4 Best Solar Generators for Camping

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Now that solar generator technology is so efficient and affordable, the bad old days of relying on gas or propane-guzzling camping generators are finally in the rearview mirror.

Solar generators produce no toxic fumes like carbon monoxide and are virtually silent, allowing you to sidestep the regulations on fossil fuel generators imposed by many campgrounds. 

The hours you can use a gas generator are often highly restricted — or they’re banned altogether.

With EcoFlow’s solar camping generators, your fellow campers won’t even know when it’s running — they’re safe and quiet enough to run inside your tent or vehicle.

So, what are the best solar generators for camping in 2024?

Read on to find out.

EcoFlow’s Top Camping Solar Generators

  1. Best For Dispersed Camping: EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max Solar Generator (PV160W)
  2. Best For Car Camping: EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro Solar Generator (PV220W)
  3. Best For High-Power: EcoFlow DELTA Pro Solar Generator (PV400W)
  4. Best For Low-Priced Backup: EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max Solar Generator (PV220W)

Best For Dispersed Camping: EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max Solar Generator (PV160W)

Dispersed camping — also often called primitive or wild camping — means leaving behind the amenities of designated campsites and embracing the outdoors without “luxuries” — like WiFi or running water.

If you don’t want to leave technology behind completely, the EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max Solar Generator can keep your phones, digital camera, and other consumer electronics running for days.

It can even power up to 80% of essential appliances with up to 1000W of AC output using X-Boost

No matter how far you like to venture off the beaten track, this portable power station weighs only 13.4 lbs (6.1 kg) and can easily be carried in your backpack.

Charge EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max from 0-100% in just one hour using AC electricity before you hit the trail. 

Stay powered up anywhere there’s sunlight with the 160W Portable Solar Panel.

Camp more sustainably by opting for clean, renewable solar power for your next wild camping adventure. 

If you want to help preserve the precious nature of dispersed camping locations, consider adopting the principles of an organization like Leave No Trace (LNT), which offers free online training on camping sustainably.

If you’re looking to explore wild camping sites in the US, this Bureau of Land Management website is the perfect place to start.   

EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max Specifications

  • Storage Capacity: 512Wh
  • AC Output: 500W (Surge 1000W)
  • Solar Charge Capacity (Maximum): 11-50V 13A, 220W Max
  • Weight: 13.4 lbs (6.1 kg)
  • Dimensions: 10.6 x 10.2 x 7.7 in (270 x 260 x 196mm)
  • Operating Noise Level: ~60 decibels
  • Charging Options: Solar/AC/Car/USB-C Charging14
  • Battery Chemistry: Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP/LiFePO4)
  • Depth of Discharge: 100%
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • App Monitoring and Control?: Yes

EcoFlow 160W Portable Solar Panel Specifications

  • Rated Power: 160W
  • Efficiency: 21 % – 22 %
  • Solar Cell Type: Monocrystalline
  • Weight: 12.3 lbs (5.6 KG)
  • Folded Dimensions: 26.9×16.9×1.0 in (68.5×43.0×2.5cm)
  • Unfolded Dimensions: 26.9×62.6×1.0 in (68.5×159.0×2.5 cm)
  • Waterproof/Dustproof Rating: IP68
  • Open Circuit Voltage: 21.4V
  • Short Circuit Current: 9.6A
  • Recommended Portable Power Station: EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max

Pros

  • Ideal for hiking and backpacking
  • 4 charging methods, including solar 
  • Lightning-fast charge times
  • Up to 10 years of regular use

Cons

  • Insufficient output for high-wattage appliances

Best For Car Camping: EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro Solar Generator (PV220W)

Heading off on a camping road trip with family or friends is an American tradition. 

Now, you can level up your car camping experience with the EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro Solar Generator. 

Many of the best camping destinations don’t offer shore power or electrical hookups — or they charge an additional fee.

You can fully charge EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro using household electricity before you hit the highway in just 70 minutes.

