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Off-grid Solar Charging on a SOTA Adventure

A local SOTA activation offered a great opportunity to test out a newly purchased solar panel while having a little fun. Spoiler alert: I’m impressed. This panel is sold. It packs small, puts out lots of power, and is decently light. And the icing on the cake is that the price is reasonable.

Here’s the panel I’m using:

It’s made by a company called "Topsolar," undoubtedly produced in China, but the quality seems solid and the features are great. The panel has a full-voltage output, USB, and most interestingly, a 14.4 V output that should work well charging LiFePO4 cells directly through a balancing BMS.

The Powerfilm solar panels are the cream of the crop, but I’m just not sure I’m willing to shell out 5x the price of this panel for one of them. So this was my pick, based on a bunch of digging through options online in the $2/watt range.

As a bonus on top of testing some new gear, the activation was a blast, with about 85 contacts in the log.

Topsolar folding panels on Amazon
100W Solar Panel:
60W Solar Panel:
30W Solar Panel: