The 120watt 12v solar camping solution for my VW Westfalia

I am very happy with the solar power solution I've adapted for my van camping needs. I can power all my toys!

Last winter I was looking to add enough solar power to my camping rig to power all my gear indefinitely, but not permanently mount it. Folks pretty quickly convinced me that there were lots of problems with the super-foldable panel I was looking at, and so I did a lot more research.

I wanted something that fit well inside the Vanagon in multiple storage locations. Traveling with and without dogs or kids changes the internal configuration quite a bit. The panel had to be durable, and sized big enough to fully top up the 44ah deep cycle "house" battery while also running my fridge and stereo on a decent sunny day. That 80W panel I was interested in last winter wasn't going to do it. I have a giant bass tube. Seriously. Prior owner installed it. GIANT BASS TUBE. Go figure.

Research taught me this: in the world of rugged, well trusted, companies with solid customer service and support, camping solar panels there is Zamp. Zamp makes awesome panels. They are put in frames that can take a pretty good bump when those bumps happen. They have given a hell of a lot of thought to ease of use, user interface and durability.

Zamp's controller is really a huge step up from my prior experiences. It senses different sorts of battery and adjusts charging strategies, notes polarity problems and won't let you miss wire things, and is hinged so you can read it without laying flat in the dirt.

The hinges and stand system are solid, the wiring done with pride. Make sure you buy the correct gauge wire for your size panel! The smaller panels use a thinner, and cheaper, wire as they aren't running as much current.

120watts is the right size for me. The case fits almost perfectly in the back cargo area in several orientations. My dogs can lay down while I drive, and not break the solar panel. Power-wise it does the job we calculated for. I'm running an ARB 37qt fridge, charging all our phones, laptops, tablets and cameras. You can feel my BASS TUBE thump. In the winter, when the sun goes down I've got a full battery.

The ARB fridge freezer is amazing. It is quiet, sips power, and keeps things

I got a solar charging port for one of the VW's external utility boxes. It will be easier to plug solar in there than running it through a cracked window, or trying not to crush the wires in a child slammed door. GoWesty sells this rather nice one.

Neither the ARB or the Zamp kits are the cheapest, but I'm happy I went with better-made stuff on these items. Either of them failing could really ruin a trip.


Zamp Solar 120P Charge Kit via Amazon

ARB 10800352 Fridge Freezer – 37 Quart via Amazon