Buying Guides

The Best Solar Tech for Camping This Summer

Joel Lee 28-06-2016

As with any kind of hobby, camping has purists and non-purists. Purists say that if you’re going to go camping, everything should be as basic and natural as possible, meaning no electronics.


Car camping isn’t “real” camping. For everyone else, camping is just a momentary escape from the stresses of life. It’s all about the change of scenery, the enjoyment of nature, and new experiences. If you’re this kind of camper, solar gadgets can make your time in the woods more convenient and more satisfying. What benefits do they offer?

And that’s just for the outdoors. Solar energy provides all kinds of other benefits when you install them for your home 6 Advantages of Solar Panels You Probably Haven't Considered Solar power is becoming increasingly common among middle class consumers, with more and more people realizing the advantages of solar panels. Read More . That being said, let’s look at a few products that can really come in handy on your next camping trip.

1. Goal Zero Yeti 150

The Goal Zero Yeti 150 is one of the best portable solar generators currently available. We’ve already outlined the benefits of a solar generator over a gas generator Solar Generators vs. Fuel Generators: Which One Is Best for You? Should you choose a solar or gas powered generator for power outages and camping trips? Which is most suitable for which job? Read More before, and for camping, the solar option definitely wins.


This thing is pretty expensive so it’s understandable if it’s outside of your budget, but it packs a punch with its 150 Wh, 14000 mAh capacity. It also comes with three port types: 12V, USB, and AC.


Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator Kit with Nomad 20 Solar Panel Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator Kit with Nomad 20 Solar Panel Buy Now On Amazon

No matter what you have, this will charge it. You just plug the generator to a compatible solar panel and it works, but you can also plug it into a normal outlet which makes it even more versatile as an investment. The only downside is that it isn’t weatherproof.

2. RAVPower Portable Charger

If the above-mentioned Yeti 150 is beyond your price range, or simply way more power than you’d ever need, then the RAVPower Portable Charger may be the next best thing. What I love most about it is the foldable design.



This charger has four panels: three of them have solar cells and the fourth is where the energy is stored. Each panel is about 9.5×6.0 inches in size, and about an inch thick when fully folded. It’s also made with a nylon material that resists water and mold.

With two USB ports, you can charge two devices at once. Mostly useful for smaller devices, like phones and tablets, but very useful for that.

3. Powermonkey Extreme

A third solar charger on this list? You bet. This one is so good that we couldn’t skip it but different enough from the above two that it still warranted inclusion. For maximum portability, go with the PowerTraveler Powermonkey Extreme.



It’s slim, it’s rugged, and it’s waterproof. The solar component has a clamshell design that you open up to start charging, and the charge is stored in a separate battery pack that you can carry around on its own — right in your pocket if you so choose.

The battery also has an LCD screen that shows the current charge level, which is really nice when you’re on a hike for example. It has a USB port and a 12V DC port, which covers a broad range of what you can charge.


4. MPowerd Luci Inflatable Light

If you want beauty and elegant, this may not be the right light source for you, but if you want maximum flexibility and portability, then the MPowerd Luci Inflatable Light will fit the bill.


It’s inflatable — you literally blow into it — which means it’s also collapsible. The light covers approximately 15 sq. ft. and can last between 6 to 12 hours on a single charge depending on which setting you use: bright, super bright, or 1-second flashes.

MPOWERD Luci Outdoor - Inflatable Solar Light MPOWERD Luci Outdoor - Inflatable Solar Light Buy Now On Amazon $24.95

It’s waterproof, submersible, and also comes with a handy strap for carrying by hand or clipping to something else, like a backpack. Best of all? It’s dirt cheap.

5. ErgaLogik Compact Lantern

The MPowerd Luci is understandably not everyone’s cup of tea, so if you want something a little more protected and pleasing to the eye, consider the ErgaLogik Compact Lantern.


It’s tiny (about the size of your palm) and made with a hard protective case. Open it like an accordion to provide light over a radius of several feet and use one of three modes: low, high, and flashing. For times when no sun is available, you can charge it by USB.

Bigfoot Outdoor Products Compact Solar Camping Lantern with USB PowerBank Great for Camping, Hiking & Go Bag - Best Camping Lantern - Best Solar Lantern - Best Emergency Light Bigfoot Outdoor Products Compact Solar Camping Lantern with USB PowerBank Great for Camping, Hiking & Go Bag - Best Camping Lantern - Best Solar Lantern - Best Emergency Light Buy Now On Amazon

But the nifty part is that it also has a USB outlet, which means this compact lantern doubles as a solar battery pack. How cool is that?

