Best Solar Generator for Camping (2021) – Reviews and Buyers Guide

In our review of the best solar generator for camping, we will mostly focus on the power station, and will indicate the best solar panel to pair up with every generator.

You don’t usually gear up the same for an expedition in the mountain or a vacation camping trip. Therefore, we decided to make an in-depth comparative study of the 12 best solar generators for a camping trip.

Our review is aimed at any outdoor enthusiast who would like to know how to power their essentials: phones, tablets, camera, drones, but also experienced campers for longer trips, with mini refrigerator, projectors and more.

Solar generators are popping up everywhere nowadays; on Amazon you will find more than 25 brands dedicated to power stations and solar generators.

We selected products adapted to every need and organized them into a best of list to make the decision process easier for you.

For a quick look check our Editor’s pick section, you’ll get all the essentials about the best solar generators for camping in 2021.

We included a FAQ and tried to answer the most common and useful questions, if you are missing one do not hesitate to reach out to me and the team in the comments section.

In our buyer’s guide I will give a detailed description of how solar generators work, and how we can optimize their power output.

Let’s start with our editor’s TOP 6 picks of the best solar generators for camping in 2021.

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Editors’ Picks
A selection of the best solar generators ordered by their storage capacity from 90Wh for short and light weight outdoor expeditions to more than 1KWh for serious camping trips!

Best Solar generator 90Wh Best for hiking

The smallest capacity but it is not shy to compete with the big brothers. Easily fits in a hand bag, has 1 AC (110V, 65W outlet)!
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Best Solar generator 150Wh Best For overnight camping trip

Light weight, affordable and reliable. This bundle package by AIMTON combines power station and solar panel for full autonomy in any short camping trip.
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Best Solar generator 250Wh Best all-around

Versatile, powerful, yet light to carry; the JACKERY Power Station 240 is one of the best choice entry level solar generator.
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Best Solar generator 300Wh Most durable

Planning for a longer trip into the wild? The RENOGY Phoenix 300 Power station will give you the extra autonomy that you need. Best battery life duration.
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Best Solar generator 500Wh Best for week long camping trip

With 300W power output the YETI 400 can run a refrigerator for a day! Best entry choice perfect for longer camping vacations.
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Best Solar generator 1kWh+ Best for off grid cabins

The LYCAN Powerbox by RENOGY is a beast! Comes with huge storage capacity, can power all our regular appliances, very durable battery.
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5 main criteria to choose a solar generator for camping

Solar Generators are relatively new to the market, therefore most of you might not be totally familiar with their features and abilities.

No worries!

I have summarized below what they are capable of and the main criteria that I’ve used to select the best generators.

Solar Generators have three main functions:

  • Produce electricity from the sun
  • Store electricity in lithium batteries
  • Convert electricity into usable USB, DC and AC power

The best camping solar generators come in bundles that combine solar panels and power stations. Our review focuses on the power station, yet I will include which solar panel I recommend for each power station.

Have a look below at the main criteria that I have considered for our 12 best solar generators for camping in 2021 list:

  • Storage capacity: One of the most important factors to consider when buying a solar generator, this will determine your autonomy. This specification is rated in Wh. Wh measures the energy, as an example a light bulb of 5W will consume over 1 hour: 5Wh, if 2 hours of light: 10Wh…
  • Power output: The power that your solar generator can produce will determine the appliances you’ll be able to bring on your outdoor trip. Power is rated in Watt (W). In our review of the best solar generator for camping, I have considered all the needs: from laptops, tablets or drone charging to refrigerator, TV, and power tools.
  • Number and types of outlets: The second most important criteria is what you can plug into your solar generator, from the basic USB and 12V output to 110V/220V AC outlets. All the power stations featured in this review offer AC outlets to connect your electronic gadget and appliances.
  • Weight and size: When it comes to camping, the compacity and weight of any object brought on the trip is of the highest importance. Lithium batteries offer the best energy density on the market. We have carefully selected solar generators from the lightest for wild expeditions on feet to the more bulky ones for relaxed camping trips and off grid cabins.
  • Battery life duration: I have been traumatized by the super short battery life of the old Lead-acid technology (less than 2 years). Luckily my nightmares are leaving, thanks to lithium batteries. These offer up to 10 years of maintenance-free service.

What are the best Solar Generators for camping in 2021?

In short:

Best Solar generator for hiking

SINKEU 88.8Wh|65Watts Portable Laptop Charger

Best Solar generator for overnight camping trip
AIMTOM 155Wh with 60W Folding Solar Panel

Best Solar generator for week-end camping trip
RENOGY Phoenix 200 Power station

Best all-around Solar generator
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240

Best solar generator to charge phones and laptop

Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station and Outdoor Solar Generator

Best Solar generator for drone charging

Anker Powerhouse 200

Best Solar generator for week long camping trip

Goal Zero Yeti 400

Best Solar generator for off grid cabins

Lycan Power box by RENOGY

Best solar generator for high power appliances

Goal Zero Yeti 1500X

Best solar generator for a refrigerator

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000

Solar generator with the best durability

Phoenix 300 Power station by Renogy

Solar generator with the biggest capacity

Goal Zero Yeti 3000X

12 Best solar generator for camping 2021

1

SINKEU 88.8Wh|65Watts

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SINKEU offers the most compact and light weight solar generator on the market. Let’s take a deeper look at its specifications and features.

