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If you’re just getting into overlanding and you’re overwhelmed with the gear and accessories you can or should invest in, it can be hard to figure out where to put your money now, and what things can wait until later.
Obviously, for overlanding you need a vehicle of some sort, a place to sleep, and a means of storing food. You also need reliable, portable power. That’s where the benefits of solar power for overlanding come in.
Now, there are all sorts of options and variations of solar power setups. We aren’t going to get into the technicalities of all that in this article, though.
Instead, I want to highlight some of the benefits of solar power to help you understand why investing your money in a smart solar power system for your overlanding vehicle is such a good idea.
Let’s get started!
Solar Power for Overlanding is Critical for Your Adventures
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For many overlanders, their adventures are weekends or long weekends that might not require a solar power system. After all, you can keep your food cold in a good ice chest and you can charge your phone and other electronics as you drive.
But if you’re planning extended overlanding trips, a solar power system gives you a critical advantage – you don’t have to worry about where your power is coming from.
Lots of campgrounds and RV parks have shore power you can use, but if you want to get off the beaten path for a while, a solar power system is a must.
You’ll need a fridge for your food, lights to illuminate camp, and perhaps goodies like an electric heater or a kitchen appliance or two as creature comforts. A solar power system gives you the power you need for these items, even if you’re way out there in the wilderness.
Solar Power is Clean and Quiet
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One of the worst feelings when you’re camping or overlanding is having to kick on your loud generator.
And while there are plenty of generators that offer quieter operation than the average, they can’t beat the silent power-gathering premise of solar. You can charge your batteries over the course of the day without a whisper of sound to disturb other campers or wildlife in the area. It won’t disturb you, either!
Solar power for overlanding is obviously clean, too. There’s no gas or diesel to worry about spilling. There’s no fumes or clouds of exhaust to taint the fresh air around you. It’s as clean an energy source as you can have while overlanding.
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Solar power is efficient, too.
Take the Briter Products 400-watt solar panel shown above as a perfect example.
You can mount this panel on your RV or camper and it will recharge your batteries over the course of the day, even when it’s cloudy or during the winter months when the days are shorter.
In the summer, the longer days enable you to use a panel like this to recharge your batteries up to three times a day.
With the ability to gather power so seamlessly, you’ll have batteries that are topped off and you won’t have to run your generator as much. It’s a win-win!
It Isn’t as Expensive as You Might Think
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Solar power has come a long way over the years, and along with improvements in performance and technology, prices have come down, making it a more affordable option for more people.
For example, the Briter Products solar panel I mentioned a moment ago is $711. I realize that’s a decent chunk of change, but when you think about the long-term performance of the panel and your ability to maintain your batteries’ charge, the panel pays for itself over the long haul.
The same can be said for batteries for your solar setup. I have dual Briter Products lithium-ion batteries in my Turtleback Expedition trailer, and while they are a more expensive option up front, they offer long-term durability that enables them to pay for themselves over and over again.
Think about it – my batteries are fully serviceable, so even after the five-year warranty expires, parts can be replaced and the batteries can be reset. That means I can continue using these batteries for years and years and years without having to buy new ones.
Benefits of Solar Power for Overlanding
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In addition to improving your mobility, offering low-cost, quiet, and clean power, and being budget-friendly, having a solar power system gives you the peace of mind that no matter where you’re traveling, you’ll have reliable power.
When you think about the challenges that overlanding presents, having food, water, and power are probably the top three. And of those, reliable power is the most difficult to achieve.
But you can minimize that difficulty by investing your money now in a quality solar power system for your rig. If you do it right, your solar power system can last you for a decade or more. That’s a great return on your investment – and it gives you a lot of time to get out there and explore. What’s not to like about that?!