Shopping for a solar generator for camping?
You've come to the right place.
In this guide, we recommend and review the best portable solar generators for camping. We include picks for a variety of common outdoor power applications, situations, and budgets.
The portable power stations reviewed in this guide provide from 500Wh to more than 2000Wh to handle a wide range of needs while camping in the great outdoors as conveniently as possible.
Most use Lithium-ion batteries to save weight and extend useful life, and come with USB ports and 12V DC and 110V AC outlets to power lights, portable fridges, recharge electronics.
Many can be recharged using your car’s 12V outlet, as well. And most have some level of water resistance for use outdoor.
In this buying guide, we recommend, review and compare what we believe are the best solar generators for camping.
We begin by listing our top picks for a variety of needs and situations, followed by a quick product comparison table and quick reviews of each model.
Then we discuss the key features & gotchas to look for when buying solar generators for portable outdoor applications like camping.
Finally, we answer common questions asked about relying on solar power in the great outdoors.
Hopefully, this buying guide will help you find the best solar generator for your specific camping needs and situation.
If you have any questions, leave us a comment below.
Best Solar Generators For Camping
Disclaimer: All links below go to Amazon.com
- 1Best Overall: AC200MAX BLUETTI Portable Power Station
- 2Best For Larger Campsites: Goal Zero Yeti 3000x
- 3Best For Mini-Fridge: Jackery 1000W
- 4Best For Electronics: Jackery Explorer 500
- 5Lightest Weight: Goal Zero Yeti 500x
- 6Includes Solar Panel: BLUETTI AC50S Power Station
- 7Drop Proof: Anker 535 Portable Power Station
Bluetti AC200 MAX
16.5 x 11 x 15.2 inches
Goal Zero Yeti 3000X
Best For Large Campsite
25 x 19 x 23 inches
Best For MiniFridge
13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 inches
Jackery Explorer 500
Best for Electronics
11.84 x 7.59 x 9.2 inches
Goal Zero Yeti 500x
12.3 x 14.4 x 9.1 inches
BLUETTI AC50S Power Station
Best Small Combo
11.7 x 7.5 x 7.7 inches
11.5 x 9.9 x 7.4 inches
1. Best Overall: AC200MAX BLUETTI Portable Power Station
Whie certainty not the least expensive on our list, we love the BLUETTI AC200MAX power station for campers with a relatively fixed base of operation who need a lot of portable power to support a family of four or a small group.
This unit boasts a powerful 2048Wh which allows it to be used for powering small 12V coolers, lights, small refrigerators, laptops, phones, and more during your camping trip.
The incorporation of a range of USB ports allows you to charge multiple devices simultaneously.
This solar generator has a power capacity of 2048Wh, which is enough to provide a constant supply of power for small appliances in RVs, tents, and trailers.
And it serves as a great home backup power supply when you return home.
Ease of Use
The LED lighting panel on the front displays the charging and discharging levels. You also get multiple outlets.
RV users will appreciate the NEMA TT-30 and 12V/30A DC port. This unit allows simultaneous charging and use, too - something a lot of camping solar generators do not do.
You can charge this unit in 3 hours with a 900W (max) solar panel. An AC/Generator will have this unit charged in 4-5 hours.
A solar and wall (1400W max) combo will charge it in 2 hours. Or you can go for a dual solar charge (1400W max) to charge it in 2 hours as well.
So if you are taking a lunch break in town, you can bring it with you to recharge while you eat.
Limitations & Issues
BLUETTI AC200MAX is too heavy to lug around from site to site on uneven surfaces like hilly and mountainous terrain.
It’s far better suited for a fixed base of operation. It is also a bit expensive, but then again you are investing in a unit powerful enough to run small RVs and trailers.
2. Best For Larger Campsites: Goal Zero Yeti 3000x
The Yeti 3000x solar generator is the highest-capacity and highest-output solar generator on this list.
From keeping the lights on to powering small refrigerators and TVs, it offers 2982 Wh of power to keep everything running at larger campsites.
Add up to 3 x 200W Goal Zero Nomad solar panels to the built-in 600 watt MPPT solar charge controller to keep it topped up while you spend the day hiking.
