The Best Solar Powered Camping Gear – 2021 Reviews
When you’re out in the middle of nature, far away from the urban jungle, the last thing you want to worry about is finding a power outlet or whether you’ve packed enough spare batteries to power your flashlight or camping lantern. That is exactly why every camper benefits from upgrading to solar-powered camping gear! Never run out of power again, whilst choosing a more environmentally-friendly way to fuel your outdoor adventures: solar solutions are a win-win for all.
In a hurry? Here’s an overview of the best solar powered camping gear on the market:
But how do you find the best solar-powered camping gear on the market? Simple: by using this handy overview to instantly navigate your way towards the top-rated products that run on solar energy. We’ve included our favorite gadgets for every kind of camper and scenario. From cheap and cheerful solar-powered flashlights to high-end, ultralight camping solar panels that can charge any devices with ease: there’s a match for any preference.
In this Best Solar Powered Camping Gear Overview, you’ll find a great mix of products, including camping showers, lanterns, flashlights, power banks, phone chargers, and even a solar-powered camp cooker. So, whether you need to recharge your camping lantern or prep a meal: you can use solar energy to make it happen anywhere, anytime in the great outdoors.
Our favorite Solar Powered Camping Gear gadgets are:
Discover more about each product below, and get inspired about the solar-powered possibilities today!
Best Solar Powered Camping Gear
Swiss Safe Rechargeable Solar Flashlight
The affordable Swiss Safe Rechargeable Solar Flashlight comes with 3 high-lumen LED lights, powered by a built-in battery that will charge passively using the incorporated solar cell panel. On a full charge, you should get about 2 hours of continuous light from this rechargeable solar flashlight. If the battery is empty, you can use the hand-crack to power the instant-on dynamo. One minute of cranking provides about eight minutes of light.
Another perk is that the Swiss Safe Rechargeable Solar Flashlight comes with a 100% money-back guarantee by the manufacturer, which covers the product against any manufacturing defects upon first use. If you’re unhappy with your purchase, you can request a full refund (within a certain period from initial purchases). Though, for the super affordable price of this solar light, we doubt you could be disappointed by this budget-proof camping gadget!
- 3 high-lumen LED lights
- 2 hours of light on full charge
- Compact and lightweight
- Hand-crack for an extra battery boost
- 100% money-back guarantee
- Can take a while to charge using direct sunlight
- Not the most durable
Outdoor Solar Charger Mobile Power Bank
The Yelomin Outdoor Solar Charger Mobile Power Bank is an ultralight upgrade to your camping gear, weighing just 9 oz, and comes with a hook and carabiner to secure it to a backpack. The design is equipped with high-quality solar panels that help charge the power bank when exposed to direct sunlight. The power bank’s dual-USB port even allows you to connect multiple devices – such as iPhones – simultaneously; though keep in mind that this will also drain the battery quicker. Another perk is that the Yelomin Outdoor Solar Charger Mobile Power Bank can also be used as a rechargeable flashlight, as it comes with 2 bright LED lights that can be lit up to form a powerful beam.
Quick battery boost
Though the solar panel charging option is super handy, it can take a while to fully charge the battery using only direct sunlight. We would, therefore, advise you to charge the power bank to maximum capacity via its USB-port before you depart on your backpacking or camping adventure. Charging the battery at home ensures your power bank is instantly ready to boost your smartphone, Bluetooth speaker, and other electronics when needed. You can then use the solar charging option to refill battery life on the go.
We also like the affordability of the Outdoor Solar Charger Mobile Power Bank, as this design is surprisingly affordable for its high-quality standard and solid construction. The power bank and battery charger is water-resistant/waterproof and comes in an ABS plastic and silicone casing that protects against sudden shocks or drops: adding to the power bank’s durability.
Affordable, durable, versatile, and highly-rated in Amazon reviews: this solar-powered portable power station is a fantastic gadget for the camper or backpacker that wants to stay connected on outdoor adventures.