When preparing for a hike what matters the most is the weight of your package. With less than 500g SINKEU is the lighest solar generator yet with AC output to charge your laptop.

Its compact size comes with a lower storage capacity of 88Wh but still gives you autonomy it can easily charge two times a drone, or a small laptop.

This is also the cheapest product of our review, you will find it at less than 85 USD on Amazon.

Pair it with a 30W solar panel, fast recharge in 5 or 6 hours.

Tech Specs:

Capacity (Wh):88.8 Wh
Power output:65W continuous
Number of USB outputs:2 USB (USB 1: 5V/3A, 9V/2A max; USB 2: 5V/2A)
Number of DC outputs:1 DC output (9V ~ 12.6V/10A max)
Number of AC outputs:1 AC output (110V/65W)
Weight:500 grams
Size:17cm*7.6cm*4.6cm
High speed charging:Yes – Less than 4 hours
Type of charging:Home charger, DC plug-in, 15V
Car charger, DC plug-in, 12V
Solar panel , 12V ~ 16V
Battery life cycle500+

Key Features:

  • Compacity: Unlike any other solar generator you can easily fit it in your backpack. Bring it on any trip and power your drone, camera, phone, laptop.
  • AC, DC and USB outputs: It is small, but offers the same features as the larger models, 1 AC plug 65W, the classical 5V USB outputs and a 12V DC outlet.
  • High Speed charging: One of the most underated feature. Recharging your power station should be smooth and fast. You can acheive high speed charging by coupling the right solar panel to your power station. I recommend a 30W solar panel. It will completely charge your power station in about 6 hours of sun.
  • OLED display: A clear display is important to check the battery state at all time. OLED displays with their sharp and bright image are doing the job perfectly.
  • Charging Capacity: Will power a table fan for two hours, charge two times a DJI Mavic drone, 6 times IPhone 8, 1.8 times MacBook and almost 5 times a Nintendo Switch!

Pros and Cons:

Positive
  • Compact size
  • Light Weight
  • AC Output (110V – 65W)
  • 4 hours fast charging with the wall plug – 6 hours with a 30W solar panel
  • Price
Negatives
  • Will drain quickly if multiple charging
  • No car socket
  • Poor battery durability
  • Limited storage capacity
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2

AIMTOM Power Station SPS-155 with 60W Solar Panel ASP-60

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One of the two bundles of our review, it was important for me to feature this one as a perfect example of an entry-level well balanced system.

The power station has a 155Wh capacity. The solar panel is 60W.

If you are camping in California for example, you’ll be able to charge your power station in half a day. Make sure that your panels are exposed to full sun at all time!

I love this system it will gives you enough power for an overnight camping trip whatever the weather condition. It is easy to carry anywhere and its solar panel is foldable.

Bring it to a party for hours of entertainment with a video projector or portable speakers. The power station will last all night!

Tech Specs:

Power Station SPS-155

Capacity (Wh):155 Wh
Power output:100W continuous – 150W peak power
Number of USB outputs:3 USB (5V/2.1A)
Number of DC outputs:3 DC outputs (9~12.6V/15A, 180W max)
Number of AC outputs:1 AC output (110V/100W)
Weight:1.6 kilograms
Size:17cm*7.6cm*4.6cm
High speed charging:Yes – Less than 5 hours with the solar panel
Type of charging:Home charger, DC plug-in, 15V
Car charger, DC plug-in, 12V
Solar panel , 13V ~ 24V max 2.1A.
Battery life cycle500+

Solar panel ASP-60

Max power output60W
Number of USB output1 USB (5V, 2.4A)
Number of DC output1 DC (12-18V 4.5A max)
Solar cell efficiency22%
Folded Size29x16x6cm
Unfolded Size165x29x1.8cm
Weight1.35kg

Key features:

  • Power everywhere at anytime: the combination of the power station and solar panel gives you the autonomy that you need for an overnight camping trip. If you plan to power only lights, phones, tablets, laptop or speakers then your needs can be satisfied 100% with this solar generator. You can also decide to charge directly through the solar panel, thanks to the USB output.
  • Pass through charging: An important feature here, you can still charge your devices while the power station is being recharge by solar or by the other charging options.
  • Compacity: Both the solar panel and the power station are light and compact, they are easy to handle and fits in a backpack.
  • Emergency light: The power station features an emergency light with SOS that will be a good assistance during night.

Pros and Cons:

Positive
  • Built in MPPT solar charger
  • Light weight
  • 100% autonomous with the solar panel
  • Highly efficient solar panel
  • Strongly built
Negatives
  • Not the fastest USB charging output
  • Only one AC output
  • Full charge in 7 hours
  • Poor battery durability
  • No OLED screen
  • Cannot use the solar panel under the rain
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3

RENOGY Phoenix 200 Power station

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An entry level power station with a capacity of 190Wh. Your best choice for a weekend of outdoor adventure and camping.