Output-wise, the 3000x has everything you need, with plenty of 110V AC, USB and 12V AC ports.
At 79 lbs it is not exactly light. But the oversized wheels help.
Remote Control via App
Through the Yeti 3.0 app, you can easily monitor, control, and optimize your power usage.
The app allows you to control power in/out, receive real-time power consumption notifications, and even create charging profiles to further optimize your battery life.
There are different charging ports, including regulated 12V, multiple charging ports, two AC ports.
Yeti 3000x is user-friendly and can be recharged via three different methods. You can either plug it in a standard AC outlet, or a 12-V car adapter.
It can also be paired with a solar panel for fast recharging.
This unit features 2982Wh, which allows it to power your portable fridge (for more than 24 hours), TV, coffee machine, microwave, and multiple small devices like laptops, tablets, and cell phones.
Once fully charged, it provides you peace of mind on a camping trip with friends and family.
Limitations & Issues
At 78 pounds, this solar generator is quite heavy. It comes with a trolley for some convenience though.
Also, it’s on the expensive side. But then again, you do get what you pay for.
Finally, the operating temperature range is 32 degrees to 104 degrees F. So you’ll need to protect it in extreme conditions.
3. Best For Mini-Fridge: Jackery 1000W
A convenient device with impressive features, this Jackery 1000W solar generator is a great lightweight choice if you need just enough power for one 110V AC appliance plus smartphone/electronics recharing.
The shell has multiple protection layers with a sturdy body to ensure reliable performance on a campsite. It is also super-lightweight with an ergonomic grab handle.
With 1002Wh power capacity, this solar generator is perfect for powering a mini refrigerator, fan, mini cooler, TV, and laptop.
This unit is powerful enough to keep a mini=fridge running for at least 9 hours and TV for more than 10 hours.
It is built with multiple protection features including Battery Management System to prevent overcharging, over-discharging, over-heating, and short-circuiting.
Jackery 1000W has both AC/DC connections, making it a versatile option.
There are three AC outlets, two USB-C Type, and one 3.0 quick charge port to charge several devices.
Limitations & Issues
In our opinion, the customer support could be better. Also, it isn’t meant for campers wanting to run any appliance 24/7.
But for small coolers and mini-fridges, add a solar panel to keep it topped up and it’s just about the perfect solution.
4. Best For Electronics: Jackery Explorer 500
Next up, we have another extremely popular solar generator from Jackery.
The Jackery Explorer 500 is for campers who just need to keep an LED light or two running while recharging their electronics and GPS for the next day’s activities.
With 518Wh of capacity, it can also be used to run a CPAP at night plus a fan.
The quick-charge capability and charge-saving internals means the battery will retain a majority of its charge when not in use, keeping it ready for the next time you go out.
There is a solid handle on the generator for convenience during camping.
The unit also features a display to indicate charge levels, charge, and discharge rates. It can be easily charged with a carport and an AC wall outlet.
Jackery uses a reliable battery management system to help enhance the battery life cycle.
Also, there are multiple protection features to prevent overcharging, short-circuiting, and over-discharging.
The charge saving design helps the battery retain charge while in storage, allowing you to rely on this unit during emergencies.
The generator is backed by a two-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Limitations & Issues
The only issue for campers we can think of is that the Jackery Explorer 500 isn’t the most powerful solar powered generator out there. Best for couples or solo hikers.
However, it is a real bargain if you don’t have energy-demanding appliances to run.
5. Lightest Weight: Goal Zero Yeti 500x
With advanced charging technology, the Goal Zero Yeti 500x solar generator is similar to the Jackery 500 but adds a smartphone app for monitoring status.
It has multiple USB ports with enough power capacity (505Wh) to run smaller appliances overnight and can be charged during the day by adding a Nomad 100 solar panel.
Plenty of outputs for electronics
With this unit, you have a constant supply of power for a range of small appliances like laptops, mobiles, speakers, lights, and more.
This solar generator features a built-in pure sine wave inverter. There are multiple USB ports, including AC, 12V, and a USB-C, to allow you to charge a number of devices at a time.
