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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Leveraging Sunflare XPLOR Solar Panels to Stay Off the Grid

My camping experiences growing up were mostly limited to tent camping in established campgrounds. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I spent some time backpacking and camping off the grid. Once I did, I was hooked!

Well, let me clarify – I was hooked on off-grid camping. I can do without the backpacking!

Today, most of my overlanding adventures are off-grid. It’s so nice to get away from it all and spend time in pristine areas. Of course, it helps that I have the proper overlanding gear to help me get off-grid and stay off the grid for longer periods of time.

While I have a lot of gear that helps me execute off-grid travel, today, I want to focus on just one item – my Sunflare XPLOR solar panels.

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What are Sunflare XPLOR Solar Panels?

XPLOR solar panel options

The XPLOR series of solar panels from Sunflare includes three different options for your overlanding adventures, shown above.

If your outdoor adventures typically include short weekend trips, the 105-watt Weekend panel is probably just what you’re looking for. This panel has all the power you need to run a 43-inch TV for 1.5 hours, 10 CFL lights for 3.5 hours, or a 100-watt laptop for 3.5 hours. In an off-grid situation, you can run a water pump in your trailer, keep the LED interior lights running, and run a cabin fan to get some fresh air, too.

The 126-watt XPLOR panel gives you a little more juice for extended trips. Like the Weekend panel, this adventure panel is lightweight, durable, and has an ultra-slim profile. Use it to run your laptop for 4.5 hours, 10 CFL lights for 4.5 hours, or a 50-inch smart TV for 1.5 hours. That’s plenty of power for a long weekend of off-grid camping!


Of course, if you need even more power to stay off the grid, the Sunflare XPLOR Expedition panel is right up your alley. I have two of these panels on the roof of my SMRT Summit Suite Tent, each of which produces 180 watts of power.

Since I do a lot of work on my off-grid adventures, having the longest-lasting power is hugely important. With these panels, I can run my laptop for well over six hours straight. I also have plenty of power for my trailer lights, the water pump in the galley, and for charging my phone, camera batteries, and other accessories.

Ease of Installation is a Major Bonus


You don’t have to spend an entire weekend installing these panels so you can head off-grid. Instead, just a few minutes of your time is all you need to install these bad boys.

A prime location is the roof of your rooftop tent. As I mentioned earlier, my Sunflare XPLOR panels are mounted on my SMRT Summit Suite Tent. It’s a match made in heaven, as far as I’m concerned!

As you can see above, I simply laid the Sunflare XPLOR panels upside down on my rooftop tent. The red lines you see are double-sided tape, which is all you need to adhere the panels to the surface of the tent. Now, I know what you’re thinking – double-sided tape is all that keeps these things from flying off on the highway?

Yeah – it is!

Sunflare tested this tape at speeds of 85 mph on the highway with no issues. I haven’t put the pedal to the metal that fast, but after months and months of usage, I can attest that these panels are every bit as adhered to my rooftop tent as they were the first day.

Just give your tent’s roof a thorough cleaning, uncover the double-sided tape, and press it into place. That’s it!

Stay off the Grid With Loads of Benefits

Sunflare Xplor Bypass Diodes

Easy installation aside, the Sunflare XPLOR series of solar panels offer tons of benefits that help you stay off the grid:

  • Lightweight construction – The solar cells in these panels are made from stainless steel, which makes them light and flexible. What’s more, they’re laminated with 3M plastics instead of glass to save even more weight. When you go off-grid, the last thing you need is an overweight rig!
  • Durable construction – Not only are these panels lightweight, but they’re also durable and rugged. The stainless steel solar cells are far more resistant to wear and tear than typical silicon. Rather than worrying about micro-cracking, burns, and hotspots, you can rest easy knowing the stainless steel cells won’t sustain damage on your travels.
  • Bypass diodes – In traditional solar panels, if one cell is in the shade, the entire string stops working and doesn’t generate power. As you can see above, bypass diodes negate this issue. Since each solar cell in these panels includes a bypass diode, you can rest assured that the maximum number of cells will be generating electricity at all times.
  • Tried and tested – You want to know that the solar panels you rely on when you’re off-grid will actually do their job. Sunflare ensures this with extensive testing to demonstrate that these panels are electrically safe and capable of producing reliable power off-grid. Likewise, Sunflare’s panels are manufactured using the same strict standards for on-grid solar panels.

On top of all that, Sunflare XPLOR solar panels come with a robust 25-year warranty for power output. That’s a lot of off-grid travel you can tackle with the peace of mind that if something goes awry, Sunflare has your back.

All the Power I Need to Stay Off the Grid

redarc setup

With 360 watts of total power coming in from my solar panels, I have all the juice I need to stay off-grid for an extended period of time. While I take my ALP 1000-watt propane generator on all my trips, my solar power system can more than handle my power needs for days and days on end.

Paired with my Sunflare XPLOR solar pens is a charge controller that helps manage voltage and current that come into the batteries. For that purpose, I have a REDARC Manager 30 battery management system.

The Manager 30 has an MPPT solar regulator, a battery isolator, and a load disconnect controller. Likewise, it serves as a remote battery charger and a 100-volt AC shore power charger, too.

redarc setup in turtleback trailer

That means I can charge the batteries from my shore power before I head out for an off the grid trip, then charge them from my truck while I drive, and then once I set up camp, the power coming in from the Sunflare XPLOR solar panels is regulated.

What’s more, the Manager 30 prevents the backflow of electricity out of my batteries so they don’t prematurely drain. Not bad, right?

Of course, the basis of this system is the Sunflare solar panels. If they didn’t produce the power I needed in the first place, none of the other electrical components would matter.


These panels have proven to be highly reliable, rugged, and durable over the course of my adventures. I’ve been at sea level, high in the Sierra Nevadas, in oppressive heat, and the bitter cold. And through all that, the Sunflare XPLOR solar panels have done their job and done it well.

If you want to build a reliable setup to stay off the grid, start the process by investing in high-quality solar panels from Sunflare.

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