Renogy is a well renowned brand in the world of solar energy with high quality products, therefore you can trust them when it comes to solar generator.

The Phoenix 200 concentrates all the connectors and outputs to power up to 7 devices at the same time. The two AC outlet can power appliances up to 150W.

We recommend to couple your Phoenix 200 with a 50W solar panel like the E.FLEX 50 PORTABLE SOLAR PANEL. A full charge will take 7 to 8 hours.

Tech Specs:

Capacity (Wh):190 Wh
Power output:150W continuous – 200W peak power
Number of USB outputs:3 USB (5V/2.4A) – 1 USB-C (5V/3A)
Number of DC outputs:1 DC output (9.6-12.6V/5A)
Number of AC outputs:2 AC output (110V/150W)
Cig. plug9.6-12.6V / 10A Max
Weight:2.1 kilograms
Size:18 x 15.5 x 14.3 cm
High speed charging:Yes – Less than 8 hours with the solar panel or wall plug
Type of charging:Home charger, DC plug-in, 15V, 30W
Car charger, DC plug-in, 12V, 30W
Solar panel , 12V ~ 25V max 30W
Battery life cycle500+

Key features:

  • Multiple power outputs: The Renogy Phoenix 200 offers plenty of connectors and socket for a total of 200W continuous power. Among them it is worth notice that you will find one high speed USB-C, 2 AC plug 110V and even a cigarette plug up to 10Amps!
  • 3 different way of charging: Charging your power station is easy, you can plug it at home in a wall outlet, in a car socket or to your solar panel. For a total charging time of 7 to 8 hours.
  • Safety: The power station features multiple safety equipment, like a BMS for the lithium battery, protection from overheating and short circuits.
  • Built-in LED light: This small feature makes all the difference at night, the LED light is powerfull and can be adjust to several level, including an emergency mode

Pros and Cons:

Positive
  • 2 AC output 110V
  • 1 cigarette outlet
  • High speed USB-C
  • 150W continuous power output
  • High quality material
  • Emergency Led Light
Negatives
  • Drain fast if all outputs are connected
  • Full charge in 8 hours
  • Poor battery durability
  • No OLED screen
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4

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240

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A best seller on Amazon, the Jackery Power Station Explorer 240 is our best pick for all around solar generator. The Jackery brand is specialized in solar generator, with 9 years of experience.

Their products are reliable, and build in high quality materials with all the safety equipment to ensure a long life duration.

And this is what we like with the Explorer 240, thanks to the multiple outlets (from AC 110V to DC car plug) you can plug a lot of devices to drain the 240Wh battery.

240Wh is a lot of energy, yet the power station is compact enough to be put in a backpack. You’ll be able to power a mini cooler for 18hours!

For complete autonomy we recommend to couple the power station with a 60W solar panel, like the Jackery Solar Saga 60. Only 6 hours from 0% to 80% charge.

Tech specs:

Capacity (Wh):240 Wh
Power output:200W continuous – 400W peak power
Number of USB outputs:2 USB (5V/2.4A)
Number of AC outputs:1 AC output (110V/200W)
Cig. plug9.6-12.6V / 10A Max
Weight:3 kilograms
Size:22.8 x 12.7 x 17.78 cm
High speed charging:Yes – Less than 7 hours with the solar panel or wall plug
Type of charging:Home charger
Car charger
Solar panel , DC 12V ~ 30V max 42W

Key features:

  • Built-in MPPT and Pure Sine Wave inverter: Jackery have chosen the best built-in equipment for their power station. The MPPT solar charger ensure maximum solar output at all time and the pure sine wave inverter provides reliable and clean power with high efficiency
  • Power and storage capacity: With 240Wh capacity and 200W power, everyone will be able to charge its electronic gadget. There is also a passtrough charging feature that allows you to charge your devices when the power station is being recharged.
  • High speed charging: Charge your power station from 0 to 80% in less than 6 hours with the solar panel or 5 hours with the wall plug.

Pros and Cons:

Positive
  • Built-in MPPT solar charger
  • Built-in Pure Sine Wave inverter
  • High speed charging (45W max)
  • 200W continuous power output
  • High quality material
  • Smart display for power input and output monitoring
Negatives
  • No USB-C
  • Only 2 USB output
  • 1 AC output only
  • No LED light
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5

Westinghouse iGen160s

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Small by its size but featuring all the latest power output, the Westinghouse iGen160s is our best choice to charge phone and laptops.

Charging your electronic gadget could take a lot of time with the regular USB (5V/2A), but have no worries with the Westinghouse IGen160s. It features the latest USB high speed charging technology (Quick-charge USB 3.0) and 2 AC output for laptop charging. You can charge a Macbook Pro 6 times!

Being one of the smallest power station on the market you can bring it on any trip in a backpack.

High speed charging in 6 hours is available when coupling to a solar panel, we recommend the 60W Jackery Solar saga.

