If you enjoy camping, solar chargers are essential for emergencies. There are so many reasons to love solar power, but one of the top reasons is that the sun is reliable. Even when the power goes off, you know that in a few short hours, the sun will rise, giving you an unlimited source of energy.
Having portable charging solutions is great for the average camper, but it is also a good idea for those who live in areas where frequent power outages occur. There are a few common portable solar charging solutions that should be discussed and a few things to keep in mind when shopping for your options.
Solar-powered radios are one of the most economical and versatile sources of charging. Not only are they great in emergencies because they offer a link to the outside world, but they often come with a kinetic energy charger, too, meaning that it is the one device that can’t run out of power. These devices work in a pinch and give an emergency charge to a phone, but they are not as fast or powerful as other options.
Having a light powered by the sun seems a little counterintuitive, but these are great multi-use devices. They are fantastic to keep on a windowsill in case of an emergency or to power all day, so you can use them all night when you are camping. In addition to the light, many of these devices also come with a USB charger which is a little stronger than the ones found in portable radios.
If charging is your main concern, plenty of chargers on the market are meant specifically for charging phones, tablets, and laptops, among other small electronics. These are awesome because they often have built-in solar panels, so there is no need for extra equipment, and they charge fast and hold that charge for a while. These chargers are excellent for backpackers as they can clip them to their pack during the day to soak up all the sunlight and charge their devices at night.
Unlike other dual-use devices, these are dedicated to charging your electronics, so they offer a faster, stronger charge. Make sure to check that the charger you choose is strong enough to charge your device or multiple devices simultaneously, as a solar-powered phone charger will not be able to charge something larger like a tablet or laptop.
Panel + Battery
For the most avid campers and emergency preppers out there, another portable option can even power a refrigerator. There are portable batteries out there that are strong enough to power anything you could ever need while camping, and they can be charged using a standard portable solar panel. This option costs a bit more and definitely heavier than other ideas, but it is the ultimate in staying powered no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
What to Watch For
When it comes to solar power, if the price seems too good to be true, it is. There is no way around the fact that quality solar devices will cost you a little more, but they will also work and last a lot longer than cheaper versions. Before spending money on a portable solar charger of any kind, you want to ensure that it will be strong enough to power the devices you are looking to charge.
Be aware of features and functions that may aid your choices, like clips for backpacks or protective outer casing to protect your solar cells. Lastly, check the weight – portability means different things to different people and you want to make sure that these devices are truly portable for you.
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