Overlanding can take you to some of the most remote and beautiful places on earth, but it also means being self-sufficient and prepared for any situation. One of the biggest challenges of overlanding is how to generate and conserve power and water while on the trail. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best off-grid power and water solutions for overlanding, and how to choose the right ones for your trip.
Generating power on the trail
One of the most important things to consider when planning an overlanding trip is how you will generate power for your essential electronics and appliances. There are several options to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Solar panels: Solar panels are a popular off-grid power solution choice for overlanders because they are relatively lightweight and easy to install. You can mount solar panels on the roof of your vehicle or on a portable stand, and they provide a steady stream of clean, renewable energy. The biggest downside of solar panels is that they only generate power during the day, so you’ll need to have backup power sources for nighttime use.
To maximize the amount of energy your solar panel system generates during the day, there are a few steps you can take.
First, make sure you position and orient your solar panels properly. You should angle your solar panels towards the sun, with the angle and direction depending on your location and the time of year. This will ensure that the panels are receiving the maximum amount of sunlight, and are generating the most power.
Next, consider using a solar charge controller to optimize the charging of your batteries. A solar charge controller prevents overcharging and over-discharging of your batteries and can improve the overall efficiency of your solar panel system.
You can also increase the number of solar panels in your system to generate more power. By adding more panels, you’ll be able to capture more sunlight and generate more electricity. However, keep in mind that adding more panels will also increase the weight and size of your system, so you’ll need to balance your power needs with the space and weight limitations of your vehicle.
In addition to these steps, regular maintenance and cleaning of your solar panels can also help to increase their efficiency. Over time, dust, dirt, and other debris can build up on the panels, reducing the amount of sunlight they are able to capture. By regularly cleaning your panels, you can remove this build-up and ensure that they are operating at peak efficiency.
We use a foldable 100w solar panel for our trips which is very easy to use. One of the best things about the panel is its durability. It has a sturdy construction and can withstand the elements, making it perfect for outdoor use. I’ve used it in all kinds of weather, from sunny to rainy, and it has performed exceptionally well. The 100W foldable solar panel also has the ability to connect to a battery system. This makes it even more versatile, as it allows me to store the power that it generates for later use.
One of the things that I love about the 100W foldable solar panel is that it doesn’t require any permanent installation. This makes it perfect for people like me who don’t want to mount solar panels on top of their vehicle but still want to use solar power on the go. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the 100W foldable solar panel. It has made my outdoor adventures much more convenient and enjoyable. We’ve got one similar to this one.
Generator: A portable gasoline or diesel generator can provide a reliable source of power, but it can be noisy and produce emissions. Generator fuel can also be heavy and difficult to transport, especially if you’re planning a long trip.
Battery-powered systems: Some overlanders opt for battery-powered systems, which use deep-cycle batteries to store electricity. These systems can be charged using solar panels, a generator, or even a vehicle alternator. Battery-powered systems can be more efficient and quieter than generators, but they can be heavier and require regular maintenance. As stated above, we use this kind of system in combination with our foldable solar panel.
Storing and conserving power on the trail
Once you’ve generated power on the trail, you’ll need to have a way to store it for use later. This is where deep-cycle batteries come in, like the one we are using. Deep-cycle batteries are designed to be discharged and recharged repeatedly, making them ideal for overlanding. They come in different sizes and capacities, so you’ll need to choose the right one for your needs.
To conserve power, you can use energy-efficient appliances and electronics, and turn off any unnecessary devices when they’re not in use. You can also use a power inverter to convert the direct current (DC) power from your batteries into the alternating current (AC) power that most appliances and electronics use. This can be more efficient than using a generator, as it allows you to use the power from your batteries directly.
Collecting and purifying water on the trail
Water is another essential resource for overlanding, and you’ll need to have a plan for collecting and purifying it on the trail. There are several options to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
The easiest way to collect water is to bring it with you in jugs or containers. You can fill up at designated water sources, such as campgrounds or towns, and store it in your vehicle for use later. This is a simple and reliable option, but it can be heavy and take up valuable space in your vehicle.
Always be cautious: If you’re planning to collect water from natural sources, such as rivers or lakes, you’ll need to purify it before drinking. It’s definitely not a great situation when you’re getting ill far away from the civilized world. There are several water filtration systems on the market, ranging from simple straw filters to more complex gravity-fed systems. These systems can remove bacteria and other contaminants from the water, making it safe to drink. We are using a filtration system similar to this one.
Overlanding Water Storage
Once you’ve collected and purified your water, you’ll need a way to store it. Water storage solutions for overlanding range from simple jugs and containers to more complex tanks and bladders. The right solution for you will depend on the size of your vehicle and the length of your trip. Be sure to choose a durable and leak-proof option, and regularly clean and maintain your water storage system to prevent contamination.
In conclusion, overlanding can be an amazing adventure, but it also requires careful planning and preparation. Generating and conserving power and water are two essential aspects of overlanding, and there are several off-grid solutions to choose from. Solar panels, generators, and battery-powered systems are all viable options for generating power on the trail, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Water can be collected and purified using jugs and containers, filtration systems, or desalination systems, depending on your location and needs. And if you’re running low on water, there are steps you can take to conserve and extend your supply. By being prepared and having the right gear, you can have a successful and enjoyable overlanding trip.
If you enjoyed this article, maybe you find this post interesting as well: Top 10 must have gear for every offroad trip