And thanks to the unique design of the EcoFlow 220W Bifacial Solar Panel, you can recharge from 0-100% in just 4.5 hours of peak sunlight

Boasting industry-leading 23% efficiency coupled with photovoltaic cells on both the front and rear surface of the panel means you can maximize electricity production from the available sunshine all day.  

EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro is small enough to fit in the trunk of any car or use it in the vehicle to power phones and entertainment devices on the road. 

EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro has more than enough built-in outputs to keep everyone in the car’s devices up and running — No more fighting over USB ports!  

EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro Specifications

  • Storage Capacity: 768Wh
  • AC Output: 800W total (surge 1600W)
  • Solar Charge Capacity (Maximum): 11-50V 13A, 220W Max
  • Weight: 17.2 lbs (7.8 kg )
  • Dimensions: 10.6 x 10.2 x 8.9 in (270 x 260 x 226 mm)
  • Operating Noise Level: ~60 decibels
  • Charging Options: Solar/AC/Car/USB-C Charging
  • Battery Chemistry: Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP/LiFePO4)
  • Depth of Discharge: 100%
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • App Monitoring and Control?: Yes

EcoFlow 220W Bifacial Portable Solar Panel Specifications

  • Rated Power: 220W Front Side/155W Rear Side
  • Efficiency: 22% – 23%
  • Solar Cell Type: Monocrystalline
  • Weight: 20.9 lbs (9.5 KG)
  • Folded Dimensions: 32.3×19.7×1.3 in (82.0×50.0×3.2 cm)
  • Unfolded Dimensions: 32.3×72.2×1.0 in (82.0×183.5×2.5 cm)
  • Waterproof/Dustproof Rating: IP68
  • Open Circuit Voltage: 21.8V (Vmp 18.4V)
  • Short Circuit Current : 13A (lmp 12.0A) Front Side / 8.8 A (lmp 8.4A) Rear Side
  • Recommended Portable Power Station: EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro/EcoFlow DELTA 2

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight 
  • The bifacial solar panel can produce up to 1.8kWh daily
  •  1600W output with X-Boost mode can power up to 80% of high-wattage home appliances
  • Operate and charge multiple devices simultaneously
  • Also suitable for essential home backup when you’re back from the trip

Cons

  • No expandability
  • Unable to operate multiple high-wattage appliances at once

Best For High-Power: EcoFlow DELTA Pro Solar Generator (PV400W)

The EcoFlow DELTA Pro is the least portable solar generator featured here, but it’s also the most powerful.

For extended camping, van life, and RV trips, EcoFlow offers a highly expandable solution that you can scale to meet your off-grid electricity needs.

With constant AC output of up to 7,200W (14,400W starting watts) and up to 25kWh of storage capacity, you can operate multiple RV camping and RV appliances simultaneously — or even back up your whole home during a blackout.  

While EcoFlow DELTA Pro may be overkill for weekend excursions, it’s ideal for extended RV trips, off-grid living and home backup applications.    

EcoFlow DELTA Pro Specifications

  • Storage Capacity (Minimum): 3.6kWh
  • Storage Capacity (Maximum): 25kWh
  • AC Output (Maximum): 3.6kW continuous output (7.2kW Surge) 
  • AC Output (Maximum):  Expandable to 7.2kW continuous output (14.4 kW surge) with 2 x EcoFlow DELTA Pro + Double Voltage Hub
  • Solar Charge Capacity (Maximum): 3.2kW with 2 x EcoFlow DELTA Pro (16 x 400W Rigid Solar Panels)
  • Weight: 99 lbs (45kg)
  • Dimensions: 25 x 11.2” x 16.4” inches (63.5 x 28.4x 42cm)
  • Operating Noise Level: ~50 decibels
  • Charging Options: Solar/AC/Car Charger/Smart Home Panel/EV Charge Station
  • Battery Chemistry: Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP/LiFePO4)
  • Cycle Life: 3000 Cycles to +/-80% Capacity
  • Depth of Discharge: 100%
  • Warranty: Five years (no cycle life restrictions)
  • App Monitoring and Control?: Yes

