Why Solar Generators are the Best Choice for Camping

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While there are plenty of campsites with electrical hookups, many people enjoy the experience of going off-grid and fending for themselves. Although camping means getting back to nature for some, others set up camp and work remotely or want the added convenience of creature comforts.

No matter where or how you like to camp, read on to learn how beneficial a portable power station could be on your next outdoor adventure.

Choosing the Right Solar Powered Generators for Camping

Best Generators For…

Most Portable

110W

Foldable
Waterproof
5.9kg*
110W Input
Incl. Carry Case

Mid-Range

220w

160W

Foldable
Waterproof
6.9kg*
160W Input
Incl. Carry Case

Mid-Range

EcoFlow 160W Solar Panel

220W

Bifacial
Waterproof
9.5kg*
220W Input
Incl. Carry Case

Highest Input

EcoFlow 400W Solar Panel

400W

Foldable
Waterproof
16kg*
400W Input
Incl. Carry Case

Benefits of Camping with Solar Generators

If you’re still on the fence about purchasing a solar generator, then keep reading to learn why they’re the best power source for camping.

Quiet & Odourless

Solar-powered generators are entirely silent and produce no emissions, so you can enjoy the peace of your surroundings without any obnoxious smells while still powering your camp.

Eco-friendly

One of the most appealing features of a solar generator is that it creates clean energy. It lends itself perfectly to camping in a natural environment, where burning petrol to cook or power lights harms the global and local environment.

Safe

Since portable power stations don’t use fossil fuel to run, they’re a safe option, especially if you’re camping in the woods. Unlike petrol generators, you can safely use them inside a tent or caravan to power lights and appliances.

Long-lasting

Solar-powered generators have a 25-35 years lifespan, depending on the quality and brand. While they may appear expensive initially, they can be considered an investment in the long run.

Ease-of-Use

A portable solar generator includes all the technology needed to recharge and power your home appliances. Simply plug in your solar panels, connect to an EV charging station or the grid to charge the unit, then connect your devices when you’re ready to power up.

Portability

The best portable power stations hold all the essential components you need for solar power. So unlike kits used to wire a home or caravan, it’s easy to take with you anywhere. Pair with travel-friendly solar panels that fold up when not in use.  

Multiple Ways to Charge

It may be called a solar generator, but some portable power stations can charge using different sources. While solar panels are the most eco-friendly way to recharge, you can also charge from the grid when the weather isn’t ideal. Many of EcoFlow’s units can recharge to 80% in less than 2 hours. If you get caught short, you can also top off the battery while you’re in the car using your 12v charging port. Since this is the slowest charging option, it should only be used as a last resort. 

Charging using an electric vehicle (EV) charging station is still a fairly unique charging option, but it’s convenient since over 42,000 public stations are in the United Kingdom alone.

Versatility

Even if you’re considering purchasing a portable solar generator for camping, they can also be used in other ways. Since they’re so easy to use, you can pick them up and go wherever you want. It can go with you in the car, to the office, shed, or any event where you might need backup power.

How to Charge Your Portable Solar Generator While Camping

ecoflow River max and solar panel for camping

You don’t want to run out of power while you’re off the grid, which is why there’s more than one way to juice your portable power station. 

Solar Panels

Portable solar panels are the ideal way to top up your generator when you’re off-grid. They’re convenient to store and transport, as they fold away when you’re not using them. Solar panels typically require an solar panel connector that plugs into the generator to begin charging. 

AC Wall Outlet

Solar generators allow you to plug into the wallet socket at home and recharge. This is by far the fastest charging method and is perfect if you decide to take off last minute, as EcoFlow portable solar batteries have the fastest charging technology in the world.

12V Car Charging

Car charging is the slowest option, but using your 12V socket can give your solar generator a boost when you’re on the go.

EV Charging Stations

This is a relatively new addition to portable solar generators, and currently, only EcoFlow’s DELTA Pro has this function. With tens of thousands of available stations located around the UK, and 150 thousand in Europe, DELTA Pro can recharge using an EV charger in less than 2 hours.

