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Solar panels are very useful for holiday makers who like to travel around in RVs, caravans and trailers. However, sometimes they can get a little bulky and in the way, especially when you have so little space - which is where briefcase solar panels come in. Being able to fold your valuable equipment down to a fraction of the size allows you to transport it anywhere easily, and luckily enough there are a number of different models on the market to choose from.
When solar panels were first created they used to be available in single sheets which were tricky to maneuver and use. Luckily for all of us, better designs have come out which are much easier to use and we can actually take with us on all our holidays. A great example of this, you ask? Why the briefcase solar panel, of course!
Most leading manufacturers in the solar industry offer their own versions of briefcase solar panels as they’re so popular. All they are are two smaller solar panels connected together with a hinge, so they’re very easy to produce and not much more expensive than regular solar panels. If this sounds like the solutions to all your problems, below we’ve listed ten of the best models on the market just for you.
10 Best Briefcase Solar Panels for RVs, Trailers and Caravans
Don’t be deterred from briefcase solar panels just because you think they might be less durable than regular solar panels, because we’re here to tell you that this is simply not the case! In fact, briefcase designs often just use two solar panels and attach them together so they’re made of the exact same materials as non-folding alternatives. You can get solar panels made from metal and glass or fabric, and you can get this exact same selection when it comes to briefcase solar panels.
When choosing your briefcase solar panel, there are a few factors that you should consider before purchasing the first one you see. Of course, the portability and power output are the two most important things to consider, as your individual needs will affect what you’re looking for and ensure you get the perfect model for you.
Below we’ve found and researched the top ten briefcase solar panels so you don’t have to spend hours scouring the internet for potential suitors. We’ve included a range of different outputs so you have a selection no matter which output you’ll need, however each of the options are super portable and perfect for RVs, caravans and trailers.
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Briefcase Solar Panels for Caravans, RVs, and Trailers - Comparison Table
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Briefcase Solar Panels for Caravans, RVs, and Trailers - Reviews
Goal Zero has a range of high quality solar power solutions that are widely renowned and impressive in the way of their unique features and often high capabilities. Their Boulder Briefcase Solar Charger is no different and many campers and seasoned holiday makers swear by it. This particular model is a version which offers 100W of power, however you can also choose to get this solar charger in 50W or 200W, depending on your usage.
Let’s stick to stalking about the 100W variant for now, though. You can use this model comfortably to charge your other power stations and other emergency systems, and after you’re finished with it you can fold it back up neatly to save space in your caravan or RV.
Goal Zero designed their famous Boulder Briefcase Solar Charger specifically for their Yeti Power Stations, however you can use it with any system really as long as you have the correct adapters. You won’t be left behind!
Due to its briefcase design, this solar charger is constructed from two 50W Boulder panels which are joined together with hinges. You can close them together with a latch so you don’t run the risk of it falling over during the drive and breaking thanks to a nasty landing.
There is also a built in kickstand which you can use to place the solar charger anywhere depending on where the sun is positioned so you get the most out of the daylight. What’s more is that the solar panels are made from high conversion mono solar cells which have the ability to get more efficiency out of less light, so you’ll still be getting energy even as the sun goes down.
Overall, the Goal Zero Boulder 100W Briefcase Solar Charger offers a great high output which can charge your power stations and other devices in a breeze. Unfortunately there aren’t that many briefcase solar panels that can match up to this model's high capacity, so Goal Zero’s model is a great option for anyone looking to go holidaying in their RV or campervan.
- Made from high quality and durable materials.
- Designed for the Yeti line, but can work with other power stations thanks to different adapters.
- Very efficient mono solar cells to make the most out of the sunlight.
- Kickstand built in.
The Nature Power 120W Solar Panel Briefcase is a great alternative for powering a range of off the grid appliances and electronics, and it’s rugged and durable design makes it perfect for long trips in the back of an RV, caravan or trailer. You don’t want to be driving along the highway at 20mph because you’re scared of your solar panel falling and breaking - you want to be enjoying the sights! Nature Power ensures you can do just that with its 120W briefcase solar panel.
The cells within this solar panel are made from monocrystalline silicon, making them super efficient and sun-absorbing. In fact, you won't be disappointed with this solar panel thanks to their maximum power output allowing you to recharge your batteries in record time!
There are also diodes built into this briefcase solar panel which ensure that the model is wasting none of the power it collected throughout the day while it’s dark outside. This is more helpful than you think and really hikes up the efficiency of this model. Thanks to the limited wastage, we’d say this is one of the best briefcase solar panels to buy for an emergency kit.
Ultimately this is an excellent solar panel to take with you on your holiday or to keep in case of an emergency. What’s more is that it folds down neatly and easily into a 67.2 x 24.8 x 3 inch briefcase. The weight is 32 pounds, however this can be put down to the durable metal frame and stand.