Tech specs:

Capacity (Wh):155 Wh
Power output:100W continuous – 150W peak power
Number of USB outputs:4 USB , 2 standard (5V/2.4A), 1 USB-C, 1 QC USB 3.0
Number of AC outputs:2 AC output (120V/100W)
Number of DC outputs:3 DC output 12V
Weight:1.7 kilograms
Size:20.3 x 7.62 x 17.78 cm
High speed charging:Yes – Less than 6 hours with the solar panel or wall plug
Type of charging:Home charger
Car charger
Solar panel

Key features:

  • High speed USB charging: One of the only solar generator offering a USB 3.0 QC plug. Perfect for your latest electronic devices.
  • Multiple plugs and outputs: A total of 9 power outlets! Very impressive for such a small device. You’ll be able to plug in all your phones, tablets, laptop, camera and drones.
  • Built-in Led light: A very convenient LED light for reading or to light a room, the surroundings of a camp fire.
  • Smart LED screen: A bright and colorfull display to monitor the state of charge at all time.
  • Compacity: Super light and compact, it will easily fit in your backpack or hand bag.

Pros and Cons:

Positive
  • 2 AC outlet (120V, 100W)
  • 4 USB plug, including 1 USB 3.0QC
  • 100W continuous power output
  • 3 charging ways (solar panel, wall plug and car)
  • Only 1.7 kg
  • Side and front LED light
Negatives
  • LImited capacity for short trips
  • Not a pure sine wave inverter
  • No cigarette car plug
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6

Anker Powerhouse 200

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Anytime I go out for adventure I bring my drone for filming. What I like the most is multiple days trip to reach the wildest area. I had to find a way to keep my drone powered at all time if I want to capture the beauty of sunrise at the summit of a mountain.

I found out that the Anker Powerhouse 200 is the perfect companion for your drone. For example it can fully charge 4 time the battery of my DJI Mavic Pro. More than what I need!

With its 2 high speed USB output it also charges my phone and tablet in a blink of an eye.

Cherry on the cake, it features high speed charging when coupling to a solar panel (6 hours) or a wall plug (4.5 hours only). I would recommend the 60W Jackery Solar saga.

Tech specs:

Capacity (Wh):213 Wh
Power output:100W continuous – 150W peak power
Number of USB outputs:2 high speed 3.0 USB – 1 fast charge USB-C
Number of AC outputs:1 AC output (120V/100W)
Cigarette Car output:1 cig output (60W max)
Weight:2.7 kilograms
Size:17.78 x 12.7 x 10.16 cm
High speed charging:Yes – Less than 5 hours with the solar panel or wall plug
Type of charging:Home charger
Car charger
Solar panel

Key features:

  • Fastest USB charging: Charge your phone, laptop and other electronic device to the speed of light with the latest USB 3.0 and fast charge USB-C
  • Great storage capacity of more than 200Wh for multiple charging of all your electronic devices
  • Fast charging: One of the fastest power station to charge, only 4.5 hours with the USB-C power delivery
  • Pass through charging: Deliver power even when being charged by solar panel or wall plug

Pros and Cons:

Positive
  • 1 USB-C ultra fast charging
  • 2 USB fast charging plug
  • 100W continuous power output
  • Fast charging of the power station in 4.5 hours only
  • Support pass-through charging
Negatives
  • No built-in LED light
  • Only one AC plug
  • 100W power output only
  • No DC output
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7

Goal Zero Yeti 400

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Week long trip in the wild are the best way to reconnect with yourself and with nature. The Goal Zero Yeti 400 will give you the extra comfort you’ll need to make your trip memorable.

This power station is a mini beast! It has all the regular output you will find in other power station but it comes with a huge storage capacity of 400Wh! Bring a mini cooler with you, LED lights, phone, tablet and laptop, the Yeti 400 will power all of that.

Couple your power station with a 100W solar panel for complete autonomy. It supports fast charging, and on a bright day you can fully charge it in less than 5 hours!

We recommend the Goal Zero Boulder 100 solar panel for a charging time of 7-9 hours or the Goal Zero Boulder 200 solar panel for charging time of 3-6 hours.

Tech specs:

Capacity (Wh):428 Wh
Power output:300W continuous – 1200W peak power
Number of USB outputs:3 regular USB (5V, 2A)
Number of AC outputs:2 AC output (120V/300W)
Cigarette Car output:1 cig output (120W max)
Weight:7.2 kilograms
Size:28 x 15.2 x 17.8 cm
High speed charging:Yes – Less than 4 hours with a 200W solar panel
Type of charging:Home charger
Solar panel

Key features:

  • Huge storage capacity: More than 400Wh stored in its lithium batteries, gives you enough autonomy to power a mini cooler for a day, while charging your electronic devices
  • Informative LED display: Keep an eye on the power inputs and outputs as well as the battery state of charge
  • Fast charging: Coupled with a 200W solar panel, the power station will be fully charged in half a day!
  • Pass through charging: Deliver power even when being charged by solar panel or wall plug
  • Portable: Not the lightest power station of our review, but in regards with its storage capacity it still ok to carry it in a back pack to reach your base camp.