EcoFlow 400W Portable Solar Panel Specifications

  • Rated Power: 400W
  • Efficiency: 22.6 %
  • Solar Cell Type: Monocrystalline
  • Weight: 35.3 lbs (16.0 KG)
  • Folded Dimensions: 41.7×24.4×1.0 in (105.8×62.0×2.5 cm)
  • Unfolded Dimensions: 41.7×93,1×1.0 in (105.8×236.5×2.5 cm)
  • Waterproof/Dustproof Rating: IP68
  • Open CircuitVoltage: 48V (Vmp 41V)
  • Short Circuit Current: 11A (lmp 9.8 A)
  • Recommended Portable Power Station: EcoFlow DELTA Series

Pros

  • Perfect for extended camping and RV excursions
  • Extreme expandability for power output and storage
  • Connect up 8 x 400W solar panels per unit (16 maximum with 2 x DELTA Pro)

Cons

  • At 99 pounds, you’ll need to invest in a trolley bag to aid with portability
  • Better suited for larger vehicles like vans and RVs

Best For Low-Priced Backup: EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max Solar Generator (PV220W)

If you need a more portable option than EcoFlow DELTA Pro that still offers expandability and can operate multiple appliances simultaneously, look no further than the DELTA 2 Max Solar Generator (PV220W).

EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max is available with the 220W Bifacial Portable Solar Panel, or you can go with the 2 x 400W rigid solar panel configuration for higher rated power capacity. 

Thanks to revolutionary multi-charge technology, EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max offers the fastest charging times in the industry. The 2048Wh LiFePO4 battery goes from 0-80% charge in just 43 minutes when combining AC + solar panel input.

With Dual MPPT solar input, DELTA 2 Max provides 1000W of highly efficient solar charge capacity. 

EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max is half the weight of the DELTA Pro but still offers sufficient AC output and storage capacity to power virtually any camping excursion.

It’s also ideal for boondocking and tailgating.   

Additionally, EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max pairs seamlessly with the EcoFlow Glacier portable refrigerator and the WAVE 2 portable air conditioner/heater for the ultimate glamping experience.

DELTA 2 Max is the latest EcoFlow product to win the coveted Red Dot Design Award for 2023.

And just check out all those 5-star reviews on the product page

EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max Specifications

  • AC Output (Maximum): 2.4kW continuous output (4.8kW Surge)
  • Solar Charge Capacity (Maximum): 11-60V 15A, single port 500W; dual port 1kW
  • Weight: 50.7 lbs  (23 kg)
  • Dimensions: 19.6 × 9.5 × 12 in (49.7 × 24.2 × 30.5 cm)
  • Operating Noise Level: ~50 decibels
  • Charging Options: Solar/AC/Car Charger
  • Battery Chemistry: Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP/LiFePO4)
  • Cycle Life: 3000 Cycles to +/-80% Capacity
  • Depth of Discharge: 100%
  • Warranty: Five years (no cycle life restrictions)
  • App Monitoring and Control?: Yes

EcoFlow 220W Bifacial Portable Solar Panel Specifications

  • Rated Power: 220W Front Side/155W Rear Side
  • Efficiency: 22% – 23%
  • Solar Cell Type: Monocrystalline
  • Weight: 20.9 lbs (9.5 KG)
  • Folded Dimensions: 32.3×19.7×1.3 in (82.0×50.0×3.2 cm)
  • Unfolded Dimensions: 32.3×72.2×1.0 in (82.0×183.5×2.5 cm)
  • Waterproof/Dustproof Rating: IP68
  • Open Circuit Voltage: 21.8V (Vmp 18.4V)
  • Short Circuit Current : 13A (lmp 12.0A) Front Side / 8.8 A (lmp 8.4A) Rear Side
  • Recommended Portable Power Station: EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro/EcoFlow DELTA 2

Pros

  • Expandable up to 4kWh or 6 kWh with up to 2 x EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max Smart Extra Batteries
  • Runs 99% of home and camping appliances
  • Does dual duty as a robust camping generator and home backup battery solution

Cons

  • Not compact enough for hiking and backpacking

What To Consider When Choosing a Solar Generator for Camping

Solar generators have traditional camping generators beat hands down when it comes to performance.