- Portable thanks to the compact size it can fold down to.
- Diode built in to prevent power wastage.
- You’ll also get a solar charge controller.
This briefcase solar panel features a slightly higher price point, however rest assured with the premium price, you’ll be getting premium quality. The fabric-based 220W Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase is made by Dokio, another leading manufacturer of solar panels and various other solutions. What stands out most about this briefcase solar panel is it actually folds in three places rather than just one. This is to accommodate the extremely high and impressive capacity of 220W.
Thanks to the fabric base of this model, you can pretty much attach it to anywhere to ensure the maximum use is taken from the sunlight. Attach it to the roof of your vehicle while you’re driving along even, so it’s making and storing enough energy for the nighttime.
If you were thinking that you may want even more output than a whopping 220W, Dokio actually carries this same model but with a maximum capacity of 330W as well. If you were thinking that 220W may be a little much for you, then you can also choose between 80W, 100W and 160W. You’re spoilt for choice with this model!
Along with this small but mighty 10.5 pound solar panel, it also comes with a solar charge controller and multiple different USB ports to keep your handheld electronics running. Dokio sets out to prove that not all briefcase solar panels need to be made from glass and metal, and it succeeds massively.
- You can get this in multiple different output options.
- 20A solar charge controller comes along with two USB ports.
- Four solar panels which can be folded into the size of one.
- Super thin and lightweight makes it ideal for use in RVs, caravans and trailers.
Eco-Worthy’s 120W Folding Solar Panel Briefcase is actually a poly solar charger that uses mono solar cells to maximize the efficiency as much as possible. The foldable design makes it ideal for taking into the wilderness or on a camping trip. Anytime you find yourself off the grid, we think you’ll greatly benefit from this solar panel by using it to keep your back-up systems fully charged and raring to go.
There’s nothing much different from this briefcase solar panel than any other models - it boasts the same impressive features as any high quality solar panel requires. You’ll receive an installed charge controller to support the back-up systems and keep your model running smoothly. Simply plug it in, press play and watch the magic happen!
Every part of this briefcase solar panel is durable and sturdy. The kickback stand is made from aluminium to prevent it faltering under the weight of the panels, you won't find the handle left in your hand as the solar panels crash towards the floor, and the latches are thick and secure. All you have to do is fold it down and get going. This ease of use makes this one of the best briefcase solar panels for RVs, trailers and caravans.
- 15Amp solar charge controller included.
- Features made of durable materials such as aluminium.
- Mono solar cells make this a very efficient model.
- Ideal for keeping your batteries fully charged.
This briefcase solar panel is a fabric based model, making it super lightweight and easy to transport around. This is a great benefit for a solar panel which you want to take with you on your holiday’s, as we can imagine how heavy your RV or campervan is already! Renogy is a market leader in the world of solar solutions, so their 50W Eclipse Lightweight Suitcase is an excellent option for you.
The 50W model comes with a 10A charge controller already programmed in, allowing you to use it easily without any hassle. The panels are made with mono solar cells to keep the efficiency high even in weaker sunlight. In fact, the Renogy 50W Eclipse Lightweight Suitcase has the power to charge a number of 12V batteries, such as AGM units.
Renogy offers a range of both fabric and glass briefcase solar panels, with this one being just one in a long line of impressive solar solutions. If you think you’ll need a higher output, you can also choose to purchase this solar panel in 100W as well, so you have control over how many appliances and batteries you can charge from a single use of your briefcase solar panel.
Going back to the lightweight aspect of this model, you can tell that it was specifically designed to be used off the grid. You’d barely even notice that you’re carrying another piece of gear, and you need a model that isn’t going to hinder you on your trip. Some people even choose to wear the solar panel over their backups to continue generating power while on the move.
Along with the briefcase solar panel, you’ll also receive a charger with a cable and alligator clips to connect it easily to the battery. Renogy has really thought of everything in order to keep your life as stress-free as possible, and believe us when we say you’ll appreciate it when you’re in your RV or caravan.
- 10Amp controller with an LCD screen so you can clearly read it.
- Main body made from fabric, making it lightweight and very portable.
- There are different kinds of solar panel chargers to choose from the Renogy line.
- USB port included so you can charge handsets as well.
Moving onto this 100W Foldable Solar Suitcase, this option is made by another popular solar solutions manufacturer - AcoPower. The exterior is made from durable metal to keep the glass solar panels safe and protected, and the kickstands are sturdy enough so that you don’t have to worry about them faltering and causing your solar panel to break. Thanks to this design you can continue to move the solar panel around simply to continue collecting lots of solar energy throughout the day.