- Very lightweight
- Water-resistant construction
- Protected against sudden drops and shocks
- Dual USB-port can charge multiple devices at the same time
- Can be charged via USB and via solar energy
- Highly-rated on Amazon
- Charging via solar energy will take patience
- This power bank can drain quite quickly
SUAOKI Collapsible Solar Lantern
The SUAOKI Collapsible Solar Lantern is both solar charging and USB-charging. We recommend fully charging the battery via USB before you depart on your backpacking or camping trip, as this makes the solar lantern instantly ready for use. The battery reaches a full charge in about 3.5 hours when connected to a USB-wall adapter (micro USB-cable included). Once you’re in the great outdoors and don’t have access to a power source, you can top-up battery life via the lanterns 3 individual solar panels, which can be unfolded easily for direct sunlight exposure.
Multiple lighting modes
The ultralight SUAOKI solar lantern features 3 light modes: low, high, and ‘SOS blinking’. This makes it extra versatile and allows you to enjoy a high-intensity beam when setting up camp, but also low-intensity lighting when relaxing in your tent. Plus, in case of emergency, the blinking SOS option enables you to quickly attract attention. A perk is that you can use this backpacking solar lantern as a handheld lamp, a freestanding camping lantern, and also attach it to the roof of your tent using the sturdy hanging hook. The solar lantern also comes with a smart protection chip that prevents the internal circuit from overcharging and overheating, which is a handy built-in safety measure.
A minor con is that the lantern’s battery life is a bit limited. On a full charge, the camping light provides approximately 2 hours of light on the highest setting and 4 hours on the low setting: which means you’ll have to recharge it often if you’re on a multi-day trip. Also, this solar lantern by SUAOKI isn’t the most heavy-duty choice, meaning that it may damage quicker when not handled with care. That said, for its ultralight appeal, ultra-compact dimensions, and affordable pricing, we think it’s more than fair to compromise a bit on durability. If you’re looking for a lightweight, functional, and collapsible camping lantern: this could be your solar-powered match to bring light in the darkness!
- Handheld, mounted, and freestanding usage
- Collapsible and compact
- Rechargeable (solar & USB)
- Very lightweight
- Battery life is quite limited
- Can feel a bit flimsy
Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel
The Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel is a high-end, durable solution to charge your devices and camping accessories. This alternative to a regular power bank is a clever choice to convert solar energy into power and can collect up to 7 watts of solar power from the sun.
The Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel directly charges most USB and 12V electronic devices, including cell phones, smartphones, GPS and MP3 players. Do note that the Nomad 7 model is not compatible with tablets, due to its technical specs. Tip: if you want to use a solar panel to charge your iPad, consider the Nomad 14 Plus model by Goal Zero instead. A perk of the Nomad 7 Solar Panel is that not only does it quickly recharge devices, but it can also even power multiple devices simuilatnioulsly. This is because the Nomad 7 splits the incoming solar power between the two ports, allowing you to mix and match your devices and profit from dual-charging opportunities.
Can be attached to backpack
The Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel comes with 9 handy ties on the exterior edges, allowing you to tie it to your backpack to expose it to direct sunlight when on the go, no need to stop and recharge. The lightweight design of the solar panel is surprisingly rugged and heavy-duty, thanks to its weather-resistant material and casing. When not in use, the solar panel can be folded to the size of roughly an iPad, taking up minimal packing space in your pack.
Do note that though the solar panel can directly power and recharge your devices, it cannot store a lot of energy for later consumption. In this case, we recommended pairing the solar panel with a separate power bank to convert and store solar energy, for example, the Goal Zero portable power pack.
Tip: if you’re interested in more portable solar panels for camping, check out our post on the Best Solar Panels for Camping, where you’ll find more top-rated products on the market.
- Rugged, weatherproof design
- Lots of attached loops, so you can attach it to your backpack with ease
- Quick charging and lightweight
- Can collect 7 watts from the sun
- Works with most USB and 12V devices
- Doesn’t charge tablets
Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Solar Shower
The Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Solar Shower also requires minimum installation. Simply remove the extra-large valve cap and fill the 5-gallon reservoir at a water source, re-seal, then hang it in a place where the shower is exposed to direct sunlight. The solar panel will convert solar energy into heat, warming up the water to a comfortable temperature. You can check on the shower’s progress via the temperature gauge on the side of the water-reservoir, ensuring you don’t make the mistake of showering too soon and copping a face of icy water.