But, not all camping solar generators and PV panels are created equal.

The solar generators featured here offer the best quality available, but which one is right for you?

It all depends on your use case. 

Here are the essential factors to consider when making a purchase decision  

Power Output

The two most crucial things to consider when buying a generator for camping — or for any other application — are:

  • What devices and appliances do you want to operate 
  • How long do you want to operate them for

The AC output of a generator determines what appliances you can run.

For example, EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max has an AC output of 500W and can achieve surge power of up to 1000W. 

That’s ideal for smartphones and laptops or smaller camping appliances, but you’re limited to running between 500W – 1000W simultaneously (depending on the type of appliance.)

Here’s a quick list of average wattages for commonly used camping devices to give you a better idea.

Device/ApplianceAverage Wattage (Per Hour)
Light10W
Smartphone2-20W
Laptop60W – 200W
Television110W
Coffee Maker500W-1000W
Camping Refrigerator50-100W

Learn more about calculating total wattage and consumption here.

Take the time to do the math carefully.

There’s nothing worse than being on a beautiful camping trip and finding out the hard way that some of your essential electronics won’t run.

If you’re going on an extended trip or camping in an RV, consider the DELTA series solar generators over RIVER 2.

Storage Capacity

Now that you’ve determined the total wattage of the devices you want to operate off-grid, it’s time to estimate HOW LONG you want to run them between charges.

Traditional gas and propane generators were limited by the size of their tanks and access to fuel.

With solar generators, it all comes down to battery storage capacity.

Just like your electricity bills, storage capacity for solar batteries is measured in watt-hours (Wh) and kilo-watt hours (kWh)

Watts and kilowatts measure the amount of electricity consumed at any given moment. Watt-hours and kilowatt-hours measure how much electricity is consumed over time (per hour). 

One of the many advantages of EcoFlow’s solar generators is that you can recharge them using solar panels or any of the other available charging options (which vary by model) and use them at the same time.

During daylight hours, your solar generator will constantly be recharging with the PV panel even as you use it.

Many campers find it helpful to charge their solar generator with AC power before hitting the road and then topping it up with the car adapter input (DC power) and solar panels on the trip.

As a general rule of thumb, you can simplify EcoFlow’s solar generator offering by power output and storage needs as follows:

  • Small – River 2 Max
  • Medium – Delta 2 Max
  • High – Delta Pro

Solar Charging Capacity

Solar charge input or capacity determines the maximum amount of electricity generation potential solar panels can provide to the generator — and, therefore, how many panels you can connect.

It’s essential to keep in mind that solar panels rarely produce their full rated power output, except during ideal environmental conditions. 

It’s safer to assume that solar panels will produce about 75% of their rated power on average during daylight hours.

Because PV modules generate electricity using sun-LIGHT — not heat — using the photovoltaic effectsolar panels don’t work at night

On cloudy days, electricity generation will be diminished.

(Source: NREL)

It’s always a good idea to check out the average peak sun hours wherever you’re heading and estimate how many kWh of electricity your solar generator can be expected to produce.

PV Panel Efficiency

One of the reasons that solar panels don’t consistently produce their rated power wattage is that the specification is determined in a laboratory using Standard Test Conditions.

