Solar Panel Recommendations for Bicycle Touring

Solar power technology is ever evolving and is pretty much just getting super awesome. If I travelled with a laptop and wanted to be 100% power sufficient – I wouldn’t hesitate to get a mega solar and battery kit to keep everything running wherever I am.

I’m actually not very experienced in solar panels myself but hear and read a lot from people travelling around the world.

This is an excerpt from The Ultimate Power Resource for Bicycle Touring. If you’re interested in dynamo hubs, power supplies and other batteries, make sure to take a look at that general resource.

Popular Solar Power Options

Note: There are lot and lots of solar chargers available, but these are from the larger brands with the more established reputations.

Brunton Solaris/Explorer – A bit pricier, but from all accounts some of the best products out there. If you get something with USB compatibility you’ll be on a win. Products rated between 2-26 watts.

Goal Zero Nomad – Probably the most popular solar units around for bicycle travellers because of their low cost and availability – although customer service and longevity seems less than perfect. Products rated between 7-27 watts.

Freeloader – Super cheap, small (1.5w) solar charger/batteries with 800-1600mAh built in batteries. Good for smaller USB powered devices for those on a budget.

Powerfilm USB+AA – This small 1.5w panel gets mixed reviews as it’s not as cheap as the competition and isn’t compatible with all phones.

Powertraveller – The Primatepower solar products offer a good range of solar panels from ultra compact to laptop sized. We like the Powermonkey Extreme for it’s waterproofness and 9000mAh battery and the Solarmonkey Adventurer for its compactness and ability to be strapped – although if you’re using a laptop, you’ll want something bigger.

Solar Joos Orange – Really good looking product, relatively cost efficient. Product rated at 4 watts and has a built in 5400mAh battery.

Solio Bolt – A small and cheap unit – haven’t heard too much about it. Product rated at 5 watts.

Supernova – Available from the makers of the brilliant dynamo lights and hubs. Product rated at 5 watts.

Voltaic – Really nice looking products available at a good price. The Fuse models have clips which allow you to attach the panel to a bag or pannier – a great design feature for bike tourers! Products available from 4-17 watts.

Do you use or recommend a product I haven’t mentioned? Drop a comment with its details.

  1. I used the Suntactics S-charger 5 on my tour and rate it really highly. I had to make a mount for it to sit on top my rear panniers as it doesn’t come with one but it managed to keep a phone, tablet, kindle and ecig charged for 3 months. In good sunshine it charges like a beast.

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