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Solar Generator For Camping, Boating and RV Use

Best Solar Generators for Camping, Boating & RVs 2019: Reviews & Top Picks

Sleeping under the stars with your phone on full bars is no longer a dream, thanks to affordable, quiet and clean off-grid solar generators.

Outdoor activities like hiking, camping, boating, and RV travel are more popular today than ever before.  

In the past, bringing anything with you that was powered by electricity - cell phones, radios, fans, laptops - meant choosing one of two options: lugging along a loud, smelly gas generator with extra cans of fuel; or, sleeping in a marina, camp or RV site near available power outlets. 

Using any of the solar generators reviewed on this page, outdoor lovers can now sleep anywhere they want and keep stay in touch with the world outside.  

While you're out playing, the solar panels at the campsite convert the sun's rays into a clean and green power supply.

When you get back in the evening, these perfectly quiet power sources are ready again to recharge your electronics, power the camp lights and even power appliances you don't want to travel without.

Camping Solar Generators

The silent convenience provided by solar generators is really unparalleled.

Solar generators are completely silent, don't emit smelly & dangerous exhaust fumes, are renewable & green, and are perfectly capable of powering your essential devices.

Think about it: no more worry about running your vehicle's batteries down, hunting for plug-ins, or watching helplessly as your laptop powers off while you drive around, looking for a place to plug it in.

Solar generators come in many shapes and sizes, from single-device backups to permanently installed units that are strictly for home use.  

This guide details six of the best solar generators for camping, boating, and RV use. We've selected a couple of choices in each power rating.

Some of these solar generators are only useful for recharging a laptop and a phone.

Others are brutes that can power your refrigerator and a TV. 

To figure out how many watts of power you'll need on the road, use our appliance wattage guide.​


Best Solar Generators For Boating, Camping and RVs

Renogy Phoenix 100W
  • Renogy Phoenix 100W Solar Suitcase Kit

  • Best overall
  • Capacity:
    210Wh

  • Battery:
    Li-ion 17.1Ah, 14.4V

  • AC Inverter:
    150W continuous, 170W surge pure sine wave inverter

  • Solar Panel:
    Two 10W Mono-crystalline Solar panels + 100W mono-crystalline suitcase

  • Weight:
    42lbs

  • Price:
    $$

SUAOKI 300-Watt
  • SUAOKI 300-Watt Portable Power Station

  • Best for camping
  • Capacity:
    400Wh

  • Battery:
    Li-ion 120Ah

  • AC Inverter:
    300W continuous, 600W surge pure sine wave inverter

  • Solar Panel:
    None

  • Weight:
    12.3lbs

  • Price:
    $

Rockpals 250-Watt
  • Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator

  • Best for electronics
  • Capacity:
    240Wh

  • Battery:
    Li-polymer 64.8Ah, 3.7V

  • AC Inverter:
    250W continuous, 300W surge pure sine wave inverter

  • Solar Panel:
    None

  • Weight:
    5.5lbs

  • Price:
    $

ROCKPALS 300W
  • ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator

  • Best for CPAP and medical devices
  • Capacity:
    280Wh

  • Battery:
    Li-ion, 75Ah, 3.7V

  • AC Inverter:
    300W continuous, 600W surge pure sine wave inverter

  • Solar Panel:
    None

  • Weight:
    7.3lbs

  • Price:
    $

Goal Zero Yeti 1400
  • Goal Zero Yeti 1400

  • Best for appliances
  • Capacity:
    1425Wh

  • Battery:
    Li-ion, 396Ah, 3.6V

  • AC Inverter:
    1500W continuous, 3000W surge pure sine wave inverter

  • Solar Panel:
    None

  • Weight:
    43.7lbs

  • Price:
    $$$$

Renogy 300W
  • Renogy 300W 12V Solar Marine Kit

  • Best 12V solar power kit for a boat
  • Capacity:
    None

  • Battery:
    None

  • AC Inverter:
    None

  • Solar Panel:
    300W 12V Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panels

