Disclaimer: This product was sent to us for free in exchange for a review. That does not affect our opinion about the product, in this article we list both what we like and dislike. Read more about this here.
Is The FlexSolar 60W Solar Panel The Panel To Bring On A Camping Trip?
I recently reviewed the FlexSolar 40W solar panel charger, which is a very portable panel capable of charging both USB devices and power stations.
The conclusion in that review was that it’s a great panel even though it doesn’t include enough accessories, in my opinion.
This 60W panel is not only larger but also comes with more accessories to connect it to more types of devices right out of the box.
But the most important thing with a solar panel is that it works, not how many accessories it comes with, so how does it perform? That’s what we’ll find out in this review.
We’ll start by taking a look of the specifications and ratings, before we get to the review part.
You can use the table of contents to get to any part of the review.
FlexSolar 60W – Specifications
The Solar Panel
Just like with the smaller 40W model, the panel is made up out of several smaller panels.
The 60W model has six panels in total that are exposed when the panel is unfolded.
When folded together, the panels are covered by fabric and won’t get scratched up if put in a bag with other items.
On the back of the panel there is a mesh pocket where you’ll find the junction box and cables. This is a great place to store your charging cables and devices while they’re charging.
Ports And Connections
There are four ports in total on the FlexSolar 60W junction box.
The first one is a DC port that produces up to 60W at between 20-28 volts. This is the port you want to use if you’re charging a power station.
Next to that is the USB C port that is also rated at up to 60W, and my MacBook recognized it as a 60W charger.
It will also charge devices that require less wattage than that, so it’s good for charging any compatible device with a USB C cable.
I use a USB C cable to charge my phone, tablet, headphones, and laptop, so it’s pretty much an all-in-one port for me.
But not all devices charge with a USB C cable, which is why there are also two USB A ports. This is the more common USB port and it’s great to have two since it means you’re not limited to charging one device at a time.
One of the USB A ports is on a coiled cable, and it can be placed outside the mesh pocket when zipped up. The other one is directly on the junction box.
Both of the USB A ports are rated for up to 15W output, but one of them is a QC3.0 port so it’s capable of outputting 18W to compatible devices.
The IP rating tells us how protected a product is against water and dust.
An IP65 rating means that it’s totally protected against dust, and protected from low pressure “water jets” from any directions.
Basically, you should not worry about dust destroying the FlexSolar 60W panel. You should not immerse it in water though, or let it get rained on heavily.
In The Box
FlexSolar includes a 10 ft DC5521 cable, four different DC adapters, and a DC5521 to alligator clamps adapter.
The DC adapters make it possible to plug the panel into a power station. Some of the most common connectors are included, and it will charge Goal Zero, Jackery, most Bluetti, and Rockpals power stations.
The alligator clamps are used to charge a 12V battery, but you do need to connect a solar charge controller between the panel and the battery to not risk overcharging it.
Size And Weight
The panel weighs 6.4 pounds.
It measures 33.8 by 28.1 by 0.2 inches when unfolded and 13.8 by 9.1 by 2.2 inches when folded.
The panel has a built-in handle that makes it easy to carry and transport.
Now that we got the specifications out of the way, let’s let to my review.
This is where I list what I like about the product, but also the downsides I have encountered as I have tested it.
What I Like
A lot of ports
A panel of this size is capable of charging several devices at the same time, and that’s why having four different ports is essential.
I also like that the DC cable isn’t permanently connected, which I have a problem with on some panels.
I like being able to choose which cable I want to use and when, and that’s not possible if the cable is hardwired to the junction box.
The 60W USB C port
I’ve already mentioned the ports, but the USB C port deserves more praise.
I’m impressed and glad that FlexSolar went all the way with the USB C port and didn’t limit it to 18W.
As somebody that charges a lot of devices with USB C cables it’s great to know that this one port can charge them as fast as possible.
The included accessories
I do wish a small charge controller was included so it would be ready to connect to a 12V battery, but I still appreciate that the long DC5521 cable is included together with the four different DC connectors.
The smaller 40W model did not include any cables or connectors even though it has DC and USB ports, but I am glad they didn’t skimp out on that with the 60W model.
An IP65 rating doesn’t mean it’s 100% waterproof, but it’s better than having no IP-rating at all.
I wanted to test this so I left it out in light rain on a camping table, and it’s still working fine. I was more worried about water getting to the junction box than onto the panels.
I don’t love when manufacturers use the cloth fabric since it easily picks up dust and stays dirty, but it’s pretty thick on this panel so I don’t feel like I have to worry about damaging it if I am wiping it down a bit after a trip.
Built-in handle and velcro
This was another thing I would’ve liked to see on the smaller 40W model, the built-in handle and the velcro that keeps the panel closed is great to have.
What I Don’t Like
Relatively large when unfolded for a 60W panel
When folded together it’s a portable panel, but when unfolded it’s somewhat cumbersome to use unless you place it flat on the ground or on a table.
No solar charge controller included
FlexSolar goes half-way with the ability to charge a 12V battery by including a DC5521 to alligator clamps adapter.
But there is no solar charge controller in the box, which is required if you need to charge a 12V battery. They also don’t sell a small charge controller with DC5521 connectors, so I am not sure how you’re going to get it done without making one yourself.
No built-in stand
To use this panel you have to put it down flat on the ground or on a table.
You can put three panels on the ground and lean three, but I would’ve liked to see a built-in stand of some sort so you can angle all six panels.
Most of us don’t live where the sun is directly above us, even in the summer, and angling panels make them so much more efficient.
Due to the six-panel folding design, I am not sure how they could’ve implemented a stand, but maybe it should’ve been designed in a different way then?
Even though I had almost as many negative things to say as I did good things, I do recommend this panel if you understand its limitations due to the design.
The reason I do recommend it is because it does output the rated wattage, and it does it well. I didn’t have any issues keeping my devices charged when relying on only this panel for a weekend trip.
Depending on where and when you use it, you might have to be creative when finding a way to angle it towards the sun, but when you do it will do its job.
Please leave a comment down below if you have any questions.