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The Simplest #VanLife Solar Set Up

By Dennis Marshall June 06, 2019

In this article, we are going to go over the simplest solar set up for living the #vanlife.  A plug and play system with all the parts and pieces you need so that you can have power and freedom wherever you are. 

 

What you can run:

 

  • 12V fridge
  • Roof vent/fan
  • LED lighting
  • Charge all your laptops, phones, cameras and batteries
  • Can run smaller appliances; power tools, kettle, blender etc

 

Have you been watching youtube videos and following along with beautiful instagram accounts for #vanlife.  Have you been fantasizing about buying a a Sprinter, Promaster or even a Westfalia and hitting the road?  Well, you’re not alone.  Thousands of people have been fantasizing and dreaming about doing the same.  Freedom on the road and the ability to go wherever and do whatever is what most of us can only dream about.  The difficult part of trying to figure out the #vanlife is how to have power when you’re away from the city.  You want the freedom to be away from civilization, but you want the creature comforts of home as well. 

 

You’ve probably done your research and seen DIY Solar set ups on multiple van builds.  100 to 1000 watts of solar panels on a van roof gives them a seemingly endless supply of power, and you think....that’s not too hard.  I can buy some panels and install them on the roof.  But that’s not all there is to do, is it?  How do you convert the solar energy into useable power?  Well now you’re going to need an inverter.  You've seen inverters from 500 watts to 5000 watts, which one do I need?  A 1000 watt inverter might do, sure, but I also need to store the energy somehow, so now you’ll need some batteries and a charge controller to regulate that.  How to I connect all these pieces together and which parts and pieces should I buy?  Do I need 10 gauge wire?  What is a shunt and a fuse?  All of a sudden the #vanlife feels super far away again. 

 

Welcome to the Ultimate Vanlife Complete Solar Kit we’ve put together which includes only the necessary parts and pieces from Inergy.  You’ve probably heard about Inergy already, and if not you can learn more about their new portable and lightweight solar generator here.  Inergy has 3 standard kit options, none of which are necessarily right for the first time #vanlifer.  We have put together a van life kit that will power all the essentials.  Recharge all your camera’s, phones, laptops and extra battery packs; run a fridge, fan or even power tools.

 

Of course, you can always build your own DIY solar set up, and if you have the knowledge, skills and tools, we encourage you to do so!  We sell DIY solar kits for this purpose which you can learn about here.  We also sell individual parts and pieces if you know what you need.  However, we know that not all customers are interested in this option.  There are many of us who simply want to order a kit that they can put in their van and be ready to go.  If this is something you’re looking for, this is the article for you.

 

What the kit includes:

 

  • 2 x 100 watt solar panels (flexible or rigid)
  • 1 x Portable solar generator
  • 1 x Car charger
  • 2 x LED chainable lights
  • All necessary wiring cables

 

Link to Rigid Panel Vanlife Ki  |   Link to Felxible Panel Vanlife Kit  |   Link VanLife kit w/ NO panels

  • * Discount code: vanlife *

 

The Apex solar generator is the latest version of the original Kodiak generator from Inergy.  The Kodiak was an absolute fan favourite with hundreds of people using the generator to power their van's already.  You can watch videos like this one of how the Kodiak has been used very successfully in van life endeavours already.

 

The Apex has taken everything that the Kodiak did well and upgraded it.  We have a more in-depth article here which goes over the pros and cons.  But what is important for van life are a few things.   

  1. 1.  It has (6) standard plugs so that you will be able to recharge and use everything that you need. 
  2. 2.  It has (2) 12 volt DC outlets so you can use DC appliances no problem
  3. 3.  It has (4) USB plugs; (2) of which are USB-C for faster charging
  4. 4.  Its super small and portable; in fact it weighs only 25 lbs which means it doesn't add unnecessary weight to your vehicle and it doesnt take up much space either.  
  5. 5.  It has a 1100wH lithium battery that lasts 2000 cycles or around 10 years, so you can count on it lasting longer than your van will!  

 

In the kit we have included (2) 100 watt solar panels because that is generally the most space a van roof can handle.  If you have more space on the roof of your van you can add on more rigid or flexible panels if you like, but 200 watts of solar panels on the roof is a very nice amount for standard van life. 

 

In the case of multiple days of overcast or foggy weather, we have included the car charger as well.  This will allow you to plug it into the 12V cigarette lighter in your vehicle and charge the Apex while you’re driving.  As long as you are cooking on a propane stove and doing most of your heating of food with gas/propane, then your Apex will be able to last you multiple days without direct sunlight.  The car charger is your backup option when the sun isn't co-operating.

 

We have included 2 sets of chainable LED lights which will be more than enough to light up the entire space of your van.  They are super efficient, using just 6 watts an hour and cover a 20 foot radius each.  They are a must have for your van life aspirations.  More lights can be added if you like since they are chainable, but in our experience 2 sets is more than sufficient.  

 

This kit will have everything you need in order to power your essentials while off the grid.  Keep food cold, electronics up and running and lights on.  It's lightweight, portable and easy to use.  You have the option of adding on external batteries to the Apex as well which can create a bigger battery bank if this is something you need.  You can also add on up to 500 watts total of solar panels as your needs increase.  Its expandable while being plug and play.  Hundreds of customers already use this set up for their vanlife adventures.  We hope you enjoy your kit as much as they do!

 

If you have any other questions or concerns you can reach us at 877-242-2792 or e-mail at info@shopsolarkits.com.  You can also reach out to our live chat on the website.


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