Gear

Stay Charged: 7 Solar-Powered Camping Essentials

by Carissa Stanz

solar camping gear
Photo: Cameron Kirby

Got sun? Then you’ve got power at the campsite, my friend.

Why bother with limited-capacity chargers, batteries, and fuel when you’ve got solar power on your side?

Opting for solar-powered camping gadgets mean you don’t have to leave camp just to recharge a dead phone or drained battery. It also means you don’t have to worry about packing extra batteries or charging up your power banks before leaving home.

As long as your gadgets can get some sunlight, you’ll have access to a limitless supply of clean, renewable energy.

While charging a phone in the outdoors is typically the first thing that comes to mind, the list doesn’t stop there. There are a plethora of options when it comes to solar-powered camping gear.

From flashlights to stoves, practically all your camping gear essentials come in a solar-powered version. And you know what that means, we’re geeking out about solar power.

If you like the idea of powering up your gear with the sun as much as we do, then you’ll want to take a look at our favorite solar-powered camping gear. Here, you’ll find all the camping essentials that come in a solar-powered version as well as our top picks. 

Flashlight: Goal Zero Torch 250

Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight, Lantern and USB Recharger with Integrated Solar Panel

Powerful and durable, the Goal Zero Torch 250 flashlight is a good gadget to have on hand for lighting up a campsite and general emergencies at home.

Weighing in at 14 ounces, this water resistant solar-powered flashlight features three settings: floodlight, spotlight, and a red emergency light. Turn it on floodlight mode and it’ll put out 70 lumens from the main body. Curious about that rustle in the bushes? Shine the 180-lumen spotlight that direction to see if it’s Sasquatch or a squirrel.

If you used up all your light searching for what goes bump in the night, place the built-in solar powered charger in direct sunlight for 24 hours. Once it’s fully powered, you’ll have up to 48 hours worth of light.

You can also charge via USB or the hand crank method, which delivers two minutes of light for every one minute of cranking. As an added bonus, the flashlight has a USB output port that will charge your phone or tablet.

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Phone Charger: BigBlue 28W Solar Charger

BigBlue 5V 28W Solar Charger with Digital Ammeter Waterproof Foldable Dual USB Ports

When it comes to efficiency, the BigBlue 28W delivers. With three ports, you can plug in your phone and other USB devices and be ready to go in no time.

The BigBlue 28W features waterproof ports and is equipped to handle a wide temperature range, making it equally reliable on scorching days and cold, rainy nights . At 21-ounces, it’s light and compact enough to pack in a daypack without wasting space.

Aside from that, what’s really impressive about this solar powered phone charger is how much bang you get for your buck. Relative to its size, this is a powerful charger.

The BigBlue 28W charges devices fast with its 28W solar panel output. Should your charging get interrupted by a cloud or other solar panel obstruction, the auto-restart powers things right back up again.

Reliable, efficient, and affordable, the BigBlue 28W is ideal for powering up your smartphone and other USB devices around camp.

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Lantern: MPOWERD Luci Pro Outdoor

MPOWERD Luci Pro

The MPOWERD Luci Pro Outdoor is deceptively impressive. At first glance this inflatable solar powered lantern may not look like much, but give it a try and you’ll never camp again without it.

Featuring a maximum output of 75 lumens, the MPOWERED Luci Pro Outdoor 2.0+ offers four different settings: low, medium, high, and flashing. Turn the lantern on the lowest setting and you’ll enjoy up to 50 hours worth of camp light on a single charge.

This solar powered lantern has 10 cool white LEDs that can light up 100 square feet. Place it in the sun for 14-hours to get a full charge, or plug it into a power outlet for a quicker charge before you leave the house. The two-way charging port lets you charge your phone and electronic devices, too.

At 5.5-ounces, the Luci Pro Outdoor is light enough to clip onto a backpack when you’re hiking and compact enough to store when not in use. Waterproof, floatable, and maintenance-free, this solar powered lantern is worth every penny.

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Speakers: Eton Rugged Rukus

Eton Rugged Rukus Rechargeable & Solar Powered Wireless Bluetooth Sound System & Smartphone Charger

With the Eton Rugged Rukus the party doesn’t stop until well into the wee hours of the morning.

This solar-powered speaker works on full blast in direct sunlight. When the sun sets, the volume gradually cranks down for up to eight hours after dark.

After 5-hours of recharging the internal lithium battery, you’ll be ready to rock again. Should you find the clouds put a damper on the campsite jamboree you can opt to charge the speaker via the USB-port.

The Eton Rugged Rukus features dual full-range speakers with Bluetooth connectivity. Select your tunes and plug your phone into the USB outlet to charge at the same time.

Tough and water-resistant, the Eton Rugged Rukus is durable enough to handle the outdoors rambunctious, party-hardy campers.

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Stove: GoSun Grill

GoSun 100533426 Portable Solar Grill

Bake, broil, or steam, the GoSun Grill can cook a tasty camp meal for up to eight campers using nothing more than the power of the sun.

Reaching a max of 500 degrees, this bad boy can cook up dinner in a mere 20 minutes with direct sunlight. Cool to the touch on the outside and piping hot on the inside, this stainless steel grill converts 80% of sunlight into food-cooking heat.

Whether you’re camping in the winter or on a blustery day, temperature and wind won’t impact the grill’s cooking performance. However, keep in mind that cloud coverage will affect the total cooking time.

While we’re fans of the GoSun Sport, the GoSun Grill can cook up to 4-times the amount of food, making it a terrific choice for larger camping groups. Although it certainly is pricer, you’ll never have to buy fuel for this camping stove, which saves you in the long run.

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Shower: Advanced Elements Summer Shower

Advanced Elements Summer Shower

A warm shower is one of those comforts of home you wish you could bring to the campsite. Thanks to a solar powered shower, you can turn that dream into a reality with the surprisingly affordable Advanced Elements Summer Shower.

The Advanced Elements Summer Shower works like this. Fill it up with water and set it out in the sun. Once the solar panels heat up the water, hang the bag from a tree then shower away.

This portable solar shower will give you 3-4 minutes of shower time, which is plenty to rinse off the dirt and grime. For more shower time, consider upgrading to the five-gallon version.

The Advanced Elements 5 Gal Summer Shower may not look like the fanciest solar shower, but it’ll get the job done for an affordable price. It’s easy to fill and use, made with rugged ripstop fabric, and PVC-free.

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Power Bank: Goal Zero Yeti 1400

Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium Portable Power Station

Goal Zero is known for pumping out some high-quality solar gear, so it’s no surprise the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 made the cut. The mother of all power banks, this device shows you the sheer magnitude of what solar power can do.

The Goal Zero Yeti 1400 features a lithium battery that takes anywhere from 14-45 hours to charge when plugged into compatible solar panels. As for the power bank itself, this thing is a beast.

This 1424Wh portable power source has multiple USB ports, a 12-V car port, a 12V power port, and a 120V AC inverter. With all these options, you have more than enough juice to power up just about anything at base camp.

Oh, and before we forget, this noiseless power bank also has WiFi. For all the power sourced comforts of home, the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 is the solar powered power bank to charge up all your camping adventures.

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Want more camping power options? Recharge with the 8 Best Portable Power Options for Camping.

For more camping gear recommendations, take a look at the 8 Best Camping Lanterns and 8 Best Camping Stoves.

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