The Ultimate Guide to Portable power sources for camping

power station with many different connected devices

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top portable power devices for camping, ranging from compact power packs to high-capacity power stations. We'll cover everything you need to know to make an informed decision, including the best options for handheld electronics, solar chargers, mid-size electronics, and large power output. So let's dive in and find the perfect portable power solution for your camping needs!

Best for Handheld Electronics: Anker PowerCore III 10K

If you're looking for a portable power pack that is lightweight and doesn't require solar charging, the Anker PowerCore III 10K is an excellent choice. This power pack is perfect for backpacking, camping, hiking, and road trips.

The Anker PowerCore III 10K supports all the latest charging schemes, including Qi-certified wireless charging and 18W USB-C quick charge. Despite its small size, this power pack has an impressive capacity-to-size ratio. It weighs in at 6 ounces and have a measurement of 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 inches. This makes it highly portable. The PowerCore III 10K also features 5 bright LED lights to indicate the remaining battery life.

Best Solar Charger for Handheld Electronics: Nekteck 28W Solar Charger

If you're a budget-conscious camper or prefer charging your devices with solar power, the Nekteck 28W Solar Charger is an excellent option. This solar charger offers 28 watts of solar cell output capacity at a fraction of the cost of many competitors. It's lightweight and ideal for backpacking.

The Nekteck 28W Solar Charger features two fast-charging USB ports, allowing you to charge multiple devices simultaneously. With built-in smart technology, this solar charger can detect the type of device you're charging and optimize the charging speed. It's also highly durable, thanks to its high-quality materials and water-resistant design.

Best for Mid-Size Electronics (TV, Laptops, CPAP): Goal Zero Yeti 200x + Nomad 50

If you need to power mid-size electronics such as TVs, laptops, or CPAP machines during your camping trips, the Goal Zero Yeti 200x paired with the Nomad 50 solar panel is the perfect combination. The Yeti 200x is a portable power station that provides a significant battery capacity and charging power.

With 187 watt-hours of battery capacity, the Goal Zero Yeti 200x can charge smartphones, tablets, and even laptops. It's not designed to provide continuous power to appliances like refrigerators or electric heaters, but Goal Zero offers other power stations with higher capacity for those needs. The Nomad 50 solar panel seamlessly integrates with the Yeti 200x, allowing you to recharge it with solar power.

Mid-Size Power (500Wh): Jackery Explorer 500

The Jackery Explorer 500 is designed specifically for camping and off-the-grid living, this power station features a reliable lithium-ion battery with 518 watt-hours of capacity, 500 watts of rated power, and 1,000 watts of surge power.

With multiple outlet ports, including USB ports, an AC outlet, and a 12V car outlet, the Jackery Explorer 500 can charge a variety of devices. It can even power a CPAP machine overnight. Despite its power, the Explorer 500 is surprisingly lightweight, weighing just a little over 13 pounds.

Best Large Power Output: Maxoak Bluetti EB150 + BLUETTI SP200

If you're looking for a portable power source that can handle larger power requirements, the Maxoak Bluetti EB150 power station paired with the BLUETTI SP200 solar panel is the ideal choice. The EB150 offers an impressive 1500 watt-hours of capacity and two outlets that can produce 1000 watts each.

While recharging the EB150 may take longer with solar panels, it provides ample power for extended camping trips. The BLUETTI SP200 solar panel provides a reliable solar charging solution for the EB150. With these two devices combined, you can enjoy continuous power for a variety of appliances during your camping adventures.

Goal Zero Nomad 10: The Lightweight Solar Charger

For on-the-go campers who prioritize lightweight gear, the Goal Zero Nomad 10 solar charger is the perfect choice. This solar charger weighs just 1 lb 1.6 oz, making it highly portable and ideal for backpacking trips.

Unlike power stations, the Nomad 10 charges devices directly from the solar panel itself, meaning it doesn't have an internal battery. While this limits its usage to daylight hours, it excels at charging small devices such as smartphones, GPS navigators, and headlamps.

Pairing the Nomad 10 with a portable power bank, such as the Goal Zero Flip 36, ensures you have the flexibility to charge your devices even during the night without adding much weight to your backpack.

EF ECOFLOW RIVER 288Wh Portable Power Station: Compact and Versatile Power Station

The EF ECOFLOW RIVER 288Wh Portable Power Station is a compact and versatile power station that offers a range of charging options for your camping needs. Weighing just 11 pounds, this power station is lightweight and features an awesome handle for easy transportation.

It has a capacity of 288Wh, which can power a variety of devices, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, and even small appliances. The RIVER also features a fast-charging 288W AC outlet, as well as two 100W USB-A ports and a 15W USB-C port.

The RIVER is also incredibly lightweight and portable, making it easy to take with you on your adventures.

If you are looking for a powerful and portable power station for your outdoor adventures, the EF ECOFLOW RIVER 288Wh is a great option. It is compact, lightweight, and powerful, and it can power a variety of devices.

Here are some additional features of the EF ECOFLOW RIVER 288Wh Portable Power Station:

  • Fast charging: The RIVER can be fully charged in just 3 hours.
  • Long-lasting battery: The RIVER's battery has a lifespan of over 2,000 cycles.
  • Versatile charging options: The RIVER can be charged via AC, solar, or car power.
  • Durable design: The RIVER is shockproof and weatherproof.

