Best Solar Generators for Camping and Outdoor Adventure

Best Solar Generators for Camping and Outdoor Adventure

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Solar generators are everywhere now since most people are leaning towards renewable energy. Thanks to advances in solar panels, you can now get a portable solar generator and be on your merry way to outdoor camping. Additionally, it is always a good idea to have a backup power station in case of a power outage. So let's check out the best solar generators for camping.

Should I Invest in a Solar Generator for Camping Trips?

Yes. You should. Solar-powered and electric generators are less noisy than their fuel counterparts. Additionally, they are easy to use and are becoming more and more affordable. They are also very useful for off-grid activities, like DIY projects around your home, depending on how much energy you need. Additionally, it is easier to store solar generators than fuel generators.

It is also easier to maintain solar-powered generators than gas-powered generators. Solar generators are also less noisy and smaller than their predecessors. Furthermore, if installing a full electrical system in your truck or camper van is too expensive, a portable solar panel generator will work just fine.

Here are some of the best solar generators for camping trips and outdoor or off-grid living:

Best Solar Generators

1) Goal Zero Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station

Sale
Goal Zero Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station, 1,516...
  • RELIABLE PORTABLE POWER: With a lithium-ion battery at its core,...
  • HIGH POWER ON THE MOVE: Our best-selling large power station...
  • EASY TO USE: Power a wide range of devices with seven different...
  • THREE WAYS TO CHARGE: Plug the Yeti 1500X into any 120-watt wall...
  • POWER IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND: Monitor, control, and optimize...

Yeti has always been my go-to choice for a portable power station because of the versatility of the brand. So I wasn't surprised when I discovered I could charge a small fridge, laptop, phone, smartwatch, and lights. Since this solar power generator is designed for portability, it can hold up to 25-50 hours.

On camping trips, I take the Yeti to power my fridge, laptop, phone, and lights. Additionally, it can also keep my pellet grill running for hours. I love that you can carry an additional lithium-ion battery to ensure you have a backup. The solar cell and generator are enough for a week of camping. However, it doesn't hurt to carry additional power.

I also enjoyed the integrated MPPT charge controller that increases the efficiency and battery capacity by 30%. Apart from that, I can charge the battery using three methods: from my truck, solar panels, and an electrical outlet. Additionally, it is also one of the best solar power generators for home backup. While this battery is the best for camping trips and yard work around the house, it weighs 40Lbs. Not lightweight at all.

Pros:

  • Portable power source
  • Long-lasting charge
  • Easy to use
  • Silent operation
  • Good backup power station

Cons:

  • Heavy

2) Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500

Sale
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh...
  • LONG LASTING ENDURANCE: The Explorer 500 portable power station...
  • THE PERFECT CAPACITY: With a 518 watt-hour (24Ah, 21.6V)...
  • SUPPORT PASS-THROUGH CHARGING: This power station features 1* AC...
  • DESIGNED FOR PORTABILITY: Same size as a basketball, this...
  • WHAT YOU GET: 1* Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station...

While the Jackery can only power devices that require 500W or less, it's still an awesome companion on camping trips since it's designed for portability. I forgot to recharge my battery on my last trip and used it at around 15%. I was pleasantly surprised to get almost 6 hours on a very little charge.

Image source: shuttermuse.com

Apart from camping trips, the Jackery has been very helpful, especially with common power outages since I live far away from a major city. Additionally, with portable power stations, you can power medical equipment like CPAP machines and sleep comfortably through the night. Depending on how much solar power is needed, it can also power a normal-sized fridge, and other home appliances. Safe to say, my frozen fish never went bad, even once.

