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.
When you’re out enjoying the great outdoors, you can only rely on a certain amount of battery power and carry only so much. For campers, hikers, and other environment lovers, solar electricity is a useful and sometimes underutilized 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.
These are the best solar-powered camping equipment available right now, no matter where you use them.
There are several high-quality solar-powered lights and lanterns on the market that don’t require a large solar panel. They’re a low-cost safety precaution for anyone spending time beneath 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 some of 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.
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 PN-W09 Solar Power Bank, with five fold-out solar panels that charge the 20,000mAh battery, is a good choice.
This five-panel solar power bank is intended exclusively for solar charging, unlike single panel solar power banks that simply have solar power as a backup option. The panels are magnetically attached to the battery, allowing you to remove them and use the battery alone as needed.
The 20,000mAh capacity is amazing, allowing you to charge the latest iPhones roughly five times or an iPad at least twice, but it also means that charging the battery from empty to full takes 18+ hours of sunlight.
Fortunately, you can charge it from a wall outlet with the provided USB C cable before leaving home, and then top it off with the sun’s rays.
Invest in a solar-powered generator for enhanced comfort in the woods. A solar panel and generator combo will set you back a few hundred dollars, but it can power just about anything you’d pack on a camping trip.
The Jackery Explorer 160 Solar Generator provides 167 Watt-hours of portable power after a five-hour charge from a solar panel, automobile, or wall outlet. That’s around 16 iPhone charges, 1.5 laptop charges, or ten hours of LED camping light use.
Small home gadgets requiring less than 100W, such as fans, laptops, or CPAP machines, can be powered by the 110V AC outlet. The three 5V USB outputs (1 USB C, 2 USB-A) can charge phones, tablets, and cameras, while the 12V DC output can power items like lights, air compressors, and car coolers that are generally powered through your vehicle.
For what it offers, it’s remarkably portable: the generator weighs four pounds, and the 60W solar panels add another 6.6 pounds. Both devices include a convenient carry handle on the top that makes loading and unloading from the car or moving about your campground a breeze.
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. We previously tested one of this generator’s big brothers and were very satisfied.
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. It won’t charge your phone rapidly, but after a few hours, it should be able to fully recharge it.
With a number of successful Indiegogo projects and a large assortment of solar-powered gear, GoSun has been pushing the way in solar camping technology for the past few years. One of the most intriguing is the company’s solar oven, which promises to cook food or boil water without the use of fuel or fire.
The Go model is the tiniest and lightest in the lineup, and it’s ideal for solo campers and hikers. When not in use, the oven folds up into a small hardshell box that weighs two pounds (0.9kg) and measures 14 x 7 x 3 inches when folded for transport.
It can reach temperatures of up to 550°F (290°C), which allows it to cook meals in 20-45 minutes, depending on the type of food and amount of sunshine available. With the cooking chamber holding up to 13.5oz/400ml at a time, it can also be used to boil water for warm beverages or dried meals.
GOSUN also produces a few other versions for when you’re traveling with a group. With a capacity of 39oz/1100ml, the Sport cooks 2-3 meals at once and has somewhat shorter cooking times. It is seven pounds in weight.
The Fusion, the largest unit, is a massive beast made for families or groups of friends. It’s designed for automobile camping, not backpacking, and weighs 14 pounds and is 23′′ x 13′′ x 13′′. It’s a hybrid model, which means it can also be powered by your vehicle’s 12v accessory port if the sun isn’t shining brightly enough. Cooking time is up to an hour, although it can manage 4-5 meals at once.
GOSUN also creates remarkable solar-powered refrigerators that can make ice in the middle of nowhere and keep things cold indefinitely as long as you have access to electricity.
You can choose between two chill levels: Chill and Chillest. The Chillest differs from the other in that it has two independent cooling zones, allowing you to manufacture ice in one and use the other for conventional refrigeration in the other. It’s either one or the other with the Chill’s single zone.
In either case, the touchscreen controls allow you to choose a temperature between -4 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The 40 or 45L cooler has two sturdy wheels and a pullout handle, as well with a bottle opener on the side, so you’ll never be without a bottle opener.
It can be powered directly from a wall outlet or DC power cord via a vehicle accessory socket, or its power bank can be charged with solar power using the included panels. A single charge should last roughly ten hours, though this varies greatly depending on how you use it.
There are several advantages of not requiring ice to operate. Obviously, no bags of ice are required prior to usage, and no interior space is squandered, giving more capacity for drinks and food. There will be less mess and less risk of soggy sandwiches because there will be no ice.
Make your own ice for your drinks if you want it!
If you’re at a campground, there’s certainly a shower nearby, but hot water is 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 favorite. 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 said, it has the potential to change the way you camp, hike, 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.