Portable Power Buyer's Guide

Before purchasing a portable power source for camping, it's essential to consider several factors to ensure you choose the right device for your needs. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Type of Device

Determine the type of devices you plan to power. Are you looking to charge handheld electronics like smartphones and tablets, or do you need to power larger devices such as laptops, TVs, or CPAP machines?

Power Output

Consider the power output you require. Most manufacturers measure this in milliamp hours (mAh), with higher numbers indicating more charging capacity. Consider how many times you need to recharge your devices and choose a power source accordingly.

Type of Camping

Think about the type of camping you'll be doing. If you're backpacking, you'll want a small and lightweight power source. If you're car camping or boondocking, weight and size may not be as much of a concern.

Frequency of Camping

Consider how often you go camping. If you camp regularly, investing in a more powerful device may be worthwhile, even if it costs more upfront. If you only go camping occasionally, a smaller and less expensive power source may suffice.

Camping Location

Evaluate the camping locations you typically visit. While solar power is popular, it may not be the best option in every location. Battery-powered devices can provide a more reliable power source, especially in areas with limited sunlight.

By considering these factors, you can narrow down your options and find a portable power source that matches your specific needs.

How to Choose Portable Power for Camping

Now that you have a better understanding of the factors to consider, let's explore how to choose the best portable power device for your camping adventures:

Number of Users

Consider how many people will be using the power device. If it's just you, a single power outlet may be sufficient. However, if multiple users will be charging their devices simultaneously, look for a power source with multiple charging ports.

Age of Users

If you're camping with children, ensure the portable power device is safe for them to use. Look for child-friendly features and safety certifications to provide peace of mind.

Power Type

Evaluate how the device is powered. Popular options include solar power, wind power, gasoline power, and rechargeable electric power. Consider which option best suits your camping style and accessibility to power sources.

Battery Storage

Decide whether you need a portable power source that simply recharges devices or one that can store a charge itself. Devices with built-in batteries are valuable, particularly for solar chargers, as they allow you to charge devices even when the sun is not shining.


Consider the number of charges the device can provide. While power output is typically measured in milliamp hours, manufacturers often provide more practical terms for capacity. Determine how many charges you need and choose a device with sufficient capacity.


Evaluate the size and weight of the portable power gadget. For backpacking, small size and lightweight are crucial. Larger devices generally have higher power output and capacity but may be less suitable for backpacking trips.


Camping can expose your gear to various conditions, so ensure your power source is durable enough to withstand hot sun, snow, rain, and rough handling. Look for devices made with high-quality materials and designed for outdoor use.


Consider the features that are important to you. How many charging ports do you need? Do you prefer standard power outlets, USB ports, or other connection options? Tailor your choice to your specific charging needs.

Emergency Backup

If you require emergency backup power, ensure the portable power device you choose has this capability. Some power stations can jumpstart a car, offering a valuable feature in emergency situations.

By taking these factors into account, you can select a portable power device that meets your unique camping requirements.

Portable Power for Camping FAQ

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about portable power for camping:

Q: Will my portable solar panel work in cloudy weather?

A: Solar panels perform best in bright, sunny weather. However, they can still generate power in cloudy conditions, albeit at a slower rate. Expect around 25% of the total charging output, depending on the specific solar panel model.

Q: How do you charge a portable power station?

A: Portable power stations can be charged using various methods. You can recharge them via a wall outlet, a 12V car port, or a portable solar panel. Choose the charging method that suits your camping situation and available resources.

Q: How much power output do I need from my portable power device for camping?

A: The power output you need depends on the devices you intend to charge. For shorter trips, a power source that can recharge your smartphone once or twice may be sufficient. Longer trips may require a device capable of charging your devices multiple times or even powering small appliances. Portable solar panels offer the advantage of recharging power stations multiple times, providing a continuous power supply.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right portable power source for camping is essential to ensure you have a reliable and convenient power supply for your devices. While the Goal Zero Yeti 150 power station paired with the Goal Zero Boulder 50 solar panel has been a favorite of mine, every camper's needs are unique.

Consider your specific power requirements and camping style when selecting a portable power device. Whether you opt for compact power packs, solar chargers, mid-size power stations, or high-capacity power stations, you're sure to find a solution that meets your needs. Remember to prioritize lightweight and durable options for backpacking, and always consider safety features and ease of use.

With the right portable power source, you can stay connected, power your essential devices, and enjoy your camping adventures to the fullest. So, pack your gear, charge your devices, and embark on memorable camping experiences with the peace of mind that comes from having reliable portable power by your side!


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About Author:

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Hi, I'm Kevin Pommells, a lover of camping and the great outdoors as everyone says nowadays. I'm also a passionate soccer fan and the proud owner of, a website dedicated to helping campers and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of their adventures. With years of experience exploring the wilderness and a deep love for the sport of soccer, I'm always looking for new ways to combine my two passions and share my knowledge with others. Follow me for tips, tricks, and insights on all things camping and outdoor recreation.

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