Had enough tripping over power cables around the campsite? Or, are you ready to get completely off the grid? Let us introduce you to the wonders of solar-powered camping gear.
Gone are the days when going into the wild meant going without your favourite conveniences. With new solar-powered technology, you can still enjoy a warm shower, a lantern-lit camping area, and even a little chill out music from your solar speaker. All without the aid of a power outlet!
In fact, even a compact 3-watt solar panel with a built-in rechargeable battery can be sufficient to top up your mobile phone or GPS. The panels themselves are durable enough for outdoor use too. Although not all solar powered camping gadgets are 100% waterproof, most are at least water resistant. That means you can still use your electrical gadgets in light rain or whilst splashing about in muddy puddles.
What’s more, when you invest in reliable solar powered camping gear you’ll rarely need to pay for electric at campsites. Nor will you need to spend out on disposable batteries or gas canisters. All you need is a little bit of sunlight, an energy source which is both clean and renewable. So, you can save your pennies for the next adventure whilst doing your bit to make camping out as eco-friendly as possible.
12 super cool solar powered camping gear items
Have we convinced you? Here are twelve solar-powered camping gadgets that we’d recommend for your next outdoor adventure.
Goal Zero Yeti 150 Power Station + Nomad 14 Plus
Made for the nomads with lots of electronics, Goal Zero has created a portable power station with plenty of charging options. The compact 12lb pack features two USB charging ports, a 12-volt output, and a universal AC outlet. If you’re going off the grid for a week or more, the Yeti 150 Power Station and Nomad 14 Plus is a practical kit for your car or camper.
The power station comes with a weatherproof 14-watt folding solar panel and detachable kickstand which allows you to position the panel for optimum sunlight exposure. You can charge your mobile directly from the panel or connect it to the power station. The power station can also be charged by a wall outlet (6 hours) or by your vehicle’s AC outlet (4-6 hours).
- Multiple charging methods and outlets
- Compact size
- Capable of charging larger electronics (including laptops)
- Comes with a built-in battery indicator light
GoSun Sport Solar Cooker
Compact and lightweight, with the GoSun Sport Solar Cooker in your kit bag you can certainly ditch the bulky gas bottles. This solar cooker has a clamshell design with two parabolic reflectors which unfold and reflect sunlight towards the cooking tube. The main body sits on top of two foldable legs and collapses to practical travel size. Manufacturers’ claims state that the cooker can convert up to 80% of light energy into heat energy, reaching a cooking temperature of up to 290ºC. The cooking tube itself is two inches wide and fits inside a borosilicate glass tube. This creates an energy efficient vacuum where your dinner can cook inside while the exterior remains cool enough to touch. The stainless-steel cooking tray is easy to clean, however, its long and thin shapes means that you’ll need to be creative with your ingredients.
- Capable of cooking food within 20 minutes
- Functions on cloudy days too
- Compact folding design
Advanced Elements Summer Solar Shower
Solar showers are a practical alternative to propane heaters, particularly for campervanners who are likely to park up at a site without bathroom facilities. All you need is something strong to hang it from while the sun heats your water. The Summer Solar Shower from Advanced Elements is one of the most reliable solar showers on the market. It comes in a range of 3 capacities and features a rugged 4-layer construction. This both heats and insulates the water. The shower is fitted with a rubber handle and a wide valve for easy refilling. We also like that the shower hose is built into the bottom of the bag, allowing it to drain fully before being rolled away and stored in your backpack. Other useful features include the built-in temperature gauge and a Velcro mesh pocket for your washing essentials.
- Durable 4-layer construction
- Easy to fill, drain, and pack
- Available in 3 sizes – 2.5, 3, or 5 gallons
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Goal Zero Rock Out 2 Solar Rechargeable Speaker
If you like to lighten your campsite with a bit of music then Rock Out 2 from Goal Zero is one of the best designed solar rechargeable speakers out there. It’s compact and lightweight while still producing high-quality sound output. The folding outer-shell is weatherproof and leaves enough space for a mobile phone or cables to be stored within a lined and zippered compartment. It’s also fitted with bungee cords so you can hang your speaker around the camp. Connect the Rock Out 2 to your mobile via Bluetooth and you can control the tracks and volume using the built-in buttons. The Rock Out 2 takes approximately 8 hours to charge using the built-in solar panel or 2-4 hours using a USB or a larger solar panel.
- One-touch Bluetooth pairing
- Durable weatherproof case
- 10 hours playtime (with a full charge)
SolCook All Season Solar Camp Cooker
The SolCook All Season Solar Camp Cooker is one of the most efficient panel cookers on the market. Unlike most solar cookers you can use the SolCook for the whole time that the sun is out, not just during the peak hours. The front panel adjusts from 0 to 90 degrees. This, combined with a simple pin, helps you to position the cooker for maximum sun exposure. The cooker is big enough to hold two large pots or a 12-inch frying pan yet lightweight and compact enough to be carried from camp to camp. The SolCook’s origami folding design is easy to assemble and packs flat.
