If there’s anything our mobile-obsessed world has taught us, it’s to always carry around a powerbank.
No smartphone in the market right now lasts a full day and a power outlet is not available all the time. What more if you’re traveling, hiking, biking, or just taking a tour around the city? You’ll need something a bit more reliable and, more importantly, rechargeable. That’s where solar backpacks come in handy.
Since you’ll be walking around under the sun all day, get mother nature to help you out a bit and carry your own charging station. Solar backpacks aren’t meant to be your sole power source, but it’s the best tool to save you from running out of juice at the worst time. Just imagine the nightmare of a dead phone battery and being lost in the middle of a foreign country.
At A Glance: Our Top Solar Backpacks in 2020
There are many options out there. Just keep in mind that price is a huge factor in how much power you actually get. Solar panels have become much more affordable nowadays, but the more you need, the more you’ll pay. So, in this detailed review we are going to look at the best solar backpacks for your travels.
BEST SPORTY OVERALL
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BEST OVERALL PACK
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BEST SOLAR PACK
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SolarGoPack sells bags and solar panels of all sizes, colors, and shapes. They have a long list of solar backpacks in their roster, and each one has its own pros and cons.
The SolarGoPack 10K Solar Powered Backpack is the best in the roster for different kinds of use.
Like most outdoor solar backpacks, the SlarGoPack 10k Solar Backpack features a 7-watt solar panel that charges a 10,000 mAH waterproof li-polymer battery. The solar panel is also removable, so you can point it anywhere you want, or just take it off for nighttime strolls. The nylon material makes the bag lightweight and waterproof and makes this the ideal outdoor adventure pack.
The inside is packed with lots of nifty features as well. There’s an internal laptop sleeve if you’re out and about with business in mind, or you just need to upload your photos from your camera.
There are smaller pockets for gadgets, batteries, and miscellaneous items, and the back of the solar panel holds the powerbank. The main compartment of the bag is roomy with more inner pockets so documents or maps don’t get lost inside the bag.
The design has stress points that are reinforced with bar tacking for increased longevity. It also has padded straps and back for comfort, and a sternum strap for stability.
XD Design are the manufacturers of really good anti-theft backpacks. The company makes premium products with premium price tags, but they will hardly disappoint you. And this is a premium version of their best-selling Bobby anti-theft pack.
This particular backpack is Eco-friendly; it is made from recycled plastic bottles, which is pretty amazing. And the exterior of the pack is coated to repel water, so you won’t have to worry about the contents of the bag if you get caught in the rain.
Actually, with cut-proof fabric, RFID safe compartments, lockable, hidden zippers and secret pockets, you won’t have to worry about the contents of the bag at all.
The solar panel on this bag has an output of 8.5 watts of solar power, and promises to charge your phone in about 3.5 hours on a sunny day. It has an integrated charging option which has both a regular USB port and USB type C port.
The power bank connects to this port inside the backpack, and your phone connects outside, which allows you to use your phone while you are charging it. Additionally, the pack comes with a wireless charger, which supports fast charging on both iPhone and Android.
In all other areas, this is actually an amazing backpack. The backpanel is padded and ventilated, with several hidden pockets. The interior of the back comes with removable dividers, so you can organize it however you want and really make it your own. And it has padded sleeves for your laptop, tablet and all of the accessories you might need to have handy.
Plus, this comes with a removable strap that you can mount to a shoulder strap to hold your water bottle, or even your smartphone. Overall, it is definitely one of my favorite solar backpacks out of the bunch.
Here’s a hefty bag with some hefty features (and pricetag).
Voltaic Systems designs high-performance panels and chargers either as standalone or integrated into other items like this backpack.
The Voltaic Systems Array Solar Backpack may be one of the best solar backpacks out today. It features three rugged monocrystalline solar panels with 10W total peak output at 6V or 18V. The panels are waterproof, lightweight, and coated in self-healing urethane for durability and scratch-resistance.
The Voltaic V88 Laptop Battery Pack has a whopping 24,000 mAH capacity with a 5-volt and 2-amp USB port. The USB ports also have selective output: a 12-volt and 4-amp output, a 16-volt and 3.5-amp output, and a 19-volt and 3-amp output.
This powerhouse battery pack has enough juice to charge up your laptops, which can fit snugly in the internal laptop and tablet sleeves. One hour in the sun can power up your laptop for up to 40 minutes of use.
If you’re taking a break at home or at your hotel, the battery pack also comes with a DC connector. It can be plugged into a wall outlet or even a car charger.
Padded shoulder straps and backpanel ensure ultimate comfort over long hikes. The sternum strap keeps the bag secured regardless of movement.
Aside from the many internal and external pockets and compartments, the bag has external carrying straps for a tripod or blanket. It also has an expandable water bottle pocket on the side.
It’s not the biggest bag available at 25-L capacity, but it definitely packs in the punch in terms of power and functionality. Because of the hefty technology and durable PET material, it does weigh you down by 5 lbs.
