Before investing in a good piece of gear like a solar backpack, it makes sense that you want to make sure it will hold up. There are a lot of different rumors, stories, and claims about how solar backpacks handle water. This article is here to answer all of your questions on the topic.
Solar backpacks are water resistant, but not waterproof. The solar panels will not be damaged from water or rain. So it’s perfect fine for solar backpacks to get wet, but as with any pack you don’t want an exposed electronic charging when the rain is pouring down and you’re soaked.
Solar Power Must Be Weather Resistant
Considering that solar power by definition needs to be used outdoors, it seems odd to me that so many people wonder if solar backpacks can handle rain.
Solar backpacks are just as durable as your average backpack and many times even more so. While no backpack is likely to be 100% waterproof, solar packs are almost certainly going to be water-resistant.
KEY POINT: Basically questions about solar backpacks usually revolve around how the panels hold up. Solar panels themselves are waterproof, resilient, and designed to get through any weather!
That being said, it is important to take certain precautions. In the same way you wouldn’t just jam your laptop into a backpack with no raincoat or protective poncho over the top when it was pouring rain outside, you should take all precautions when using a solar pack.
That has to do with water soaking through backpack material, not whether a pack is solar or not.
As for charging electronics while going through rain, if you have a full cover poncho so no rain is getting through then you should be fine.
Believe it or not, the solar backpacks are still pulling in solar energy during cloudy or rainy weather.
The amount being pulled in is much lower than on a sunny day, but the panels are still working to pull what little energy they can even during inclement weather.
This is a pleasant surprise for many people, as is finding out that portable solar panels can charge via LED lights indoors.
But the solar panels you will find on modern backpacks are designed to go through the wear and tear that they will see through everyday life and use.
Solar Power Made Practical Use
Solar power backpacks are meant to be reliable. Because of the long-time negative news campaigns run against solar power decades ago, there’s an unfair (and normally not true) perception of solar as being unreliable.
Which means solar gear needs to work at a higher standard just to get the benefit of the doubt.
So when people ask are solar backpacks reliable the answer needs to be far more enthusiastic than a tepid yes.
This is why many items that are solar powered are built as good or even better than the standard non-solar equivalents.
Your solar backpack will be fine in the rain as long as you take the regular precautions you would with any other backpack.
Quality of Backpack Matters
As with regular backpackers, the quality of the brand of backpack you buy matters when seeing how well your solar backpack will function and hold up.
If you pay for cheap you will get cheap.
The top brand solar backpacks are exceptional. There are even companies that really focus on making solar packs for hikers and backpackers. Obviously these must be able to hold up against inclement weather.
The chances of hiking for three months without getting caught in the rain are going to be next to nothing.
Unless you’re doing a desert hike, in which case you wouldn’t be worrying about how rain proof or water resistant your pack is.
But if you go with a quality solar backpack, you won’t have to worry about that.
We talk about some of our favorite picks for solar backpacks in the “Are solar backpacks reliable?” that we linked to a bit further up.
If you’re lazy the picks basically are (with links to up to date Amazon listings):
- Best Premium Solar Backpack: XD Bobby Tech Anti-Theft Backpack
- Best Outdoor Solar Backpack: ECEEN Solar Backpacking Backpack
- Best Budget Solar Backpack: XTPower Xplorer Camouflage Solar Backpack
A good solar backpack will be water resistant and the solar paneling will be just fine no matter how much the water comes down.
How Resilient Solar Panels Are in Storms: A Personal Experience
We survived the horrific Derecho in Cedar Rapids, IA back in 2020. To put the short summary, including those asking “What the heck is a Derecho?” Imagine a category 3 hurricane at full force for two to three hours slamming into the middle of the Midwest of the United States.
A place not exactly known for hurricanes, to put it mildly.
The city was smashed, and large chunks had no power for three weeks. Virtually every house within five blocks had roof damage. At least the ones that still had roofs.
Ours was undamaged. Even the “I don’t know how much I trust that structure much less roof” garage (which also has some solar panels on it).
Those solar panels were like Viking shields. Terrifying new weather condition unlike any ever seen in Iowa’s history?
Wind, rain, giant tree branches, the panels couldn’t care less.
Granted – those are full scale solar panels for homes and buildings versus the smaller portable solar panels put onto backpacks.
But it goes to show that solar panels in all their forms aren’t considered about rain, sleet, or snow.
If this seems amazing keep in mind they have already developed solar panels that harvest additional energy from rain drops.
As anyone who has watched solar grow over the past 20 years, the technology is only going to continue to get better and better.
The Verdict: Solar Backpacks Work Well in Rain
The only major difference between solar backpacks and regular packs is that the solar packs give you the option of harnessing solar power in order to charge electronics like smartphones, laptops, or tablets.
These will be just as water resistant as most well built backpacks while helping you to keep important electronics charged even when you’re a long way from the nearest charging port.
As long as you stay with the proven dependable solar backpack brands you can rest easy knowing that your solar backpack will function just fine in the rain.