Solar energy is one of the planet's largest sources of free energy. It's a renewable form of power that can efficiently supply your home's electricity needs. 

It's been lauded for decades for generating clean electricity, making it a great alternative to fossil fuels that produce harmful greenhouse gases. 

But what many people don't know is that solar energy is not only an excellent energy solution for households but also for travel. It's growing in popularity among travelers as it's greener, easier to use, and more economical than conventional energy sources.

Plus, it's especially useful when traveling to remote areas without a power source. 

As you plan your next trip, consider using solar energy to improve your travel experience. You can save money and achieve comfort, sustainability, and flexibility.

With that in mind, here are ways you can harness solar energy when traveling: 

Use Solar Panels

Solar energy can keep your campsite powered efficiently, allowing you to explore new destinations without worrying about losing your lighting or electronics. 

But to use it to its fullest, you first need to take the following steps:

  • Determine your electricity needs: Identify how much power you'll need to use any devices or equipment you take with you. That includes cell phones, laptops, cameras, or small refrigeration units. Calculate the voltage each one requires to estimate your energy consumption. If possible, factor in surge power. It's the additional power required to get appliances up and running for a few seconds when turned on. You'll have to use a solar generator designed for outdoor applications if you're using large appliances.
  • Choose the solar power system components: The main components you'll require are solar panels, a solar battery, a regulator or charge controller, and an inverter. Fortunately, most solar systems have all the above components in a single package.
  • Install your solar panels: If you have an RV, mount your solar panels on the outside to receive maximum sunlight. But if you're trekking, consider using a portable power station (PPS) with portable solar panels instead. They will keep you powered off-grid without a fixed installation. You can place them on the ground where they can receive and adjust their angle at different times of the day to ensure maximum sunlight exposure. Of course, it's necessary to pick a camping site that isn't too shaded to ensure your solar panels charge sufficiently. While you're on the move, ensure you pack them away safely and securely. Use a solar backpack if you're going , mountain biking, or trekking for long distances.
  • Wire up the system: Connect the solar panels to your deep cycle battery setup or solar generator and enjoy your free power. You can use it for camping lights and charging appliances like laptops, compressor fridges, and smartphones. However, it's best not to use energy-intensive appliances like hair dryers during camping as they waste a lot of power.

Getting a solar battery is crucial. It gives you more flexibility and freedom while camping. Charged batteries store solar energy and can provide electricity at any time of the day. Therefore, you can choose any location to spend the night without worrying about getting power for your needs. 

Also, they come in handy if you require a higher voltage to charge continuous appliances such as laptops or electronic coolers. If you're using a solar generator, the battery is in-built, so you won't require a separate one.

use solar energy while camping

Light Your Campsite With Solar Lanterns

Solar lanterns absorb sunlight during the day and use the collected energy to provide illumination at night. They can give you a steady light source without batteries, provided they charge sufficiently in the daytime. Luckily, most are quick-charging and can collect power even on cloudy days.  

Also, solar lanterns are available in various designs, like inflatable or hanging options. You can choose whichever you like to illuminate your campsite for the best nighttime experience. Just choose portable and lightweight ones, so you can easily carry them in your camping backpack with other travel items.

Cook Meals Using A Solar Oven

Solar ovens are an excellent addition to your solar-powered outdoor gear. They convert solar energy into heat, which you can use for outdoor cooking without making a fire.  

A solar oven consists of a system of reflectors and a cooking pot. The latter uses a black box with a clear lid to capture and retain heat.  

To begin cooking, first set up the solar oven in the open, where it can receive maximum sunlight. Give it some time for the internal temperatures to rise.  

Once the heat is high enough, place your in the small cooking space, secure the transparent lid, and clip on the reflector. At this point, everything is in place, and you only have to wait for the food to cook. 

It's important to note that solar ovens work the same way as cookers at home, slowly cooking food to retain all the nutrients and flavor. However, they don't use any fuel or produce an open flame, making it one of the safest cooking solutions, especially if you're camping with kids.  

Solar ovens are also portable. That means you can prepare a hot meal at the beach, campground, or anywhere you go. 

Even so, their effectiveness depends on the availability of sunlight. On a cloudy day, it may take longer to prepare meals. Therefore, it's best to have alternative cooking methods on hand in case of uncooperative weather.

Use Solar-Powered Fans To Stay Cool

Solar fans run on sunlight and can efficiently cool your campsite without needing an electrical grid. They're powered by solar panels, which can be mounted on the device or installed independently. Ensure you expose them to direct sunlight so they can charge properly and keep you refreshed, especially during hot days. 

Go Green For Your Next Trip

With solar power, you can travel wherever you want and constantly have a power source. You don't have to limit your adventures to destinations where you can connect to a grid. Also, it's one of the best solutions if you're looking for a more sustainable energy source for travel.

Check out your local catalog and find the perfect portable solar power solutions now.