If you are out camping, hiking, or traveling, it is the absolute worst if your battery dies. It could be your phone, camera, GPS, or another device. You probably feel like you’ve been dumped back in the Stone Age, right? We know. That’s why a solar backpack can quite literally save your life. If you are lost and need directions, the solar panel can charge your GPS so you can travel in the right direction. Or you can at least play some music on your phone to keep you company. It’s a win-win.
Scrolling through the many choices online isn’t easy and can be quite confusing. Luckily for you, we have done all the hard work. You’ll find the best solar backpack for traveling or hiking to suit your needs here in this article. Plus, we have a detailed buyer’s guide with things to keep in mind so you can choose a solar powered laptop backpack.
Table of Contents
- 1 Our Top Picks for Best Solar Backpack for Travel or Hiking
- 2 What is a Solar Powered Backpack?
- 3 Best Solar Powered Backpacks
- 3.1 SOLGAARD Lifepack Solar Powered Backpack
- 3.2 Voltaic Systems Array Rapid Solar Backpack Charger for Laptops
- 3.3 ECEEN Solar Backpack
- 3.4 SolarGoPack Solar Powered Hydration Backpack
- 3.5 XD Design Bobby Tech Anti-Theft Backpack
- 3.6 EnerPlex Packr Executive Solar Powered Backpack
- 3.7 LifePod Backpack with Solar Panel and USB Port
- 4 Things to Consider When Buying a Solar Travel Backpack
- 5 FAQs
Our Top Picks for Best Solar Backpack for Travel or Hiking
Our top pick
Voltaic Systems Array Rapid Solar Backpack Charger
SolarGoPack Solar Powered Hydration Backpack
What is a Solar Powered Backpack?
A solar powered backpack is a backpack with at least one solar panel (made from monocrystalline) that converts sun energy to charge your phone, camera, or other electronic devices in a safe, eco-friendly manner. It can be used as a regular laptop backpack for travel even if you don’t use the solar charger.
The solar panel can be built or sewn in, or it can be attached and detached from the backpack. The backpack can also have a power bank or lithium-ion battery system, which is where the sun energy is stored so you can charge your devices. In order to charge your devices on the go, it’s useful if the backpack includes a USB external port or at least a cable passthrough so that the power bank or travel charging organizer can stay inside the backpack while connected to your device on the outside.
If the backpack doesn’t have a battery or doesn’t give you the option to add your own, then you can only charge your devices as long as there is sun for the solar panels to “soak up” the sun’s energy. No sun equals no charge.
But if the backpack comes with a power bank, then the sun’s energy is stored in the battery system, meaning you can charge your device as long as the batteries have stored energy. It doesn’t matter if it’s dark or you’re indoors.
Best Solar Powered Backpacks
SOLGAARD Lifepack Solar Powered Backpack
The SOLGAARD Lifepack Solar Powered Backpack is ideal for traveling, as it features anti-theft technology while the 10,000 mAh battery solar bank can charge your devices on-the-go. You can also buy just the backpack if you already have a compatible solar or power bank. The solar panel generates about 450 mAh per hour in full sunlight, so your phone should charge from 0 to 100% in about 4 hours. Plus, a fully charged Solarbank means you can charge your phone 5 times.
The backpack also has an integrated USB port, so you can plug in your phone and still use it while on the go. However, you can also safely charge your devices in your backpack. There are 4 secret passport or card pockets. With the patented anti-theft lock, your valuables are kept safe.
The bag stands upright on its water-resistant bottom when you aren’t carrying it around, so you don’t need to worry about it falling over. There is also drop-proof laptop storage, so your laptop is safe.
The backpack is made from Shore-Tex, a green fabric made from upcycled ocean plastic. It is divided into two compartments: a lifezone where you can keep your sunglasses, keys, and clothes, and a workzone for your laptop, notebook, etc. There’s a water bottle pocket on the side of the bag as well as a mounting point to hang an accessory off of.
The dimensions of the backpack are 11.6” x 18.5” x 7” and the Solarbank measures 6.2” x 3.5” x 0.5”. The bag with the Solarbank weighs 1.75 pounds, so it’s lightweight, making it ideal for travel or hiking. The capacity of the backpack is 18 liters and you can comfortably fit a 15” laptop inside or in some cases, even a 17″ laptop.
You also have the option to purchase the Solgaard Boombox that can wirelessly connect to the solar bank for some music while you camp or hike.
