Wondering how to charge your phone while camping? I’ve got you covered!
Our family has been camping for so long that we remember what it was like to not even have cell phones with us. 😅
But over the years, that has changed just a bit. 😜
Eventually, we found ourselves not only bringing our cell phones along but also needing to keep them charged up during our outdoor adventures.
In fact, now I use mine for all kinds of things – taking pictures, finding nearby hikes, planning our menu, our packing list. The list goes on and on…
As we started needing our phones more at camp, we tried and tested a lot of different ways to keep our phones (and other electronics) charged at camp. And we’ve researched even more.
While we loved some of these methods, they all have their pros and cons. Some are super cheap, but not very practical. Others charge quickly and have a large power bank, but are more expensive.
It’s taken us several years to find the best solution for us – but I don’t want that for you!
So, to make things easier for you, I’ve pulled together all the details about how to charge a phone while camping and enjoying the outdoors.
🔋 TLDR: For a middle-of-the-road option that will charge your phone multiple times during your camping trip, check out the Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD Power Bank.
Best Ways to Charge Your Phone While Camping
Small Portable USB Power Bank or Stick Chargers
A small portable USB power bank is an absolute life-saver for keeping your phone juiced up while camping. These compact and lightweight chargers are designed to store electrical energy to charge devices on the go.
All you have to do is charge them up before leaving home (or via solar, etc.), and they can provide one or more recharges for your phone, depending on the power bank’s capacity.
We’re big fans of the Goal Zero Flip series. These portable battery packs are super lightweight and small, making them perfect for camping trips (or for things like waterfall hikes) where size really does matter.
They can be charged via USB before you head out, or you can connect them to a Goal Zero solar panel like this one for charging under the sun. We’ve found them to be a reliable camping phone charger solution, keeping our devices powered up throughout our outdoor adventures.
Plus, they come in different size options, allowing you to choose the one that best meets your charging needs. You can even bump up to the Venture model for additional capacity and rugged features to protect against water, dust, and debris.
Attachable Battery Packs
When charging your phone at camp, nothing beats the convenience of an attachable battery pack for your cell phone.
These battery packs provide an on-demand power source, ideal for charging your phone while camping. Simply attach them to your phone, and voila – your mobile device is instantly charging.
Because these types of battery packs are designed to lock onto the back of your phone, they eliminate the need for additional charging cables or outlets. Plus, you don’t have to mess with carrying around a charging cable and battery pack in addition to the phone itself.
One of our favorite options in this category is the Anker 621 MagGo Magnetic Battery. It attaches easily to iPhones, providing reliable and efficient charging. Its intuitive design allows you to continue using your phone normally while it charges, making it a coanvenient and practical power solution for any camping adventure.
Larger Power Bank for Camping
While small rechargeable power banks and attachable battery packs are great, they will only provide you with limited power.
If you need to charge your phone for multiple days (or have other electronic devices to keep powered), a larger, higher capacity power bank will be worth the investment.
Larger power banks provide greater capacity and are ideal for when you’re away from an outlet for extended periods of time. The trade-off is that they cost more than small battery packs and are heavier and bulkier to transport.
A couple of options for larger power banks are the Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD and the Anker 537 Power Bank.
The Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD can be charged from the wall, the sun (in 8-16 hours with the Nomad 20), or in your car via USB-A or USB-C. It has two USB-A ports and one USB-C port designed for fast charging (100W) on the go. With this larger power bank, you can recharge a smart phone up to 8 times, a laptop up to 2 times, or a headlamp up to 19 times. 🙌
Prefer a more budget-friendly option? Check out the Anker 537 Power Bank for a portable charger that can give you multiple charges (up to 4.8). Plus, it has two USB-C and one USB-A port and can charge up to two devices at once. The tradeoff is that if you want to recharge larger devices (like a MacBook Pro) you’ll get just under a full charge.
Portable Power Station
For those venturing into the great outdoors for extended periods of time, investing in a portable power station is the best way to charge devices while camping. Portable power stations are designed with a substantial capacity, ready to cover all your charging needs without running out of juice. They can charge your phone several times before needing a recharge, ensuring you stay connected even while enjoying nature. Plus, many of them can be connected to solar, giving you even more charging power.
Not only do they serve as an excellent camping phone charger, but their multiple USB ports also allow you to power other essential gadgets like a GPS device, Bluetooth speakers, or headlamps. Plus, they often include useful features like fast charging, LED indicators for battery level, and some even have built-in flashlights.
Although portable power stations are much heavier and bulkier than a small USB portable charger, making them best for RV or car camping, the trade-off in terms of power capacity is well worth it.
Investing in a larger power bank gives you freedom and reassurance. It’s like bringing a piece of the grid with you, even in the middle of nowhere.
We’ve found the Goal Zero Yeti 1500X to be a game-changer on our camping adventures. It powers everything in our truck camper and keeps our devices ready to go. We can run our entire camper on a single charge for a couple of days. However, adding optional solar panels and the YetiLink Expansion Module keeps us supplied with consistent power, ensuring we’re never left in the lurch.
