With successful crowdfunding campaigns for all kinds of gadgets, like a solar-powered oven and water boiler and a solar-powered refrigerator that can really generate ice, solar-powered camping technology has made enormous leaps in the last few years. There’s only so much battery power you can bank on and so much you can carry with you when you’re exploring the great outdoors.
For campers, hikers, and other environment lovers, solar power is a useful and sometimes underutilised resource. It’s also a non-depleting resource. Even in wet or overcast conditions, the best solar gear can charge as long as there is some daylight available. For persons who travel alone or on longer off-grid adventures, having a limitless source of electricity is vital.
If something goes wrong, you’ll always have access to a power source so you can see, cook, or call for help. For backyard events, picnics, tailgating, or long days at the beach, solar-powered gadgets can also give a unique party trick. With a cooler that ensures cold drinks even on the hottest summer days, you’ll make a lot of friends.
1. Solar-Powered Camping Lantern
There are many good solar-powered lights and lanterns on the market because they don’t require a large solar panel. They’re a low-cost safety measure for anyone spending time under the stars, whether they’re car camping or trekking. The KYNG Solar Rechargeable LED Lantern is a one-size-fits-all solution that is well worth the minimal expenditure.
The extendable lantern is powered by an internal 800mAh battery that lasts up to 10 hours, and the USB connector may be used to provide a tiny extra charge to mobile devices in an emergency. The lantern features two power settings: high and low, as well as an emergency SOS mode. When you don’t need or want the extra brightness, the low-light option is great for reading or moving around in your tent at night.
The lantern comes with a carabiner so you may hang it from a tree or your tent as needed. It’s not as tough as the more rugged solar lights, but it’s significantly smaller and lighter as a result. When not in use, the lantern weighs around six ounces and compresses to about 23 inches, about the size of a hockey puck.
2. Solar-Powered Battery Pack
On almost any outdoor adventure, a solar-powered battery has a place. They are inexpensive and give a guaranteed lifeline in the event of an emergency. The BLAVOR Solar Power Bank, with five magnetic solar panels, can charge an iPhone X more than five times or an iPad 2-4 times, depending on the model.
The five-panel variant is intended expressly for this purpose, unlike single panel solar power banks that just have solar power as a backup alternative. You can charge Qi-compatible gadgets wirelessly or with a USB cord. The power bank features dual USB-A connections for charging two devices at once, as well as a clip-on compass ring and a built-in flashlight with continuous, SOS, and strobe settings.
The 20,000mAh capacity is remarkable, but it also means that the battery must be exposed to sunshine for 18+ hours to charge from empty to full. Fortunately, you can charge it from a wall socket with the provided USB C cable before leaving home, and then top it off with the sun’s rays.
3. Portable Solar Generator For Camping
Invest in a solar-powered generator for enhanced comfort in the woods. A generator and solar panel combination will set you back at least a few hundred dollars, but it will power just about anything you’d pack on a camping trip. The AIMTOM 155Wh Portable Power Station provides 155 Watt-hours of portable power and charges in 7-9 hours using a solar panel, automobile, or wall outlet.
That’s enough to power 24 iPhone Xs, 3 laptops, or a car fridge for 4 hours. Small home appliances requiring less than 100W, such as fans, laptops, portable televisions, or CPAP machines, can be powered by the 110V AC outlet. The three 5V USB outputs can charge phones, tablets, and cameras, while the three 12V DC outputs can power equipment such as lights, air compressors, and car coolers that are generally powered through your vehicle.
It weighs 3.5 pounds and has a comfortable grip, making it surprisingly portable for what it offers. If you require even more power, there are numerous different models available, each with a larger battery capacity and a higher maximum output. They’re also substantially larger and heavier, which is an unsurprising trade-off.
4. Solar-Powered Speaker
A solar-powered speaker is a unique novelty item that is perfect for camping or beach days. ABFOCE’s Solar Bluetooth Speaker, unlike similar models, includes an IPX6-rated exterior covering that protects it from shock, dust, and water. It can withstand splashes and rain, but it cannot be entirely submerged in water. On a sunny day, 10 minutes of solar charging equals around half an hour of music, and it will charge even while playing.
The speaker’s 5000mAh battery can play music for up to 60 hours after being fully charged via the sun or a wall connection. The 10W speaker, which weighs just over a pound and features a built-in LED flashlight, can also be used as a power bank for small USB devices. Because of the 1-amp maximum output, it won’t charge your phone quickly, but it should still be able to keep it charged.
5. Solar-Powered Camping Cooker
With successful Indiegogo campaigns and more than a dozen solar-powered items, GOSUN has been driving the way in solar camping technology for the past few years. The GOSUN Solar Oven Portable Stove is a compact hardshell case that is suited for solo campers and backpackers. When folded for transport, it weighs two pounds (0.9kg) and measures 14x7x3 inches.
Depending on the quantity of sunshine available, the portable oven can reach 550°F (290°C) and cook meals in as little as 20-30 minutes. With the cooking chamber holding up to 13.5oz/400ml at a time, it may also be used to boil water for warm beverages or dried meals. For couples, families, or groups of friends, GOSUN also produces a larger unit. It’s not quite as portable, though: at 14 pounds, it’s best suited to vehicle camping rather than backpacking.
6. Solar-Powered Cool Box
GOSUN also produces a powerful solar-powered cooler that can generate ice on the spot. The GOSUN Chill Solar Cooler is a large 40-liter cooler with a touchscreen temperature control that can be adjusted between -4 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler has two sturdy wheels and a removable handle, as well as a bottle opener on the side, so you’ll never be without a bottle opener.
It can be charged directly from a wall outlet or DC power cord via a vehicle accessory socket, or the power bank can be charged using solar power via the included panels. At fridge-like temperatures, the detachable power bank lasts 14 hours, or 6 hours if used as a freezer. The ice-free design has a variety of advantages.
There’s no need to prepare or get ice before using the cooler, and there’s no inside space taken up by ice, leaving more capacity for drinks and food. There will be less mess and there will be no possibility of finding soggy sandwiches because there will be no ice. If you need ice, the cooler cools down enough to freeze water, so you can always fill a few ice trays.
7. Solar-Powered Camping Shower Bag
If you’re at a campground, there’s definitely a shower nearby, but warm showers are hard to come by when you’re deep in the woods. Solar showers play a role in this. For several reasons, the Advanced Elements 2.5 Gallon Summer Shower is our favourite. The 2.5-gallon/12-litre capacity bag is only 12 ounces and has a temperature sensor on the side that indicates when the water is ready.
A small mirror, built-in pockets for your shampoo and soap, and velcro straps for hanging a washcloth are among the other useful features. Simply fill the flexible bag with water from a faucet or a river and place it in the sun for a couple of hours to use it. Hang the shower bag at a height over your head when you’re ready to take a warm shower in the middle of nowhere. For couples and groups, a larger size is also available.
Solar-powered equipment is expensive, especially for uncommon items like cookers and refrigerators. That stated, it has the potential to change the way you camp, backpack, or visit the beach. Invest in some solar safety equipment at the very least to ensure you’re never left stranded. Any long or solo outdoor journey should be accompanied by a solar-powered light and battery pack.