Best solar chargers for camping

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Charging your electronic items with solar power makes so much sense when camping. You’re already outside and hopefully it’s sunny so setting up your portable solar panels to make use of all that free energy and charge your smartphone or tablet seems like a no brainer to us. 

The best solar chargers need to be portable enough to pack, tough enough to survive being fastened to a backpack and provide enough power to be worth the weight. While no one expects the sun's rays to rival plugging into a wall outlet for a while yet, there’s something uniquely satisfying about harnessing a natural resource to keep you and your families’ devices juiced up when you’re miles from an electrical socket. Here are the ones we’d recommend.

Best overall

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Solar Charger 20000mAh YOESOID Portable Outdoor Waterproof Solar Power Bank

Solar power you can bank

A power bank with a solar panel. Charge the lithium battery by outlet first and then use the sun to keep it topped up on your camping trip. Water-resistant and shockproof, it has two USB ports and a two-LED flashlight built-in which also has an emergency SOS flashing mode.

Best for quick charging

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Anker 21W 2-Port USB Portable Solar Charger

Intelligent charging panels

For reliable power from the sun, Anker’s PowerPort shines bright. It charges quickly with an exclusive PowerIQ function that outputs up to 3 amps. It’s durable but portable with industrial-strength panels sewn into the weather-resistant foldable canvas that you can attach to backpacks and tents with the stainless steel eyelets on each corner. Your devices can be tucked into a pocket behind the panels.

Best for backpacking

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Goal Zero Nomad 10

Carry your power source on your back

This lightweight weather-resistant solar panel will charge most devices with a USB port. The foldable design is rugged enough for backpacking and there’s an adjustable, lockable kickstand when you want to set it up at the right angle to catch the sun. Goal Zero recommends using it with one of their power banks to store the solar energy when the sun is shining in the day and then charge your phone and other USB devices in the evening.

Best with power bank

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Solar Charger 25000mAh ADDTOP Portable Solar Power Bank

Full of power and portable too

There’s a high capacity power bank attached to these foldable solar panels. With a 25000mAh capacity, it could charge an iPhone 8 around nine times when full. Waterproof and shockproof, you hang it off your backpack and split the power produced between two USB ports. An LED flashlight with SOS emergency mode is built-in.

Bottom line

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Solar chargers are a great addition to your camping or backpacking kit. They need to see plenty of sun to charge handheld devices so being strapped to your pack while hiking or put on your tent all day works well to tap into this free limitless power source. All these chargers will help keep your phones topped up even when there are no power lines in sight. Our pick for most people is the Solar Charger 20000mAh YOESOID Portable Outdoor Waterproof Solar Power Bank. It’s a high capacity power bank with durable solar panels at a very good price. Having a battery built-in will make it a good, flexible choice for any outdoor activity or when the sun isn’t shining.

For a separate solar panel set up, we like Anker 21W 2-Port USB Portable Solar Charger. It’s a quality charger with a high output that you could use to recharge a separate power bank, although check it’s compatible first.

Advnture team

Launched in July 2020, Advnture is the ideal destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors. Whether you're into epic hikes through the wilderness, camping trips with the family, climbing with your friends, or looking for a trail running personal best, our team of experts will point you in the right direction, with top buying advice and in-depth guides to help you get the most of your time in the backcountry.