Pros and Cons:

Positive
  • 2 AC outlet
  • 300W continuous power output
  • 1200W surge output
  • Ultra fast charging of the power station in 4 hours only
  • Support pass-through charging
Negatives
  • No high speed USB charging
  • Outdated LED screen
  • No built-in LED light
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8

Lycan Powerbox with 300W Solar Panel by RENOGY

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One of the latest products of Renogy, a well trusted brand in the world of solar energy. The Lycan Powerbox with 300W solar panel is our best choice to fully power an off grid cabin.

The power station features all the latest inovation in terms of battery storage and output. With 1kWh of storage and 300W output, the Lycan Powerbox can power a small refrigerator with freezer for a day, while charging electronic devices. Plug your LED TV or projector and standing fan, the power station can handle it.

It comes with a 3*100W suitcase solar panels, that can fully charge your battery in 4 to 5 hours! While charging the power station you can still plug your devices thanks to the pass through charging ability.

Built with high quality materials, the Lycan Powerbox is extremly durable with 2000 cycles or 7 years life time duration.

Tech specs:

Lycan Powerbox

Capacity (Wh):1078 Wh
Power output:300W continuous – 1200W peak power
Number of USB outputs:3 regular USB (5V, 2.4A) – 1 low speed USB (5V, 1A)
Number of AC outputs:3 AC output (110V/300W)
Number of DC outputs:2 DC output (12V)
Weight:25 kilograms
Size:35.5 x 33 x 27.9 cm
High speed charging:Yes – Less than 4 hours with the 300W solar panel
Type of charging:Home charger
Solar panel
Battery lifeMore than 2000 cycles

RENOGY 100 WATT FOLDABLE SOLAR SUITCASE 

Max power output100W
Maximum Operating Voltage (Vmp)
18.0V
Maximum Operating Current (Imp)5.71A
Solar cell efficiency22%
Folded Size48.6×68.5×5.1cm
Weight12 kg

Key features:

  • Great storage capacity for off-grid cabins: More than 1000Wh stored in its lithium batteries, you can power a small refrigerator with freezer, a TV, table fan and your electronic devices at the same time!
  • 300 W solar panels: Fast Recharge your power station in 4 hours with the solar panels
  • Highly durable: The lithium battery is rated at more than 2000 cycles. This is 7 years if you use it daily
  • Pass through charging: Deliver power even when being charged by solar panel or wall plug
  • Built-in MPPT solar charger and Pure sine wave inverter: The latest technology to maximize the solar output at all time, and provide clean power (up to 300W) to your small appliances

Pros and Cons:

Positive
  • 1kWh capacity
  • 3 AC outlet (110V)
  • 1200W surge output
  • Ultra fast charging of the power station in 4 hours with the solar panels
  • Support pass-through charging
  • Long battery life duration
Negatives
  • Only 300W output
  • No high speed USB charging
  • The complete system with solar panels is heavy (total of 60kg)
  • No built-in LED light
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9

Goal Zero Yeti 1500X

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Goal Zero is a pioneer in term of solar generator. They have been designing power station since 10 years. The Yeti 1500X is one of the most advanced power station on the market regarding the storage capacity, charging abilities and output power.

The Yeti 1500X is a real alternative to fuel generators.

This is our best choice to power the most common household appliances for a full day and more.

The Yeti 1500X is extremely versatile!

It can achieve high speed USB charging for your electronic devices, can be used as emergency back up when power brownout. It can run power tools like driller, sander, planer…

You can charge your Yeti 1500X power station in about 4 hours when coupled to 400W solar panels. We recommend two Goal Zero Boulder 200 Watt Briefcase.

Tech Specs:

Capacity (Wh):1516 Wh
Power output:2000W continuous – 3500W surge
Number of USB outputs:2 regular USB (5V, 2.4A) – 1 USB-C (18W) – 1 USB-C PD (60W)
Number of AC outputs:2 AC output (110V/2000W)
Number of DC outputs:2 DC output (12V) +1 Car plug (12V)
Weight:19 kilograms
Size:38 x 25 x 25 cm
High speed charging:Yes – Less than 4 hours with the 400W solar panel
Type of charging:Home charger
Solar panel
Battery lifeMore than 2000 cycles

Key features:

  • Enormous storage capacity: More than 1.5kWh stored in its lithium batteries gives you enough autonomy to power a regular size refrigerator/freezer for a day while charging your electronic devices.
  • High speed USB charging: Features the latest USB charging technology, 18W USB-C and USB-C PD up to 60W!
  • High power supply: The built-in pure sine wave inverter offers 2000W of continuous power. This is enough to plug in your power tools.
  • Compacity: it is surprisingly light and compact compared to other power station offering less storage capacity; For example 6 kg lighter than the Renogy Lycan which only offers 1kWh capacity.
  • Built-in MPPT solar charger and Pure sine wave inverter: The latest technology to maximize the solar output at all time, and provide clean power (up to 2000W) to your household appliances

Pros and Cons:

Positive
  • 1.5kWh capacity
  • 2000W continuous power output
  • 3500W surge output
  • Ultra fast charging of the power station in 4 hours with the solar panels
  • Support pass-through charging
  • Compact for its battery capacity
Negatives
  • Only 2 AC output
  • No built-in wheels to move it easily
  • No built-in LED light
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10

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000

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I remember our camping trip with my parents when I was a kid, we used to go in the south of France during the hottest months. We would camp on wild places and stay there for 10 days or more.

