Do I really need… part 14 – Solar Panels
Solar panels are something that’s come about in recent years to allow anyone getting away from it all to power up their site without any external connections or generators. A good solar set up will let you stay away from it all for weeks or months – even permanently if you really want to.
When you’re looking at solar there’s two main options – fixed and portable panels. Fixed panels are attached to your vehicle, caravan or trailer (or what ever else you’ve got) and normally can’t be moved by themselves. Portable panels are able to be set up anywhere, face any direction and can be moved from vehicle to vehicle.
Fixed solar panels have the advantage of being out on the sun all of them time, assuming of course that it’s not overcast or raining! This lets you give your batteries a boost all day even when you’re driving. The downside to fixed panels is that they normally only face one way, so it’s hard to get the full power of the sun as you’re normally at an angle.
Portable panels are easy to use and can be positioned anywhere to take advantage of the suns full power. This can normally get you a better charge then a fixed panel that can’t be moved around as easily. The only bad part of a portable solar panel is that you can’t use them when you’re driving as they need to be packed away.
What you choose is going to depend on what sort of camping you’re planning on doing. If you’re going to move camp every night and tour around to see everything, then a mounted solar panel system would be best because you will be carrying it everywhere, and you don’t have to worry about pulling up at camp at night and not being able to get any sunlight on your panels. If you’re going to be staying in the same place for a few days then a portable panel would be best, because you can set them up and move them around during the day to get more light.
If you want the best of both worlds, you can use both at the same time. A lot of solar controllers will accept input from multiple sources, so you can get the boost when your on the road, as well as when you’re off the road.