The two 50W solar panels are made from Grade A mono solar cells, further making this a very efficient option for your holiday. The 10A solar charge controller allows you to charge 12V batteries in record time, so you can use it to charge a number of devices very easily and quickly. You can even expand it by adding a few extra panels, if you’re wanting an even higher capacity.
Much like all the other solar panels on this list, the AcoPower 100W Foldable Solar Suitcase is super easy to use and handy for a number of uses. You can take it on your holidays or simply leave it in your emergency kit should you find yourself without power.
This briefcase solar panel folds up to the size of 19.69 x 25.6 x 2.9 inches and weighs only 33.1 pounds. As you can probably figure, this solar panel doesn’t take up much space at all and can be stored away easily when not in use. What’s more is that you’ll also get a protective case to further prevent the likelihood of your solar panel breaking accidentally.
- Ideal for charging batteries such as car and marine types.
- Kickstands are durable and built in.
- 10Amp solar charge controller included.
- High efficiency thanks to the mono solar cells within the panels.
Go Power showcases an excellent range of foldable solar panels, most of which are also classified as briefcase solar panels. They have been designed and created with RVs, caravans and trailers in mind, and are some of the best options for holiday makers to choose from thanks to their helpful features.
The PV panels can charge your batteries in a breeze, with mono solar cells for the best possible conversion rate possible. You won't be stuck by the road for long with the Go Power 130W Folding Portable Solar Kit! The 10A solar charge controller offers great protection from voltage variation and safety concerns, which is a very beneficial feature if you want to avoid having to replace your broken battery packs.
Every material featured on this briefcase solar charger is extremely durable and tough, really helping to extend its lifespan as much as possible. The kickstands are sturdy while in use but can easily be folded away to maintain a slimline and portable exterior, allowing you to take this model almost anywhere.
In this kit you’ll also get the briefcase solar panels alongside Anderson-style battery charging connectors which will come in handy when you’re trying to change the charging accessories quickly. This will interest people who need a solar charger for multiple different uses most, however it’s always a handy benefit to have. If you’re looking for a solar panel that can offer unlimited power while being able to fold away nice and tightly, we’ve found the one for you.
- Anderson-style battery charging connectors for quick changes.
- Ideal for charging batteries in RVs and caravans.
- 10Amp solar charge controller to allow you to make slight changes.
- Very durable while remaining portable.
The second installment of Dokios briefcase solar panels on our list, this 100W alternative is still perfect for holidaymakers who don’t need as much output as the earlier option. Rather than adopting the same fabric based design as the 220W option we discussed above, the Dokio 100W Solar Panel Suitcase uses traditional glass and metal to create the solar panels.
Don’t let this put you off though, the glass and metal are very durable and still able to aid you inside your RVs and caravans without risking accidental breakage. Weighing a measly 20 pounds, this briefcase solar panel will barely affect your weight limit and keep you driving for hours, days, maybe even weeks?
The built in solar charge controller is brilliant for using in vehicles and allows you to have more control over your device than other models without it. The solar panels work well in low light settings as well, so you can reap the benefits of every single ray of sunshine until it’s completely set. Do you have a 12V battery pack you need recharging? This task is a breeze for the Dokio 100W Solar Panel Suitcase.
Finally, let’s talk about the design. The two 50W solar panels are hinged together to give it the traditional briefcase look, and it also features a kickstand that proves to be hard to ruin, durable latches to keep it safely together while transporting, and a tough handle that easily holds the weight of the main body. All of the features of this model make it a great contender for one of the best briefcase solar panels for RVs, trailers and caravans.
- High efficiency thanks to mono solar cells in the panel.
- Negative-ground solar charge controller.
- Already wired for 12V batteries so you can use it straight out the box.
- Durable features such as kickstand and latches.
We know what you’re thinking - the name Renogy Eclipse Suitcase sounds familiar. If you were thinking this, you’d be right! We covered their 50W alternative earlier in the article, but it was such a great option that we had to cover their 100W option as well! This fabric solar briefcase is back and better than ever with its glass and metal panels to keep drawing in the sunlight. If you liked the sound of the former Renogy briefcase solar panel but thought it might not have enough output for your needs, this is the one for you.
The mono solar cells within the panels ensure maximum efficiency and keep drawing in the sunlight even as it becomes weaker as the sun goes down. This means that you’ll be able to get as much energy as possible from this solar panel, offering excellent value for money.
An aluminum kickstand is in place to keep the solar panels positioned in an optimal stance to absorb all the UV rays. Moreover, this kickstand is resistant to corrosion so you won’t have to worry about it becoming weaker over time. The handle is also durable so you can carry it around with confidence. The size of the solar panel when it’s folded is 21.5 x 21.5 x 3.1 inches and it weighs an impressive 11.7 pounds, further proving its great portability.
This briefcase solar panel also includes a solar charge controller which is 20Amp and waterproof, with a four stage PWM unit to prevent current variations potentially ruining your batteries. That would really ruin your holiday, so this is a great feature to look for in your solar panel.