Coming from the city I enjoyed those moments of freedom a lot.

One thing we were missing though is a reliable small refrigerator to store our food and cool our drinks during the warm summer days.

I am now much older and it is my turn to go on a field trip with my kids, but this time we have all the equipment to power our mini fridge.  The Jackery portable station Explorer 1000 is doing a prefect job, and give us multiple days of autonomy.

We coupled the power station with 2*100W Solar Saga 100 panels to be totally free from grid electricity and not to worry about the weather.

Now I can highly recommend the Explorer 1000 power station, despite of its high storage capacity it is still light weight (10kg) compared to 25kg for the Renogy Lycan rated at same capacity.

Tech specs:

Capacity (Wh):1000 Wh
Power output:1000W continuous – 2000W surge
Number of USB outputs:1 regular USB (5V, 2.4A) – 2 USB-C with PD (60W) – 1 quick charge USB 3.0
Number of AC outputs:3 AC output (110V/1000W)
Number of DC outputs:1 Car plug (12V, 10A)
Weight:10 kilograms
Size:33 x 22.86 x 27.9 cm
High speed charging:Yes – 6 hours with 200W solar panels
Type of charging:Wall outlet (7h)
Solar panel (6-8h)
Car outlet (14h)

Key features:

  • The biggest storage capacity The biggest storage capacity of all models from Jackery. Perfect for longer off-grid trips or as emergency back up at home.
  • High speed USB charging: Features fast USB charging technology, 18W USB-C and quick charge USB 3.0
  • High power supply: The built-in pure sine wave inverter offers 1000W of continuous power. This is enough to plug in your power tools and refrigerator.
  • Light weight: This is the lightest power station in its category with only 10kg
  • Built-in MPPT solar charger and Pure sine wave inverter: The latest technology to maximize the solar output at all time, and provide clean power (up to 1000W) to your household appliances

Pros and Cons:

Positive
  • 1 kWh capacity
  • 1000W continuous power output
  • 2000W surge output
  • Light weight
  • Support pass-through charging
  • Compact for its battery capacity
Negatives
  • Only 2 AC output
  • Not the fastest charging time for the power station
  • No built-in LED light
  • Only 4 USB output
  • Only one DC output (car plug)
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11

Phoenix 300 Power station by Renogy

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When it comes to durability I always go with Renogy.

They make sure to select the best components to build their power station.

Whereas most of the power station below 350Wh capacity exhibit life duration of 500 to 800 cycles, the Renogy Phoenix Station 300 is rated at 1000 cycles. That’s 50 to 20% more cycles compared to the other brands!

 Great durability combined with the most recent charging technologies make one of the best power station below 350Wh on the market.

A 50W solar panel will charge the Phoenix 300 in about 7 hours.

Let’s have a look below at the technical specifications and the main features:

Tech specs:

Capacity (Wh):337 Wh
Power output:200W continuous – 350W surge
Number of USB outputs:2 regular USB (5V, 2.4A) – 1 USB-C (18W) – 1 USB-C PD (60W)
Number of AC outputs:2 AC output (110V/200W)
Number of DC outputs:1 Car plug (12V, 10 A)
Weight:2.9 kilograms
Size:18.1 x 15.5 x 14.3 cm
High speed charging:Yes – 7 hours with a 50W solar panel
Type of charging:Wall outlet (5h) through USB-C PD
Solar panel (7h)
Car outlet (6h)

Key features:

  • The latest high speed USB charging: Charge your electronic devices in a blink of an eye with the USB 3.0 (18W) and with the latest PD USB-C (60W).
  • AC output: with the two AC outlet you can power a mini refrigerator for a day while charging your electronic devices on the USB plug.
  • Built-in LED light: for emergency or to light a small room
  • Compacity: More than 300Wh of capacity in less than 3kg, one of the lightest power station in its category. Bring it anywhere in a backpack.
  • Built-in MPPT solar charger and Pure sine wave inverter: Benefits from latest charging technologies with the MPPT solar charger. The pure sine wave inverter will produce the stable power needed by our appliances.
  • Durability: More than 1000cycles, 20 to 50% higher than other similar power stations

Pros and Cons:

Positive
  • 5 types of outlets
  • 1000 life cycles
  • Built in MPPT and Pure sine wave inverter
  • Light and small
  • Support pass-through charging
  • Fast USB charging
Negatives
  • 200W power only
  • Only one USB 3.0 quick charge
  • No OLED screen
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12

Goal Zero Yeti 3000X

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The last solar generator of our review is the Yeti 3000X, and it might be as powerfull as the Big Foot.

Goal Zero is simply offering us the most powerfull power station on the market.

