How to Calculate Your Solar Panel Needs for Camping

Are you planning a camping trip and want to ensure that you have enough power to charge your electronic devices, run your refrigerator or air conditioning, or even power your coffee maker? Well, solar panels can be the perfect solution for your camping needs.

With a solar panel setup, you can harness the sun’s power to provide clean, renewable energy while enjoying the great outdoors. However, it’s essential to calculate your solar panel needs to ensure that your solar panel system is efficient and effective.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of determining how many solar panels you need, what size you should choose, and how to optimize your solar panel setup for camping. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or just starting out, we’ve got you covered with all the information you need to power your adventures with the sun.

So grab your calculator, put on your thinking cap, and let’s dive into the world of solar panel camping!

How Much Solar Panel Wattage Do I Need For Camping?

The amount of solar panel wattage you need for camping will depend on a few factors, such as the size of your camping setup and the number of devices you plan to power. But don’t worry, calculating your wattage needs is easy!

Finding your amperage requirements

First, make a list of all the devices you plan to power with your solar panel setup. This can include anything from your phone and laptop to your camping fridge and air conditioning unit. Next, check the wattage rating for each device. This information can typically be found on the device itself or in the user manual.

Once you have the wattage rating for each device, add them all up to get your total wattage needs. For example, if you plan to power a phone (5 watts), laptop (45 watts), camping fridge (75 watts), and air conditioning unit (500 watts), your total wattage needs would be 625 watts.

Determining how long you will be using the electric device(s)

But wait, there’s more! It’s important to factor in the number of hours each device will be in use and the amount of sunlight your solar panels will receive during the day. This will help you determine the battery capacity you need and the size of solar panels required to recharge them.

A general rule of thumb is to aim for a battery capacity that is at least double your total wattage needs, so in our example, you would want a battery with a capacity of 1,250 watt-hours. And for solar panels, a good starting point is to choose panels that can produce at least 1.5 times your total wattage needs per day, so for our example, you would need panels that can produce 938 watts per day.

By taking these factors into account, you can ensure that your solar panel setup will provide enough power to keep your devices running while you enjoy the great outdoors. So don’t skimp on the wattage calculations, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a reliable and efficient solar panel system!

Is there something else that I need to complete my solar panel setup?

Congratulations on making the decision to go solar for your camping needs! Now that you know how to calculate your solar panel wattage needs, you might wonder if you need anything else to complete your setup. The answer is yes. 

In addition to the solar panels, you will need a charge controller, battery, inverter (if you plan to power AC devices), wiring, and connectors. These components are essential for a safe, efficient, and reliable solar panel system for your camping needs. For more detailed information on how to set up your solar panels for camping, check out our article “How to Set Up Solar Panels for Camping” which covers everything you need to know.

So, What Size Solar System Do I Need For Camping?

To determine what size solar panel system you need for camping, you should consider the power requirements of your devices and the duration of your camping trip. For basic needs like lighting and phone charging, a 100-watt solar panel is enough. But, for larger devices like a TV or refrigerator, you’ll need a larger solar panel system. Calculate your energy needs, and remember to consider the size and weight of the solar panels if you plan to transport them. You can also check out some of the best and light-weight solar panels for camping that we have mentioned in that article.


In conclusion, solar panels can be a great addition to your camping gear. Consider your power requirements and the duration of your camping trip when deciding on the size of the solar panel system you need. Remember to invest in a good quality battery and charge controller, and if you need recommendations on the best solar panels for camping, be sure to check out our article “Best Solar Panels for Camping.” With the right solar panel system, you can enjoy a more sustainable and comfortable camping experience.

Leave a Comment