Extra Batteries

While not the same as charging, Extra Batteries can be attached or plugged into a central unit to offer additional power. Extra Batteries are available for River, River Plus, River Pro, DELTA Max, and DELTA Pro. You can see all the extra Batteries here

What to Look for in a Solar Powered Generator for Camping

ecoflow River max portable and ecofriendly solar generator

Charging Outlets.

Camping has changed considerably over the years, and you no longer have to rely on a pack of cards and a guitar for entertainment (but you can, and that’s awesome). Now, you can take tech with you wherever you go; just make sure to factor in how many outlets you’ll need for all your kit.

If you’re only planning to charge a laptop, mobile, and a drone, then you might only need a handful of ports. If you’re powering a full family’s gear, and high wattage appliances, you’ll need something larger.

Portability 

Weight and size are essential factors to consider when you’re camping. You have a finite amount of storage space in your car or caravan, and once you’ve packed your essential camping equipment, there’s not much room for extras. You also need to be realistic about the size and weight of a portable power station, especially if you want enough watt-hours to illuminate the Lake Disctrict.

Charging Rates & Time

Charging rates are usually affected by the size of the battery itself. So the larger the generator, the longer it will take to charge. Solar chargers can recharge up to 80% using a wall outlet from 2-12 hours. EcoFlow’s portable power stations have the fastest recharge speeds in the industry, so even our biggest units charge in under 2 hours. Yep, that fast. Using solar to recharge a solar generator depends on how much input it allows, the solar panel’s efficiency rating, and wattage. A 12V car charger takes a while to recharge but works fine if a solar generator needs a quick power boost.

Capacity

The capacity of a solar battery you choose for camping depends on various factors, including the kind of appliances you want to power and how many. For example, if you plan to run a 60W mini fridge for approximately six hours, you’ll need a solar battery with a capacity of at least 360Wh.

Surge

When they first kick in, some appliances, especially those with an electric motor, such as a refrigerator, have a surge of power much higher than their typical wattage. A fridge that may only need around 800W will have an additional power surge of 1200W when the compressor starts. This means that if you’re planning to power a fridge, you’ll need a solar generator with a surge rating of at least 2000W.

What is the Best Solar Generator for Camping?

Depending on how long you’re camping for and the devices you’re powering, we’ve got a range of portable solar power stations that can fit your needs.

ecoflow River mini for nights away and weekend camping trips

For a simple overnight camping trip, a small power station with around 200Wh, like EcoFlow’s River mini, is enough. You can easily charge your phones, laptops, and light up your campsite, and River mini can even boil a low-wattage camping kettle for tea in the morning. Top up River mini using its 100W solar input capabilities. 

Weekend Trips

ecoflow River solar generator for camping and rving

200-300Wh could be enough to keep you powered over the weekend, and even if you run low, you can top up with solar panels. EcoFlow’s River can recharge using solar panels and connect to an Extra Battery to double its capacity to 576Wh. River can power most electric appliances, including weekend must-haves such as a mini-fridge and electric frying pan.

Dry Camping

ecoflow River max with expandable capacity for camping

For dry camping, you might require a larger solar battery if you cannot recharge using solar during the daylight hours. Alternatively, with a portable power station, such as River Max, you also have an additional battery that doubles the capacity. The battery is removable, so you can take it off if you won’t be using it.

Road Trips & Overlanding

ecoflow River pro for road trips and overlanding

If you’re planning on travelling long distances in your caravan or jeep, then a solar power station that balances portability, capacity, and ability to charge high-wattage appliances is essential. If you’re frequently off-grid, choose a larger capacity battery, such as a River Pro. Add an Extra Battery, and its capacity increases to 1440Wh. With an output of 1800W, you can power a hairdryer, travel washing machine, and more.  

If you’re looking for a power station with even more power, look at our DELTA Series. With an expandable capacity of up to 25kWh and output of 7200W, you can stay powered for days, even using high-wattage appliances. 

Hollie Sowden
Hollie Sowden
Originally from the UK, Hollie has lived in Shenzhen, China for just over a decade. With a degree in English Literature and Film, she has been blogging and working in marketing for many years, and is now a copywriter at EcoFlow.

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