With its gigantic 3kWh storage capacity it can power almost everything (except electric oven). Unlike other power station that might limit your electricty use, this one will last forever. For example it can charge 250 times your Iphone 11 or power a regular refrigerator with freezer for more than 2 days.

Bring it on a camping trip and feel the comfort of your home. To charge your Yeti 3000X we recommend 6*100 W solar panel like the Boulder 100. It will take 6-10 hours to fully charge your power station.

Let’s check the specifications and main features of this monster:

Tech specs:

Capacity (Wh):2982 Wh
Power output:2000W continuous – 3500W surge
Number of USB outputs:2 regular USB (5V, 2.4A) – 1 PD USB-C (60W) – 1 quick charge USB 3.0 (18W)
Number of AC outputs:2 AC output (110V/2000W)
Number of DC outputs:2 DC output (12V) +1 Car plug (12V)
Weight:35 kilograms
Size:50.8 x 45.7 x 35.5 cm
High speed charging:Yes – 6-12 hours with 600W solar panels
Type of charging:Wall outlet (14h)
Solar panel (6-12h)
Car outlet (28h)

Key features:

  • The biggest storage capacity: If you are looking to power multiple appliances at the same time for a day, this power station is the right choice. It can power a refrigerator for 55 hours, a 42in TV for 30 hours…
  • Extremely versatile: Bring it on a long camping trip to power all your appliances, take it on a remote construction site for your power tools.
  • Built-in wheels: Weighing more than 35kg, the built-in wheels are welcomed when moving the power station.
  • High speed USB charging: The YETI 3000X offers all the latest USB charging options, from the classic USB-A to the powerful PD-USB-C (60W).
  • Built-in MPPT solar charger and Pure sine wave inverter: Get the most of your solar panels with the built-in MPPT solar charger. The pure sine wave inverter will produce the stable and clean power needed by your appliances.
  • Charge in a day: The quantity of energy stored by the power station is huge, yet it can still be fully charged in one day or less when connected to 600W solar panels.

Pros and Cons:

Positive
  • The biggest capacity of all solar generator
  • Multiple high speed USB plug
  • 2000 W pure sine wave inverter
  • Built-in MPPT
  • Support high speed charging for the power station
Negatives
  • Only 2 AC output
  • Very heavy
  • No OLED screen
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Best solar generator for camping – Buying guide

Solar generators are quite new to the market and you might not be totally familiar with their features and capabilities.

Therefore in the following section I will give you the most complete picture of solar generators and their benefits compared to the classic fuel generators.

What are solar generators?

Solar generators are bundles combining two items:

  • Solar panel
  • Power station

When exposed to the sun, the solar panel will produce electricity that will be stored in the power station.

The power station will provide electricity to power your electronic gadgets (USB) and your appliances at all time.

Let’s take a deeper look at the two main components:

The solar panel

A solar panel is a device that converts the sunlight (photons) into electricity. The two main types of solar panels are mono and polycrystalline.

Solar panels also come in different designs: semi-flexible and rigid.

When going on a camping trip size and weight matter a lot. Solar panels mounted on rooftops are bulky and heavy (usually 12kg per sqm2 for 200W of power).

Luckily many brands have come up with campers-friendly designs:

Some have a suitcase design like the 100 Watt Renogy panel and the Jackery Solar Saga 100

best solar generators
Renogy 100W solar suitcase

Other foldable design like the AIMTOM 60W.

solar generators for camping
AITOM 60 – Foldable solar panel

They all come with handles, plugs and connectors to directly charge your devices.  

Based on our experience the foldable design is the most convenient for a camper, lighter and more compact than the suitcase design.

As our sun is a natural source of energy, its power output varies during the day and in case of bad weather, the same goes for your solar panel.

In California a 100W solar panel during sunny day can produce 500Wh of energy whereas during bad weather days only 150Wh

You now see the necessity of storing your solar energy for later use at night or in case of bad weather. The power station will do a perfect job.

The power station

A power station stores your electricity and makes it available at any time for all type of use, from USB charging to regular appliances powering.

You might be familiar with power banks, with the ever increasing use of electronic devices (phones, tablets, laptop, camera, drones…) we are all looking for larger autonomy. Power banks use lithium batteries to store energy and USB ports as output plugs.

Power stations work quite similarly. However they are much more advanced and offer larger storage capacity.

A power station is made of the following parts:

  • Solar charge controller: the power station have the ability to use electricity directly for the solar panel. The built-in controller is usually the state-of-the-art MPPT which allows the highest output at all time.
  • Lithium battery pack with BMS: The main component of your power station, lithium batteries offer the best energy density on the market when it comes to store electricity. They are light and compact, with long life duration (up to 10 years).
  • DC/AC inverter: Electricity produced by the solar panel and stored in the battery is DC ( Direct Current), however all our appliances works in AC (Alternative Current) mode. The inverter converts DC to AC (110V,50Hz). The power station usually have a built-in Pure Sine Wave inverter that will produce clean and reliable power.
  • AC plugs: One of the main features of the power station is the AC outlet. You’ll be able to plug in all your appliances.
  • USB connectors: Like a power bank, directly connect your USB devices. Some models offer the latest high speed USB charging.
  • DC connectors: Not used as much as USB or AC, DC connectors can be useful for specific applications like DC appliances (mini ref, fans….)