- Functions with sunlight from dawn till dusk
- Lightweight folding design
- Large capacity
GoSun Chill Solar Cooler
Say goodbye to soggy sandwiches and melt-water filled salads by going ice-free on your next camping trip. This brand new solar cooler from GoSun uses the power of the sun to charge its detachable power bank, providing the equivalent coolness as a days worth of ice. The cooler can also be charger directly from the mains or your car. Either way, the result is more room in your cooler for food and drinks, no melting ice to deal with and temperature control to minimise over or under-cooling its contents. Pure genius.
- You can charge devices from the power bank too
- Has a built-in bottle opener
- It can freeze its contents!
Solar Kettle Thermal Flask Survival
The Solar Kettle Thermal Flask Survival could be a convenient way to minimise your cooking kit on a backpacking trip. This all in one cooker/kettle has a capacity of 500ml and weighs just 2.5 lbs. As well as heating water for your morning coffee, the Solar Kettle can also be used to cook soups, rice, eggs, vegetables, or anything that fits into its thermal tube. The two folding reflectors direct sunlight towards the tube and manufacturers claim that the Solar Kettle is able to heat food in just 15-20 minutes and reach a boiling point within one hour. The cap is fitted with a temperature gauge so you can check those claims yourself! You can also use the stand to angle the Solar Kettle for maximum sun exposure.
- Heats food or liquids within 20 minutes
- Compact enough for backpacking
- Fitted with a temperature gauge
Puralytics SolarBag Water Purifier
A solar water filter is a practical item for anyone going into the wilderness. The Puralytics Solar Bag Water Purifier uses advanced nanotechnology to kill contaminants and provide safe drinking water without the use of chemicals, pumps, or electrical energy. The 3.5-litre bag features a large screw top opening and a durable handle for pouring or hanging the bag in sunlight. The purification process needs just 2-3 hours of sun exposure, or 4-6 with cloudy/muddy water. When empty the Solar Bag packs flats and weighs approximately 100g.
- Free from chemical
- Can purify up to 3.5 litres of water in 2-3 hours
- Compact and lightweight
Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight
When it comes to solar flashlights the Goal Zero Torch 250 is certainly one of the most multifunctional. The 4,400 mAh battery can be charged using the built-in solar panel and hand crank or connected to a power outlet by USB. It’s two-way USB port also lets you charge a mobile phone from your flashlight. The Goal Zero Torch 250 offers a range of lighting options, too. The maximum output is 250 lumens but lower brightness or red-light settings allow for longer battery life. It can function as a lantern or flashlight and you can also choose between a spot beam or flood beam.
- High light output and adjustable lighting settings
- 3 ways to charge
- Can function as a power bank
Powertraveller Solar Adventurer Charger
Built with a 3500 mAh lithium polymer battery, a 5V USB output, and 3-watt clamshell solar panels, the Solar Adventurer from Power Traveller can charge a smartphone 1-2 times and a GPS up to 3 times. This powerful piece of kit is also compatible with tablets, e-readers, headlamps, and action cameras. Despite this, it’s still relatively lightweight at just 265 grams. It’s ‘daisy chain’ feature lets you recharge the Solar Adventurer whilst it charges other devices. Plus, a 4-colour LED light lets you know the level of remaining battery. Meanwhile, the rugged outer case makes it easy to secure the Solar Adventurer to your backpack so it charges while you hike.
- Compact folding design
- Can be used to recharge a range of devices
- Comes with a durable outer case
Solara Solar-Powered Bluetooth Speaker
Keep your music playing all day with the wireless solar-powered Bluetooth speaker from Solara. While outside the built-in solar panel will keep the battery topped up, and the USB port gives you another charging option on cloudy days. While it’s not the most lightweight solar speaker on this list the Solara does provide a 360º omnidirectional sound output. It can also be wirelessly connected with up to 7 compatible speakers up to distance of 30 meters. You won’t lose sight of it either thanks to the LED panels on all 4 sides. Best off all the Solara solar speaker is weather resistant and able to withstand light rain and splashes.
- Omnidirectional sound output
- Connects wirelessly with other devices
- Weather resistant
Goal Zero Crush Light Lantern
The Crush Light Lantern from Goal Zero is a collapsible solar powered camping lantern with a built-in square solar panel and lithium polymer battery. These are built into the top allowing the lantern to charge whilst collapsed. With a maximum light output of 60 lumens and 3 lighting settings, the Crush Light Lantern can run for up to 35 hours. It even has a flickering candle setting so you can feel like you’re reading by the fireside. Despite its long battery life and various settings, this solar-powered camping light packs down flat and weighs in at under 100 grams.
- Long battery life
- Built-in solar panel and battery
- 3 lighting settings