  • Weight:
    20lbs

  • Price:
    $$$

Renogy 400W
  • Renogy 400W 12V Solar RV Kit

  • Best 12V solar power kit for an RV
  • Capacity:
    None

  • Battery:
    None

  • AC Inverter:
    None

  • Solar Panel:
    400W 12V monocrystalline solar panels

  • Weight:
    66lbs

  • Price:
    $$

Jackery Portable Power Station
  • Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer

  • Best budget solar generator
  • Capacity:
    240Wh

  • Battery:
    Li-ion, 16.8Ah, 14.4V

  • AC Inverter:
    200W continuous, 400W surge pure sine wave inverter

  • Solar Panel:
    None

  • Weight:
    6.6lbs

  • Price:
    $


Best Solar Generators for Camping, Boating & RVs Reviews

Best Overall: Renogy Phoenix 100W Solar Suitcase Kit 

Renogy Phoenix 100W Solar Suitcase Kit

The Renogy Phoenix solar suitcase kit delivers plenty of power while remaining compact and portable. That's the main reason we've picked it as the best solar generator for campers, RVers, and boat owners.

It is relatively easy to move it over short distances – e.g., from your truck to the camping site – and takes up very little space in your boat or RV.

Features 

The Renogy Phoenix suitcase kit consists of two parts. There's the Phoenix generator that outputs 20W of power and a 100W foldable solar suitcase.

So in total, you have a 120W solar generator kit.

This power is fed into the 210Wh Li-ion battery pack integrated into the Phoenix generator, which is also where all the output and input ports are located.

This kit is designed for charging devices such as smartphones, tablets, and cameras and powering small appliances like a CPAP machine or mini-fridge.

For appliances, you can use the 100V AC outlet. It's connected to a pure sine wave inverter rated at 150W continuous and 170W surge.

Other output options include four 5V USB ports, two 12V 6A DC ports, and a 12V 12.5A cigarette socket.

To recharge the battery, open up the Phoenix generator and unfold the suitcase kit to let the solar panels catch direct sunlight.

On a good day with plenty of sunshine, the combined solar panels should fill up the battery in a few hours.

If you are at home or an RV park, you can plug in the generator into an AC outlet. When you are on the road, you can recharge from your vehicle's cigarette lighter socket.

The Best Choice for Power on the Go 

The Renogy Phoenix suitcase kit strikes a great balance between portability and power. It can power and charge your essential devices and appliances while still offering easy portability and a small footprint.

The input versatility is also very travel-friendly. No matter where you are – in the wild, at home, in a vehicle, etc. – there's a way to keep the battery charged up.

You'll also appreciate that it's a complete kit. No need to buy separate solar panels or other accessories. It's ready to use out of the box.

Limitations 

If you are looking for a solar generator that will power bigger appliances like an LED TV, a large fridge, or power tools, this is not it.

Not only would the battery drain quickly, but the AC outlet also cannot handle high-wattage appliances.

Summary 

The Renogy Phoenix suitcase kit is an excellent choice for campers, RV owners and boaters looking for an affordable and compact solar generator kit that can charge their devices and power small appliances.


BEST FOR CAMPING: SUAOKI 300-Watt Portable Power Station

SUAOKI 300-Watt Portable Power Station

If you want a solar generator that can power more than just a CPAP or mini-fridge when out camping, the SUAOKI 300-Watt Portable Power Station is the right choice.

It delivers more power without adding to its weight – or price.

But it doesn't come with solar panels. That's not a problem if you are going for an overnight camping trip. You can charge the battery at home or in the car, and it'll last for the duration of your trip.

If you are planning to camp for longer or power more appliances, we highly recommend buying solar panels to charge the battery.

The power station is priced affordably, so buying a 100W solar panel kit will hopefully not strain your budget.

Features 

The SUAOKI power station comes with a 400Wh lithium-ion battery. The increased capacity lets you plug in more appliances and devices for longer.

You have plenty of output options for use with different appliances.

For appliances, use the two 110V AC outlets. But watch what you plugin. The DC-AC inverter is rated at 300W continuous and 600W surge. This covers most small appliances such as a mini-fridge, a CPAP machine, a fan, radio, and so on.