Benefits of solar generator vs fuel generator

The classic fuel generators have been used for decades, but it might be the end of its dynasty with the advent of solar generator, let’s see why:

  • No noise: Solar generators are quiet! The biggest models only use a cooling fan. Fuel generators are noisy!
  • No smoke, no pollution: this is green electricity from the sun with zero emission during production and use.
  • Maintenance-free: the only maintenance you might have to perform is a gentle cleaning of the solar panel
  • No fuel to buy: Your fuel is the sun, it is free to all!
  • Light weight and easy to move around, some solar generators fit in a back pack
  • Versatile and powerful: there is a solar generator for all type of campers, from the lightest day hike to the longest stay in the wild.
  • Safe and non-toxic for the user: there are no moving parts, no fluids and chemicals to refill

Average cost of a solar generator for camping

The price of your solar generator is mainly dependent on its storage capacity (lithium battery), the bigger the capacity the higher the cost.

I only focus here on the price of the power station.

The actual rule of thumb is 1 Wh capacity equal to 1 USD.

100 to 150 USD : Entry level prices with capacities from 100Wh to 150Wh, 1 AC plug and basic connectors. Charge only USB devices, AC laptop and drones.

200 USD to 350 USD: Medium size storage up to 350Wh, multiple AC plug, high speed USB, quality products. Charge all types of USB devices, laptop, drones, small household appliances (cooler, projector, TV).

More than 500 USD: Larger systems of 500Wh and more, for longer trips and all types of home appliances (regular refrigerator, power tools…)

Key features to look when purchasing a Solar generator:

The technical specification of your solar generator might be confusing, below I have summarized the key features for a wise purchase:

  • Storage capacity: one of the most important feature that will determine your autonomy, it is rated in Wh, a typical phone battery has a 15Wh capacity.
  • Output plugs: the number and type of USB plugs (look for the high speed USB), the number of AC plugs for any appliances.
  • Power output look for the maximum power that your power station can produce.
  • Pass through charging: Check if you can still charge your devices while the power station is being charged.
  • Built-in MPPT and Pure sine wave inverter: MPPT is a type of solar charger that will ensure the best output at all time, pure sine wave is a type of inverter that produces the cleanest electricity for your appliances.

Frequently asked questions about solar generator:

Below I have summarized the most common questions about your solar generator, if you are missing a point reach us in the comment section.

What can it power and for how long?

That’s indeed a very important question, and it all depends on the specification of your power station. For example a 350Wh power station with a maximum output of 300W can power a 100W appliance for 3.5 hours.

Is it waterproof or splash proof?

All the power station are built in high quality material but they have to be protected from the rain.

How long to full charge of the power station?

Usually there are 3 ways to charge your power station: through a wall plug, through a car plug or with a solar panel. On average it will take 7 to 8 hours with a wall plug, 6-10 hours with the adequate solar panel and 12 hours or more with a car plug.

Can I bring my solar generator on an airplane?

Commercial airlines only allow 100Wh capacity of lithium battery. However you might seek for airline approval in your checked in luggage.

Can I charge and use my power station at the same time?

Yes, most of the power station allow pass through charging.

Do you always need a solar panel to recharge the power station?

Whereas solar panel is one of the fastest way to charge your power station you might want to use the wall plug and the car plug instead.

How can I store my solar generator?

Just store it in a dry and dark place.

What is the durability of my solar generator?

The solar panel is highly durable, up to 20 years. The power station, depending on the model, can last 500 to more than 2000 cycles (full charge+ discharge).

How do I maintain my solar generator?

The great thing is that there is no maintenance to do! Just clean your solar panel from time to time.

Best solar generator for camping 2021- Conclusion

I have always been found of outdoor adventures, from a simple overnight camping trip by the beach with my family, to the rough hikes in the mountains of the Philippines.

From Thoreau’s book Life in the woods, I have learned that we should live simply, independently, wisely, and as close to nature as possible.  

That’s right, but unlike Thoreau I do need a little comfort to make my trip memorable. This goes with the food and the drinks I will bring on the field and recently my main issue being the power. I have long looked for reliable and easy to handle power generator that will fit my needs in any trip.

Luckily with the recent development of lithium batteries and solar panels we now have access to the ultimate portable power station: the solar generator. No more fuel, no more smoke, no more noise, no more maintenance. Enjoy unlimited green energy anywhere.

This brings us to the end of our in-depth review of the best solar generator for camping of 2021.

We saw that solar generators are versatile, they come in all capacity and power.

They are a clean and abundant source of energy for every outdoor enthusiast, from the short day hike to the long stay in an off-grid cabin. They offer far more advantages and ease of use compared to the old fuel generator.

Go for it, you won’t regret it!

I hope this review helped you in your buying decision, if you are missing a point just send us a message in the comment section below.


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