There’s more than one reason to use solar powered gear when hiking, backpacking or just around the house. It saves money by not buying batteries and it can help the environment if done correctly. Helps your wallet and the planet at the same time – how often does that happen? Just about any essential piece of gear you take with you has a solar powered or “crank” alternative.
You may be skeptical, but advancements in solar power has made leaps and bounds as more consumers like yourself have inquired about products. The survival and outdoor group are no different – in fact, we may be more into solar powered alternatives than the regular, everyday crowd.
The more time you spend in the outdoors, the more you’ve probably wondered if there is a better way to power your gear. You can never have enough batteries for everything – you end up taking from one item to power another. How many times have you needed a radio or flashlight while camping and didn’t have enough batteries? Forgot to check them before leaving? You won’t have to worry about that with these awesome solar powered outdoor items.
Here's The Best Solar Powered Outdoor Gear Our Team Found:
Goal Zero Yeti 200X Portable Power Station
The Goal Zero Yeti 200X is a great way to power your electronics when you don’t have electricity. It’s the perfect power station for camping, RVing or keeping around the house in case the lights go out. This is Goal Zero’s most lightweight power station and is super easy to carry. It gives you 187 Watt-Hours of power and charges super fast.
This power station has 120 volts and can absorb sunlight by using solar panels. It’s one of the most efficient solar power stations out there and can easily power a handful of electronics and keep your essential items charged. You can even power a laptop in the event you need to bring work with you. The Goal Zero Yeti 200X is a powerful charging station that gets the job done.
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer Solar Generator
Jackery started in California in 2012 and since then has specialized in outdoor green power for adventure-minded enthusiasts. This is the small version power station, but still packs a mean punch. Designed with a 240 watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack – you won’t need to use gasoline to power it. Perfect for an outdoor battery. Easily packed and lightweight enough to carry, you can charge laptops, small refrigerators, large tablets, and outdoor gear. Pair it with the Jackery Solar Saga for solar powered greatness! The Jackery Power Station is the perfect off-grid solar generator for those who like to live on the edge and get away from society for an adventure. Keep in mind, this device cannot support other devices that produce more than 200W such as blenders, drills, hair dryers, etc.
Kaito KA500 5-way Solar Power Emergency Radio
Stay saturated with light and information with a 6-way solar crank emergency radio. You want to have access to a reliable light source and know what’s going on around you no matter where you are. Emergency radios save lives – that’s a fact! You can’t be fully prepared unless you know what’s happening in your community during an event. Why rely on batteries when you can have access to solar power. The Kaito emergency radio/flashlight can be powered 6 different ways: solar panel, built-in hand crank generator, 3 AA batteries, 5V USB input, built-in replaceable and rechargeable battery pack and 5V AC/DC input with wall adapter. You will never not be able to power this beast! To top it off – the Kaito emergency radio is made from impact and water-resistant ABS material. It can take a beating and still work.
RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Emergency Weather Radio
The second solar crank emergency weather radio on the list – and for good reason, you need one. Great for emergencies and for those of us who don’t like buying batteries; stay prepared for emergency weather alerts and enjoy an unlimited light source. Powered by solar panels, hand crank, USB cable and 3 AAA batteries; you can also charge smart phones and small devices. If you’re looking for the best solar crank emergency radios – RunningSnail is definitely in the running.
Goal Zero Torch 500 Flashlight, Lantern and USB Recharger
Goal Zero is a big player in the solar power gear industry. They’ve been making quality camping products for a while now and have many repeat customers. The Goal Zero Torch 500 Flashlight is no exception – it delivers! Multiple light options such as flashlight, floodlight and red emergency light; the built-in solar panel give you long-lasting power for when you need it. Equipped with a USB charging cable to power your cell phone and small tablet – it also has a hand-crank for when the sun is down and you are out of power. You will never run out of juice with this solar-powered flashlight, lantern and recharger. We hope you never have to use the red emergency light, but you never know and it’s best to always be prepared.
How long does it take to charge the Goal Zero Torch 500?
You can recharge using the solar panel in about 7 – 14 hours. Charge it before you need it.
USB can charge the device in roughly 7 hours.
Hand crank can charge the Torch 500 Flashlight in 1 minute for 2 minutes of light.
You can also charge by using one of Goal Zero’s solar panels such as the Nomad 20 solar panel.
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station
If you’re one of those people who enjoys having a solid power source with you at all times, the Goal Zero Yeti Power Station was made for you. The 300Wh battery portable power station can go with you on your adventures and power up to 7 devices at once. Keep the juice flowing to your cell phones, cameras, tablets and any other small electronic device. Taking the family camping, but need to stay somewhat plugged in? There’s a port for each family member to keep running power to their favorite devices. You can take this power bank with you on an RV trip, hiking, camping or in the unfortunate event you lose power or have to evacuate. Power Stations won’t be able to power your entire household or refrigerators during a power loss, but they’re great for small trips -especially when you bring the kids.
You can recharge the Goal Zero Yeti 400 3 different ways: 12V, AC or solar panels which you can purchase HERE. This is a great alternative option to gas-powered generators. The Goal Zero Yeti 400 is silent and does not require maintenance which is a huge deal for most people. This power box is even chainable with other 33Ah lead-acid batteries to provide you with even more runtime. Overall, we think this is one of the best noise-free portable power stations you will find.
