Portable Solar Camping

80 watt solar panel

We spent most of last week camping at Big Bear Lake in Southern California. We were celebrating my mother’s 80th birthday and also my folks 60th wedding anniversary that actually happened back in June. Also it was the first time in a couple of years that all of us were able to get together. My two brothers and my sister and all our kids and their spouses. It was lots of fun. My uncle and his wife live down the road from where we camped so we did go to their home as well.

My wife and I also celebrated our 32nd anniversary on this trip so that was fun also.

This was my first chance to use the Zamp Solar 80 Watt panel that I featured back a few months ago in a post in a test based at our home. I am happy to tell you that it kept up with our usage of electricity. Though we really just used the power for the water pump for the kitchen and toilet and lights at night I was happy to find out that the 80 watt solar panel could easily keep up with that type of use. Each day I would connect the panel and within two or three hours it would top off my battery. It is exciting to use the sun in this way. I did not have to turn the generator on once during our four day camping trip.

To learn more about this panel visit my previous post called the 80 Watt Zamp Solar Portable Charging System.

The Family

The Family

Janelle and I

Janelle and I


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J. Anderson - August 17, 2014 Reply

Is that your personal camper, the Roadtrek? What kind of gas mileage did you get? Looks nice.

    Kent Griswold - August 17, 2014 Reply

    Hi J, Yes it is ours. We have had it around 10 years. It is a 1994 Roadtrek 190. I average between 13 to 15 mpgs with it. It really depends how you drive and what type of terrain you are covering. We were up to 7,000 feet elevation on this trip with some pretty big climbs and fully loaded. 13 mpgs on that part of the trip.

Unforgettable Fire, LLC - August 17, 2014 Reply

A lovely family and a lovely family photo. Congratulations on having so many reasons to celebrate!

Patrick - August 17, 2014 Reply

Looks like a great portable solar package to have along camping. Even greater, though, is to have along a family like yours! Congratulations on the long marriages and all the love in your life; it’s wonderful to see!

Tom - August 17, 2014 Reply

Isn’t it remarkable what two people can create! What a great looking family. Best wishes to all

Donna - August 17, 2014 Reply

Congratulations on 34! Great that you got to enjoy it with all of your family. They are the most precious thing we have in this life. Thanks for sharing and happy trails to you!

Noni Cavaliere - August 17, 2014 Reply

I’m a blogger and social media manager for clients. I’m thinking of the power I would need to keep up with laptop use daily and smartphone. Have a 5th wheel with two flat screens, PS 4, two laptops, 2 ipads, that would need power daily. Anyone have any recommendations for solar power?

    John in Brisbane - August 18, 2014 Reply

    A fair bit. Flat screen tv’s typically draw 200 or more watts. Same with a ps4. To run all that gear at once would require 800 or more watts of solar power, and that wouldn’t even be charging batteries. If you got 3 x 250 watt panels, a decent battery setup and you accepted the need to be frugal with the flat screens, you could do fine. I’d still suggest a little silent Honda generator etc as back up.

Kari - August 17, 2014 Reply

Hiya Kent! Love this post. I excited to try solar AND your family is lovely. They are lucky to have you!
Be Well, K????

Lynn Ventura - August 17, 2014 Reply

Kent – I’d just like to add my Congrats as well! I’ve been a little out of touch – we took our new 13′ Scamp on a 6-week trip out west – but I’ve gotta tell you, as much as I like the Scamp & it did make the trip easier, I really miss our woody teardrop! Looking forward to trying the solar panels tho! Lynn

Becca - August 17, 2014 Reply

Nice camper… and beautiful family!

John in Brisbane - August 18, 2014 Reply

Yep, great story and thanks for sharing the family pics :-).

MJ - August 18, 2014 Reply

Congratulations all around, that’s a great combo of successful years of life and love!

Nice to see that handy solar package does the job as intended. Camping for such big events, does a body good, I love that.

Walt Barrett - August 18, 2014 Reply

What a great family !!!
All the best to you.

David Wohlfeil - August 18, 2014 Reply

I’ll be testing out my panel this hunting season a homemade 165 watt grade A panel. I plan on hooking it to three deep cycles and powering everything. Frig, Microwave, Pumps, TV, My Power needs are only 105 watts so it should handle everything. I think more people should get into the solar act its really pretty simple to get started. Glad to hear yours worked as you wanted it to.

gmh - August 18, 2014 Reply

Congrats on both anniversaries! Love the family photo- how in the world did you get everyone to coordinate their outfits? Not sure my brothers would buy into that…

Thanks for the solar info. We don’t get much sun in the winter where I live, but I think I’d like to soak up as much as possible during the summer to power our computers. Every little bit helps!

Gail L. Van Luvanee - August 20, 2014 Reply

GREAT alternative to emergency generators after a hurricane/etc. !!!!!!!!!!! I am going to look into them !!!!!!!!! Thank you for passing this on.

Steve Pitchford - August 28, 2014 Reply

I love solar!!! Once you pay for your initial investment the energy is free anywhere in the world.
Happy trails,

Thomas Franklin - February 22, 2017 Reply

Using solar cooking while on the trail is a godsend for hikers and campers as well. It lightens their load and provides a way to purify water. make hot coffee, and cook a hot meal, etc. It also doesn’t require gathering wood or other fire making materials while away from the main campsite or RV. You can see a couple of solar cooking options available at this site: http://www.PortableSolarPanelsPro.com.

Hiking Grandma - June 27, 2017 Reply

Wow, what a wonderful trip and a fantastic celebration! Your family is picture perfect! Congratulations to all of you! My husband and I just celebrated our 25th Anniversary and are planning a Fall trip to celebrate. Living in Texas where we do gets pretty hot in the summer and we prefer cooler weather when we take off on an adventure. Love the solar options! Best wishes for many more happy years ahead!

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