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What Basic Camping Solar Set Up Should I Get For Car?


Someone who camps in their SUV had some questions about what type of solar setup they might need to power different electronics they use when car camping.

Here’s the comment from our Best Portable Solar Panel Charger For RV Camper/Boondocking article.

I am a newbie SUV mostly boondocking camper. I am a bit overwhelmed by solar power, but your information makes more sense of it all than other sources. Even with that said, I cannot decide on what I need so I am asking for your help. My main priorities are to run a portable cooler, rechargeable fan, cell phone, and laptop. -CB


So the solar panel will generate 12V electricity when it’s sunny, but that power has to be stored somewhere for it to be practical.

Based on your needs, I recommend getting a portable power station.

The Jackery Explorer 500 would be one option, but the larger Jackery Explorer 1000 is what I would get to make sure your fridge will keep running even if it’s cloudy for a couple of days.

When you have a power station you can start looking for solar panels to recharge it with.

For permanent installs on top of your vehicle, the Renogy 100 watt solar panels are great.

If you’d rather have a portable panel that you take out when needed, the Renogy 100W suitcase is a good one.

Both of them would connect to the Jackery via an MC4 to 8mm adapter. To extend the cables, I use Windynation MC4 extension cables.

There are more ways to go about it as well that would be cheaper but more complicated and not as neat, like buying a deep cycle 12V battery, an inverter, a solar panel, and a charge controller.

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Have any questions about this Q&A? Leave a comment below.

by Jenni
Jenni grew up in a small town in Idaho. With a family that loves camping, she has been towing trailers since a very young age.

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