Goal Zero Rock Out 2 Solar Rechargeable Speaker
Take your music with you with the Goal Zero Solar Rechargeable Speaker. You may have the best intentions by packing your radio and speaker for your next trip – but we both know there’s no way those batteries are lasting until the sun goes down. Sure, you plug it into an outlet, but there’s a chance you will be going where electricity doesn’t run. Don’t worry about not having powerful speakers on your next trip with these solar rechargeable speakers. Perfect for the beach, camping, renting a cabin or a quick road trip. Weather proof, Bluetooth enabled and integrated solar panels that help you stay charged up longer. Store your gear inside with pockets. You won’t find small solar powered speakers that sound like this. The DarkBass chamber creates a deep sound without the bulk of a larger speaker.
ECEEN Solar Backpack 7W Solar Panel Charger
Experience unlimited charging power on your next trip with the ECEEN solar charger backpack. Not just for backpacking – you can take it anywhere. If you’re the type of person that likes to stay connected at all times, you can absolutely do that with the solar charger backpack and power all of your devices. It doesn’t take much sun to fully charge with the solar panels. Even on cloudy days you are still getting power. These solar panels have 22% transfer efficiency and are constructed directly onto the backpack
with weather-resistant toughness. Feel free to charge up your phone, GPS and just about any other small outdoor device. The backpack itself is pretty resistant with special care around stress points and can be used for everyday use.
Goal Zero Light-A-Life 350 LED Light
Need to light a larger area? The Goal Zero LED Light is adjustable for large areas, as well as lantern light for smaller spaces such as camping areas or inside a tent. You can hang these anywhere with the built-in carabineer. Hang one, hang two, hang three – illuminate your area without burning through batteries. Feel free to chain up to 8 lanterns together. You will need the Goal Zero Sherpa Power Pack or a Yeti Solar Generator to power.
The Goal Zero Light-A-Life is a great way to light up your campsite or workspace without worrying about replacing batteries. You can even use the attached carabiner to hang it on your tent or in your backyard. We like these solar-powered lights because they provide you with plenty of light at the campsite or when hanging out in the backyard at night.
Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Solar Shower
Now you can take a hot shower without electricity. Just lay the Solar Shower in the sun and let it do the work. You will have the ability to take a nice, hot shower in no time by using the power of sunlight. How long it takes to heat up the water depends on your climate. If the sun is full force, it won’t take long at all. Easy to use at the beach, camp, hiking or even on the deck of your boat. It even comes equipped with a water temperature gauge and reflective mirror for grooming and shaving. Don’t fall for a cheap solar shower, it’s worth it to spend a little more to get a quality item.
Solar-powered showers are perfect to keep in your RV or camper trailer just in case you choose a spot that doesn’t have electrical hookups. You can also bring these on camping trips where warm water may not be available.
Goal Zero Crush Light Solar Powered Lantern
The Goal Zero Crush Light is a solar-powered lantern that is perfect for the campsite or backyard. It provides professional-grade lighting power at 60 lumens which is plenty of light for most applications. You can light up the entire campsite with a few of these solar-powered lanterns.
You can run the Goal Zero Crush Light for 35 hours between charging. It even has a soft candle-flicker mode which is really fun for campsites. You can charge it with a USB cable or with the solar power option. In fact, you can charge the Goal Zero Crush Light completely via sunlight with the built-in solar panel. We like the fact that it has 6 different color modes with a multicolor fade to liven up any party or gathering. Overall, this is a great solar-powered lantern for the campsite, RV or around the house.
Solar Panel Anker 15W with USB
Equipped with fast charging technology – this solar panel can charge up to 2.1 amps in strong sunlight. Easily charge up to two of your favorite devices at the same time. Solar panels can save your butt, especially after a large power outage such as during a hurricane. You can charge phones, tablets and other essential gear with a solar panel. You don’t want to be trapped without a way to communicate or keep up with the news during an emergency.
You can attach the Anker solar panel charger to a backpack, tent or tree to capture as much sunlight as possible during the day. We’re huge fans of portable solar panels because there are a multitude of applications where they can be useful.
Qi Solar Power Bank 10,000mAh
The Qi solar power bank is a great way to keep your phones and other electronic devices charged when a plug-in is not available. These are perfect for hiking, camping, RVing and keeping in your vehicle so you can get a charge when you need it. This cell phone power bank charger features 10,000mAh with a solar power option that comes in handy when you need it.
I keep this same solar power bank charger on my truck dash to keep it charged and available to power my smartphone. You can fully charge this device in 5 hours with the adapter and it can charge your phone approximately 2-3 times depending on the type of phone you have. You won’t have to worry about dropping this power bank because it’s designed tough and ready for action. It even has a dual flashlight that can help you see around the campsite at night if you misplace your flashlight.
Do I Need Solar Power Outdoor Gear?
That depends on two main factors: How often you use your gear and if the dependability of having say a light source when you need it most outweighs the extra cash, then yes, you can benefit from solar power outdoor gear. Once you take into account how much money you spend on batteries and how frustrating it can be to run out of power when you need it – you will see it is actually cheaper to go solar power.
Is Solar Power Camping Gear Worth the Cost?
Solar power camping gear or outdoor gear may cost more than their non-solar power counterparts upfront, but you will recoup the extra price by saving on batteries. With that being said, the prices vary widely from brand to brand. One thing you don’t want to do is buy cheap solar power outdoor gear. You may end up paying more in the long run when you have to buy replacement parts. Buy from companies that offer free replacement parts or will repair your item if it breaks. If you’re concerned about how much solar powered camping gear costs, don’t worry, it’s worth a little extra to ensure you will always have what you need at your disposal.
Where Can I Buy Solar Power Outdoor Gear?
You can find it in some outdoor and hunting/fishing stores, but you may be limited to options as most retailers may only carry one or two brands. You can find a large selection of the best solar power camping gear online and can usually get it for a better price.
Jerome is an avid outdoorsman who moonlights as an attorney when he’s not creating the world’s greatest online content.