Solar power is the way of the future. Many of our cars and home devices like generators are already solar powered, in fact, and soon our clothing may also be powered from the sun. Think that sounds like science fiction? Think again, because solar charger backpacks are already a reality, keeping any number of the myriad electronic devices we rely on in our daily lives charged without any electricity at all.
Packs like these use solar panels and solar cells, or even sometimes an actual battery pack to keep your devices running without having to compete for an outlet at the airport or coffee shop, or just to have some tunes accompany you on your next trip outdoors or in between your classes. From the best solar backpacks for work, to the best solar backpacks for hiking, it’s time to join this sunshine-powered apparel revolution. We’ll show you how.
Our Top Picks
Take a quick trip through the solar backpacks featured in our ranking.
|Best Overall: XD Design Bobby Tech Backpack|
Made from recycled plastic and offering both regular and type-C USB charging ports, XD Design makes the best solar panel backpack in our ranking.
|Best for Laptops: Voltaic Systems Array Rapid Solar Backpack Charger for Laptops|
Choose Voltaic for the highest-quality solar panel backpack with both a laptop and tablet sleeve.
|Best Waterproof Charger: SolarGoPack 10K Solar Powered Backpack|
Keep your devices charged in all kinds of weather with the water-resistant solar-powered backpack from SolarGoPack.
|Best Budget: ECEEN Solar Powered Backpack|
With a high-efficiency solar panel, the best budget solar panel backpack is made by ECEEN.
|Best for Hiking: XTPower Hiking Solar Backpack|
Let the XTPOWER hiking solar backpack keep your devices powered in the great outdoors.
|Best for Work: LifePod Backpack with Solar Panel and USB Port|
Stylishly designed, the LifePod backpack will keep your work devices charged for the duration of your commute.
A Closer Look: Best Solar Backpacks
Unpack and stay awhile. Here’s why you need any one of these backpacks for your next trip.
1. XD Design Bobby Tech Backpack
The best solar backpack overall
Brand: XD Design | Material: Recycled Plastic | Closure: Zipper | Water Repellant: Yes | Price: 💰💰💰💰
At Shelf, we prioritize sustainability in all the products we recommend, and because it’s made from recycled plastic bottles, the XD Design Bobby Tech backpack more than fits the bill. In addition to the eco-friendly materials, this great-looking backpack also offers a power bank, a wireless charging pad, and an integrated USB charging port with both regular and type-C connections. There are adjustable internal dividers, including space for a laptop and a camera, among other items, and there’s also a patented fidlock, or a kind of magnetic fastener on the shoulder strap to keep items like a phone or water bottle conveniently within reach.
In addition, the backpack is water-repellant, which is an important consideration when traveling with electronics, and it has a zippered closure, with an anti-theft design featuring no front access, and a lockable main zipper. It’s also cut resistant. Over the course of a single afternoon at the zoo, the backpack kept devices adequately charged, we learned. And it’s also a good choice for air travel, according to reports. Some phones don’t fit the fidlock, however.
- RFID protected
- Extra pocket for an e-reader or book
- Fidlock somewhat elastic for larger items
- Pretty pricey
- No internal battery
- Some C-port issues reported
2. Voltaic Systems Array Rapid Solar Backpack Charger for Laptops
The best solar panel backpack for laptops
Brand: Voltaic Systems | Material: Recycled Plastic | Closure: Zipper | Water Repellant: Yes | Price: 💰💰💰
The advantage of a solar panel backpack is the convenience of charging your devices while you’re on the go, including laptops. With its own power bank and pass-through charging capacity, the best solar panel backpack for laptops is the Array rapid solar backpack charger from Voltaic, among the few solar backpacks powerful enough to charge a laptop among other USB devices. Pass-through charging means you can simultaneously power two devices with the backpack, and also important for any laptop user is the spacious clamshell design, including a separate laptop and tablet sleeve.
Otherwise, the Voltaic offers an ample main pocket, a slim battery, and strong construction, with padded compartments. Devices charged effectively though the backpack include a Samsung S20 Ultra, a Razer 15 advanced laptop, and Macbook Air. One word of caution before purchasing, however, is to make sure your laptop charges off DC power, because some do, while others don’t. With an AC cord included, you can also just charge the battery from a wall socket if that’s what you prefer.
