Best Solar Generator for Camping

Best Solar Generator for Camping with Your Appliances

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

Spending quality time away from a busy schedule is crucial for one's mental health while boosting productivity. Camping is one of a variety of outdoor activities, and most of the time, it is done in remote locations without access to the grid.

However, modern camping equipment needs electricity to function, which helps keep food fresh. Therefore, you will also need a generator with the power to run laptops, grills, phones, fans, coffee makers, lights, and CPAP machines.

Solar generators give clean, renewable energy, making them a perfect alternative to gas-powered generators because they have low running costs and zero fumes. Also, if you are wondering if you will find solar generators noisy, you will not work, unlike gas generators.

With the best solar generator for camping, you can power even your sensitive devices since it will come with protection features. However, there are different generators in the market, so it can be difficult to know the one to choose. Therefore, we have listed the best solar generators to cater to all your camping needs.

1. Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station

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You cannot discuss solar power without mentioning the Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Stations. We chose this one specifically because it was a middle ground between their portable models' smaller, more affordable, and powerful variants. 

We found it impressively robust thanks to the 1000W rated power, a 2000W surge capacity, and the 1002Wh lithium battery. Another plus that prompted our purchase is it can cater to supplying multiple high-power appliance needs, thanks to the numerous outlets.

Image Credits: icesave.is

Another major pro of the Explorer 1000 is its strong handle, sturdy build, and its weight of 22 pounds offering us flexibility and portability. You will also like its LCD, which shows charge, discharge, and battery life data.

Lastly, it is the best solar-powered solution for camping since you can charge it using a solar panel, wall outlet, 12V automobile output, or an electric generator. We also appreciated that we could charge the Explorer 1000 in about eight hours by utilizing two Jackery's Solar Saga 100W panels. However, we had to purchase the said solar panels separately.

Pros:

  • High-visibility LCD screen
  • Built-in MPPT for maximum efficiency
  • It includes a solar adapter cable
  • Built-in flashlight
  • 3 AC outputs & 4 USB ports
  • It has the best weight-to-power ratio

Cons:

  • No water resistance
  • It has slow charging

2. BLUETTI AC200P With Solar Panels

BLUETTI AC200P Solar Generator with Panels Included...
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If we could recommend a solar-powered generator that packs a lot of energy for its size for camping trips, BLUETTI AC200P will be on top. We were impressed with the solar power generator's well-rounded package with 17 output ports, including the two incredibly practical wireless charging pads to give you maximum flexibility. 

We found the portable power station has a 2000W solar generator capacity, which can run practically any device, including our portable fridge, microwave, toaster, and in an emergency, even the room heater. Another feature we found helpful in this robust solar generator is that it easily starts up power tools and machines with AC motors thanks to its surge power of 4800 watts. 

Image Credits: rechargeablepowerenergy.com

The portable solar generator also comes with an LED touch screen which lets you know how much energy you will be drawing and the amount of battery charge remaining. It is also an excellent backup power since we could configure it to an Eco mode, which will turn off the device after several hours if it detects we weren't using it.

BLUETTI AC200P has rubberized feet to prevent it from slipping on flat surfaces. Lastly, this solar generator packs a battery that will last an absurd 3,500 charge cycles thanks to the new lithium-ion technology.

Pros:

  • Wireless pads
  • 4800 surge watts
  • Touch LCD
  • Fast recharging
  • Six AC outlets
  • Easy-to-use touch-screen controls

Cons:

  • It comes with a heavy lithium battery pack
  • Lacks a dedicated RV port cable

3. FF FlashFish 200W Peak Power Station

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With a metal body and black plastic end, the FF FLASHFISH portable power station attracted us with its modern appearance. This device was lighter than other generators in our list, weighing only 5.6lbs. Another feature that stood out was the attached handle which was simple to carry and made its use fairly comfortable, especially for our camping trips.