For DC-powered appliances, you can use the 12V DC port or cigarette lighter socket.

For your smartphone, tablet, and other devices, you can recharge from the four 5V USB ports.

Like the Renogy Kit, the Suaoki power station offers three recharge options: solar panels (not included), your car's cigarette lighter socket, and an AC wall outlet.

Charging cables for all three options are included.

Perfect for Campers 

Getting more power without sacrificing portability is a big deal for campers.

Weighing just 12.3lbs, you'll have no trouble carrying the Suaoki power station to and from the camping site. It also takes up little space in your truck or car.

Limitations 

If you are planning to camp for longer than a night, you'll need to budget for solar panels. The Suaoki power station doesn't come with them. A single 100W panel or two 50W panels will do.

Also note that, despite the increased battery capacity and inverter output, the Suaoki power station is still not ideal for high-wattage appliances. Don't try to plug in a heater or coffee maker. Even most blenders will shut it down.

Summary 

The SUAOKI 300W portable power station is a great choice for campers who need a high capacity but easily portable solar generator with versatile input and output options.


BEST FOR ELECTRONICS: Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator

off-grid solar generators

The Rockpals portable generator boasts a 240Wh lithium polymer battery that can power most of the basic electronics in your RV, boat, or camping tent, including lighting, fan, radio, a small TV, and CPAP machine.

Features 

Like the SUAOKI power station, the Rockpals portable solar generator features just a battery and a versatile input/output interface.

The 240Wh LiPo battery stores enough charge to power most electronics for several hours or days.

If you plenty of time off-grid, either on the water with your boat, in the woods camping, or driving your RV, consider buying solar panels to keep the battery charged.

We recommend a couple of 50W panels or a single 100W solar panel. For RV and boat owners, look for flexible solar panels. They'll be easier to install on a curved surface.

If you only go out occasionally, you can charge the battery from a wall AC outlet (wall charger included) or your vehicle's 12V DC socket (car charger included).

As for output, you get the usual AC, DC, and USB ports.

There are two 120V AC ports connected to a pure sine wave 250W continuous inverter (300W surge), four 12V DC ports, and two 5V USB ports.

Light but Powerful 

The Rockpals solar generator is surprisingly lightweight, coming in at just 5.5lbs. If you plan to move it around a lot, you don't need a cart or someone's help.

It's also compactly designed, measuring just 10" long, 4" wide and 6" high. If you are short of space in your boat, RV, or truck, this is the best power station to get.

Limitations 

The Rockpals 250W power station won't power any high-wattage appliances. Make sure that whatever you plug into the AC port doesn't exceed the 250W continuous max power output of the inverter.

It can only charge devices like your smartphone, camera, or drone and power small electronics like a fan, radio, and mini-fridge.

Summary 

The The Rockpals 250-watt portable solar generator is a great choice for campers, RVers, and boaters looking for a lightweight and compact solar power station to power their electronics such as lighting, mini-fridge, CPAP machine, air pump and so on.


BEST FOR CPAP & MEDICAL DEVICES: ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator

ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator

The 250-Watt Rockpals generator is perfectly adequate for use with CPAP machines. But if you want a power station that will power your CPAP or any other medical device for longer, we recommend the CPAP 300W generator.

It has a larger battery and a higher-capacity DC-AC inverter. So you can plug in higher-wattage medical devices.

Features 

The 280Wh lithium-ion battery can power a CPAP machine for 2-3 days.

To get more time out of the battery, the manufacturer recommends connecting your machine to the 12V DC port using a DC converter cable.

Using the AC port drains the battery faster since the inverter also uses power.

Another tip is to turn off the heater and humidifier if you don't need them.

In addition to medical devices, you can plug in small appliances into the 120V AC outlet or one of the five DC ports (four 12V and one 24V).

You can also charge your phone, tablet, or any other device using the four 5V USB ports. For faster charging, connect to one of the two USB ports with Quick Charge 3.0 technology.

