We decided to invest in solar panels for our Airstream since we spend so much time at campsites with no electricity. It also gives us the opportunity to do more boondock camping. We had Windish RV install ours and couldn’t be happier.
A few reasons we favor the panels over a generator: they are quiet, nearly maintenance free, light weight, gas free, quiet, no exhaust, best of all they are quiet. 🙂
For us, the only thing we need when glamping is the radio (love my John Denver!), lights, heater, and water pump. We do not use the flatscreen TV, blu-ray, and we do not have a microwave or appliances with us. Also, the new solar panels do work in low light, rain, and snow. Our system kept our camper fully charge through a very cold and snowy day at Sylvan Lake.
Our Zamp 160 Watt, 30V solar panels have been installed on the top of the Airstream. They are made specifically for the Airstream, and are barely noticeable. The Airstream came pre-wired for the panels, as most newer campers do. We do not have a converter, so the only outlets that you can plug into are the 12 volt outlets. Once again, we do not bring a lot of plug in items with us when we are out enjoying the mountains.
When we had the Popup, we used the portable SunForce 55 Watt, 12V (new model is 80 watts). The frame had to be reinforced with bungee cords and some wood, but it did keep our battery fully charged. We could plug chargers into the 12 volt outlet, and the solar system came with an inverter that you could plug something into (while outside).
A friend of ours is using the Zamp portable solar system, 160 Watts. I think this set up is quite nice. The carrying case is great if you have to store the panels on your bed while traveling to, and from, your site (they can get dirty while you camp). And the aluminum frame seems sturdy compared to the SunForce frame.
If you purchase a portable solar system, make sure that it comes with a frame, charge controller, and all the wires. Otherwise, you will have to purchase everything in addition to the panels.
Happy glamping everyone!