Although we know the brand wasn't as popular as others on our list, we liked that it featured multiple safety safeguards. As a result, you wouldn't need to be concerned about short circuits, low voltages, or other issues of a similar nature. Also, the ventilator fans on their sides guarantee the generator won't overheat.

Image Credits: literoflightusa.org

It comes with three lithium batteries in the FF FLASHFISH portable power station, each with a 20,000mAH capacity. Another reason it made it to the list is that the mobile power station can supply multiple household appliances and similar devices with a steady, continuous charge thanks to an integrated pure sine wave inverter.

In conclusion, we also noticed three ways to charge the portable power station: a solar panel, a wall, or a car charger. This means you will enjoy flexibility thanks to these options for charging the device.

Pros:

  • Big battery capacity
  • Three charging options
  • Accommodates several devices
  • Display monitor to check the battery's percentage and usage
  • It comes with multi-safety protections
  • Easily portable thanks to its integrated handle

Cons:

  • It may get scratched easily

4. Anker 535 Portable Solar Generator

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If you are looking for the best portable solar generator with a long-lasting battery management system, we recommend this Anker 535. This 512Wh battery pack has a variety of USB connections for charging different gadgets. It is incredibly strong and compact thanks to the drop-proof unibody, allowing it to resist rough camping.

Many emergencies, including a power outage, can benefit from the Anker 535 power station. In addition, we found it to be dependable in challenging camping situations thanks to the high-quality materials used in construction. To make things even more convenient at night, the front has an LED bar, and the display shows the charging and discharging rates.

Image Credits: newegg.com

A 3000 charging cycle, 6X long-lasting LiFePO4 battery is included in the solar generator. We noticed the battery pack is water-proof to give you comfort throughout your camping vacation in inclement weather.

A solar panel, a 12-V automobile adaptor, and an AC wall socket can all be used to charge it. The total number of USB ports is nine, including a vehicle outlet, three USB-C ports, four AC ports, and three USB-A ports. This solar generator could charge various gadgets, including our laptops, tablets, and cell phones, and it saved us time because of its 512Wh capacity.

Pros:

  • Drop-proof design
  • Long-lasting battery
  • It comes with 9 ports to handle small appliances
  • 5-year warranty

Cons:

  • It is not meant for sorting major power outages or offering large devices power

5. Goal Zero Yeti 1500x Portable Power Station

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Another recommendation for a large power station is the Goal Zero Yeti 1500x. We were impressed with its powerful 2000W AC inverter that will allow use with anything charged from an AC wall outlet. However, thanks to its cost, we think it's the best for individuals with significant power requirements and a sizable budget. In addition, considering its size, it's fairly portable and caters to people looking for a simple model to fit in their storage.

Also, we could point it to anyone looking for a model using a portable lithium-ion battery that they can use in their off-grid life for dependable, clean electricity. In addition, the 2000W AC inverter with 3500W surge capacity will allow them to run multiple devices with high power requirements. 

Image Credits: pinterest.com

As with all our options, we noticed the comprehensive range of ports to give you multiple power delivery options. It also features an integrated MPPT charge controller to maximize the efficiency of your solar charging. Also, we and the modern world today appreciate that Yeti App 3.0 allows you to remotely manage your power station, adjust your settings, analyze your energy usage, and maximize battery life.

In conclusion, we were keen on the recharging options where the 1500X could be charged using solar panels, a power outlet, or a 12V cord in your car. The solar-panel charging of your power station will come in handy if you intend to use it while camping because it will enable you to operate several high-usage devices concurrently. 

Pros:

  • Impressive 3500W storage
  • Serious capacity to accommodate longer trips
  • It holds enough power to cater to multiple gadgets
  • Aluminum-reinforced shell
  • Top-notch LG battery cells
  • It comes with a mix of ports

Cons:

  • Some users complained of a software glitch

What Are the Types of Solar Generators for Camping

Image Credits: outdooradventurernetwork.com

There are several ways to classify the best solar generators for camping. Solar-powered generators may differ in design and also according to the battery bank type they use.