Lightweight and very packable
This 5 Gallon Solar Shower by Advanced Elements is also very lightweight, weighing just 1.2 lbs when empty. The solar shower is also very packable: simply roll up the reservoir bag when empty and stuff it into your backpack or storage pockets. The solar shower also comes with velcro-straps that can hold your wash-cloth and a handy side pocket to store soap or shampoo.
Easy set-up, minimum assembly, maximum convenience: this solar shower is a clever gadget to instantly upgrade your showering comfort in the great outdoors. Do keep in mind that using solar energy to heat water will take patience. We, therefore, recommend filling the shower in the morning, letting it hang in direct sunlight during the day, and enjoying your warm shower in the evening.
- Packs down super compact for backpacking
- Easy set-up and minimum assembly
- Has temperature gauge on the side of reservoir
- Easy to fill due to large valve opening
- High-efficiency 4-ply construction
- Powered solely by sunlight
- Will take quite a while to heat water
- Not the most durable
GOSUN Solar Oven Camp Cooker
How does it work? Setting up the GOSUN Solar Cooker is super easy. Simply unzip the cooker’s hardshell carrying case and place it in direct sunlight. Sunlight is then focussed by the 2 parabolic reflectors on the tube, heating the glass tube oven. This tube also uses vacuum technology to insulate heat further, trapping and converting over 80% of the sunlight into heat. The solar energy effectively allows the cooker to reach temperatures up to 550°F (290°C), ideal for meal prep.
As the GOSUN Solar Cooker patented cooking technology absorbs a board spectrum of UV-lighting, even a bit of sunlight is enough to get cooking. As a general rule of thumb: as long as you can spot a defined shadow, you can use the cooker.
Comes with all the needed accessories
Included in this lightweight GOSUN GO kit are all the essentials to get started, including the glass tube oven, 2 parabolic reflectors, an EVA frame, a stainless steel cooking tray, a GoSun Dial, silicone cooking pans, a stabilizer stand, and cleaning brush. The set also includes a handy User Manual and Mini Cookbook to help campers get started.
Though using GOSUN Solar Cooker may take some patience and practice, it is a great alternative to traditional camp stoves. It doesn’t require any fuel besides sunlight and doesn’t expose you to an open flame. Which can be a big pro in some National Parks where cooking on open-flamed stoves is prohibited due to fire risks. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you want a portable, packable, and lightweight camp oven that works anywhere, anything: this GOSUN Solar Cooker could be the perfect gadget to add to your camping equipment!
- Lightweight for a camp cooker
- Comes in a protective hardshell case
- Easy set-up
- Cooks using UV-lighting
- Also works on cloudy days
- No fuel needed!
- No open flame or fire hazard
- No compatible with pots and pans
- Not the quickest to reach high temperatures
Solar energy can be a great choice to power your camping gear – making heavy battery-packs, fuel canisters, or power cords a thing of the past. These days, there is a wide variety in solar-powered camping gear, with nifty solutions for all kinds of scenarios. Whether you want a solar shower, a solar cooker, a solar lantern, a solar flashlight, or simply solar-powered power banks to top-up the battery life of your electronic devices: there’s an innovative match for your preference. As these products use the power of the sun, they are also a much ‘greener’ alternative, which is always a good thing.
Every option on this list is worth the money, but be warned, solar energy isn’t as potent as electrical power. Though most solar-powered products are designed with high-efficiency, using the power of the sun to charge or power equipment will require a bit of patience. For example, a power bank will take longer to charge via direct sunlight than it will via USB and a power source. A solar shower will take longer to heat up in direct sunlight than it will when connected to an electric heater. And a solar cooker takes longer to cook a meal than a liquid-fuel or woodburning stove. That said, solar energy can be a great alternative, as it works nearly anywhere, anytime.
If you’re looking for a greener alternative to power your gear, the sun can be a great source of energy, as is demonstrated by these top-rated products. Every item on this list scores highly in Amazon customer reviews, confirming that they are gadgets with an actual purpose and functionality, not just a gimmick. Which is ‘the best’ depends on what type of gear you’re looking for, as each product is so different. All these items are already ‘winners’. This is because we’ve selected them from all the main solar-powered product categories (lanterns, solar panels, cookware, showers, flashlights, etc.) All you need to do is determine which is your brilliant, solar-powered match!