Nature has a lot to offer. It’s one of the perfect places to relax and escape city life’s hustle and bustle. The more remote and natural the setting, the more you’ll appreciate the beauty of silence and stillness.
However, camping in remote locations presents a few problems. The more you’re away from civilization, the more difficult it becomes to get basic things like electricity. If you’re planning on spending any length in the great outdoors, then figuring out how to get electricity while camping is something you’ll need to consider.
Why You Need Electricity While Camping
If you’ve been without your phone for more than a day, you understand how important it is to stay connected. Even if you’re trying to get away from it all, there are some things that you just can’t live without.
For example, many people use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines to sleep. These devices require electricity to function. So how do you get energy supply while out in the wilderness?
Keep Your Devices Connected With These Tips
Here are a few options available that can give you enough power to keep your devices charged and the like while camping:
1. Use A Portable Power Station
The surest way to get electricity while camping is by storing it for later use using a portable power station.
A power station is a battery that you can plug into and recharge. They come in different shapes and sizes, so you’ll be able to find one that’ll surely fit wherever you need to take it. It’s like a home backup generator but for your campsite or RV without all the noise or fumes.
Portable power stations convert AC power (the type you get from your outlets at home) to DC power and store it. So, you may charge it at home before your trip. When you get to your destination and need to charge any of your devices, you may plug them into the power station, which will convert the stored DC power back into the type of power your devices use.
Most newer models come with solar panels if you’re worried about where to plug in your power station if it needs to be recharged. You can simply set up the solar panels in an area that gets good sunlight, plug the power station into the solar panel, and let nature do its thing. Additionally, you can expand the capacity of most portable power stations by adding extra batteries.
2. Use Solar Panels
One of the most popular and easily accessible methods for getting electricity while camping is using solar panels. It’s one of the must-have items for any camper or RV owner.
Several portable solar panel options are available on the market which you can use to charge your devices, small appliances, and portable power station. To set up your solar panel, simply place it in an area where it’ll get direct sunlight and plug it into your device.
Solar panels convert sunlight into electrical energy. When the sun shines on the solar panel, electrons are knocked loose from the atoms in the silicon cells. The movement of electrons creates an electric current. The solar panel’s internal circuitry converts this current into usable power.
It’s said that the size of the solar panel will determine how much power it can generate. A 100-watt solar panel can generate enough electricity to charge a small laptop or run a few small appliances.
Since solar energy is an eco-friendly renewable resource, using solar panels can reduce your carbon footprint while camping. Experience nature without harming it.
3. Use A Wind Turbine
Nature provides many resources that people may use to generate electricity, one of which is wind.
Wind turbines work similarly to solar panels, except they generate power from the wind instead of the sun. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy of the wind into electrical energy.
When the blades of the wind turbine rotate, the shaft connected to it spins. It then drives a generator that produces electricity. The faster the wind blows, the more power the turbine produces. If you’re camping in an area with consistent winds, using a wind turbine is a great option to get electricity.
The most common wind turbine used for camping can be as compact as a 1-liter water bottle, enough to charge mobile phones. To set up your wind turbine, simply find a location with enough wind to spin the blades and set it up according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once it’s set up, you can plug your devices into the turbine to charge them.
4. Use A Microhydro System
If you’re camping near a water source, another option for generating electricity is to use a microhydro system in your camping equipment list.
Microhydro systems use the natural flow of water to generate electricity. The water flows through a pipe and into a turbine, that spins and drives a generator that produces electricity.
One of the benefits of using a microhydro system is that it can be used 24 hours a day. Unlike solar panels that only work when the sun is out and wind turbines which only work when there’s enough wind, microhydro systems are effective. Flowing river water is also a renewable resource, so using a microhydro system is eco-friendly.
The only drawback of using a micro-hydro system is that you need to have a water source nearby. You either stay close to the water source or leave the system and all your appliances plugged in while you explore. Nonetheless, this is still an excellent option for generating electricity outdoors.
5. Use Portable Generators
If you need more power than solar panels, wind turbines, and micro-hydro systems can provide, you may need to use a portable generator.
Generators are powered by gasoline, diesel, or propane and can generate a large amount of electrical power. Generators work by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. It uses internal combustion to drive an alternator, which produces AC power. The higher the engine speed, the more power the generator can produce.
A portable generator has two main types: inverter generators and conventional generators.
They’re more affordable but louder and not as fuel-efficient. A standard generator produces AC power with a fixed engine speed regardless of the load. That means it’s less fuel-efficient because the engine always runs at full throttle. It produces more noise since the engine always runs at high speed as well.
Additionally, the quality of the power isn’t as good as an inverter generator. The AC power produced by a conventional generator has spikes and dips in the voltage. That can damage sensitive electronics like laptops, phones, and TVs. If you’re going to use a conventional generator, then make sure to only plug-in devices that can handle the fluctuating power.
They cost more, yet they’re quieter and more fuel-efficient. An inverter generator produces AC power with a variable engine speed that adjusts to the load. That means it’s more fuel-efficient because the engine’s speed depends on its load.
For example, if you’re only running a small appliance like a coffee maker, the engine will only run slowly. Since the engine speed is lower, it produces less noise too
Additionally, the quality of the power that an inverter generator produces is much better than a conventional generator. The AC power is smooth and doesn’t fluctuate like a conventional generator. That means you can plug in sensitive electronics without damaging them. It’s all thanks to the inverter technology that produces clean power.
So, if you need a lot of power and want to use sensitive electronics, then an inverter generator is the way to go. But a conventional generator will work fine if you’re on a budget and don’t mind the noise at your campsite.
6. Run an Extension Cord from Your Car
You can always run an extension cord from your car if you’re not interested in spending money on a generator or solar panel while in your camping trip destination.
Every car has a battery that produces 12-volt DC power. You can use this power to charge small devices like phones and tablets. All you need is a car charger adapter that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket. Most phones come with a USB charger, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding a compatible adapter.
The only downside of using your car to charge devices is that it’ll drain the battery. If you let your car idle for too long, the battery will eventually die and you’ll be stranded. So, ensure to only use this method if you’re near your car and can keep an eye on the battery level.
7. Bring Extra Batteries
If you’re using many devices that require batteries, it’s a good idea to always carry extra batteries with you. That way, you don’t have to worry about running out of power. You can find batteries at any store, so stocking up shouldn’t be a problem before your trip. Just make sure to bring along the right size and type of battery for your devices.
Rechargeable batteries are a good option because you can reuse them multiple times. But they’re often more expensive than disposable batteries. Choose the option that’s best for you and your budget.
There are a lot of different ways to get electricity while camping. Some methods are more expensive than others, depending on your needs.
If you only need to charge a few small devices, you can get by with a car charger or battery. Yet if you need to power larger devices like a TV or fridge, you’ll need a generator. Solar panels are a good option if you need a lot of power and don’t mind spending more as well. Whatever method you choose, ensure you have enough power to last the trip.
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