Solar panels in the backcountry

Yes, I think I might be stuck with getting out to a site, then daytripping from there so I can leave the system out to charge, which I can accept. Better than never going backcountry again. I’ve managed it in a canoe, and I guess I could strap the panel on top of the kayak. It’d have to be pretty perfect weather though!

Are you sure it’s 40 to 50W continuously? My AirMini draws 20W max, typical power consumption is 6.3W, or 20Ah for an 8 h sleep. My GOLABS 160W power station has a battery capacity of 63. 7 Ah, which is good for 3 nights of sleep. Your 300W power station would run my CPAP for 5 to 6 nights.

Nope, not continuous. But most of the time, and that’s because I’ve got my humidity on. I can’t go without it. Definitely need a different machine next time, one that can use DC power!!!

Ah, humidity, that makes sense.

The AirMini has a humidity contraption that is part of the hose, which does work well, but I only used it one because I don’t need to humidity. The downside of the AirMini is that it is somewhat noisy.

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Yes, I’ve heard the Airmini had that neat humidity thing on it! Interesting that it’s noisy. The Z2 has one as well. I’ll have to see what they’ve come up with when it’s time for me to make a purchase. I think I have a few years yet before I’m eligible for anything.

This fella in the Montreal area has made a few videos of his CPAP setup and he used a Z2, although he does not use humidity when kayaking. You might find his videos of interest.

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I know you didn’t ask but…what about wind?

Saw this company’s products on the ISKGA social media


I need to purchase a solar generator. I got information from wattinsider about different generators but I don’t know which one is the best. Kindly review this site and give me your suggestions.

That looks really cool! It’d be a good way to charge of you were out on the water all day, that’s for sure

I don’t see any solar generators / power stations on that site at first glance. I have a Bluetti AC50s that is ~500wh and does the trick for 1-2 nights of CPAP, but it would have been better to get one with ~750wh for my needs.
The size you get depends on what you want to power. Jackery is a popular brand that is a decent price. GoalZero has an excellent reputation, but costs a pretty penny. EcoFlow is a good brand as well.

Mike, I took a quick look at wattinsider, and they appear to review fuel-based(big and heavy) units that are not solar generators, which I believe what you are looking for. I am no expert, only a consumer who bought a small system a couple years ago.

The market for these solar generators has exploded that last few years. About five years ago pretty much the only option was a Goal Zero generator. They were/are expensive. Most solar generators started out around 200W, and 500W for a big one. Now a big one is around 2,500W ($), and they are big and heavy, I think more suited for home base or a large RV.

Solar generator only means it usually has a lithium battery, solar charger to convert power from a solar panel, and an inverter to run 110v all in one unit. This is why they became so popular being compact and portable, and no DIY assembly.

The next on the scene was Jackery with a 240W generator, and then a 500W system. They did a serious marketing campaign and got a lot of YouTubers to endorse their products. They now sell generators from 240W to 1,500W. Most find the 500W as a sweet spot for size and performance, but this will still be a big unit for kayak travel. In general these things cost about 1$ per Watt rating.

Rockpals came along with a 300W generator, and their 100W solar panels fold up to 16"x16"x2"(nice). Their products are generally well reviewed. The solar panels generally cost 2$ per Watt. I bought mine for a little less, now the generator and panels are about $500. I really like the portability of my system, though it is not powerful enough to operate a small 12v refrigerator. But fans, computers, lights, phones, gps, no problem.

It is best to be running 12v appliances or ones that charge by USB. Using a 110v appliance with the built-in inverter will rob about 25% of the power of the battery.

So you need to first decide what you need to charge, how portable you want it, and your budget. You might also take a look at Eco-Flow products. Probably best to google camping solar generators for the latest reviews. Many more manufacturers (China) have jumped into the market, but I would stick with the major manufacturers.

Good luck

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I bought a 160W GoLab power station to use with my CPAP. It is not too big and will power my CPAP for 3 nights.

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Acorn to Arabella has a Bluetti system to test. It does look like a nice system for a cabin or, in their case, a 38’ sailboat. I very well may be looking into something like that in 2023 for a small off the grid cabin.

What we are running into is this is not what solar was meant for…at all. Tech companies are making a fortune off misleading people.

You would honestly be better to lug batteries enough batteries to make the trip then when you get home charge them with a house that is being fed by solar panels.

Wise words

A friend brought a motorcycle battery for his week long trip and using a CPAP machine.
I have little use for electronics on river trips. On the good trips there is no cell reception.
I would consider a SAT phone now that I have some health problems.