Standard Test Conditions for Solar Panels

Condition TypeStandard Test ConditionReal-World Conditions
Solar Incident AngleAlways zero, irradiation beam always normal to the PV panel*Variable, and depends on time, date, and site latitude. In the case of rooftop systems, roof orientation, and inclination govern system capacity.
Solar IrradiationAlways equal to 1000 Watts/m²*Variable and depends on the time, date, and site latitude. Limited sunshine hours bound system capacity.
Ambient TemperatureAlways 25°C*Variable and depends on the time, date, weather condition, and site latitude. Higher ambient temperature degrades PV panel efficiency and reduces system output.
Air Mass Coefficient (AM)Always equal to 1.5*Variable and depends on the time, date, and site latitude. Higher AM with higher latitudes.
System Losses
(e.g., Wiring, Inverter)
Always Zero*Variable and depends on the design and location of PV panels, inverter, and grid meter.

*Cannot be achieved in real-world operation (Source: ResearchGate)

Solar panels still produce electricity when not in direct sunlight, but as you can see from a glance at the test conditions — used by all reputable manufacturers of PV modules — the conditions used to determine solar panel specs are extremely rare, or even impossible, in the real world.  

Solar panel efficiency is another such spec. 

Aside from the common usage of “efficiency,” it has a very specific meaning when it comes to photovoltaic materials.

In a nutshell, efficiency determines how much available sunlight per square meter of photovoltaic material (solar cells) gets turned into electricity.

EcoFlow’s monocrystalline silicon solar panels achieve industry-leading in efficiency. 

In applications — like camping — where portability is essential, producing the highest percentage of electricity using the smallest surface area is key. 

Portability

If you’re wild camping, your needs for portability will be entirely different than if you camp primarily in an EV.

RVs and vans can support larger solar generator solutions like EcoFlow’s DELTA Pro Ultra and Power Kits.

However, if you’re going to be backpacking or hiking, the RIVER 2 series is far more appropriate.

As you would expect, the big tradeoff when it comes to portability is what you can power and for how long.

Thanks to the huge array of solar generator options from EcoFlowl, there’s bound to be a solution that meets your needs.

Durability

Unlike traditional gas, diesel, and propane camping generators, EcoFlow solar generators have very few moving parts and require no routine maintenance.

EcoFlow’s solar panels are IP86-rated waterproof and dustproof and can even be completely immersed in up to 1 meter without damage.

The IP rating of EcoFlow’s solar generators and portable power stations varies by model, but many are suitable for sheltered outdoor use in a wide range of operating temperatures.

And unlike any fossil fuel camping generator, EcoFlow’s solar generators are 100% safe to use in your tent, your vehicle, your home — even your bedroom!

Cycle Life (Lifespan)

Unlike outdated rechargeable battery technologies like Lead Acid, Sealed Lead Acid (VRLA), and traditional Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery chemistries, the Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4/LFP) batteries found in EcoFlow solar generators last for at least 3000 cycles (complete discharges/recharges) before storage capacity diminishes to +/-80%.

That’s a lifespan of 10 years of everyday use.

Traditional fossil fuel generators have ongoing fuel costs, require routine maintenance, and typically fail after fewer years of use.

Cost 

If you’re a camper, there’s an EcoFlow solar generator for every use case — and every budget.

The EcoFlow RIVER 2 Series is extremely affordable, and the modular design of the DELTA series allows you to expand over time as your off-grid electricity needs increase.

Are there cheaper options on the market?

Yes.

Are there better ones?

You be the judge. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Size Solar Generator Do I Need for Camping?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The primary factors determining the size of solar generator you need for camping are what electronics you want to operate off-grid—and for long. If you’re primarily backpacking and wild camping, portability will be one of your biggest concerns. If you’re glamping in an RV, you’ll likely be more concerned with AC output and storage capacity. Do the math to determine the generator size that meets your unique needs.

Final Thoughts

The days of camping on rockhard ground in a leaky tent with a damp groundsheet are — thankfully — long gone.

Thanks to recent innovations and price drops in solar technology, traditional toxic and noisy gas and diesel portable generators are also going the way of the fossils.

For the perfect camping solar generator solution for you, check out EcoFlow today! 

ECOFLOW
ECOFLOWhttps://www.ecoflow.com/
EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.

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