July 23, 2020
Best Solar Camping Gadgets for Your Summer Adventures
For outdoor enthusiasts, camping is a chance to unplug and get away from it all. But just because you’re off the grid, doesn’t mean you have to give up those comforts that rely on electricity. While you’re getting some much-needed R&R in nature, harness its power to charge your devices, and even cook your meals. Keep your experience in the great outdoors sustainable with these solar camping gadgets – plus one biomass solution.
From high-tech generators with wi-fi capabilities to solar campsite lighting, we’ve collected a few must-have solar camping accessories to make your outdoor adventure even more fun. Whether you’re staying simple or you’ve got an enviable setup, these five sustainable tools can keep you running.
1. Portable Solar Generator
A plug-and-play – pun intended! -- gas-free solar generator, the Goal Zero Yeti 150 cranks out enough power to keep your lights, phones, and Bluetooth speakers going strong. Want one with wi-fi capabilities? An upgraded model has all the bells and whistles to keep you connected, but it does come with a hefty price tag.
Many car campers love the entry-level generator for its ability to power all of their necessities on a budget, without needing to run an engine or risking a dead car battery.
2. Inflatable Solar Lanterns
A nightlight is a necessity when you’re out in the dark. Light up those late-night bathroom trips or evening shower runs. The PackLite Nova USB is a high performing, solar-powered inflatable lantern that is both waterproof and shatterproof, helpful features out in the woods.
Use it to light up your tent or campsite, or float it in the lake for night fishing. Keep one in your emergency kit to stay prepared for power outages or storms. With an output of 300-lumens (or about 25 watts), it’s enough to light your space but not overwhelm your off-grid experience. Its compact design folds down for easy storage and packing.
An extra feature is the included hideaway battery which you can use to charge your smartphone.
3. Portable Solar Panel Charger
Charge your individual USB devices directly from the sun with a portable solar panel charger. The weatherproof Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus, which can be found at REI, offers charging features for most USB and 12-volt devices, including cell phones, smartphones, GPS and MP3 players.
Charging is easy. Just plug your device into a solar panel and place the panel in the sun for a few hours to charge. Before you hit the road out of town, you can also plug these devices into your wall outlet for a faster full charge. If you forget, you can always use your car’s 12 volt port to charge it up.
4. Portable Solar Shower
When you’re camping in a more rugged sense, or you don’t have access to campsite showers, a portable shower is a necessity. These clever devices offer an easy and sustainable way to get a warm shower after a long day of hiking, fishing or exploring.
Portable solar showers come in multi-gallon capacities and generally take three hours or more to heat in direct sunlight. A variety of factors can affect those times, like outdoor temperature and the strength of the sun in your area. Check out a solar shower like the three-gallon Advanced Elements SS761. Hang it from a high, sturdy branch for some good flow. Pair it with a popup shower tent and you’ll never have to wait in line at the camp showers again.
5. Biomass Renewable Wood-Burning Stove
If there’s one piece of camping gear that’s essential, it’s your camp stove or grill. This one isn’t solar, but it is sustainable. BioLite’s CampStove 2 is a biomass-burning device that creates a concentrated, smokeless flame capable of boiling one liter of water in four and a half minutes. It also houses an onboard battery that turns heat from the fire into USB-accessible power. As an added feature, it comes with its own USB lamp.
Cook your meals and charge your gear, all at the same time, using available sticks, wood scraps, or biomass pellets.
At Tri-State, we’re always looking for the best ways to keep you powered on, even if you need to get away from it all. When you come home, Tri-State and our member co-ops will be keeping the lights on for you.
Tri-State is a not-for-profit cooperative of 45 members, including 42 member utility electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in four states, that together deliver reliable, affordable, and responsible power to more than a million electricity consumers across nearly 200,000 square miles of the West.