The 12 Best Pieces of Solar-Powered Camping Gear for Your Next Camping Trip
A camping trip is a revitalizing activity for family and friends. However, a lot has changed from the old days where we had to settle with a radio and our camping equipment. Today, we can experience the good things about camping without the downside or troubles of staying in the wild with no nearby source of power.
In the digital era, we need to stay connected with friends and family to share those valuable moments and to stay alert to any possible emergencies. We’re showing you the best solar-powered camping gear of 2020. By including these devices in your camping list, you will not suffer again from lack of light, no power, or hot water.
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The Best Products
1. Jackery Explorer 240 Solar Generator
A solar generator for camping is something that shouldn’t be missing in your camping gear.
The Jackery Explorer 24 is one of the best options among the available products online. This compact and lightweight generator is equipped with a 240Wh (16.8Ah/14.4 V) lithium-ion battery pack that can easily be charged in the wild using camping solar panels.
The Jackery Explorer 240 has battery capacity for charging laptops, camping lanterns, mini-coolers, drones, USB devices (two A-USB ports with 5V/2.4A available), and even larger electronics. The generator features a pure sine wave inverter with an AC outlet of 110V/200W maximum output power with up to 400W surge power capacity.
Besides solar panels, the Jackery Explorer can also be charged with other sources like a wall outlet (7h to charge) or the DC carport (7h to charge). Finally, one of the most noticeable assets of the Jackery Explorer is that it has a built-in MPPT solar charge controller, which optimizes charging from solar cells.
2. Renogy 100-watt 12 Volt Portable Solar Panel
The Renogy 100-watt 12 solar suitcase is a state-of-the-art piece of equipment that suits the needs for every camping experience.
The Renogy suitcase includes a convenient storage case perfect for easy transportation. Inside, you will find two IP66 waterproof 50W 12V monocrystalline solar panels with a folding design that makes it lightweight and compact. You will get the power from a large portable solar panel, but it is comprised into half the size when carrying. Moreover, the solar panel integrates an adjustable and corrosion-resistant aluminum kickstand that allows you to place the module anywhere and allows you to set the most optimum tilt-angle depending on your location.
This product already integrates a Renogy Voyager charge controller, a waterproof PWM charge controller rated to provide up to 20A and perfect for camping trips. This charge controller features an LED bar for charge state signal, along with an LCD that allows you to interact with the device to charge lithium, AGM, GEL, and other battery types at 12V.
3. Goal Zero Nomad 7 Portable Solar Charger
A small portable solar charger is among the most valuable solar camping gadgets. While leaving your charging stations back with the RV, car, or tent, you can go and explore nature while carrying a reliable source of power with you. That is the Goal Zero Nomad 7.
The Goal Zero Nomad 7 uses the power of the sun to charge 12V and USB devices (except for tablets) which can include smartphones, GPS, and MP3 players. The nominal power of this solar charger is 7W.
The portable charger is designed for the outdoors with a strong and rugged cover that is both foldable and weather resistant. You don’t need to carry it in your hand or wait for it to charge standing in a single place; instead, you can hang it on your backpack and continue moving through the mountain, beach, or lake while it is charging your electronic devices.
As long as the solar cells are exposed to the sun, you will easily charge your phone. However, keep in mind that cloudy days can greatly affect performance.
4. ACOPOWER 120W Camping Solar Panel
The ACOPOWER 120W is another excellent portable choice to include in your solar power camping gear.
The kit integrates a set of three foldable solar panels, which provide a maximum power output of 120W when combined. A unique feature of this model is that it has been designed using Sunpower (one of the best solar companies in the world) Maxeon technology, which allows it to reach up to a 25% efficiency, one of the highest in the world.
Moreover, the solar panel camping gear also includes a 10A LCD charge controller with removable MC4 connector cables (needed to plug the solar panel) and alligator clamp cables (needed for batteries). This pre-wiring allows for a quick set-up that can be done in just a few minutes.
This charge controller also includes two USB 5V/2.4A output ports, which you can use to charge your phone or related devices. Using this charge controller, you will be able to charge sealed, deep cycled, GEL, or AGM technologies while avoiding overcharging and discharging issues; thus, extending your battery life.
5. Goal Zero Torch 250 Solar Flashlight
This solar charged flashlight is one of the solar gadgets for camping that you must consider, especially if you like the nocturnal experience.
Designed with a built-in solar panel, this water-resistant flashlight is charged by exposing the cells to direct sunlight, then providing up to 250 lumens during the night. It doesn’t only provide light, but it can also charge smartphones thanks to its integrated USB output cable. With its 4400mAh lithium battery, the product can charge a smartphone and provide light simultaneously.
Moreover, it can also work as a solar powered lantern as it has two different light sources. Not only can it get charged with solar, but it can also be charged with a hand crank. If you ever find yourself in an emergency and forgot to charge your flashlight, you will still be able to get some light. The Goal Zero Torch 250 also includes a red emergency light to indicate nearby people that you need help.
The best thing about this portable power source is that it can run for 48 hours with a full charge.
6. Goal Zero Guide 10 Solar Power Bank
This product includes a four-pack of AA rechargeable batteries, which allow you to recharge your cell phone 1 to 3 times per charge. However, it is not only intended for charging smartphones, but also for iPads and tablets as well. All of this is possible thanks to its 2300mAh/11Wh battery capacity.