- Super comfortable
- Solar panel zips on and off
- No more fighting for outlets at airports
- Zippers could be stronger
- Bit bulky for some people
- Best in direct sunlight, some say
3. SolarGoPack 10K Solar Powered Backpack
The best waterproof solar backpack
Brand: SolarGoPack | Material: Nylon | Closure: Zipper | Water Repellant: Yes | Price: 💰💰
If you live in a wet climate, make sure your backpack solar charger is as close to waterproof as possible. After careful consideration, we found the best waterproof backpack solar charger to be the 10K Solar Powered Backpack from SolarGoPack. As well as waterproofing, the nylon backpack offers a removable 5-watt solar panel and a battery. The straps are padded for comfort, and we especially like the sternum strap. There’s also a nice area to clip your keys near the left strap.
Overall, feedback calls this pack spacious, holding most anything you might need for an overnighter with the added benefit of quickly charging your iPhone without an outlet. Many like it for school and for camping, and best of all, it’s at a very reasonable price point for the excellent quality of the product. Some buckle durability issues are reported, however, in particularly rugged climates, and some say it’s smaller than they expected.
- Made in the USA
- Large, flat solar panel
- Charges well in the shade
- Pockets a little tight
- Seams split, for some
- Shipped with a loose micro-USB port
4. ECEEN Solar Powered Backpack
The best budget solar panel backpack
Brand: ECEEN | Material: Canvas | Closure: Zipper | Water Repellant: No | Price: 💰
If you’re looking for the best solar powered backpack without blowing the budget, consider the very reasonably priced solar powered backpack from ECEEN. Made from canvas with a zippered closure, this backpack has a waterproof solar panel and a laptop sleeve but no battery. Otherwise, it’s durable enough for camping or hiking, and able to recharge smart phones, GPS units, or even a tablet, among other devices.
Generally speaking, it’s a very cool product, users report, and very simple to use. There’s ample space and the construction material is strong, not cheap or thin, and the strap is wide enough so that it doesn’t cut into your shoulder when carrying extra weight. It kept a phone charged all day and Disneyland and it’s a great solution for road trips and frequent travel. ECEEN’s backpack isn’t waterproof, however, so do be sure to put your electronics in something waterproof for extra protection.
- Good storage size
- Holds up to 17” laptop
- Good choice for the office commuter
- Does not charge a laptop
- Some frayed stitching over time reported
- Solar panel is waterproof, backpack is not
5. XTPower Hiking Solar Backpack
The best backpack solar charger for hiking
Brand: XTPower | Material: Sports-Quality PVC | Closure: Zipper | Water Repellant: Yes | Price: 💰💰
The best solar charger backpack for hiking in particular comes from XTPower. Made from sports-quality PVC with a zippered closure, this water-repellant pack has both a solar panel and removable 7-watt solar cells. Both are perfect for charging smartphones and tablets, among many other devices. Also notable, the solar cells have a scratch-resistant surface ideal for the outdoors, and the cells are sewn securely into the PVC with a sturdy fastener for when it’s time to take them on and off. They’re also easily stashed in the bag’s spacious interior.
Generally speaking, the bag is light, robust, and flexible, all good traits for a camping pack, and the fabric is highly rip resistant and water repellant. The solar panels work well in both sun and shade, according to reports, and the storage compartments offer lots of space, with ample pockets and other areas to store whatever else you might need on your trip to school, or somewhere deep in the wilderness.
- Great for music devices while hiking
- Took 45 minutes to charge phone 50%
- Charges Android phones without an issue
- Only fits a 15” laptop
- Zippers could be more durable
- Solar panel receives mixed reviews
6. LifePod Backpack with Solar Panel and USB Port
The best solar panel backpack for work
Brand: LifePod | Material: High Quality/Durable | Closure: Zipper | Water Repellant: Yes | Price: 💰
And to keep your device charged-up adequately during the work commute, we like the LifePod backpack with both a solar panel and a USB port. Made from high quality and durable material with a zippered closure, the LifePod is water-repellant. And another nice feature, especially for public transit, is the USB port being on the outside, meaning you can keep your phone charged without even having to open the pack.
There’s more than enough room in the bag, and it’s very comfortable and fast charging, according to reports. And the flexibility of the pand means you can travel with all sorts of differently shaped items, making it not only a good choice for work commuters but also photographers in the field, we found out. There’s also a nice exterior pocket for items like water bottles, and the stylish design fits in well with urban environments.
- Very affordable
- Several pockets
- Roomy main compartment
- One color only
- Solar panel receives mixed reviews
- Not a lot of product specs available from manufacturer
For this guide on the best solar backpacks, our team spent 5 hours researching the most popular options from over 30 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about forty user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each solar backpack. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 6 solar backpacks on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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