As for recharging the battery, the fastest way to do it is through an AC wall outlet. If you are on the road, you can plug it into your car's cigarette lighter socket. Both a car charger and a wall adapter are included.

For frequent campers as well as RV owners and boaters who spend a lot of time off-grid, the most convenient way to recharge the battery is by using solar panels.

The panels are not included.

Staying Healthy Off-Grid 

Having a medical device that needs electricity is no reason to avoid going camping or an RV road trip. The Rockpals 300W solar generator allows you to power your device wherever you are.

We particularly love that it has 5 DC ports, many more than you'll get in most portable power stations. This is handy since many medical devices work best with DC power.

Limitations 

The Rockpals 300-Watt solar generator doesn't come with solar panels. Without them, you have enough power in the battery for just a couple or so days.

If you are planning to spend several nights off-grid, consider buying solar panels to keep the battery charged and your CPAP machine running.

Summary 

The Rockpals 300W portable solar generator is an excellent choice for RVers, boaters, and campers who use a powered medical device such as a CPAP machine or an air purifier.


BEST FOR APPLIANCES: Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium Portable Power Station

off-grid solar generators

The Goal Zero Yeti is the most powerful portable power station among our picks with a battery capacity of 1425Wh.

It's a great choice for boat and RV owners who need a solar generator that can power bigger appliances like a fridge, TV, or a small coffee maker.

It'll also power most power tools, blenders, and medical devices.

Best Features 

One of the most interesting features is the Wi-Fi connectivity.

You can monitor and control the Yeti 1400 from your smartphone or tablet wherever you are. Connect the power station to your RV or boat network and then download the Goal Zero app.

You can check battery level, monitor power input and output, and remotely turn specific ports on and off.

Beyond the tech, this is a very capable power station. The 1425Wh battery can power multiple appliances for hours.

You can plug them into one of the two 12V AC outlets. Don't worry about tripping the inverter. It can handle high wattages up to 1500W continuous and 3000W surge.

There are also multiple DC ports for appliances such as a CPAP machine, car vacuum, and power tools.

For your smartphone or tablet, use the USB-C, USB-A, or USB-PD port.

As for recharging the battery, there are two ways to go about it.

You can plug it into a wall outlet using the included AC adapter. It will take about 25 hours for the battery to fill up.

You can also charge the battery using solar panels (not included). Because of the size of the battery, we recommend a 200W solar panel kit: either a single panel or multiple panels (four 50W or two 100W).

A 200W kit will charge the battery in 11-28 hours, depending on weather conditions.

More Power in a Compact Size

The Yeti 1400's compact size belies its actual capability. If you need to watch TV, power your refrigerator, or do some DIY work with your power tools when off-grid, the Yeti 1400 is up to the task.

Limitations 

If you are looking for a budget solar generator, this is not it. The Yeti 1400is expensive, which is not a surprise considering how much power it produces and the battery capacity.

If you need to buy solar panels, the overall cost will be even higher.

Summary 

The Goal Zero Yeti 1400 is a great choice for RV and boat owners looking for a capable solar generator that can power their 110V-120V appliances.

Also ideal for campers who want a portable power station that will power their devices and appliances for longer.


BEST 12V SOLAR POWER KIT FOR A BOAT: Renogy 300W 12V Solar Marine Kit

Renogy 300W 12V Solar Marine Kit

The Renogy 300W solar marine kit is designed specifically for installation on a boat. It is waterproof, can withstand snow and winds, and the panels are flexible for easy installation on a curved surface.

Features 

The Renogy solar marine kit connects to an existing battery bank.

The kit comes complete with three 100W solar panels (300W total), a 20A PWM solar charge controller, and all the adapters and connectors you need.

As I mentioned, the solar panels are flexible with a 248-degree flex range. They are much easier to install on a curved surface compared to rigid panels.

They are also designed to withstand all kinds of weather, including heavy snow loads (5400 Pa) and high winds (2400 Pa).

Best Way to Keep Your Boat Batteries Charged 

The three solar panels will silently charge your deep cycle batteries to ensure you have power all the time.

With a combined output of 300 watts, they'll charge a large capacity bank in a few hours or days, depending on battery capacity and weather conditions.