This solar backpack comes with separate warranties for the backpack itself and for the solar panels. This ensures that you’re covered for quality and functionality.
ECEEN is a Chinese company that specializes in solar chargers and batteries. They mostly supply panels to various manufacturing companies like Nokia, but has also created a retail line of their own.
The ECEEN 7-watt solar backpack is ultra-lightweight at just 1.06 lbs.
The solar panel packs a hefty 10,000 mAH battery. That means you can charge your mobile phone 2-3 times before you drain the battery. It features a 7-watt output of the solar array and 22% efficiency rating of the charger, so you can pretty much have a steady stream of power for as long as you’re under the sun.
The SUNPOWER made-in-the-USA solar cells are built into a protective anti-scratch hardened coating & sewn into high-wear PVC fabric for weather-resistant outdoor durability.
It comes in four colors: Black, Green, Nature Green, and Red. The extra large space with dimensions of 18.5 x 4 x 13 inches provides 30L of volume for all your gear, equipment, and hiking essentials. The many compartments and internal and external pockets also ensure that your items are organized and stay put no matter how active you get.
The rip and water resistant fabric makes this backpack good for outdoors. The solar panels are also removable via buckle, so it can also be used for daily commute or strolling around the city. Stress points are reinforced with bar tacking for increased longevity.
The pack comes with a 5V USB cable and a micro-USB port.
The Sunnybag backpack is a decent mid-range option. It is made from waterproof Cordura textile, which is a very durable material. And it comes with a rain cover, so you’ll have nothing to worry about if you get caught in the rain.
This pack was designed specifically for wireless charging, with dedicated pockets for your phone and your AWC power bank. But you will also have the option of charging your phone directly from the solar panel with a cable. And Sunnybag says that the panel can charge your phone in about two hours in direct sunlight, which sounds pretty good.
Of course, that’s going to depend on the size of your phone’s battery. But the 7 watt output of the solar panel is more than decent. Additionally, the panel uses SUNPOWER cells that have 22.4% efficiency, and which are among the strongest solar cells on the market.
But what about all of its other features? The backpanel is padded and ventilated, so you should stay comfortable while you are carrying the bag. Its interior features several pockets, including dedicated sleeves for your laptop (up to 17”) and tablet. Oh, and those pockets also have a USB port, so that you can charge all your tech on the go.
There’s also a variety of smaller pockets inside, for your keys, wallet, sunglasses etc. And there’s a magnetic side pocket that will fit your water bottle, as an organizer panel.
I’d say that this is a really good backpack with a decent price tag, that also happens to have a pretty functional solar panel.
The Energizer pack is a good option under $100. It’s a large backpack, so you will be able to fit quite a lot of stuff inside it. It has a roomy main compartment, with several internal and external pockets for easy organization. This includes a padded laptop sleeve that fits laptops up to 17”, as well as a side water bottle pocket.
Unfortunately, there’s no information on the material of the Solar Executive. Which means that your best course of action is to assume it is not waterproof, and try to not let it get soaked in the rain.
This backpack has a removable solar panel, which is pretty great. The panel has a dedicated pocket for the PowerKeep power bank on the other side, so you can always keep it charging.
You can use a power bank or plug your phone directly into to solar panel. However, with an output of only 1.2A, the panel is going to take quite a lot of time to charge up your phone. For reference, the output of Samsung’s fast chargers is 2A. But, the output of the power bank is also 2A, so that one is going to juice up your tech pretty fast.
The backpanel is not the best. It’s ventilated only at the bottom, so it is not too breathable. In addition to that, the shoulder straps are kind of thin, and they are probably not going to be the comfiest. But at least they are ventilated throughout. And the height of the harness is adjustable, which is a pretty rare feature on solar powered backpacks.
Most solar backpacks I’ve talked about so far are designed as daypacks for school or work. But the SolarGoPack stands out because it is more of a sporty backpack that is also solar powered. It features a hydration bladder that’s perfect for hikes, bike rides and long camping trips. And if you’re looking for something to charge your phone during those adventures, this backpack is a great option for you.
It is pretty lightweight, so it’s going to be easy to carry around. With the padded and ventilated backpanel, this pack is going to feel quite comfortable even after several hours on the trails.
And, it has a sternum strap, which will help keep it in place while you are moving around. There is also a hipbelt on this backpack, which makes it really good for sporty outings. A hipbelt helps transfer the weight of the pack onto your hips, so that you can move around more easily.
The solar panel is removable, and there are quick-stash bungee cords behind it. This feature is great for quickly putting away a hoodie or a jacket while you’re on the go.
This solar backpack has multiple internal and external pockets, for all your necessary gear. And it comes with a great power bank, which lets you choose how you want to charge your phone. You can use the solar panel to charge up the power bank and then your phone, or you can charge your phone directly from the panel.
Overall, this is a pretty good solar backpack designed for outdoor adventures. And it is under $100, which makes it one of the most affordable backpacks we’ve seen so far.