1. Solar Generators with a PWM Controller

These solar generators rely on 36-cell solar panels and often come with Pulse Width Modulation charge controllers. The devices allow your generator to draw power from your solar panels and store them in the battery bank without overcharging your battery.

These are the best solar generators for individuals with moderate power needs. However, you will not like that it doesn't maximize the power-generating capabilities of the solar system.

The controller can only use roughly 75 to 80 percent of the 200 watts of power the solar panels can provide for battery bank storage. So you are left with around 150–160 watts of usable DC power.

Image Credits: kdvr.com

2. Solar Generators with an MPPT Controller

These are solar-powered generators that use Maximum Power Point Tracking charger controllers. With the aid of this charge controller, the solar generator can utilize the solar energy collected by the solar panels more effectively.

A 98 percent efficiency rating is possible for some MPPT controllers. However, MMPT controllers are more expensive than PWM controllers due to their more complex design.

Comparing an MPPT solar generator to one with a PWM controller also increases prices. Additionally, they frequently weigh more and are larger, which may compromise the portability of your solar generator for camping.

Image Credits: gardentoolbox.co.uk

3. Solar Generators with Lead-Acid Batteries

These solar generators for camping trips use traditional lead-acid batteries, like those in your car. These are affordable, but they don't last as long. You can opt for deep-cycle lead-acid batteries if you want the ones to last you long. However, this will come at an additional price.

4. Solar Generators with Lithium-Ion Batteries

Most portable solar generators today have lithium-ion batteries which are mobile power storage units. Their size allows manufacturers to design compact and lightweight solar generators, but they also last longer than the traditional lead-acid.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Solar Generator for Camping

Over the years, solar generators have become a lot in the market, and today many different brands look more of the same at a glance.

1. Battery Capacity

The battery capacity is an essential factor to consider since some batteries accommodate more DC power than others. Also, this metric will let you know all the camping applications the generator can support.

Your battery capacity choice should depend on the devices you will need to plug into your solar generator. For example, camping solar generators typically have between 500 Wh and 3,000 Wh battery capacities.

Image Credits: pinterest.com

For hikers and campers who only need to power lights and a fan while recharging their gadgets, portable solar generators in the 500Wh to 1,000Wh range are typically the best option.

In contrast, a base of operations and larger groups that may need to power a mini-fridge, extra lights, and sustain more people are better suited for higher-capacity solar generators between the 1,500 to 3,000 Wh range.

It's also important to note that any solar power bank with more than 1500 Wh capacity will likely be too heavy for one person to carry on a daylong trip.

2. Maximum Power Output

What good is it if a power generator can only power a few devices simultaneously? This is why another important factor is the device's maximum power output.

We believe that a device with at least 200 Watt hours of power output is adequate for most camping activities.

Image Credits: toomanyadapters.com

3. Chargeability

The unpredictable nature of the weather is one drawback to camping. You can experience blazing sunshine one second and a violent rainstorm the next. While specific devices can now continue to charge because of advancements in solar technology, having other charging alternatives would still be great. 

For this reason, we think the ideal solar generator gives you various charging alternatives. With your car's 12V port, you ought to be able to charge it. The solar generator should also be able to be charged directly from an AC electrical socket if you are at home.

4. Solar Panels

Monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline solar cells, and thin-film or amorphous crystal panels are the three most prevalent solar panels. Each one offers varying degrees of efficiency. Monocrystalline panels are the most frequently used and somewhat more effective than polycrystalline cells.

Thinner film panels are lighter, more flexible, robust, and inexpensive than the others. However, they are only approximately half as efficient. Therefore, they are occasionally offered individually and occasionally included with the generator.

5. Use While Charging

Not all solar generators can be utilized and charged at the same time. However, the best camping solar generator gives precise real-time charging and discharging rates. Doing this gives you a fully charged battery when the sun sets.

Featured Image Credits: outdooradventurernetwork.com

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.