Lots of people enjoy the experience of camping. Spending time in the great outdoors can be a lot of fun and can also be a great educational experience for kids.
For some people, not having easy access to an electric hook up means that they have a hard time charging their smartphones and so on. While some people really do enjoy the experience of “roughing it,” it’s not for everyone.
So, what if you find yourself at a campground that doesn’t offer any electricity? The good news is that there are alternatives.
1 – Batteries Are Your Friends
The most obvious way to circumvent the need for mains electricity is to take a heap of battery-powered devices with you on camping trip. The biggest benefit here is that you can change the batteries in most of these devices when they run out.
Just bear in mind that if you have devices that use lithium-ion batteries, they are going to need a recharge at some point so this defeats the purpose.
Here are just some of the battery-powered devices that will make your camping life easier:
- Torches and flashlights
- A radio
- Fans to keep cool
- Lanterns or battery-powered candles
- Walkie-talkies for easy communication over distance
2 – Don’t Forget the Primal Power of Fire
When humans discovered fire, it must have been a complete revolution in the way that we lived and survived. If you’re camping out and don’t have electricity, you should never forget the power and value of a campfire.
Fires provide the following benefits:
- They provide heat on cold days and nights
- Fires are a source of light on a dark night
- A fire can keep animals away at night
- A fire is needed for cooking many meals and preparing hot drinks
It may seem obvious but a campfire provides so many benefits that you should always prepare one as soon as you set up camp and then keep it burning. Our ancestors recognized the power of fire and we should never forget it, even in an age where we seem more interested in access to our social media messages.
3 – Carry a Flashlight
Fires are a great way for us to see around the main camp but sometimes you’ll need to go outside of the main area. This is when battery-powered flashlights, lanterns, and torches are very useful. Make sure that everyone on camp has his or her own battery-powered flashlight.
Also, don’t forget to carry spare batteries. The LED flashlights available nowadays will last for many hours of use and will provide excellent light. You can also carry small but powerful LED flashlights that are attached to clips or keychains so that they won’t be easily lost.
It’s also a good idea to bring along some powerful LED lanterns that can be used in the tent at night. Battery-powered lanterns such as this tend to last for a lot longer because the LEDs don’t use as much power when operating.
If you get one that is rated between 1200 and 2000 lumen, you should have plenty of light at night.
Don’t forget that lanterns that can stand easily on flat surfaces or hang can also be used to light up an area if you’re preparing food. The campfire is going to be important but the portable lantern provides easy light whenever you need it.
4 – Use Gas
If you want to generate some real electricity, you might want to think about packing a gas generator. They can last for a long time on a single cylinder of gas. The problem is that they are also quite noisy and smelly.
This may not be ideal if you want a tranquil camping trip but they do provide another good option of alternative power generation if you need it.
5 – Use Your Car Battery
If you really need electrical power for charging a smartphone or other device, you can use the battery in your car. It’s possible to buy a cable that fits into the internal cigarette lighter and provides reliable 12-volt power from the car battery.
Just remember that the power output will be limited and the car battery will be drained slowly during this process. This means that you should only resort to tapping into the car battery no more than a few times so it doesn’t go too flat.
6 – Take Battery Packs Too
You can now get cheap lithium battery packs that are intended to charge up smartphones. You can even get bigger, more powerful battery packs that will even power mini-fridges and do multiple charges.
Just remember that you should make sure that you pack them fully charged; otherwise, you’ll need to charge them up as soon as you set up camp.
7 – Solar Power
Perhaps the best source of power available is from our very own sun. Solar power is sustainable and renewable. Portable solar panels are also much cheaper these days and easy to find.
There are a range of solar-powered devices such as lanterns as well. This means that you won’t need to plug into your car battery or use a gas generator. In fact, many solar-powered devices have only very modest power needs so a single solar charge will last for a long time.
If you can afford it, there are also solar-powered generators available as well. You can very easily plug devices into this kind of generator and use it as a main source of sustainable electrical power. It’s cheap, easy, and, best of all, it’s not noisy and doesn’t pollute the environment.
Even if you don’t have an easy source of electrical power when camping, there are plenty of ways to generate enough power for your needs. Solar power may be the ultimate in renewable, cheap power but carrying battery-powered devices, using battery packs, and tapping into your car battery are all viable ways of ensuring that you have enough electrical power for your camping experience.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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