic devices, including iPhones, smartphones, cameras, LED headlamps and lights, GPS devices, and more continue to work for you on an extended outdoor trip. These chargers are rugged and lightweight, and are designed to easily be mounted on a backpack, kayak deck, or hung from a tree to gather solar energy while you are on the move or while you camp. The chargers featured here are fine for smartphones and other smaller devices, but are not powerful enough to recharge iPads or laptops. There are larger chargers by these same brands for those heavy-duty tasks. All of the chargers featured here include supplemental lithium-ion battery packs, so you can start your trip with a full charge. You may, however, also charge your devices directly from the chargers' USB ports. Advances in solar panel technology have made portable solar chargers faster and more economical.

The Goal Zero Nomad 7 portable solar charger is lightweight, foldable, and with its built-in hang-loops, easy to mount on top of a pack, bicycle pannier, or kayak deck. You may charge smartphones and other portable devices directly from its built-in USB port. With the Switch 8 Kit, featured here, you may also use the solar charger to recharge a separate battery pack, so you don't have to leave your device in camp or out in the elements to receive a charge. Just juice up the battery pack in four to eight hours, then use it to bring your device up to full charge when you are ready.

The Switch 8 battery pack may also be charged from a wall outlets, so you can start your trip with a fully-charged backup.

  • Charge from solar: 4 hours.
  • Charge from wall: 4 hours.
  • Dimensions: 17 x 9 x 1.5 inches.
  • Weight: 13 ounces.
  • Power output: 5v, 1a.
  • Chainable: Yes.

The Bushnell SolarWrap 400 rolls up into its own storage shell / battery pack for easy and safe transport.  I like the built-in lithium-ion battery pack, which may be charged from a wall outlet also. The SolarWrap 400 is also exceptionally lightweight, at 10.1 ounces total. The SolarWrap charges in full sun or from a wall outlet in four hours, providing enough juice for a complete smartphone / iPhone recharge. Its flexible panels and built-in hooks make it easy to hang from a tree, rock, etc.

The SolarWrap has a power-gauge showing battery charge level, and a single USB output.

  • Charge from solar: 3.5 hours.
  • Charge from wall: 4 hours.
  • Power output: 5v, 1a.
  • Deployed length, 29.3 inches.
  • Weight: 10.1 ounces.

The Solio Classic2 charger and battery pack takes a little longer to charge up than the others in this review (8 - 10 hours) but it is compact (only 5.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 inches) and lightweight at 10.1 ounces. Its built-in battery pack may also be charged from a wall outlet in 6 hours. 

The Solio Classic2 has a hinged, three-part design that fans out for maximum solar capture area. You may also use a pencil or a stick like a kickstand to help keep the Solio at the optimal angle toward the sun.

  • Charge-in, micro-USB.
  • Chart-out, standard USB.
  • Max wattage: 5 watts.
  • Charge Rate: 5-5.5V 450mAh
  • 5.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 inches
  • 10.1 ounces.

The Anker 15W PowerPower Solar Lite is highly durable and easily portable, at just 11 × 6.3 inches when folded up and only 12.5 ounces. The solar panels are sewn into a polyester canvas, which makes it even more weather resistant. This portable charger is ideal if you're headed off the beaten path, and the amount of energy it collects from the sun is enough power to charge two devices simultaneously.

  • 2-Port USB Solar Charger
  • 11 × 6.3 inches folded or 18.1 × 11 inches when deployed
  • Compatible with iPhone 6/6 Plus and Galaxy S7/S6/S6 Edge 
  • Able to charge up to 2.1 amps when in direct sunlight
  • 18-month warranty