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REDARC SunPower Solar Blanket

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September 154 minute read

The land of wide open spaces, Australia is truly unique. Point your wheels in one of many directions for long enough, and you will likely end up on adventure truly to remember.

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Efficient and reliable vehicles fitted with long range fuel tanks are amazing pieces of equipment. Combine one of these with an icy cold fridge and modern GPS mapping, and heading off the grid deep in to the unknown has never been more accessible. 

Being on the road for too long makes us really appreciate it when we pull up someplace stunning for a few days. Having a break from driving, and really soaking up the places we have driven so far to experience is a special part of the journey.

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When the vehicle is at rest and the alternator is no longer charging our batteries we need to look at alternatives. The beauty these days is that there are lots of options, and by choosing carefully it’s possible to stay put until the itch to see someplace new returns.

We like to travel light(ish), so for us generators aren’t a practical choice. We also found our old hard style solar panel awkward to pack, which meant we often didn’t get it out when we should have. Its sharp edges were also difficult to pad to minimise both rattles and scratching other gear.

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We’re now using the new SunPower Solar Blanket from REDARC. We have the 150-watt size and there are also 115-watt and 190-watt blankets. It packs small enough to never think twice about bringing it along and the 150-watt size provides all the power we need, and then some. 

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Using the panel is simply a matter of unfolding it, popping it out in the sun and then plugging it in. It can go on the ground, the bonnet, anywhere really. We have a REDARC BCDC Battery Charger in our vehicle, and the beauty of this is the inbuilt solar regulator. We have an Anderson plug wired to the BCDC which is ready to receive the cable directly from the solar panel. REDARC offer a separate regulator with battery alligator connections for those that need it.

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Once in the sun, our panel will happily provide enough power to run our fridge, charge our batteries and leave our vehicles second battery topped up ready for nightfall. Our second battery is large enough that we can power a few cloudy days of less or minimal solar input, so the system works really well for us.

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From the sturdy cable through to the solid construction of the panel, this blanket has an over engineered feel, just the way we like it! Although time will tell, like our other REDARC equipment, the SunPower Solar Blanket seems ready not just for one big trip but many.

To buy or for more information visit REDARC.

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Mike Collister has spent his life outdoors. He has represented Australia as a slalom kayaker, guided whitewater expeditions in Nepal, and taught outdoor education and wilderness medicine. He’s paddled the Kimberley’s Fitzroy River in the wet season and across the Bass Strait and is an avid photographer, overlander and camper.