- Available in 5 colors: Baltic Black, Atlantic Blue, Charcoal, Granada Green Camo, and Granada Green.
- Has a solar panel and power bank with an optional wireless boombox.
- The USB port is compatible with your own regular power bank if you don’t want to use the solar bank.
- Plush shoulder straps and back support to ease shoulder and back fatigue while carrying the backpack.
- Environmentally friendly design.
- The water bottle side pocket does not fit regular bottles.
- Some customers say the lock broke after only a few uses but the company’s customer service is great and they replaced the locks.
Voltaic Systems Array Rapid Solar Backpack Charger for Laptops
The Voltaic Systems Array Rapid Solar Backpack Charger is our top pick because it meets all the buyer’s guide considerations and has a larger carrying capacity for travel. Your outdoor and off-the-grid needs are met with this solar backpack that lets you charge your devices when it rains or the sun is out. It includes a built-in industry-leading monocrystalline 10 watt/18 volt solar cell panel and a 24,000 mAh battery pack (or power bank). This V88 power bank will also work with a larger solar panel if you have one.
This is ideal so you don’t have to charge your devices when there is sun and can do so when it is convenient and it is cloudy or dark. The solar panel and battery pack combo can charge your smartphone 7 times, your tablet 3 times, or your laptop once before the power bank needs to completely recharge. The power bank can connect via USB, USB Type C, and Hi-Voltage Laptop Output. This is the only solar backpack that can charge a laptop efficiently.
The dimensions of the backpack are 19” x 11” x 7” (H x L x W) and the weight with the solar panel and battery pack is 5.1 pounds. The backpack has a 25 liter capacity, and the easy-access clamshell design means it is easy to pack and find your belongings inside the bag. Photography enthusiasts have a convenient side pocket on the outside with a restraining strap above to keep it secure.
There is also a 15” padded laptop sleeve to keep your PC safe. If you want to charge your smartphone and keep it safe inside the bag, place it in the dedicated smartphone/battery pocket. There’s a passthrough for your device’s charging cable.
Although the solar panel can be detached when not in use it can’t be done quickly, as it is attached via 4 screws. Therefore, when not in use outdoors, it should be covered with a separate rain cover. The solar panel is 100% waterproof and the backpack itself is made of a light UV resistant fabric of recycled PET bottles with a waterproof backing that’s good enough for light to medium rain.
Some customers recommended that Voltaic should partner with a company that’s well-known for making outdoor gear so the solar backpack can meet the needs of extreme outdoor enthusiasts. Customers would also like to see the backpack made in ripstop nylon with YKK zippers. Therefore, this solar backpack is currently ideal for travel and general outdoor activities.
- Charges most laptops in 6 hours and smartphones in about an hour.
- Industry-leading solar panel and battery pack.
- Environmentally friendly; backpack is made from 33 recycled plastic bottles.
- Larger capacity than others at 25L.
- Water-resistant design.
- 2 year warranty.
- Available in only one color option – charcoal gray.
- The solar panel is not easily detachable and should ideally be covered when not in use outdoors even though it is 100% waterproof.
- Some customers complain that the backpack is too big for urban environments but the purpose of the backpack is for general travel, photography and camping use.
ECEEN Solar Backpack
The ECEEN Solar Backpack comes in quite a few color options, from blue and green to black, red, and gray. It is durable because it is made from glued nylon honeycomb and ripstop. With the extra insulation and reinforced bartacks, it provides extra resistance.
The 7-watt solar panel has a transfer efficiency of 22%. The panel can be clipped onto the backpack with convenient snap buckles. It is weather-resistant and durable for outdoor activity. Additionally, it is detachable and has a zippered mesh compartment at the back to hold your charging device. The solar panel is further protected by a protective anti-scratch hardened coating.
It takes 1.5 hours to charge a smartwatch and 3 hours for a smartphone, while it takes 4 hours for a tablet to charge and 6 hours for a drone directly through the 5-volt USB port and the included micro-USB cable. The panel also has a voltage stability controller for safe charging. If you want to be able to charge things even when the panel isn’t exposed to the sun, you can use your own battery pack
There is also an included USB charging port so you can charge your devices while using them. No battery pack is included. The backpack features 3-layer zipper pockets and a multifunctional compartment so you can keep your belongings organized. There’s even a 1.8L hydration bladder inside.
The 50-liter solar backpack measures 20.5” x 13.8” x 11.1” and weighs 1.83 pounds.
- Available in 7 color options.
- Has sternum straps and a hip belt.
