The RAVPower USB Solar Charger Panel is a lightweight and compact solar panel designed to be both affordable and efficient while keeping your USB devices powered up with full bars. There are tons of different options out there for keeping your electronics powered up while off the grid and we chose this one because of its nice price point and favorable reviews on Amazon.com. So far this has been a nice solar panel however there are some things left to be desired which we will talk about below.
What does the Solar Charger come with?
The RAVPower USB Solar Panel is built to allow the connection of up to two USB devices and folds into itself for easy transportation in a backpack or bag. When unfolded the outside corners of the panel have holes which allow you to connect the solar charger to a backpack with the four carabiners that are included with it. This would allow you to charge your devices while hiking on a trail (something you may have seen others doing). The solar panel comes with “iSmart technology” which is supposed ensure optimal charging of your Apple devices like an iphone or ipad.
Quality and Design
The RAVPower USB Solar Charger Panel seems to be built well with a nylon exterior and durable feel to it. It is advertised as being water resistant however it doesn’t seem to be the type of thing you would want to leave out in the rain or get wet if you can avoid it. The charger comes with a small Velcro pouch which allows for the storage of the USB ports and your small devices. When folded up it feels very sturdy which means it will be able to withstand any abuse thrown at it while crammed into backpacks and bags.
Using the USB Solar Charger
We have used this solar charger on several occasions and when conditions are right it works great. We used it to charge up and iphone 6 and in roughly and hour and half of straight sunlight it took the phone from 35% to 100%. Some important things to note are that this charger will work best in direct sunlight. If it is cloud out it will work however your device will not charge as quickly. The charger barely works indoors even if it is near a window.
iPhones and other high demand devices can have some difficulty getting a proper charge out of this charger if it is not in direct sun light. Due to the nature of iPhones if there is not enough power coming out of the charger it will completely disconnect itself and won’t even trickle charge. Even on cloudy days however we have not noticed a huge problem with this so long as you are able to lay the charger our flat. While we have not tried it, hiking with this solar charger most likely would not charger your phone as going in and out of shady areas and under trees would just keep disconnecting the phone from the charger. Our iPad had an especially difficult time getting to charge with this device – it basically didn’t work unless it was the middle of the day and in direct sunlight.
Setting up and Charging USB Devices
The RAVPower 15w Foldable Solar Charger is super easy to use. Simple unfold, lay in sun, plug in and let it do its thing. Seriously, you do not need to be a techy to get this to work. If you can plugin your phone into a USB charger you are good to go. The only challenge you may face is figuring out the bast angle to lay the panels to optimize the exposure to the sun.
Should you Buy the RAVPower USB Charger
Overall we think this is a good buy for what it is. In the right conditions the RAVPower USB Solar Charger is going to quickly and efficiently power up your devices. For car camping or short day trips or even a visit to the beach this is a great product.
If you are considering this product for back country backpacking trips we would suggest other solutions as this just isn’t a realistic charger. If you are looking for a Backpacking Charger we would suggest something with a built in battery pack that will allow you to charge your devices at night and when not in the direct sunlight. Furthermore, this solar charger is going to add about 1.5 lbs to your pack and you may as well just carry a battery pack.
*We are in no way affiliated with the product described above. This was a completely independent and unbiased review. If you do happen to purchase the product and use our link we will get a small kick-back from Amazon.com.
Want to see more?
Here is a nice video someone put together reviewing the product in detail.