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Van Life Solar Buyers Guide

What Voltaic solar chargers do you recommend for an off-grid van set-ups?

When going off the grid in your van, we recommend going with a simple, yet powerful, system to keep your journey going smoothly. Two of our 17 Watt Kits are more than enough to keep your electronics (DSLRs, laptop, smaller USB devices) and a Voltaic lighting system going while still being manageable on the road. If you're charging needs are a little more basic (i.e. phone, tablet, GoPro) then a 9 Watt panel is a good option for you.

How do I mount Voltaic solar panels to my van?

Mounting a Voltaic panel system is a lot easier than it looks and can be customized to any model of van you may own. Depending on how much work you want to do, there are essentially two options: drill into the roof of your van or mount them "manually".

Option 1: Drill Mount. If you choose to drill into the roof of your vehicle, you can mount the panels to a spot on your roof that is likely to get the most direct sunlight and run the cables down to your Voltaic Universal Battery. We recommend using a waterproof sealant to make sure things stay dry on the road. This mounting method allows you to stay ready to go on the road, with our Neodymium (NdFeB) super strong magnets - always ready for the sun.

Van life solar panels
Van life solar panels

Option 2: "Manual" Mount. If you'd rather not drill a hole in your precious Westy, then we recommend simply not mounting the panels while driving. This allows you to store your battery near a door for convenience and still keeps things portable for when you want to park you van out of the sun. Use our 10FT Extension Cord to run the cables from your battery to panel, just about anywhere.

Van life solar panels
Van life solar panels

Regardless of which option you choose for mounting your panels, we always recommend using velcro strips to make sure your Voltaic V72 battery can be easily accessible, secure, and yet portable. Just make sure it's in a secure location that is easy to access.

Van life solar panels
Van life solar panels

Is there a way to take off the panels when we’re not on the road?

If you choose to mount your panel's "manually", this is definitely an option. In fact, we recommend it for the best way to keep you shaded and the panels working while camping out. To make things easier, position the panels towards the sun and run one of our 10FT Extension Cords back to the van. This cord gives you freedom to move around the panel to get optimum solar potential without having the sun beating down on your van (and your battery) all day.

How do the panels hold up in inclement weather?

Our panels are made for van life. Each of our panels are waterproof, UV and scratch resistant - they can be left outside for years without discoloration or decreased electrical performance. Their Aluminum/Plastic composite substrate backing also means that they are ultra-durable. Please note that batteries are NOT waterproof – this refers to our panels only. For van set-ups, please secure all batteries within the vehicle during rain storms.

What devices can I charge with Voltaic solar panels?

Depending on your set-up you charge everything from your smartphone, DSLR camera, laptops, and small USB lighting systems like our USB Touchlight. Our 9 Watt panel is ideal for one person who needs to charge up their smartphone, GoPro, or small tablet. The 17 Watt is more ideal for two people and/or larger electronic devices.

USB touchlight for van life
laptop charging for van life