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Comparing Good, Better, and Best Power Sources for Camping

This article was last updated on May 6, 2024.

Technology has never played a larger role in our daily lives than it does today. That’s why, even when we are out exploring the backcountry, it’s critical to have access to all our favorite tech and devices. And the easiest way to stay connected, whether you are a weekend warrior or live out of your adventure vehicle full-time, is to own good power sources for camping.

A trustworthy and reliable power source grants you the freedom to camp anywhere (not just in designated camping areas) while providing complete access to electricity. That means even if you are completely off the grid in the middle of nowhere, you can camp with the same comfort and convenience as you would in your home.

In this guide, we share three great portable power sources for camping. Everything from lightweight propane generators to solar power stations to installable solar panels is covered. So, there is something here for everyone, regardless of your needs and budget. With that said, let’s dive in and discover which one is ideal for you!

Table of Contents

Benefits of Solar Power Sources for Camping

Sunflare Solar Panel on rooftop tent

Good power sources for camping typically run in one of three ways: battery, propane, or solar. Propane and gas-powered devices used to be by far the most popular choice. However, more and more people today are deciding to buy solar-powered devices because of their many benefits.

Solar power’s biggest benefit is its 100% clean energy. It’s a renewable, carbon-neutral energy source that is environmentally friendly and doesn’t harm the planet. Taking care of the earth should be at the top of everyone’s to-do list, and investing in solar power sources for camping is a positive step in the right direction.

Other benefits of solar power sources for camping include:

  • They save you money in the long run.
  • They give you more freedom.
  • They are completely silent.
  • They can power your vehicle inside and out.
  • They are more durable.
  • They are incredibly easy to use.

A Good Power Source for Camping

blackfire 1500w portable power station

The first good power source for camping we want to talk about is the Blackfire Pac1000 Portable Power Station. It’s a rechargeable power station that boasts a powerful 982.8Wh lithium-ion battery, 1500 watts, four 120V AC outlets, six USB ports, and more! Here are some examples of how long the battery lasts, depending on the voltage:

  • A 120W fridge for 8 hours
  • A 300W Blender for 2.6 hours
  • A 900W electric grill for 50 minutes
  • A 1500W air fryer for 30 minutes

It comes with a DC carport charger (12-hour charge time) and a super-fast mobile A/C charger (3-hour charge time). Additionally, you can get a set of compatible X2 solar panels (sold separately) to convert the power station into a solar-powered unit. The solar panels normally charge the battery in around 8-10 hours. 

Blackfire Portable Power Station In Death Valley

More awesome features of this good power source for camping are its unique display, cooling system, and 12-month warranty. The display tells you how much power is being input/output, the battery percentage, and how much time remains until the battery dies. Alternatively, the cooling system prevents overheating and uses replaceable air filters. 

Lastly, the Blackfire Pac1000 Portable Power Station measures 15.8” × 10.8” × 10.4” and weighs 43.7 pounds. Its compact and portable size makes it ideal for both minimalist campers and full-time adventurers alike.

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A Better Power Source for Camping

alp-propane-generator-with-jeep

Next up on our list of good power sources for camping is the ALP 1000-Watt Propane Generator. It’s an innovative and efficient gasoline-free generator that measures 18.75” × 10.25” × 14” and weighs 30.86 pounds (excluding the propane tank). Moreover, it has 1000 watts, is EPA/CARB approved, and has various charging ports.

A 12-inch connecting house that fits both 1-pound and 30-pound propane tanks is included. When paired with a 1-pound tank, the generator runs for approximately three hours. On the other hand, with a 30-pound tank, you can expect to get around 60 hours of power.

alp-generator-in-use

Another cool feature we love is that it automatically shuts off just before the propane tank runs out. This helps protect the motor over time and will make the generator last longer. Also, it comes in four different color combinations. So, you can get the one that best matches your style and the gear you already have. 

With a retail price of $529.99, the ALP 1000-Watt Propane Generator is a great choice for budget-conscious campers. And when you aren’t camping, it also works great at tailgates, parties, or even as a backup power source at home in case the power ever goes out. 

Check out our video above to learn more about the ALP 1000-Watt Propane Generator after using it for one year.

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The Best Power Source for Camping

flexible camper solar panel kit from Sunflare

Finally, the best power source for camping is the Sunflare XPLOR.

The XPLOR solar series is a lineup of one-of-a-kind solar panels designed specifically for adventure, off-road, and overland travel. The solar panels are lightweight, flexible, and rugged. In fact, they are so strong that you can even walk on them!

XPLOR solar panel options

There are three different-sized panels: The Weekend, The Adventure, and the Expedition. The Weekend is the smallest (47.3” x 32.6”), has 105 watts, and sells for $450. The Adventure is slightly larger (47.2” x 38.6”), has 126 watts, and goes for $550. And the Expedition is the biggest (65.4” x 38.9”), has 180 watts, and costs $750.

Furthermore, every individual solar cell is made from stainless steel, is laminated with excellent-quality 3M plastic, and has bypass diodes. These characteristics make XPLOR Solar Panels lighter, stronger, and more reliable than most other panels. In case anything does happen, an industry-leading 25-year warranty also backs them.

sunflare-xplor-on-rooftop-tent

Are you worried about installing them? Don’t be! Because, unlike other solar panels that are a pain in the ass to set up, XPLOR panels have a groundbreaking double-sided adhesive design that will allow you to install them in minutes. The panels can go directly on top of your car or fit great on rooftop tents!

One important thing to note is that while you can use power directly from solar panels, it’s always best to have a way to store power. That way, you will still have electricity at night or on cloudy days. The best places to store solar energy are lithium-ion batteries or portable generators. 

Check out our video above for a detailed look at how I installed my Sunflare XPLOR panels. 

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