We won’t explain the 200W alternative to you as well, but if you’re thinking you might want even more output than the 50W and 100W options we’ve gone over, you can also choose to purchase it with this higher power. Bear in mind that that option is longer than the prior two, however it is still easily transportable.
- Can be used with various different batteries, including gel, lithium, sealed and flooded.
- 20Amp solar charge controller which is also waterproof.
- Very durable aluminium kickstands.
- Super efficient thanks to the mono solar cells within the panels.
As we’re nearing the end of our article, we thought we couldn’t complete it without mentioning the Eco-Worthy 50W Solar Panel Suitcase. By no means is it the most powerful or biggest option we’ve talked about, however it is a great contender for people who don’t think they’ll need much more output than 50W.
The two 25W solar panels are made from polycrystalline and are hinged together to create the desired briefcase design. There’s a 3A PWM solar charge controller already installed and it’s even already wired for a 12V battery pack. You can take this model out of the box and use it straight away if you needed to.
Eco-Worthy is a popular brand when it comes to solar panels and solutions, and this particular model may be the most used of them all. If you’re wanting to set up an off the grid power station but don’t want to overdo it with the size, this is an excellent model to ensure you stick to a smaller size. Having said that, there are a number of different power options you can choose from if you’d like this briefcase solar panel with a higher output.
In fact, you can also get the Eco-Worthy 50W Solar Panel Suitcase with a variety of different added accessories, such as a protective bag and an 1000AH battery. The different outputs to choose from are 50W, 100W and 120W, so you’re really spoiled for choice here! This kit actually comes with a number of added features such as pre-installed solar cables, battery clips and adjustable kickstands.
The durability of this model is off the charts, with low iron tempered glass and metal making up the solar panels, sturdy kickstands and tough latches and a very strong carrying handle. These factors all increase the performance of the solar panel and keep its lifetime long with a reduced likelihood of any part of it faltering or breaking.
- Adjustable kickstands for optimal positioning.
- 3Amp PWM solar charge controller already installed.
- Very durable features such as the latches and panels themselves.
- Super efficient 50W briefcase poly solar panel.
Briefcase Solar Panels for Caravans, RVs, and Trailers - Buyers Guide
Why Choose a Briefcase Solar Panel?
They’re easy to transport for holiday’s and using off the grid
As this type of solar panel can be folded up into a briefcase size, this model is automatically much more portable than other kinds. They often include a handle to allow you to carry them easily and not have to struggle with large folded panels. This also allows them to fit snugly into little spaces so they’re not cluttering up your limited space. Another benefit of this is that they’re less likely to break thanks to sliding around your vehicle while driving.
Depending on what the solar panels are made from, some models are much lighter than others and therefore easier to transport around. However, as long as the handle is durable and you’re ready for a little arm workout, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
It is an ideal solar power solution
If you own your own solar power station or are borrowing one from a friend for your holiday, you’d really benefit from a briefcase solar panel to keep them up and running while experiencing off the grid life. Depending on the brand of your solar power station, there might be an accompanying briefcase solar panel already on the market. However, you can often use any third party option as long as you use the correct adapters.
Briefcase solar panels are brilliant for taking with you on trips where you’re going to be away from mains electricity. The last thing you want is your batteries running flat and your power stations faltering with no back-up plan, and what better piece of contingency equipment to use than one that you can barely even remember carrying?
The stylish and compact design
Perhaps the key feature of briefcase solar panels and the main reason that people tend to choose them, aside from the portability of course, is the compact design and the fact that they can fold down to half their original size. This means that you can get a small and compact solar panel to transport and store easily, but then unfold and reap the rewards of a solar panel which is double the original size.
This makes briefcase solar panels ideal for off the grid excursions as well as keeping just in case. If you’re looking for a power solution to keep in your emergency kit in case you find yourself without power, a briefcase solar panel is an ideal option as you can often store it somewhere and forget it’s there until you need it.
You have various different kinds to choose from
Many manufacturers of solar panels offer the same briefcase design with differing output levels. This is great for holiday makers as they have a great selection to choose from. What’s more is that if you have your heart set on one brand’s variation but desire a higher output, chances are that they’ll be offering just that!
Still, if they don’t offer one of a higher output there is still a great range of other options from different brands to choose from. Essentially, there are so many options available that it would be difficult for you not to find your ideal model to make your life much easier.
Thank you for reading our list of the best ten briefcase solar panels for RVs, caravans and trailers. Anyone who wants to begin getting the most out of the great outdoors and wants to soak up some sunlight energy and create real energy will love any of the options above. They all have differing output levels as well as key features that make them stand out from the rest, so we think it shouldn’t be too difficult to find your favorite model.