Solar Power Chargers: Harness the Power of the Sun
You don’t necessarily have to invest in a giant solar setup to harness the power of the sun to charge your phone outdoors. Solar power chargers work by converting sunlight into electricity, allowing you to keep your phone and other devices powered up, even when you’re miles away from the nearest power outlet.
Solar phone chargers are a fantastic option for campers because they leverage an abundant resource (most of the time) in nature—sunlight.
Unlike other power sources, solar energy is renewable. So, by choosing solar to charge your phone while camping, you’re helping reduce the amount of energy consumed by traditional sources.
Solar chargers have improved significantly over the last few years and include all-in-one options or small portable solar panels that connect to a power bank by a charging cable.
The catch? They often take a while to “fill up” from sunlight, and you’ll need to be in an area with good sun exposure (not under a canopy of trees or cloudy skies).
Campsite Electrical Hookups
If you prefer more luxury during your outdoor adventures, established campsites offering electrical hookups are another great option.
When booking, you can typically check the site details to see if electric hookups are included. You’ll also want to double-check the voltage to ensure you have the appropriate charging plugs and cables.
Campsites with electrical hookups may charge an additional fee for the service. Still, it can be worth the extra cost to eliminate the stress of running out of battery.
Charge in the Car
Using your car’s power is another viable and convenient method to keep your phone charged while camping. This is especially practical if you plan to move between campsites and will be spending time on the road.
To charge your phone in the car, all you need is a car charger that works with your power sources in the car (cigarette lighter, USB-C, USB-A, etc.). Some vehicles are even equipped with MagSafe charging now, eliminating the need for additional cables.
This method is a lifesaver when you’re on the move, but remember to unplug your devices when you arrive at your next campsite so you don’t drain your car battery.
Crank Powered Charger
While not my go-to method, a hand-crank charger is another option. These chargers are as simple as they sound – you crank a handle, and the energy generated is used to charge your phone.
They’re small, portable, and don’t require any additional power sources, which is great. And some of them even have weather radios built in.
BUT there are trade-offs. Crank chargers take a lot of elbow grease and time to generate a significant amount of power. They aren’t very efficient, and it’s not a method I recommend for regular charging.
However, as an emergency backup, you might be able to get enough charge to send out a call or text.
With crank chargers, the goal is to stay safe, not to have an endless power supply for scrolling social media. Consider a crank charger as your “last resort” option – it’s not ideal, but it can be an option for when you’re desperate.
Gas generators are another viable option to charge your phone while camping, as they can provide substantial power, enough to charge multiple devices simultaneously.
To use a gas generator, you’ll need a standard wall charger for your phone and an extension cord long enough to connect it to the generator, keeping in mind to maintain a safe distance from your tent due to noise and exhaust fumes. In addition, most campgrounds restrict the hours you can use them due to the noise. And even if they don’t, good camping etiquette generally means turning them off at a reasonable hour so your neighbors can sleep. 😉
Although a gas generator provides an ample power supply, it’s essential to be mindful of your usage to avoid depleting your fuel reserves too quickly.
Finally, while a gas generator may seem like a surefire solution for your power needs, they have downsides. They are noisy and may disrupt your peaceful retreat in nature. Plus, they require you to carry extra fuel, adding to the load. And let’s not forget about the environmental impact of burning fuel.
So, while gas generators are one way to charge your phone while camping, they’re definitely a choice to consider carefully. Other methods might serve you better depending on the length of your trip, the number of devices you need to power, and your commitment to minimizing your environmental footprint.
More Unique and Creative Ideas for How to Charge Your Phone Without Electricity While Camping
In the world of camping, innovation is always happening, and charging solutions are no exception.
While we have yet to try all the options below, sometimes a dual-purpose option can be the perfect fit. So, here are some unique and creative ways to help you charge your phone while camping off-grid.
BioLite CampStove 2
First up is the BioLite CampStove 2. This nifty tool not only allows you to cook your meals but also converts generated heat into usable electricity. Just pop in some twigs or wood pellets, and voila, your phone is charging while your dinner is simmering!
BioLite SolarHome 620
The BioLite SolarHome 620 is a solar-powered system perfect for your camping needs. This system includes a 6-watt solar panel, three hanging lights, and a central control box that doubles as a radio, speaker, and phone charger. Set it up, soak up the sun, and stay connected!
LuminAID PackLite Power Lantern
The LuminAID PackLite Power Lantern is a compact, solar-powered lantern that makes an ideal camping companion. Apart from being a portable light source, the lantern also has a USB port to juice up your phone while you’re enjoying the starry night.
Goal Zero Torch 500 Multi-Purpose Light
The Goal Zero Torch 500 Multi-Purpose Light is more than just a light source. It’s a multi-purpose tool with a built-in USB port for charging your phone. Plus, it offers solar and USB charging options, giving you versatility in keeping your phone powered.
