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I traveled with a solar panel that's lighter than a MacBook, and it's my new backpack essential

The Jackery SolarSaga 40W mini solar panel is light enough to carry around with ease, and so far, I'm very impressed with its durability and efficiency.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Jackery SolarSaga 40W solar panel
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Jackery SolarSaga 40W Mini solar panel is available on Amazon for $99, which is 24% off the retail price.
  • It's a lightweight and effective solar panel that can be attached to a backpack or vehicle.
  • But it's only compatible with certain Jackery power stations.

Over the years, I've tested many solar panels designed for power stations, ranging from big and bulky to huge and unwieldy. While they're great for charging a power station, they're not exactly practical for carrying around. 

Also: The best portable power stations you can buy: Expert tested

So, how can you harness the power of the sun while you're on the move? Fear not, as Jackery has created a portable solution with the SolarSaga 40W Mini, a solar panel you can attach to your backpack and take with you, harvesting solar energy while hiking, camping, or on the go. 

View at Amazon

Jackery SolarSaga 40W tech specs:

  • Ultra-lightweight design, weighing just 2.6lbs  
  • Four-panel folding design makes it easy to pack and carry
  • Power station charging and direct device charging
  • 23% solar conversion rate
  • Ports: USB-A Output: 5V⎓2.4A, USB-C Output: 5V⎓3A
  • Peak Power: 40W±5%
  • Size:
    Folded: 9.9 × 11.8 × 1.2 in (252 × 300 × 30 mm)
    Unfolded: 40.1 × 11.8 × 0.7 in (1,020 × 300 × 18.5 mm)
  • Weight: 2.6 ± 0.5 lbs (1.2kg ± 0.2 kg)
  • IP68 waterproof water- and dust-proofing rating
  • Wide operating temperature range of -4℉ to 149℉ (-20℃ to 65℃)
  • Comes with: 1 x SolarSaga 40 mini solar panel, 1 x accessories Bag, 1 x DC8020 to USB-C/USB-A adapter, 1 x multifunctional solar charging cable, 2 x carabiners
  • 3-year warranty + 2-year extended warranty

The SolarSaga 40W Mini is a four-panel solar panel with a folded size of 9.9 x 11.8 x 1.2 inches, which unfolds to 40.1 x 11.8 x 0.7 inches. It uses magnetic flaps and press studs to stay securely closed, and features eyelets on each corner for attaching carabiners, allowing you to secure it to items like backpacks or vehicles. 

Weighing just under three pounds, this panel is light enough to attach to a backpack, enabling you to charge your devices while on the move.

Also: I tested the world's smallest power station, and it's a solar-charging beast

Speaking of charging, the panel comes with a detachable power splitter that features dual USB-A/C ports to top up your devices, as well as a separate DC8020 power cord for power stations. There's also a DC8020 to USB-C adapter for power stations that have USB inputs. 

The Jackery SolarSaga 40W Mini folds down small

The Jackery SolarSaga 40W Mini folds down small

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

As for power stations that can be charged with the SolarSaga 40W Mini, Jackery lists the Explorer 100Plus, 240 v2, and the 300Plus power stations as being directly compatible, and notes that you can use a DC8020 to DC7909 converter to make the panel compatible with older power stations such as the Explorer 300 and 500.

Power splitter allows the solar panel to charge power stations and devices

Power splitter allows the solar panel to charge power stations and devices

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's buying advice

Not everyone needs a portable solar panel, but if you're an adventurer who spends a lot of time outdoors and want to harvest solar energy on the move, the Jackery SolarSaga 40W Mini is undoubtedly one of the best portable panels on the market. The panel is high-quality, durable, water and dust resistant, easy to deploy, and works brilliantly. 

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