6. Suaoki Clover-Style Flashlight

Here’s one more light source that you might like. The Suaoki Clover-Style Flashlight is exactly what it sounds like: three panels that have LED lights on the inside and solar panels on the outside, shaped just like a clover.


With three modes — low, high, and flashing — it’s about as good as the others, but the clover design has wider light coverage and can be “closed” to act as a more focused light source, which can be nice when you need more of a flashlight than a lantern.

SUAOKI Collapsible Clover Style 18 Led Brightest Camping Tent Lanterns for Lighting Lights Flashlight Rechargeable Battery by USB or Solar Charging (Orange) SUAOKI Collapsible Clover Style 18 Led Brightest Camping Tent Lanterns for Lighting Lights Flashlight Rechargeable Battery by USB or Solar Charging (Orange) Buy Now On Amazon

7. Eton Scorpion II Digital Radio

There’s nothing worse than going camping and being caught out in bad weather, which is why the Eton Scorpion II Digital Radio is something that everyone should consider bringing along.


It delivers NOAA Weather Alerts so you’ll always be prepared, but it also picks up on AM and FM just fine so you can listen to talk radio, music, or whatever else is around. But the best part? It’s a multi-functional powerhouse. Charge it in two ways: sunlight or hand crank.

Eton Rugged Multipowered Portable Emergency Weather Radio & Flashlight Eton Rugged Multipowered Portable Emergency Weather Radio & Flashlight Buy Now On Amazon $38.70

On top of the radio features, the Scorpion II also has a built-in flashlight and can charge mobile devices with its USB port. It’s like a digital multi-tool, great for casual campers.

8. Advanced Elements Solar Shower

Here’s one solar product that may appeal more to purists than non-purists: a water bag that you can heat up by setting it out in the sun. The solar elements can heat it up to hotter than ambient temperature.


So the next time you’re on a multi-day camping trip in the true wilderness and you want to take a hot shower, take an Advanced Elements Solar Shower with you. It holds 5 gallons, but a smaller 3-gallon version exists (UK) too.

Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower / Solar Shower,Silver/Black Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower / Solar Shower,Silver/Black Buy Now On Amazon

9. All Season Solar Cooker [No Longer Available]

Why would anyone need a solar cooker while camping? That’s what the campfire is there for, isn’t it? Well, yes, but there are things you can do with a solar cooker that you can’t do so easily with a campfire.


For one, the cooking is more reliable and even. You also don’t get the taste of smoke from a campfire, which can even be dangerous if you’re burning treated wood. But most of all, you can set it and forget it, whereas a campfire requires at least some attention.

The All Season Solar Cooker uses the sun’s rays to cook your food, and the design makes it easy to capture sunlight even as the sun moves across the sky from dawn to dusk. If this one is too big, a smaller version is available.

10. GoSun Sport Solar Oven

The GoSun Sport Solar Oven began as a Kickstarter project and took off once people realized how useful it could be. It’s basically a vacuum tube that you put meats and vegetables inside, then cook using redirected sunlight.


It’s large enough to hold enough food for a two-person meal, it works even in the winter, and it’s quite versatile: bake, steam, boil, and even fry if you’re daring enough. You’ll love it once you start using it.

GOSUN Survival Gear Solar Oven Sun Cooker GOSUN Survival Gear Solar Oven Sun Cooker Buy Now On Amazon $237.00

You might even consider starting with the GoSun Sport Pro Pack, which comes with an extra cooking tray and a durable carrying case for better portability.

Solar Gadgets Are Great for Camping

One reason to go camping is to get out in the sun, so why not make full use of what the sun can do? Harness its energy to charge up your devices, heat up your water, and cook your food — all without any waste or environmental impact.

If you want to get even more serious, you should check out these useful solar gadgets for your home 8 Awesome Solar-Powered Gadgets Every Home Should Be Using Solar power is a free resource that can help reduce your household bills. Here are the best solar-powered gadgets for your home. Read More , including indoor chargers, mounted lights, Bluetooth speakers, and more. And don’t forget about non-solar gear, too. Here are a few camping items that may make your next trip even better 7 Gift Ideas Under $100 for Campers and Hikers Christmas may not be ideal for hiking and camping, but that doesn't mean we can't start preparing for summer. Here are eight awesome gadget gift ideas for lovers of the outdoors. Read More .

What do you think about bringing solar gadgets on a camping trip? Is the convenience worth it or does it defeat the whole purpose of going out? Let us know in the comments below!

Related topics: Camping, Energy Conservation, Gadgets, Solar Energy, Travel.

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