How to Save Your Phone’s Battery Life While Camping
Now that we’ve covered various ways to charge your phone while camping let’s dive into some handy tips to help conserve that precious battery life.
Because the longer your phone’s battery lasts, the less often you’ll need to use your camping phone charger. Whether you’re navigating with GPS, snapping pictures of the stunning scenery, or simply staying connected, these battery-saving strategies will ensure your phone power lasts as long as your adventure.
Use Airplane Mode
Switching your phone to airplane mode while camping can significantly extend your battery life. When you’re in an area with limited (or zero) cell service, your phone is constantly searching for a connection.
By turning on Airplane Mode, you turn off your device’s capability to send or receive calls or messages, halting the constant search for a network that drains your battery.
Turn Down Your Brightness
Reducing your phone’s screen brightness is another effective way to conserve battery life during your camping trips. A brilliantly lit screen consumes significant power, so dial it down to the lowest setting that still allows comfortable viewing. This simple adjustment can add hours of extra life to your phone’s battery, minimizing the need for frequent recharges with your camping phone charger.
Keep Your Phone Temperature Moderate
Extreme temperatures, either too hot or too cold, can adversely affect your phone’s battery life. When camping, avoid leaving your phone exposed to direct sunlight or in freezing conditions.
Instead, keep it in a shaded, temperate spot, like in an insulated bag or inside your tent. You could also wrap it in a warm jacket or pair of socks to keep it warm – or even power it off and tuck it into your sleeping bag at night.
Turn on Low Power Mode or Power Saver Mode
Low Power Mode is another way to preserve your phone’s battery life during camping trips. This function automatically reduces or disables unnecessary activities such as automatic downloads, mail fetch, and certain visual effects when activated.
Doing so significantly lowers power consumption, allowing your phone to operate longer between charges. Though, you will have some trade-offs, such as a reduced refresh rate.
To turn it on for your iPhone, head to Settings > Battery, then toggle on Low Power Mode.
For Android phones, you should find it at Settings > Battery > Power Saving Mode.
Disconnect WiFi and Bluetooth
WiFi and Bluetooth can be significant power drainers on your phone when not in use, continuously searching for networks or devices to connect to. If you’re camping in a remote area with no WiFi, that could mean your phone is constantly searching without ever connecting 😬, which is why it’s beneficial to disconnect.
Similarly, if you’re not using any Bluetooth devices, turning this feature off can save valuable battery power. Simply go to your device’s settings and turn off WiFi and Bluetooth to conserve energy.
Turn it Off
When you’re trying to save as much of your phone’s battery life as possible, the simplest thing to do is turn it off when you don’t need it. I know this may seem obvious, but we’re so used to having our phones on 24/7 that it can be easy to forget.
FAQs About How to Charge Cell Phone While amping
Where do you charge your phone while camping?
Depending on your equipment, you can charge your phone while camping in various locations. You can conveniently charge inside your tent or at your campsite with portable power banks, solar chargers, or camping power stations. Alternatively, if your campsite has power facilities, you can use those to fuel up your phone.
Can you charge your phone in a tent?
Yes, you can charge your phone in a tent with the right gear. Portable power banks, solar chargers, or camping power stations can be used to recharge your phone. Just ensure your devices and charging equipment are kept safe and dry inside the tent. Disconnecting devices once fully charged is also wise to conserve battery reserves.
Is a hand-crank phone charger worth it?
For most situations, no. A hand-crank phone charger takes a lot of effort for little power, so it isn’t ideal for general phone charging. BUT, for an emergency when you genuinely have no other way to charge, it can be a helpful tool as a backup for emergencies as long as you keep in mind its manual nature and that it requires physical effort to generate power.
How do you keep electronics charged when camping?
There are several methods to keep electronics charged when camping. You can use portable power banks, power stations, or solar chargers to keep your devices ready to go in the wilderness. And remember, conserve energy by reducing screen brightness, disabling unnecessary features, and turning off the device when not in use.
How do hikers charge their phones?
Hikers charge their phones using devices such as portable lightweight power banks or solar chargers designed for outdoor use that are small enough to bring on a hike. They also often optimize phone settings to conserve power.
Final Thoughts: How to Charge Mobile Phones While Camping
Whether you’re looking to charge your phone for navigation and safety purposes, listening to music, or taking that perfect golden hour photo, camping doesn’t have to mean disconnecting from the world entirely.
With the right gear and power conservation strategies, you can ensure your phone battery doesn’t dwindle to zero during your outdoor adventure. Whether you opt for a portable power bank, a solar charger, or make use of campsite facilities, charging your phone on the go is not only possible but also convenient.
Want to ensure you’re fully prepared for your next camping trip? Check out my comprehensive guide – What to Bring Camping: A Beginner’s Guide to the Essentials. With a packing list and gear recommendations, we’ve got you covered to make your camping trip memorable.