Moreover, this high-quality solar powered charger is an energy efficient device that can run up to 20 hours of light for the built-in LED flashlight using a single full charge. The power bank features a USB port through which you can connect your electronic devices or charge the Guide 10. It also has a port for solar energy that you can connect to a compatible solar panel. One suitable model is the Nomad 7 solar panel that we mentioned earlier in the list. It would take only 3 hours to charge it completely with this model.
The Guide 10 power bank also has an adapter to use AAA batteries if you have them.
7. LuminAID Lantern
The LuminAID Lantern is a simple yet beautiful addition to your solar powered camping equipment. This product is a solar powered camping lantern that features multiple brightness settings, making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor experiences.
Based on LED technology, the inflatable solar lantern has a lightweight and collapsible design that allows it to fit almost anywhere. The design is waterproof with an IP67 rating, meaning that every electrical component for the cells is protected against water and dust.
One of the most valuable things about this solar lantern is its aesthetic and inflatable design, which can provide a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere when combined with a bright white light. Its 50-75 lumen output capacity also makes a valuable source of light in case of emergencies. It has great portability, as it is easy to carry, hang, or place anywhere for quick illumination.
If you want to provide a more colorful or relaxing atmosphere, the LuminAID is also available in multi-color and warm white light modalities.
8. Advanced Elements 3 Gallon Solar Shower
If you have gone camping, you know how hard it can be to find a hot water source to take a shower, many times leaving you no alternative but to take a shower with cold water. If this is something you don’t like about camping, you should get an outdoor solar shower kit.
Advanced Elements 3 Gallon brings this camping solar shower with a 3-gallon capacity intended to heat water using solar energy. The product has a fill valve that you can easily twist to fill the shower with water from a nearby source. It also features a water temperature gauge and a four-layer construction that provides insulation and concentrates heat inside.
The product has a rubber handle for easy carrying and allows you to hang the shower in any nearby tree for you to turn on the showerhead and move the hose as needed.
9. ECEEN Hiking Solar Backpack
No camping gear is complete without a waterproof solar backpack. This item is essential to carry everything you need for your experience, from your meal to your electronic devices.
The ECEEN Hiking Solar Backpack has been designed with nylon and polyethylene, including multiple pockets and compartments for maps, documents, and other essential gear. Its size, weight, and space availability make it perfect for outdoor activities such as backpacking, trekking, fishing, or biking.
What differentiates it from other backpacks is it integrates high-efficiency Sunpower solar cells with a 22% efficiency and a 7W power capacity. These cells are built into a protective and anti-scratch hardened coating sewn into a high-wear PVC fabric, making it resistant to harsh weather conditions and ensuring durability of the backpack and panel.
The built-in solar panel also has an integrated 5V USB port that allows you to charge multiple devices such as cell phones, Bluetooth speakers, MP3 players, GPS, and more.
10. Kaito KA500 Emergency AM/FM/SW Solar Powered Radio
The Kaito KA500 radio is already synchronized with the seven weather channels pre-programmed and numbered from 1 to 7. The model is certified as a NOAA emergency radio with a wide and comprehensive broadcast coverage that includes AM, FM, SW1, and SW2 frequencies.
The radio works with AA batteries, but it features a 180-degree adjustable solar panel that provides power for the radio every day (even if no battery is available), making it perfect for the outdoors, where there is low availability of power sources.
It works as a radio and features a USB output port that can be used for mobile phone charging. Moreover, it also includes an LED flashlight that can be switched with a red SOS beacon light and offers a 5W-LED reading lamp.
These radios can also be powered from a hand crank or an AC/DC wall charger.
11. Citizen Men’s BM8180-03E Solar Watch
Other useful devices not only for camping trips but also for daily life are waterproof watches. Particularly, the Citizen Men’s BM8180-03E watch is one of the most elegant yet resistant models available.
The Citizen watch for men is based on Eco-Drive technology, which uses a small solar cell that allows to capture and convert light in any form, whether it is from direct sunlight or even artificial light to store energy inside integrated rechargeable batteries.
Using a single full charge, the batteries can power the internal mechanism for nearly six months of use, even stored in a dark place.
The Citizen watch has been designed for an active lifestyle with a stainless-steel case. Moreover, the watch features an analog display with quartz movement and three luminous hands and markers.
The watch is water-resistant up to 333 feet, meaning that you can keep your watch on while swimming or even snorkeling.
Finally, to set the time, all you need to do is adjust the watch’s hands to the desired time. Although, if you need a more accurate time, then you must look for atomic solar watches.
12. Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Solar RV Kit
Finally, we must never forget the importance of having a power source for your RV, which is essential in many camping trips. In this matter, solar panel camping gear is the answer.
One of the most recognized solar companies in the field is Renogy, which is why we are selecting the Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts panel as a valuable option in any RV solar power kit. This product is designed with monocrystalline technology suitable for many off-grid applications such as RVs, yachts, camping, or even your own rooftop off-grid system.
This solar panel model has 100W output suitable for 12V operation systems. The cell efficiency is 21%, among the highest according to current market standards. Moreover, it has an IP65 waterproof junction box and IP67 solar connectors, making this model suitable for yacht applications. The module also has a positive tolerance (0-3%) and withstands up to 2400Pa for wind loads and 5400 for snow loads.