- 7-watt detachable solar panel and USB charging port.
- Lots of compartments.
- No included battery pack after the 2018 update.
- Some customers complained that the solar panel didn’t work but customer services helped them out.
SolarGoPack Solar Powered Hydration Backpack
The SolarGoPack Solar Powered Hydration Backpack has a 7-watt solar panel that generates sun energy to charge the 10,000 mAh li-polymer battery that’s included along with a micro-USB cable. The panel is attached and detached by snap button loops on the front outer corners of the pack. The battery can also be charged by a normal USB charger if you can’t use the solar panel. This makes the backpack ideal for when you are traveling, since you aren’t reliant on the sun to charge your devices, provided the battery has been charged. The panel works really well if you’re attending festivals or at the beach.
The backpack features padded shoulder straps, a chest strap and a waist strap to reduce fatigue while carrying the backpack. There is also a 1.8-liter hydration bladder, making this backpack even more ideal for outdoor use.
There are also plenty of compartments and pockets for your belongings, including two pockets for the battery pack and your smartphone.
The backpack is durable because it’s made from rip and water-resistant nylon and poly fabric. The stress points are also reinforced with bar tacking, increasing the longevity of the bag. The dimensions of the solar backpack are 15” x 12” x 7” (H x L x W).
- Available in 2 color options: red and blue.
- Water-resistant, durable and easy to carry.
- 7-watt detachable solar panel with battery pack.
- 1.8L hydration bladder.
- No information about the storage capacity of the backpack.
XD Design Bobby Tech Anti-Theft Backpack
The XD Design Bobby Tech Anti-Theft Backpack is another great anti-theft solar backpack on our list. Made from polyester and recycled plastic bottles, the backpack is durable, water repellant, and cut resistant. Part of the anti-theft design is the hidden zippers, no front access to the backpack’s content, hidden RFID-protected pockets, and a lockable main zipper.
The 8.5-watt solar panel charges your devices through a 5 volt USB or USB Type C output. It takes about 3.5 hours to charge your smartphone if the solar panel gets direct sunlight. A power bank is not included, but if you have one, then use it to store sun energy so you can charge your devices even when the sun isn’t out.
The solar panel supports the fast charge feature on Android phones (at 10 watts) and iPhones (at 7.5 watts). There is also a pocket into which you can place your phone so it can solar charge wirelessly via the wireless charging pad.
There are adjustable internal dividers in the backpack so you can organize and store your gear depending on what you need to take with you and how it works best for you. You can fit a 15.6” laptop and 12.9” tablet inside the bag.
The total capacity of the solar backpack is 18 liters. The patented Fidlock holder on the shoulder strap lets you keep your phone or water bottle with you for easy access.
The backpack measures 11.42” x 6.1” x 17.52” and weighs 2.87 pounds.
- 8.5-watt solar panel, integrated USB standard and Type C port connections, and wireless charging pad.
- Adjustable internal dividers for versatility in packing.
- Anti-theft features like hidden zippers, fidlock, RFID-protected pockets, and more.
- Cut-resistant, water-repellant, and eco-friendly design.
- Battery pack isn’t included.
- Only available in one color option: dark gray.
- A bit expensive considering its size and that a battery pack is not included.
EnerPlex Packr Executive Solar Powered Backpack
The EnerPlex Packr Executive Solar Powered Backpack has a built-in 3 watt solar panel that is lightweight, adding virtually no additional weight to the backpack. If you need to charge your devices while out and about on a sunny day and don’t mind that it’ll take longer to get a full charge, then the EnerPlex solar backpack is a good option, especially since your belongings will stay organized while you travel or go for a walk.
You can charge your phone, camera, and other devices in less than 5 hours; however, this time estimation depends on the power usage of your devices. A 6,000 mAh battery will take 12-14 hours to charge in direct sunlight and an iPhone 6 in about 3-4 hours.
The EnerPlex solar backpack is water-resistant and can withstand minor punctures, drops, and shocks. The backpack also features a main compartment that is expandable and a padded laptop compartment for a laptop up to 15″. There are many pockets so your belongings stay organized. There is also a front pocket where you can keep business cards, a notebook, and pens.
The dimensions of the solar powered backpack are 12” x 7.9” x 17.7” (L x W x H) and the bag with the solar panel weighs 2.89 pounds. The outer fabric of the backpack is gray while the inner is a bright orange that some customers find off-putting, especially for a professional environment.
- Lots of pockets and compartments for supreme organization.
