Camping & Hiking

How To Charge A Phone While Camping Without Electricity

If only phones had batteries that lasted days not hours, perhaps you wouldn’t need to worry about charging a phone while camping without electricity.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. How many times have you been camping and encountered a perfect photo opportunity only to realize that your phone’s battery just died? It happens all the time and we’ve all been there.

In the modern world, we are so used to the convenience of having electricity outlets nearby that we forget what life is like without them. The great outdoors is a good reminder.

Unless you are heading to a well-equipped campsite with some sort of electricity supply, you’re going to need to know how to charge your phone without electricity.

Fear not, there are a number of ways that you can ensure your phone and any other mobile devices stay powered up for the duration of your trip. I’ll be exploring some of them in this post.

First though, it’s worth considering how to try and maximize the life of your phone’s battery life.

How To Extend The Battery Life Of Your Mobile Phone

I’ll come on to specific ways you can charge a phone without a charger in a moment but first, it’s worth noting a few ways to preserve your device’s battery life as much as possible.

You never know when you’re going to be stuck without a way to charge your device at all so it’s always good to know a few little tricks to extend your phone’s battery life when and where possible.

  • Don’t leave your phone in the sun. Not everyone realizes but harsh sunlight will degrade your phone’s battery almost as quickly as if you were actually using the phone. Never leave your phone in direct sunlight. Always keep it in a cool shaded place.
  • Turn down the brightness. You may like a nice, bright screen but that illumination drains your battery. Simply by turning the brightness down a few notches you can add hours to your battery life.
  • Unless you need to use the internet put your phone into airplane mode. This will deactivate all the background stuff apps do, even when not in use, and save you a lot of battery.
  • Switch to power-saving mode. Most Android and iOS devices have a power-saving mode to help preserve battery life. If you don’t know where your next charge is coming from, make sure you have power-saving mode switched on.
  • Turn your device off. If you’re trying to make your battery last as long as possible it makes no sense walking around with your phone turned on unless you are expecting an urgent call. If possible, turn your device on and only turn it back on in case of emergencies.
phone power bank
© Can Stock Photo / diy13

How to Charge Your Phone Without Electricity

We will now look at five possible ways to charge your devices when there is no electricity supply available.

1. Portable Solar Panels

Solar energy is a great way to charge your phone as the panel is very lightweight, and you don’t have to rely on having any battery backup whatsoever.

Most people go camping during the summer months when the sky is clear and the sun is out, ideal conditions for a portable solar panel.

That said, they will still charge during cloudy periods but simply take longer to reach full. Advances in technology mean that portable solar panels can practically guarantee you an electricity supply wherever you go.

Furthermore, it is easy to connect up your devices or a rechargeable power bank.

Things to consider when choosing which portable solar panel are the size and weight, the output, and what connectors it uses.

I would highly recommend the Nekteck 21W solar panel as it’s super efficient, very portable, and comes at a low price. You also have the BigBlue 28w panel which is slightly more expensive but is more efficient due to the higher wattage.

2. Rechargeable Power Banks

This is the most common go-to way to charge your phone while camping.

Rechargeable power banks are external battery packs that plug straight into your device and give them a full charge.

You can recharge the power bank from a mains electricity supply or by plugging them into a laptop or portable solar panel via an ordinary USB connection.

Once charged, they can hold their power for many months, far longer than your phone’s battery would hold its charge.

Things to consider when choosing which rechargeable power bank for your camping trip are the size and weight, the capacity, and how many devices can be plugged in at any one time.

This Solar Charging Power Bank has the best of both worlds, allowing the battery pack to be recharged via solar energy or USB. However, one of the best power banks on the market is the Anker PowerCore which I personally own and carry on all our trips.

3. Car chargers

If your car is going to be nearby, you’ve really got no worries. Just remember to bring along a car charger and cable.

You can buy car chargers almost anywhere and there is a range of different connections depending on what make your device is.

The one piece of advice I would give you when buying a car charger is to always spend that little bit more for a quality branded product as opposed to a cheap generic one that may be faulty or even damage your phone.

Also, never leave your phone on charge with the engine switched off just in case it drains your car battery and you are then unable to start your vehicle.

4. Portable Battery Generators

A portable battery generator is basically a battery you carry around with you, a bit like a bigger and more powerful version of the rechargeable power bank.

Most of them are powered by lithium batteries and can be recharged in a number of ways including an ordinary electrical outlet, your vehicle’s cigarette lighter, or using solar panels.

Again, the size and weight may be a consideration for you. Also, double check the charging methods because not all generators charge in the same way.

5. Electricity Generating Stoves

There is something truly primitive about traditional campfires, but there is nothing primitive about a modern fire stove like BioLite Campstone that harnesses the heat from the fire and turns it into energy you can use to charge your mobile devices.

An electricity generating stove! These are some of the most amazing bits of kit you are ever likely to come across and literally give you a way of turning fire into electricity.

The heat from the fire will be converted into 3 watts of electricity that you can then use to charge your devices. The best thing is, you feed the stove with wood so the energy is clean and free.

I really like the BioLite Campstone, or if you want a cheaper option then the NIUXX Powerpot is another great choice.

Putting It All Together

Now, with a little bit of planning ahead, and the right equipment, you never need to go without power on a camping trip again.

Say, for example, you buy a portable solar panel. You can use that to charge up your rechargeable power banks and portable battery generators, for example.

Simply leave them charging during the day whilst you are off exploring. You can even take the solar panel with you if you like. It is, after all, portable.

Simply clip it to the outside of your backpack so that it’s getting plenty of sunlight and hook up your devices from inside your backpack.

Getting Away From It All

A lot of people go camping to get away from it all, and so you could try leaving your phone at home.

Some people literally can’t imagine being without their phones and so, alternatively, you could take it just in case you need to use it in an emergency but leave it switched off in the car perhaps.

That way, you can be reasonably sure that not only will your battery last you but that you will also get the peaceful break you wanted.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has helped you see that by using some of the equipment we have reviewed here and following the advice I have offered, you never have to worry about charging your devices again. All it takes is a little bit of forward planning.

I would personally recommend buying a portable solar panel as your basic electricity generator than any other item on our list, to always ensure you have access to electricity and can charge your phone just from pure sunlight.

Nathan Barker

My wife and I are huge adventure seekers! We've traveled and explored over 40 countries and want to share what we have learned on our journey. We'll be talking about everything from hiking and camping, to guides, reviews and tips that we're sure will help any avid adventurer no matter what walk of life. So relax, grab a cup of coffee and we hope you enjoy the read!