The new version of the Jackery comes with maximum power point tracking to ensure efficiency at all times. I can power on a small mini portable fridge and keep the kids hydrated and on their fully-charged gadgets as we drive to the next campsite. However, I did have a small issue with the 2 12 -volt output ports because it is not a standard plug spec. Nevertheless, I managed to find compatible ports on Amazon. Other than that, I'll take the Jackery anytime.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • High power output
  • High solar generator capacity
  • Extended battery life
  • Versatile

Cons:

  • The DC output plugs are uncommon

3) Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240Wh

Sale
Goal Zero Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station, 1,516...
  • RELIABLE PORTABLE POWER: With a lithium-ion battery at its core,...
  • HIGH POWER ON THE MOVE: Our best-selling large power station...
  • EASY TO USE: Power a wide range of devices with seven different...
  • THREE WAYS TO CHARGE: Plug the Yeti 1500X into any 120-watt wall...
  • POWER IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND: Monitor, control, and optimize...

With an output of 200 watts, this entry-level solar generator is an excellent power source. Of course, before trying it out, I was skeptical even about buying it. However, after the initial use, I'm more than happy with this purchase. From the solid construction to how lightweight it is, I like how much power it packs in a single use.

Image source: 9to5toys.com

The twin USB A ports on this solar-powered generator make it easier to charge essentials like my phone and laptop simultaneously while I'm on the road. Furthermore, its in-built MPPT charge controllers allow it to be charged at full efficiency with the solar panel. The battery management system protects my devices from too much current or short current.

Additionally, I've found it's the perfect generator for tent camping. Of course, due to the low power output, I cant hook it up to any of my power tools or even a small fridge. However, it is perfect for camping purposes. Since I only take it camping, I fully charge it every 3 months, and it works fine whenever I take it out camping. This is one of the best solar-powered generators I've used.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Solid construction
  • Durable
  • High power capacity
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Slow charging time

4) Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station

Sale
Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station and Solar...
  • VERSATILE OUTLETS CHARGE UP TO 9 DEVICES AT THE SAME TIME:...
  • HOURS & HOURS OF POWER ON A SINGLE CHARGE: 155 Watt-Hours of...
  • SMALLEST, LIGHTEST PORTABLE POWER STATION IN ITS CLASS: At 3.75...
  • CHARGES AT HOME, ON THE GO, OR IN THE FIELD: Charges to 80% in...
  • ECO-FRIENDLY POWER GENERATOR: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint for...

This is the battery to take with you whenever you need power on the go. This battery is designed for outdoor activities like camping, tailgating, or other outdoor activities that require a solar generator. Additionally, it supports the charging of lights, go-pros, drones, and portable music speakers.

Image source: 4wdtalk.com

The battery capacity is 155 watt-hours and it can charge multiple devices simultaneously. Furthermore, I like how lightweight it is compared to other larger and medium sizes solar generators. This is one of the portable solar generators that's easy to load up and get going. While it doesn't have as much power as our top 2 generators, it packs a substantial amount of watt-hours.

The best part about this solar generator is how easily it can charge. It charges to 80% in less than 6 hours. Furthermore, I liked the light feature attached to the side of the generator. It provides a light source apart from a campfire that you can use for specific tasks like reading.

Pros:

  • Small
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
  • High battery capacity
  • Portable
  • Good value for money

Cons:

  • Not suitable for large items

5) Upusa Portable Generator with Solar Panels

Solar Generator,Portable Generator with Solar...
  • ✹MULTI-PURPOSE POWER GENERATOR - This outdoor generators has...
  • ✹12500mAh SMALL Lithium Generator - Personal generator can...
  • ✹2 CHARGING WAYS Power Generator- Our camp generator solar...
  • ✹LIGHTWEIGHT & COMPACT Solar Generator Kit - The small...
  • ➤Package include - 1*portable solar generator, 1*5W Solar...

This multipurpose power generator can supply power to many power appliances depending on how many devices you have. It is the smallest generator in this list. However, it is a trusty generator to provide backup power temporarily. This is an excellent generator to have. Keep in mind that you also need the best solar charger for backpacking, hiking, or mountain climbing.

Image source: ebay.com

I've been camping with it, and not only does it act like a battery pack for your other devices, but it also has an inbuilt lamp light that lasts for hours on end. Additionally, the battery life is impressive for such a small generator. Finally, it's compact to carry, which makes it easy to explore until late evening.

