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Canoe and Kayak Solar Buyers Guide

How does it work?

This (slightly noisy) video shows the basics of attaching our solar panels to a kayak and how battery waterproofing works.

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Which of your products do you recommend for water sports?

If you plan on getting wet (which we hope you do), we recommend our single panel kits plus the optional 4 or 10 foot extension cables for charging your electronics while kayaking, canoeing or rafting. The panel is completely waterproof and easily mountable on a variety of surfaces and can be catching sun throughout the day, even while paddling. This increases the number of hours where you are generating a charge and means more power to your devices. Tuck the battery in a dry bag or dry box (read more below) and you have a completely water loving solar charger.

In general, we recommend 3.5 Watt Kit for smartphones, 6 Watt Kit for smartphones & small tablets, 9 Watt Kit for 10 inch tablets and multi-device charging and the 17 Watt Kit for laptops and DSLRs.

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Can the solar panels handle saltwater?

Yes. The panels have floated in the Indian ocean for months without losing power output. If you get saltwater on the output or input of any of the cables, we suggest you rinse the connection with freshwater and let it dry out.

solar panel on kayak daniel fox
solar panel on canoe iLCP

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How do I waterproof the battery?

The most waterproof option is to run a cable into a drybox via a brass waterproof gland. This results in a very tight seal and is recommended if you are doing an extended trip.

We have a blog post showing the details of this process if you are interested. Read how to create a waterproof case for your battery.

three waterproof battery cases
solar panel and case submerged in muck

A second option is to run the battery into a roll-top dry bag. This is less waterproof, but certainly easier and good enough for most situations.

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How do I mount the solar panels onto my canoe or boat?

Our solar charger kits have 4 corner mounts. Use 3/4 inch webbing to attach the panel to whatever you have handy. We find it is helpful to use our 3/4 inch buckles so that you can clip and unclip the panel as needed.

solar panel mounted on an ocean kayak
solar panel mounted on kayak closeup

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I'm rough on my equipment. Will the panels break?

While we don't want to be in this position, this kayak snapped in half in a rough Pacific wave and the panel came back in one piece. They have also made many runs down the Grand Canyon.

kayak wreck
Solar Panel on Grand Canyon Raft

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