Camping season is upon us, and that means it’s time to dust off that old gear and get things packed up. When we do that, though, we often find stuff that isn’t looking so great anymore. Time to go shopping for new gear!
Besides needing a great cooler and high-quality tent, there are a few camping gadgets that will make your next trip more comfortable, convenient, and enjoyable. Solar powered options are some of the best ways to go when it comes to primitive camping and portability. Plus, saving money along the way is always great.
These are our top six picks for eco-friendly, convenient camping gear that just makes life better.
1. Solar Powered Generator: The Goal Zero Yeti 400
Not every situation calls for a generator, but when you’re going with an RV, setting up a large campsite, plan to stick around for a while, or otherwise need more electrical power than a small power bank can offer, you’re looking for the best solar generator.
Of course, there are hundreds around, so picking it might be difficult. You’ll need to keep in mind the number of things you’re powering, how much juice they need, and so on.
For general purposes, our recommendation is the Goal Zero Yeti 400. It’s moderately lightweight and compact – meaning it’s super portable – and powers up reasonably quickly on a 90W panel. The generator has a super long-lasting battery – and holds the charge up to three inactive months – and offers direct USB ports for charging up anything on the spot without messy cords and additional equipment.
Bonus: You can charge it up ahead of time to guarantee you’re ready to go even if you’re not able to charge via sunlight. Just plug it into an AC or DC outlet and you’re good to go.
2. Solar Power Bank for Charging Electronics: The Beartwo Portable Solar Charger
If you’re on the trail for a day or just need to charge up your phone on the go, a solar power bank is your best bet. The best power bank to grab is the Addtop Portable Solar Charger.
What’s great about this power bank is that it’s compact and easy to carry, lightweight, and easy to use.
It’s got “extra” solar panels beyond a standard smartphone sized charger, meaning it charges faster and has more power for charging additional devices. In fact, this one charges up to nine devices before needing to be charged again itself.
It offers two USB ports for charging and has a built-in LED flashlight. The flashlight works on standard mode, SOS, or strobe.
The Addtop is waterproof, has built-in auto-off to prevent overcharging of electronics, and comes with a 12-month warranty.
3. Solar Powered Camping Lantern: The Suaoki LED Camping Lantern and Emergency Charger
The Suaoki LED camping lantern is one of the absolute best choices you can make in camping gear, period.
It’s a lantern – we all need light – powered on solar energy. It’s also a power station for getting in some emergency charging if you find your cellphone’s gone dead and you’re stuck in the woods without another outlet.
The lantern charges with solar power or via wall outlet and then translates that charge into light or a power source for backup charging.
The lantern collapses down into about 2-inches by 4-inches for easy packing and weighs only 5.6 ounces. It’s perfect for backpacking, camping, hiking, spelunking, or just about any situation where you need a portable light.
The lantern is water-resistant, too, so it’s safe to use just about anywhere.
4. Solar Backpack: The Voltaic Systems Fuse
If you love a good hike while camping, you’re going to want to grab a solar backpack for charging that cellphone out on the trail. They offer a small charge – enough for small electronics like cellphones and iPods – without all the bulk of a generator or full-on solar power set up.
So, for the active camper, we’d recommend the Voltaic Fuse from Voltaic Systems. This little backpack attachment charges rapidly – 3 hours – and offers enough energy to power up pretty much any small electronics you might have on the trail, whether that’s a phone or a battery charger for your camera.
The Fuse weighs 1.3 pounds, has a battery backup, and easily clicks onto and wraps around your hiking backpack. It also works as a small daypack if you’re not feeling the full-size backpack on a given hike. You can also clip it onto your belt for extra pockets for your small storage needs, and let the panel charge while you hike.
5. Solar Camp Shower: The Advanced Elements Solar Shower
You won’t need a solar shower in every case, but if you’re roughing it, you’ll be glad you brought along the Advanced Elements Solar Shower. This 5-gallon shower is great at getting the water hot reasonably quickly, keeping it hot – thank you, insulation – and showing you what kind of temperature you’ve got via the built-in water temperature gauge.
Empty, the shower weighs only 1.32 pounds, so it’s easy to transport, especially since it compacts down to 20 by 6 by 2-inches for easy tucking into the backpack.
The shower also has a built-in Velcro strap and storage pocket for keeping your shower gear in place and a mirror to help with campsite grooming.
6. Solar Powered Camp Stove: The GoSun Portable Solar Cooker
Need to do some cooking in dry season or locations where campfires aren’t permitted? Try a solar powered cooker. The amazing GoSun Portable Solar Cooker is a great choice for getting dinner ready in as little as 20 minutes.
The cooker deploys in seconds and collapses down into a small, portable package. The reflectors protect the cooker while packed away, and the whole rig has easy to use carrying handles. Plus the cooker is completely submersible, meaning not only is it easy to clean, but it’s fully waterproof.
There’s no fire hazard, either, and it’s safe for use around kids. The cooking chamber provides a layer of protective insulation that keeps the exterior surface cool while the food cooks inside.
You just insert the food you’re cooking into the tube cooking chamber and set the camber. The cooker reaches up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit in full sunlight, meaning it can cook many food choices in as little as 20 minutes, without the need to monitor.
Your Best Camping Trip is Just Ahead
Camping off-the-grid can be loads of fun, full of adventure, and now easier than ever with these amazing solar powered gear options. Everything from a solar cooker to a camp shower will keep you clean, well-fed, safe, and comfortable, no matter how deep into the woods you go.