Starting out on a van life journey can be challenging, especially when it comes to power solutions. In this AllPowers 100w solar panel review, we delve into the world of budget-friendly, foldable solar panels that are popular among van lifers.

Most full time van lifers will have solar panels on top of the roof which is great, but if you are starting out, with not much space in your van a foldable portable solar panel works. In this review of the AllPowers 100w solar panel, i’ll delve into the pros and cons of this popular solar panel to help you make an informed decision.

AllPowers 100W Solar Panel Portability and Durability

One of the standout features of the ALLPOWERS Foldable Solar Panel is its durability. Amazon reviews have praised its robust construction and the nylon weave case means the outside isn’t going to scratch easily to keep it in good condition.

The fluorescent strip adorning the back of the panel certainly means you won’t be reversing or driving over it easily.

The nylon hooks mean yo can hang or tie down the Allpowers Solar Panel
The nylon hooks mean you can hang or tie down the Allpowers Solar Panel

The panel’s support legs provide a decent angle against the sun, but they’re not adjustable and compared to non foldable solar panels, it’s not the lightest panel out there, yet the sturdy handle and nylon rope hooks make it easy to hang on the outside of your van. However, it’s not a fan of rain or dew, so you’ll need to pack it away overnight.

Setup and use

While the panel is generally easy to set up, adjusting it can be a bit of a hassle, especially as the sun’s position changes throughout the day. This could be a minor inconvenience for some, especially those who plan to use the panel for extended periods.

Having a solar panel on the top of your van has its pro’s and cons. Come summer you will find yourself wanting to park in the shade, ergo less solar charging time, in winter you want to be able to adjust the angle of the panel to eek out the daylight charging hours. Nothing is simple in van life.

Efficiency and Output: The Underwhelming Performance.

When it comes to the efficiency and output of the AllPowers 100W solar panel, the results were a bit like a promising movie that didn’t quite live up to the trailer. On the most perfect day possible in the UK, with the sun high in the sky and not a cloud in sight, I was expecting a stellar performance. However, the reality was somewhat different.

Despite the panel being angled perfectly towards the sun, the maximum consistent charging I could achieve for my Eco Flow River 2 was 70W. This was a bit of a letdown, especially considering the panel’s 100W rating.

What made this even more frustrating was the initial performance. In the first 10 minutes of usage, with the panel propped up for optimal sun exposure, I was able to hit 80W of input into my Eco Flow River 2. It was a brief glimmer of hope, but as the day went on, the output dropped and never climbed back up.

I spent a considerable amount of time trying to adjust the angles, rotating the panel to face the sun directly, but it was like trying to squeeze water from a stone. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the output above 70 watts.

This underwhelming performance raises questions about the panel’s efficiency in less than ideal conditions. If the output is this low on a perfect sunny day, what can one expect on an overcast day or during the shorter days of winter? It’s a concern worth considering for anyone planning to rely on this panel for their power needs in a van life setting, particularly if they’re using an Eco Flow River 2 or a similar device.

Overall Thought On the AllPowers 100w Solar Panel

While the ALLPOWERS Solar Panel has many strengths, plenty of cables to get you up and running, a nice protective case, decent carry handle along with fastenings to hang the panel to your van it’s also important to consider its weaknesses.

Inconsistent Pricing

I’m a procrastinator when it comes to purchasing everything and in the 2 weeks of looking for a solar portable panel I’ve seen prices fluctuate massively. I’ve seen panels be priced at £180 but then have a massive 40% discount code which changes seemingly randomly.

The ALLPOWERS Foldable Solar Panel 100W is a robust, and versatile solar panel. Its portability makes it an ok choice for van life portability despite not being waterproof and you’d be taking your chances leaving it over night despite it being few point protected.

Sadly despite my best attempts with optimal conditions I was never able to get anywhere close to 100w of solar input. During sunset and overcast days the AllPowers Panel pulls about 15w.

The lesson learnt here is that although the max input for the Eco Flow River 2 is only 100w from a solar input, I’m going to be sending it back to get a higher rated panel, if only because I know during less than optimal conditions I still have a chance of getting a decent charge.

It’s a testament that this is a lesson learnt with solar panels that I’ll be ordering another ALLPOWERS solar panel. The construction, lending itself to slinging it into the back of the van when setting off, solid and no fuss, there’s plenty of cables to get you going with the most common power stations and it’s as low fuss as you can get.

Pricing and availability

As of 21 June 2023 the AllPower 100w Foldable Solar Panel can be found for £99 with a 15% discount