Solar Generator For Camping: A guide to camping with solar

Thinking of getting a solar generator for your next camping trip? 

According to Statista, 40 million people in the United States partake in camping activities each year. 

States like California, Alaska, Utah, Rhode Island and Idaho offer some of the best camping sites in the whole of America. 

However, not all these sites have access to the electrical grid, which means you will be camping without any electricity. 

For some this is their escape and reason for choosing these spots, for others they wish the most beautiful (off-grid) camping spots had electricity

What if we told you that it is possible to bring your own electricity with you? 

Solar Generator For Camping

Ever heard of a gas powered generator? 

I'm sure you have, they are those noisy things you need to fill with gas in order for them to generate electricity. 

Well, a solar generator offers the exact same function, that is to produce useable electricity for you to consume. 

However, it doesn't make a sound. Oh, and it doesn't require any gas either. 

Essentially, bringing a solar generator on your camping trip is like bringing your own DIY solar system with you. 

Solar generators are unique in that they do not have any moving parts, this is the reason they make very little noise. 

This is a very important point as many campsites throughout the U.S. require noise levels (including generators) to be under 60 decibals. 

Common gas generators tend to produce around 70 decibals of noise. 

For this reason, some campgrounds even restrict the usage hours of traditional generators. 

For example, there will be a time in the morning, afternoon, and evening: such as from 8-10 am, 12-2 pm, and 5-7 pm where gas powered generators can be used.

This means you can only generate power at certain times throughout the day (not ideal). 

Solar generators produce about 7 decibals, perfect for RV and tent camping.

How Does a Solar Generator Work?

Solar generators work, by integrating a solar panel, charge controller, a battery system and an inverter into a compact system that is able to convert solar energy into a useable electrical current.

To better understand how solar generators work, we will discuss each of their components individually.

Solar panels: The solar panels are usually an external addon to most solar generators. We say external because a solar generator does not actually need a solar panel to work.

You could in theory charge your generator via mains electricity and then simply use that stored energy to power your devices on the go. However, when camping you may not be able to always rely on being connected or even close to the local power grid. 

In this scenario, having external solar panels attached to your generator makes it capable of working from anywhere, no matter how off-grid you find yourself. As long as there is sun, you will always be able to recharge your solar generator. 

Battery: A solar generator needs to store the energy it collects from the sun in order for you to use it at a later stage. The battery functions as the storage unit.

Lithium-ion batteries have been used in a wide variety of solar generators on the market since about the year 2016. However, you can also use less efficient lead acid batteries which are cheaper and more abundant than lithium-ion technology.

With that being said, lithium-ion batteries do have significant advantages over lead acid batteries, and it is our recommendation to use lithium-ion batteries as they are safer and more affordable in the long term.

Charge controller: Is a vital component of the solar generator, its main purpose is to protect and promote the durability of the battery. Charge controllers usually have various features for charging and discharging based on the certain type of battery and solar panel combination that you are using.

Charge controllers are crucial to making a solar generator work as they balance the power dynamic between the solar panels and batteries.

Inverter: This component converts the low direct current (DC) from the battery to alternating current (AC) which can be used to power your everyday household items.

Appliances that require DC power can actually do without the inverter since the electricity does not need to be converted.

Best Solar Generators for Camping

Solar generators are rated by their capacity, some have large capacity and some have less capacity. 

Essentially, what this means is, the more appliances you want to power, the larger capacity solar generator you will need to get. 

In this article we will outline the best solar generators for different camping situations, what their capcity is and what they will be able to power. 

Best Solar Generator For Tent Camping

Bluetti AC50S

The AC50S is a 500Wh solar generator, the perfect size to take on a tent camping trip. Your main concern here should be size, you do not want something overly powerful, as it is likley not necessary.

The AC50S is able to charge the following items: 

  • Iphone X 42+ Recharges
  • Laptop (60w) 7+ Recharges
  • Led Lantern Light (10w) 17Hours
  • CPAP (60w) 6+ Hours
  • Gopro (14w) 80+ Recharges
  • Mini Fridge (40w) 10+ Hours
  • Air Pump (40w) 10+ Hours
  • Drone 18+ Recharges

Best Solar Generator For RV Camping

Bluetti AC200 Max

This is 2048Wh solar generator, capable of being expanded up to a 8192Wh's. This solar generator is made for extended camping trips, and can power and recharge multiple devices all at once. The generator itself is fairly large, so a fair amount of room will be need to made available, something possible inside an RV. 

The AC200 Max is able to charge the following items: 

  • Coffee maker (2000W) 68 - 70 cups
  • Electric grill (1650W) - 1 Hour
  • Refrigerator (150W) 15 - 28 hours
  • Air conditioner (8000 BTU) 3 - 7 Hours
  • CPAP (40W) - 40+ Hours
  • Light (10W) - 50+ Hours

Now at Bluetti we have a range of solar generators, each with their own capacities, you can check out all our products here.

However, we believe that the AC50S and AC200 Max are best for camping. 

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for an alternative way to produce your own electricity and store it, we would highly recommend you look at investing into a solar generator. 

Not only can you rely on producing your own clean energy, but you can do so quietly, giving you unlimited access to all the campsites located throughout the United States. 

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