You can easily recharge this unit in 4-5 hours on a 120-volt AC outlet. This is a bit longer than most, so if you plan to recharge during a car stop this might not work for you.
That said, recharging from your car’s 12-volt adapter will take 4.5 hours. You can also recharge it in 2.5 hours by using a Goal Zero solar panel, which we recommend the most.
Limitations & Issues
As with the unit above, the only limitation would be that this Goal Zero Yeti 500 unit isn’t meant for powering larger appliances.
So, keep that in mind if you want to run larger devices on your next camping trip. But it is convenient to carry around due to the design and weight.
6. Includes Solar Panel: BLUETTI AC50S Power Station
While not the least expensive unit in its class, the Bluetti AC505S is a high-quality reliable solar powered generator for those looking for a small & powerful unit with an included/matched solar panel.
Basically, it’s similar to the Jackery 500 and Goal Zero 500x, but with better internals and bit more efficiency and safety features.
We also appreciate Bluetti because they focus mostly on larger/higher-quality models and we know what a great job they do.
The AC50S comes with built-in battery management system and an MPPT solar charge controller to keep everything safe and reliable in any condition.
With monocrystalline silicon cells, the included solar panel is 5% more energy-efficient than other models in this class.
The unit also has a range of external ports, including DC ports, a DC car port, four USB-A ports, two AC outlets, and a PD Type-C port for convenience.
Battery Management System
The use of a Battery Management System makes BLUETTI AC50S Power Station extremely safe.
It prevents over-charging and discharging, short-circuiting, and overheating to extend the lifespan of the battery.
The unit runs noise-free with zero emissions, making it an eco-friendly option.
Limitations & Issues
The car charging cable could have been longer to allow convenient charging.
Also, while it isn’t powerful enough for large devices, at least it comes with a solar panel.
7. Drop Proof: Anker 535 Portable Power Station
A quality solar generator with a long-lasting battery, the Anker 535 power station is the final entry on our list.
This 512Wh unit features assorted USB ports to charge various devices.
The drop proof unibody makes it a small and extremely durable so it can withstand camping in harsh conditions.
Drop Proof Body
The Anker 535 power station comes in handy in multiple emergency scenarios. It is built using high-grade material, allowing it to be reliable in harsh camping conditions.
There is an LED bar on the front for added convenience during the night. The display shows the charging and discharging rates to keep you informed.
The solar generator packs a 6X long-lasting LiFePO4 battery that can provide 3000 charging cycles.
The battery pack is water-proof to give you peace of mind in harsh weather conditions during your camping trip.
It can be charged via a 12-V car adapter, solar panel, and AC wall outlet. Overall, there are nine USB ports, including 4 AC ports, 3 USB-A ports, a USB-C port, and a car outlet.
With the 512Wh capacity, this solar generator saves you time and charges various devices like tablets, cell phones, laptops, and others.
Limitations & Issues
This is another unit that isn’t meant for powering larger devices.
However, if you’re planning on moving light during your next camping trip, the Anker 535 is ready to serve.
There are a couple of factors that require your key consideration before selecting a suitable solar powered generator for camping.
Solar Generators For Camping
A solar generator is a silent, clean, and eco-friendly alternative to gas generators to power your appliances.
It is a portable power station that uses sunlight energy rather than fossil fuel to provide electricity. This makes it a popular choice for RV camping, boats, and as a backup power source in the case of a grid power outage.
Most solar generators are paired with solar panels that convert the sunlight energy into DC electricity. It is passed through the charge controller and then stored in the battery.
Nowadays, most camping solar generators use lithium-ion batteries due to their light weight, deep discharge ability, and stable voltage profile.
When AC power is needed, the inverter converts the DC power stored in the battery into AC power to power smaller appliances.
Many solar generators in this class also come equipped with built-in solar charge controllers.
Only a few include built-in battery management systems and remote monitoring apps for convenience.
Features to Consider
The first thing to consider about a solar generator is how much energy capacity, in watt-hours, it can store. This single metric will tell you a lot about the camping applications it can reasonably support.
The battery capacity of solar generators for camping typically range from 500 Wh to 3,000 Wh.