- 2-inch expandable compartment.
- Rugged USA-made 3-watt integrated solar panel.
- No battery pack, so you need to charge your devices when the sun is out or get your own power bank to be charged in advance.
- Takes longer to charge your phone and other devices than a higher watt solar panel.
- Some customers complained that the shoulder straps broke.
LifePod Backpack with Solar Panel and USB Port
The LifePod Backpack with Solar Panel and USB Port has an integrated solar panel that charges your devices while the sun is out. There is also a USB charge port on the one shoulder strap so you can charge your phone while using it. This enables you to connect your devices to charge without opening your backpack.
The backpack is weatherproof and features a stylish design, so it can be used while traveling, hiking, or in professional environments. With a lightweight design, the empty backpack with the solar panel weighs 1.95 pounds.
The shoulder straps are breathable, so they don’t let you generate extra body heat on those warm days in the sun. There are also multiple compartments and pockets for optimal storage and organization for your laptop, iPad, books, gadgets, and more.
- Lightweight, weatherproof stylish design.
- Many compartments and pockets to keep your valuables organized.
- Integrated solar panel and USB charging port.
- Breathable shoulder straps.
- Only available in 1 color: black/dark gray.
- No power bank included.
- No information available on the power capacity of the solar panel.
Things to Consider When Buying a Solar Travel Backpack
So what’s the best solar powered backpack? It’s essential to keep these aspects in mind:
The capacity of the backpack means two things. The first is how much volume the backpack can hold. The size of a backpack is usually measured in liters. For example, a 15-liter backpack is great for a laptop and smartphone while a 45-liter backpack is better suited for hikers, campers, and photographers.
How big the backpack should be also depends on how many days you’ll be traveling or hiking away from places you can do your laundry and replenish food and drink stocks.
The second capacity aspect is how many solar panels you’d need on the backpack. The more things you want to charge, the bigger the solar panels or battery system. The same goes for how often you need to charge your devices.
How Will You Use the Bag?
How you’ll use the backpack also influences what kind of solar-powered backpack you need. If you need a backpack for travel photography, you need to ensure you can safely store your camera, lenses, cables, clothes, and whatever else you need in the bag.
However, if you go hiking, you have different gear and may need to carry your own water and food.
If you are traveling in the rain, then a waterproof backpack is a must.
What Do You Want to Charge?
What you want to charge and how will often give you an indication of the solar power capacity and battery power you need. Another aspect here is how quickly you want your device to charge.
For example, if you want to charge your smartphone, the solar panels need to be at least 5 watt. A 5-watt solar panel generates 5 volts of power, which is enough to charge your phone.
A high-capacity solar panel will charge your phone in 2-3 hours, while a low-capacity, cheaper model will take 5+ hours to charge your phone. However, how much sun the panel gets also affects the speed of charging your devices.
You’d also want to consider the power usage, which is measured in milliampere-hours (mAh). If you choose a 2,500 mAh solar backpack, then it’ll take 2.5 hours to charge a 1,000 mAh device. So check the mAh of the devices you want to charge and what the solar backpack offers.
Check the energy efficiency transfer rating of the solar panel too. A rating of 15-18% is the average efficiency rating; the higher the rating, the more energy output. A rating of 20% or more means the solar panel is very efficient. If the rating is 22%, for example, it means the solar panel converts 22% of the sun’s irradiance into usable electricity.
Ease of Carry
No one wants to lug a backpack around that puts strain on their shoulders within the first 30 minutes to an hour of their trip. So how easy the backpack is to carry is a key consideration.
Look at the shoulder padding and the ergonomics of the backpack. Consider how lightweight the backpack is when empty because you don’t want extra weight that doesn’t have value.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, then you need a backpack that is durable. Plus, the best solar panel backpacks aren’t cheap, so you want a return on your investment.
Ensure the backpack is made from high-quality materials and is weatherproof to protect the battery pack (either included or your own). Plus, the solar panel should be durable too.
On average, high-quality solar panels can last 25-30 years; however, the company’s warranty most likely won’t back the solar panels or backpack for that period. Most backpacks have a 1-2 year warranty, but check the fine print to ensure you are fully covered.
Solar battery packs are worth every penny if you need to charge your electronic devices and aren’t near an electrical power outlet while traveling, hiking, or engaging in other outdoor activities. Depending on the power capacity of the solar battery pack and your device, you can recharge your smartphone up to 5 times on a fully charged solar power bank before the power bank itself needs to be charged by the sun.