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Charging your phone (and other gadgets!) when camping & hiking

Camping is meant to be about getting away from our gadgets, but let’s face it they’re a lifeline in an emergency and often also our camera, diary, and GPS/navigation so is easier said than done! If you’re staying on a campsite then you’ve likely got access to plug sockets somewhere nearby, or could of course make use of the in-car charger, then you likely don't want to risk leaving your phone alone in the toilet block and have better things to do than stand guard to watch it charge – luckily there are other ways... read on to find out the very best wilderness phone and gadget chargers we could find!


Power bank 

These days batteries are getting smaller and smaller and portable powerbanks are surprisingly small for in some cases the massive amount of charge they hold.

The Poweradd Pilot Pro 3 - buy on AmazonThere are plenty of sizes on the market to suit pretty much every need - at the upper end of the power spectrum is the 30,000mAh Poweradd Pilot Pro 3 weighing a meagre 662g. This model boasts the ability to charge an iPhone 7 a whopping 10 times and has space to charge 3 devices at once, which should certainly have you (perhaps even the whole family!) covered for a long camping trip away from mains electricity. 


Emergency Battery Stick (Mini Powerbank)

Anker portable mini phone charger - find out moreUsually just enough to give your phone one charge but ideal for throwing in your bag for an emergency scenario. You might not have planned to be out for so long but stuff happens, or perhaps an errant app or update has drained your phone without you noticing and now you need to call for help... Anker are renowned in the charging field and this mini portable charger is the size of a lipstick so suitable for even the smallest of daypacks!


Solar charger 

fold out solar panel - camping chargerThese have mixed reviews, and depending on the weather mixed results. In our experience they can be quite slow to charge (again since it's difficult in the UK to get perfect and consistent charging conditions exactly when you need it) and mean you need to attach your phone to it for a long period of time during the day (when you’d probably rather be out and about taking photos with it…). The way around this problem is to use that nifty fold-out solar panel to charge a power bank and store that useful sunshine for use later when you’re happily snug in the tent at night.


Rucksack with solar panel, powerbank & water bladder -  AmazonTo charge on the go opt for a rucksack with a flexible solar panel like this one. We like how the panel itself can be detached so you can keep it in the sun if you need your bag in the shade, not only that but it also comes complete with a powerbank AND a water bladder to stay hydrated so covers several expedition bases in one! 


A final solar option (by no means the definitive list of solar gadgets but all we can really look at today!) is this solar charged powerbank/LED torch with the added option of a hand cranked winder in case the weather really ISN'T on your side... I'm sure I remember the notion of a solar powered torch being the basis for a joke, but they are actually really useful! 


Wind/Water Powered 

The Waterlily can also be used on land in decent breeze! Guide to camping chargers...The WaterLily cleverly makes the best use of whichever natural resource is better for you, position it in a flowing river overnight and wake up to full batteries, tow it behind you, or bring it on land and angle into the wind instead.  There are other water or wind powered chargers out there but none that we've seen make use of both!

Ryan was particularly interested in this gadget since we've been spending a lot more time on the water recently - head on over to their website to watch the video. 


Biolite Stove  

Biolite stove - charge your phone with twigs! Find out more...In my humble opinion the Biolite has to be the coolest charger yet, cook your tea with nothing but twigs AND charge your phone at the same time – amazing!

They are quite pricey, then compared to the cost of a quality cook stove and a power bank and charging gadget they’re certainly worth it.

(Of course you need to be camping somewhere with a good supply of dry wood available...)


For a similar take on the Biolite, but using more predictable butane instead of twigs there's always the Tegstove


We hope you found this post helpful, let us know your favourite camping chargers in the comments below!

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Sarah is a UK artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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