Calgary, Alberta-based Off Grid Trek offers a host of solar solutions for adventurers’ power needs, including various solar blankets.
Unlike bulky rigid solar panels, a solar blanket is flexible, can be unfolded for power, and stowed in a compact, ready-for-travel configuration when not in use. The latest version of this overland-ready power panel is the Off Grid Trek 300W Solar Blanket.
This 300W Solar Blanket is designed to power a variety of power stations such as Ecoflow Delta Series, Jackery, some Goal Zero products, Bluetty, and many others. When folded up, it’s about the size of a laptop computer. The 300W Solar Blanket is designed to work with full or partial sunlight, even in rain or snow. Off Grid Trek says SunPower Gen 3 Maxeon cells are employed on its 300W Solar Blanket, which allows for the most energy absorption. It will charge 12V or 24V batteries as well as multiple USB devices. This means it’s great for fridge/freezers, lights, charging multiple electronics, and more.
Weighing in at 13.2 lbs., the 300-watt blanket includes six reinforced grommets and six aluminum carabiners to secure it in place, whether that’s on a vehicle’s windscreen, roof rack, or staked down on the ground.
The solar blanket has a built-in voltage regulator on the back housing two USB-A, one USB-C port, and one DC18V output with 8” cable and an Anderson connector, and a new waterproof cover. The ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) integrated laminated blanket is also anti-reflective, scratch-resistant, and waterproof with a rubberized feel.
Compact When Stowed, The Right Size When Open
Folded up, this solar blanket is 11.4” x 12.2” x 4.3” and comes with a camouflage exterior, similar to Multicam camo. There’s a protective flap with Velcro to guard against the blanket flopping open; it also covers the integrated ports and power cord. At just 13 lbs., it’s lightweight and portable; we keep ours in our own carry bag. Off Grid Trek says comparable units can weigh 3–4 times as much. The compact size can be packed away easily.
Unfolded, the blanket is 80.7” x 34.1” x 0.15”. This size happens to be nearly the exact dimensions of our van’s Front Runner Outfitters roof rack. Using the built-in grommets, I was able to secure the blanket to the rack using the included carabiners and my bungee cords. If this is too big for your likes, the Off Grid Trek 220W solar blanket is slightly smaller, but also less powerful.
Using The 300-Watt Off Grid Trek Solar Blanket
Since we have our solar generator inside the van, we purchased an optional extension for the blanket’s Anderson plug, allowing us to run power from the roof, down through our van’s window and to the solar generator.
Off Grid Trek’s 300W Solar Blanket is one of the more powerful units of its kind, with up to 11.9 amps on sunny days. In full sun, our solar generator was always charging and at an impressive rate. Even during overcast times, the blanket was still putting out power to our solar generator.
After a few days camping in a dusty environment, the blanket had a fine layer of dirt on it. We simply wiped the panel off with a microfiber cloth to clean it. FYI, the blanket is waterproof and can get wet.
Next, we folded the blanket up. Since it has a number of panels (20 to be exact), care must be taken to fold the blanket up correctly. It only goes one way, but it’s sort of like a paper map, there’s a learning curve to getting it right. You’ll want to make sure it’s correctly folded or it may damage the blanket.
Great For Off-Grid Adventures and Camping
We used the 300W Off Grid Trek Solar Blanket during the NW Overland Rally and BC Overland Rally last summer, as well as trips to the Oregon coast. Since the van wasn’t moving much over the pair of four-day rallies, we’d unplug our fridge/freezer and run our it off the solar generator, which was being recharged by the 300W Off Grid Trek Solar Blanket during the day. During full sun—and at the right angles—this easily kept our generator topped off and our fridge humming along. We also charged our phones, laptops, and headlamp batteries. Off Grid Trek states the panel offers up to 24.5% efficiency, while others offer only around 15%. Since ours was strapped to the van’s roof, we didn’t move the blanket for optimal solar absorption. Even so, it kept our generator topped off.
In the evening, we’d continue to run the fridge off the generator. We’d also plug in phones to be charged overnight. Once the sun came out the next day, the solar generator would start to recharge again. Keep in mind, there are also ports directly on the panel if you wanted to charge devices using USB-A or USB-C when not, you know, on a van’s roof.
The best thing about having this kind of power setup is you never have to worry about whether your vehicle’s battery is going to become depleted, or if your fridge will stop working because of a low battery on the car. You can also get products that will attach the panel directly to your vehicle’s battery to keep it topped off if you don’t have a solar generator.
This is a premium product, and you’ll pay accordingly at $1,987.99. However, it has that built-in USB outlets that is powerful and efficient. It’s also sold by a company that supplies its products to the Canadian military. Plus, if space is at a premium and you’re looking for a lightweight and portable solution, this is an excellent option.
Overall: A Compact Powerhouse
We’ve used Off Grid Trek’s panels before and always liked them. The new, powerful 300W version is a bit bigger and more powerful than the previous 220W, for example. There are very few downsides with these solar blankets, other than they can have a learning curve to put them away, they might not be as easy to move once set up as a solid panel, and they’re not cheap. But if you’re after a compact, powerful, and high-quality flexible solar array, the Off Grid Trek 300W Solar Blanket should be on your shopping list.