Limitations 

Our only complaint is the type of charge controller provided.

To get the best out of the solar panel, consider replacing the PMW charge controller with an MPPT controller.

MPPT charge controllers are more efficient and charge much faster compared to PWM controllers.

Summary 

The Renogy 300W solar marine kit is a great choice for boat owners looking for a powerful solar kit to charge their battery bank.


BEST 12V SOLAR POWER KIT FOR AN RV: Renogy 400W 12V Solar RV Kit

Renogy 400W 12V Solar RV Kit

For RV owners, we recommend the Renogy 400W solar RV kit. It's designed specifically for RVs and, like the marine kit, can withstand high winds and heavy snow loads.

Features 

The RV kit consists of solar panels, each with a 100W output for a total output of 400W. They can produce about 2,000Wh daily when the weather is good.

That's enough power to quickly charge a large battery bank and keep your RV appliances running.

The 400W kit is not too expensive. But if you are on a tight budget, there's a cheaper 300W, 200W, and 100W kit available though you'll, obviously, not be able to generate as much power.

The solar panels are designed to withstand all kinds of outdoor conditions. They can handle heavy snow and high winds and are corrosion resistant.

Like the marine kit, the RV kit comes complete with a PWM charge controller (30A) and all the cables and connectors necessary for installation. Mounting brackets are also included.

Perfect for RVs

When you are going cross-country in your RV, you want your batteries to stay charged without relying on charging spots in RV parks.

This 400W solar kit gives you the freedom to travel wherever you want without worrying about keeping your RV powered.

Limitations 

Unlike the marine kit that comes with flexible panels, the Renogy RV kit comes with rigid solar panels.

This will probably not be an issue for you, but it can be problematic for RVers who need to install the solar panels on a curved surface.

Another issue is that the kit uses a PWM controller, which is not as efficient and doesn't charge as fast as an MPPT controller.

Summary 

The Renogy 400W solar RV kit is a great choice for RV owners and enthusiasts looking for a high-output solar panel kit to charge their RV battery bank.


BEST BUDGET BUY: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 

off-grid solar generators

If you are on a budget, we recommend the Jackery Explorer portable power station. It is a compact and lightweight solar generator that's good enough for charging devices and powering small appliances.

Features 

The Jackery portable power station is small but capable. The 240Wh lithium-ion battery will power small appliances for hours and charge various devices multiple times.

It doesn't have as many output options as other solar generators, but they are enough for most people's needs.

There's a single AC port with a 200W continuous and 400W surge pure sine wave inverter. It's safe to plug in most small appliances and devices such as a CPAP machine, a mini-fridge, a fan, or a laptop.

There's also a DC carport for use with DC-powered devices such as lighting and air pumps.

To charge your phone or tablet, use the two USB-A ports. They can also charge drones, cameras, smart watches, Bluetooth speakers, and any USB-chargeable device.

It's easy to recharge the battery.

If you are at home, plug it into a wall outlet. That's the fastest way to recharge it. If you are traveling in your RV or car, plug it into your car's 12V DC cigarette lighter socket.

The power station comes both with a car charger and a wall adapter.

When you are outdoors, you can recharge the battery using solar panels. The panels are not included, but we highly recommend buying them if you are planning extended outdoor trips.

A 100W solar panel kit is enough to keep the 16.8Ah battery charged.

A Pocket-Friendly Option for Campers 

For campers who want more power without spending a lot of money or carrying a bulky power station, the Jackery Explorer is a great choice.

It's compact and lightweight but powerful enough to power and charges most of the appliances and devices you'll carry with you.

Limitations 

Don't expect the Jackery Explorer to power a coffee maker, blender, or power tool. It can only power small, low-wattage appliances.

Also, note that it doesn't come with solar panels. Depending on your needs, you might have to budget more money for a complete kit.

Summary 

The Jackery Explorer portable power station is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a budget solar power station for camping or use in an RV or boat.

About the Author David Roberts

I'm a Mechanical Engineer who's obsessed with solar energy and sustainable living.

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