Whether you’re camping, hiking, or backpacking, most of us go out into the wilderness to unplug and recharge … recharge ourselves, that is! There’s just something about being out in nature that has the ability to refresh, reinvigorate, and recharge our spirits … but what do you do to keep your devices charged while you unplug?
There are many reasons to keep your cell phones and other devices charged up while in the wilderness—the most important reason being: in case of emergencies. There are many different ways to keep your devices charged. Here’s how.
Power Saving Tips for Camping and Hiking
There are many things you will want to do to preserve what battery life you do have, and most smartphones don’t come set up to save their own batteries without a little help from the user. Here are some power saving tips to get the most out of your existing battery life:
- Avoid extremes of heat and cold. Extremes of either temperature can hurt your overall battery life and drain it completely.
- Avoid fast charging. Only use fast charging when you’re in a hurry as this will deplete your overall battery capacity over time.
- Turn down the screen’s brightness. Keep the screen’s brightness down as much as you can stand it as much of the time as possible to extend your battery life.
- Reduce screen auto-lock time. Reduce the time your screen stays on before it goes to sleep once you’ve been using it.
- Choose a dark theme. For OLED displays, dark themes use less battery life than bright themes.
- Turn on power or energy saving modes. In your phone’s settings, there is an option to turn on power saving or energy-saving modes. It is a good idea to keep this on all the time when you are preserving your battery life.
- Turn off Bluetooth and wifi when not in use. These features will constantly search for a connection, wasting battery.
- Turn on Airplane Mode. If you’re not expecting any important calls or texts, turn on Airplane Mode. This mode will turn off all features of your phone that use up battery searching for connection.
- Turn off location tracking for apps that don’t need it. There are many apps that will track your location even when you’re not using them, so you will need to go into your settings and revoke that permission. Location searching is incredibly draining on a device battery.
- Turn off background app refresh. Many apps will constantly update in the background which puts a heavy strain on the battery. This is a setting on your phone that can be turned off.
- Turn off Siri and Ok Google features.
- Check battery usage to see which apps use the most battery. You can disable or delete them. If your phone doesn’t have this function, you can download an app to do this for you.
- Turn off visual effects and live wallpaper. These features will also drain your battery faster.
How to Keep Your Devices Charged While Camping and Hiking
Now that we’ve gone over the best way to preserve existing battery life, we can go over the best ways to charge those batteries back up once they’ve been depleted. Because let’s face it: most of us are on our phones in some capacity when we’re camping and hiking, taking photo and video to capture the memory … and these are both heavy battery usage activities.
The types of chargers you can use for your devices pretty much all fit into three categories:
- Portable Rechargeable Battery Packs
- Portable Solar Chargers
- Portable Generators
Portable rechargeable battery packs are the most popular options for keeping your devices charged while camping and hiking but they do have one downfall: once you’ve used up their charge, they’re done.
You can only recharge them when you have access to a power outlet, and that defeats the point of camping! Other pros of these are that they are lightweight, usually on the less expensive side and typically have two USB ports to charge two devices at once.
Portable Solar Chargers area another popular option among backpackers and campers. The downside to portable solar chargers is the fact that you have to have sunlight and for best results full sunlight.
This can be an issue when hiking through forests or on a cloudy day. Another downside is that solar charging takes quite a while. The pros are that you are literally getting power from the sun. That’s a pretty cool thing, and it doesn’t cost you a dime!
Portable inverter generators are last on the list, and these are better for campers than they are for hikers and backpackers. The reason being is that they are usually pretty heavy, even the small ones—so they’re not practical to lug around with you when every ounce counts.
The pros to portable generators are that they last forever when just using them to charge your devices, and some of them are even able to be recharged with their own solar panels.
Best Portable Chargers for Camping and Hiking
Here are some good options for portable chargers that you can use while camping and hiking. There are many other options out there, but these ones will get the job done.
FuseBox 6000 mAh USB Power Bank
The FuseBox Power Bank is a lightweight, portable power pack that you can charge up at home before taking out camping or hiking. This power bank is suitable for charging your devices on an overnight camping or backpacking trip.
This power pack is small enough to fit in a purse, backpack or pocket and features an LED light indicator so you know how much power is left in it after use. Per the description, this power bank carries one full charge for most phones and tablets. This power pack has two USB ports to charge two devices.
Goal Zero Venture USB Recharger
The Goal Zero Venture USB Recharger has a lot of bang for your buck. It packs 17,700-mAh to be exact! This portable charger is just a little bit bigger than your typical smartphone, is weatherproof, has two USB ports and can hold up to four to five full phone charges per full charge.
This charger will charge your devices at the same pace as wall outlets, making it the perfect choice for several day backpacking or camping trips.
EcoFlow Tech Foldable 21 Watt Solar Panel
The EcoFlow Tech Foldable 21 Watt solar panel charger is a great and portable option for charging your devices using the sun while you’re camping, hiking or backpacking. This charger will charge phones, laptops, lights, tablets, and more with 21 watts of solar power capability and dual USB ports. This solar charger is water and dust resistant for use outdoors.
Alternatively, this Coleman 10 Watt Solar Folding Phone Charger is a less expensive (and less powerful/efficient) charging option for those on a budget. It’s not quite as impressive but still an excellent option.
Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator
The Goal Zero Solar Generator is perhaps the coolest (and definitely one of the most popular) solar generators on the market today. This portable generator can be charged up with a wall charger, car charger, or with solar—making it a super versatile piece of equipment that is perfect for camping off the grid.
It is a light 12 pounds and will keep your laptops, lights, watches, Fitbits, phones, and tablets charged up and ready to go. When the power starts to run down on the generator, simply attach the Goal Zero Nomad solar panels and let it generate its own electricity from the sun!
Keeping Your Devices Charged on Adventures
There are many different ways to keep your devices charged while you’re camping, hiking, or backpacking in the backcountry and every one is unique. Be sure to take into account your own power consumption needs to come up with a system that will work best for you. Also, follow the power saving tips outlined above to get the most out of your battery!
It’s always best to unplug and disconnect from the world while spending time out in nature, but keeping your devices charged ensures you will have a backup for an emergency phone call or to capture your adventure in photos and video.
Any thoughts, questions, or concerns? Leave a comment below!