Hanergy is a company that is known for their solar solutions – roof tiles, curtain walls, boats, power banks and even bus stops. Obviously, they also manufacture backpacks. And if you want a backpack with a really reliable solar panel, I think this is one of your best option. This company specializes in creating thin film power – it’s not like they just slapped a solar panel on a cheap backpack.
The Hanergy backpack has a very minimalistic design, which I personally love. It looks like a giant laptop sleeve that comes with a detachable solar panel. I didn’t find out what material exactly was used for this backpack, but I can tell you that it is waterproof, stain proof and dust proof.
This pack has a removable solar panel, which is only 1mm thick. And the entire backpack is pretty lightweight under 3 lbs, which is pretty convenient for long days.
It has two large compartments, with pockets and sleeves for all of your stuff. There’s a laptop sleeve, a tablet sleeve, power bank pocket, a phone pocket, a large zippered pocket, and enough space for any other items that you want to keep in the actual main compartment.
The output of the solar panel is 9 watts, and it uses USA MiaSole solar cells. It takes about 4 hours in direct sunlight to fully charge most smartphones, and that’s pretty good.
The backpanel on this pack is pretty good as well. It has two padded and ventilated inserts, which will keep you cool and dry on most days.
Keep in mind that this pack was mostly designed for travel and everyday use, so its backpanel might not be the best option for outdoor adventures. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not suitable for hikes or camping – just that you might sweat a little if it’s really hot outside.
The EnerPlex Packr is a really good budget option. This solar backpack is only about $50, which is insane for a pack that was one of Time Magazine’s top 50 inventions. It uses a 3 watt solar panel, which was manufactured in the USA. But that is a pretty low output, so don’t be surprised if it takes a while for this to charge your phone.
The solar panel is integrated into the backpack, and you will find a pocket for a power bank or your phone in the compartment behind it. It is also entirely waterproof and designed to survive even the harshest of conditions, so you really don’t need to worry about it getting damaged.
And it has a lot of other features. The laptop compartment is in the back, and it’s padded throughout. It is not entirely TSA friendly, but you can take out your laptop without removing anything else from the pack.
With expandable capacity of the main compartment, this is an excellent backpack for travel. It is small enough to be accepted as a carry on, but spacious enough that you can fit clothes and other necessities for a short trip.
This pack also features multiple internal and external pockets, for staying organized wherever you go. The only thing that’s underwhelming about it is the backpanel, since it is not breathable throughout. But at least the harness is entirely padded and ventilated, and will keep you comfortable in hot summer days.
The Faraz backpack is a decent everyday option. It’s pretty affordable at around $70, but it has quite a lot of features and you get a lot of value for your money. The exterior of this backpack is made from waterproof fabric – there’s no information on exact materials used.
This tries to be an anti-theft backpack, but I wouldn’t really call it that. If you’re specifically looking for an anti-theft solar backpack, I would suggest you stick with XD Design. The Faraz doesn’t have lockable zippers, cut-proof fabric or even hidden zippers. A single pocket on the backpanel doesn’t make this an efficient anti-theft backpack.
The backpack doesn’t have a battery for power storage, and it doesn’t come with a power bank. So, you need to use your own power bank if you want to store charge, or you can plug your phone directly into the solar panel.
This has quite a lot of pockets inside, which allow for easy organization. There’s a sleeve for your laptop, tablet, and pockets for every smaller item you might want to put inside the pack. In addition to that, the main compartment is pretty spacious, and could easily fit some books or clothes.
The backpanel of this pack is padded, and features three ventilated inserts. This is pretty great, since it allows for air circulation between the foam inserts, which in turn helps your back breathe and makes you sweat less.
Overall, this is a pretty good solar backpack for the price. It’s stylish enough that you could carry it to school or work every day, and it does a decent job at charging your devices. But it’s definitely not my favorite out of the bunch.
Solar backpacks are all about charging your electronics on the go, so there are a few things you want to watch out for.
The amount of power that the battery in your backpack can hold is a big issue as it determines what you can charge with it.
Find out what the full charge of your device is (in mAh – which is milliamp hours) and see if the capacity of the backpack battery matches or exceeds that.
Most of these chargers are only meant for smaller devices. Check the specs or questions and answers in Amazon to be sure your device can be charged.
Because you are carrying a battery around (to store the solar power) these backpacks will tend to be heavy. The bigger the battery, the more charge you can store, but the heavier it will be.
Can’t decide which solar backpack you want to buy? Go with one of our top choices and you will be more than happy with your decision!
My overall favorite backpack would have to be the XD Design Bobby. I’m a big fan of the basic version of this anti-theft backpack, and the solar version is an even better choice for travellers. Or just for those of you that are always on their phone and run out of charge by 3PM.
The solar panel is pretty great, and able to charge your smartphone in just some 3 hours. And the interior of this pack is adjustable, so you can really make it fit your lifestyle. Plus, the cut-proof fabric, RFID safe pockets and lockable zippers will keep your belongings safe at all times.