I can leave my campsite to explore and leave my main battery charging with solar panels in the sun. This generator will keep my phone fully charged and illuminate my way back to the campsite.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Easy to use
  • Long battery life
  • Good-quality temporary backup

Cons:

  • It is smaller than it looks

Why Should You go Camping With a Solar Generator?

Solar technology has been drastically improved in the past few years, resulting in efficient energy usage and production. Here are a number of reasons you should always go camping with the best portable solar generator.

a) Versatility in Application

Since solar technology has come a long way, it makes sense that there are multiple uses for solar generators. Solar energy has two major uses, either to generate electricity or to generate heat. When it comes to solar generators and batteries are used to power up entire homes. They are an effective backup, and it is wise to have one.

Image source: bluetti.com

Additionally, solar battery units can power your devices, including refrigerators, electric grills, mixers, and blenders. You can always carry some, if not most, household appliances with you on your camping trips. If you work remotely, a solar machine generator can allow you to explore the world and still put in those hours since it can charge your laptop and Wi-Fi router.

b) Little to no Maintenance

With solar generators, the most maintenance you will have to do is hook them up to their solar charging panels. As long as they can harness energy via solar panels, they provide power storage for future use. If you go camping, you can spend all your time outdoors without needing to charge the battery. You need the best solar generator.

Image sources: techcrunch.com

The only other thing you should be aware of is that even the most robust solar generator does not do well with water. Therefore, leaving your battery where it can get wet is not recommended. This preserves the overall battery life and all the power. It might also charge better and faster with multiple connected solar panels. 

c) It’s Renewable

Of course, when you buy a solar-charged power source, you want enough power to power all your gadgets and serve as a home backup. However, solar energy is 100% renewable. Your solar generators will last you a long time. You won't have to keep purchasing other forms of energy because solar panels that come with your generator harness energy and store it.

Image source: 360mozambique.com

You might connect it to a wall outlet to charge it. However, solar panels are the best way to recharge the generator. A car charger or a wall outlet can also charge your generator on a rainy or cloudy day. With solar generators, the options are endless.

d) Reduced Electric Bills

Using your solar generator for home backup will save you a few hundred dollars in electric bills. If you are an outdoor person who loves camping, hiking, or tailgating, take your solar generator with you for a spare energy source. You will greatly reduce your electric bills.

Image source: promoneysavings.com

A generator can power a cooker and grill, which is great for mobile food businesses. This will greatly reduce your electric bills or the bills associated with fitting an electric panel in your vehicle. For this reason, a solar generator is perfect for residential and commercial properties and businesses.

Ways to Charge Your Solar Generator While Camping

There are many ways to charge your generator. Nowadays, generators are equipped to handle being charged differently to ensure you can always draw power when needed.

i) 12V Car Charging

A 12V car charging port is enough to charge your generator. However, it is the slowest method for getting electrical energy. However, if you let your generator run and forget to charge it, you can always charge it from your vehicle.

ii) AC Outlets

An AC outlet is one of the fastest methods of recharging your solar generator. It is also a great way to prepare for a camping trip since it takes the least time to fill up your generator.

iii) EV Charging Stations

EV charging stations are getting more popular by the minute. There are currently hundreds of them that are active. Therefore, you can always check your area to determine whether there is a station near where you will be camping. An EV charging station only takes 2 hours to charge your generator.

iv) Solar Panel

Of course, this is the ideal way of charging your generator. A solar panel is easy to store and transport and is also great for off-grid living. Furthermore, panels can fold up easily hence perfect when you are on the go. Finally, if you have a solar panel connector, you can camp comfortably and with peace of mind.

The Bottom Line

When you are off-grid for whatever reason, having power is a lifesaver. A solar generator is a good investment if you appreciate having an alternative power source that ensures you will always have electricity. Additionally, with a generator, there is no need for any electrical knowledge, and the setup is minimal.

Featured image source: drivin'andvibin'.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.