Emergency Power: The Top Portable Solar Panel Chargers for Disasters

From seasonal storms and natural disasters to hacking attacks and terrorism, we face more threats on our power grid than ever before. With much of our electrical infrastructure still relying on antiquated equipment and technologies, our power grid has become extremely vulnerable to disruption.

Luckily, advances in solar technology have made it possible for everyone to at least have a small emergency solar backup, even if it’s just something that can keep your small electronic devices up and running. These small portable devices are not only great for camping and hiking adventures, but when disaster strikes they can help keep devices like cell phones, small tablets, flashlights, emergency radios, ham radios, and GPS devices up and running.

As these technologies continue to improve and be adopted by the public, prices on emergency solar chargers have continued to drop, making them an affordable addition to anyone’s supply list. Here are some of our favorites.

The SunJack Portable Solar Charger

SunJack Solar Charger charging a Radio and an iPad

The SunJack is something that I keep in all of my Bug Out Bags. It’s lightweight, provides enough power to keep my iPhone, handheld radios and backup batteries running indefinitely, and can provide power to anything that accepts a USB charger.

The SunJack 14W Solar Charger Panel can be picked up for about $80. Sunjack’s battery backup devices can be found for $40. Each battery backup takes about 5 hours to fully charge and holds enough power to charge an iPhone about 4 times.

GoalZero Nomad 7, Guide 10 Adventure Kit

Goal Zero Charger with Survival Gear

Goal Zero is known for making high-quality solar chargers. For the last couple of years, I’ve been using the Goal Zero Guide 10 Adventure Kit as an emergency EDC. The kit includes a Nomad 7 Solar Panel and a Guide 10 Power Pack that can charge AA and AAA batteries.

It’s small enough to slip into your vehicle’s glove box and has an added pocket that allows you to pack it full of extra Every Day Carry (EDC) gear.

The unit retails for around $130.

The Solio Bolt

The Solio Bolt Charger with Sun Dial Pencil

If you’re looking for something that you can literally slip in your pocket, then you need to check out the Solio Bolt or the Solio Classic2 Solar Charger. Both of these chargers are small, can hold their charge for up to a year, and their battery packs can hold enough juice to power the average smartphone about 4 times.

The Solio Bolt sells for $70 and the Classic2, which has an extra panel, sells for $100.

The iLand Trek Solar Kit

iLand Trek Solar Charger powering a Ham Radio

While this is the priciest unit on the list, it also packs the largest punch. The iLand Trek Solar Kit comes with a 10W panel and a heavy-duty battery with an operating voltage of 5V-12V. That means this unit can power things like Ham, Marine, and CB Radios; camp lighting and computers; and even things like water pumps and tools. Check it out in action, powering my Emergency Ham Radio Setup.

The unit retails for around $700

The WakaWaka Power+

An iPhone plugged into a The WakaWaka Solar Charger

The WakaWaka Power+ is another small, easy-to-carry solar kit that can slip inside just about any bug out bag or EDC kit. It does take a bit longer to charge, which is to be expected with these smaller panel units, but once fully charged it holds enough power to charge a smartphone in about 2 hours. It also comes with built-in LED lights (5 to 75 lumens) that provide up to 150 hours of emergency lighting on a single charge.

The WakaWaka retails for around $75

The Powermonkey Extreme

The Powermonkey Extreme charging an iPad

The best thing about the Powermonkey Extreme is the massive amount of power the battery holds. It comes with a 9000mAh lithium polymer battery, and can power virtually any 5V or 12V devices including handheld radios, DSLR cameras and tablet computers. It’s great for camping, and something I like to take with on all long-distance road trips.

It retails for a little over $100.

14 Comments

  1. Rabid Conservative
    July 17, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Another portable solar charging option you should mention are Brunton’s solar charging products. The SolarRoll, which I own, comes in 4.5, 7, 9, 14, and 27 watt flavors. Brunton also makes a variety of flat panel solar charges, as well as lithium battery power storage devices and AA/AAA battery chargers that can plug into their charging panels.

  2. Linda
    July 19, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    I have been searching for a portable solar unit that will charge
    my 13.3″ MacBook Pro.
    It requires a lot more charge than I have found in normal solar
    chargers. Do youknow of anything I can buy to charge such a
    powerful laptop?

    • OFFGRID Logo
      Off Grid Survival
      July 31, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      Something like the Solar Gorilla might work for you. Here is the link.

    • Grandpa Joe
      May 4, 2017 at 12:50 am

      Try Addpower. They have units of 20-80w. The 80w was about $200.

  3. Pumpkin Escobar
    July 22, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Any suggestions for a yeasu ft270r?

    • OFFGRID Logo
      Off Grid Survival
      July 31, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      I think that radio has a 4mm charging port so if you bought a USB to 4mm cable convertor any of the should provide enough power to charge the radio. Just double check your manual to make sure all the power requirements line up.

  4. Lauren
    July 29, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Love these different suggestions for solar backups. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Ryan kirkbride
    November 29, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Always good to see other people’s different ideas.. However I built my own two from parts available off a well known auction site easy enough done starting with a new 12v car battery and suitable panel/charging system then added correct usb chargers the end result covers all my needs, portability is down to the end users requirements though

  6. Need Alternative Alternative...
    January 22, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Any ideas for how to make a generator form stuff i can make at home? (water power is option; I live on a moderate-fast river)

    • sneakum snake
      August 28, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      old alternator from a car a walmart 12v marine batter and a dc inverter will do fine for a homemade water wheel, add more weels/alternators+batteries to increase the output

  7. John D
    February 3, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    I decided to build a solar electric system large enough to keep a small chest freezer running, as well as powering the motors on a pellet stove. Pro’s are: plenty of power for comfort, cooking, security, food preservation, etc. Not as expensive as a large solar electric system. Con’s: Has no value if I need to bug-out.

  8. Chris
    April 19, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    I have a Yaesu FT-991. What kind of solar panel & battery do you recommend? Thanks

  9. Andre
    February 26, 2017 at 1:58 am

    Thanks for the information. While I am considered a “Leftist” by people like you, I do appreciate the information given here. Just remember that sustainability issues is what is causing the next economic crash…not some liberal conspiracy. Constant economic growth is not possible.

    • Ozark Prepper
      March 9, 2017 at 10:35 am

      And what does anything you mention in your comment have to do with solar power back up for emergencies?

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