Portable solar generators in the 500Wh to 1,000Wh class are generally the best choice for hikers and campers who sleep in a different location each night and just need to run lights and a fan plus recharge their electronics.
Higher-capacity solar generators in the 1,500 to 3,000 Wh range are better suited for a base of operation and larger groups who may need to run a mini-fridge, more lights, and support more people.
Importantly, any solar power bank over 1500 Wh will probably weigh too much for one person to carry all day on a hike.
Number & Type of Output Ports
Most camping solar generators provide 2 to 4 AC ports to run 115V appliances, plus a variety of 12V DC ports and USB ports that can be used to recharge and run lower-powered electronics like laptops, tablets, lights, and fans.
Use While Charging
Some, but not all, solar generators can be used simultaneously while charging.
The best solar generator for camping provides exact charging and discharging rates in real-time.
This way, you can have a fully charged battery when the Sun goes down.
Solar Generator Installation for Camping
Setting up a solar generator for camping is really simple, but there is a right way to do it. All models come with a detailed user manual to help you with the setup. Make sure to read it before setting up the solar generator.
Here is the basic process to follow:
Before you leave home, charge your generator using AC power.
Make sure you bring all of the necessary accessories like cables, tools, solar panels, mounting brackets, and others. We recommend using a small tie bag to hold everything.
To recharge using solar: In the morning, place the solar panels on a rigid surface at an appropriate angle to the sun. Connect the solar panels to the solar generator using the MC-4 cable. Let it charge all day if possible.
When you need power, turn the solar generator on and it's ready to use. You can usually leave it on all day without sapping too much power.
Maintenance & Operating Costs
Solar generators are a really cost-effective and low-maintenance solution for off-grid power.
They require less to no care to function properly. There are no moving parts on this equipment, plus solar generators do not need fuel to operate.
They run on solar energy, which is FREE. This saves a lot on the operation cost compared to any other kind of power source.
However, it is still recommended to carefully inspect the generator once in a while for any damage.
Make sure to clean the solar panels to keep them efficient and remove all the dirt and debris at regular intervals.
Inspect your solar panels and try to air-clean any ventilation ports to keep them free of debris.
How big of a solar generator do I need for camping?
The answer depends on what you plan to power. If your camping needs include powering laptops, phones, and lights, then a 500Wh solar generator will suffice.
However, if you plan to run refrigerators and a TV, you should opt for a solar generator above 2000Wh.
Do solar generators work on cloudy days?
Solar generators, once fully charged, work on cloudy days. When paired with highly efficient solar panels, solar generators can provide enough power to recharge your devices in 3-5 hours each day.
Can I leave my solar generator plugged in all the time?
While it is possible to leave your solar generator plugged in all the time, the recommendation is to unplug from the wall once the unit is fully charged. This will prevent overcharging and overheating of the batteries.
Can a solar generator charge a car battery?
Yes, a solar generator can charge your car’s battery, but it will take five to eight hours to charge a 100-amp car battery fully.
Can I run a camping fridge on solar power?
Yes, solar power can be used to run a camping fridge.
Depending on the wattage of the fridge and overall power consumption, you should buy a 1,000Wh to 2000Wh model if you plan to operate a fridge for 24 hours continuously
How do I choose a camping solar generator?
Choosing the right camping solar generator requires you to consider different factors like power capacity, power consumption, recharge time, portability, and others.
Calculate your overall power consumption requirements and pick a solar generator accordingly.
Final Verdict: What is the Best Solar Power Generator For Camping?
We think the Bluetti AC200MAX is the best overall solar generator for camping, especially for a base of operation supporting a group.
It is one of the heavier units on our list, but the powerful 2048Wh is enough to run mini-refrigerators, TV, laptops, lights, and more for multiple people.
If you want something more powerful (but heavier), you can opt for the Goal Zero Yeti 3000X.
However, if you need a more portable/mobile power source for lights, electronics and a small fan, then we recommend the Bluetti AC50S Power Station, which comes with an integrated solar panel and upgraded internals that make it a bit safer to use.
But of course, feel free to re-read our review list again to see if which solar generator, which includes less powerful yet more portable options, is the best fit for your next outdoor excursion.