Looking for ways to keep your phone charged while camping? These tips and hacks on charging your phone camping will keep you topped up!
Camping is a great way to get away from it all, but somehow, we can never quite get away from our phones!
Smartphones are useful to have, as they help you plot a hiking or cycling route, post photos of your camping trip on social media, and are useful to have in case you need to call someone in an emergency.
However, you might be worried about how to keep your phone charged while camping. Don't worry as there are many options for charging your phone camping as you'll see here.
I've divided this guide about charging a phone while camping into two rough sections. The first is some easy ways to charge up your smartphone camping, the second are ways to extend your smartphone battery life on a day to day basis.
Charging Phone When Camping
Whether you are staying at a campsite or are wild camping, you'll find the following suggestions useful for using your phone when you next go camping.
USB Portable Power Bank
This is the number one way that I make sure my phone and other electronic gear can be charged when I am camping. I always pack one or more powerbanks on camping trips.
My current power bank of choice is the Anker Powercore 26800. At a whopping 26800 mAh, I can fully charge my high capacity Samsung S10+ 5 or 6 times, and it is even powerful enough to charge my USB-C powered Dell laptop!
During long tours, I carry along more than one portable battery like this.
Of course, the obvious question to now ask, is how do I keep the portable power bank charged? Keep reading!
Portable Solar Panel
This has been a new addition to my bike touring kit. I simply strap the portable solar panels to the back of my rear rack when cycling during the day, and it happily charges my phone or power bank from direct sunlight. I also have the option of using solar power when staying at a campsite for the day.
Solar powered options are particularly good in sunny climates of course, but even during overcast days, I was charging my phone this way slowly but surely. In fact, charging my phone and charging other electronic gear via solar panels has been surprisingly easy and reliable, and so it's another good way to charge your devices when you go camping.
My current solar panel is an Anker PowerPort Solar 21w.
Scavenge for a power source
One tip I have is to keep your eye open for charging options when it comes. Whether it's to plug your phone charger into the wall when visiting a cafe, looking outside supermarkets for electrical sockets, or asking to charge your devices when visiting a tourist information office, where there's a will, there's a way!
If you've chosen to camp without electricity on a campsite, go and check out the shower block. The chances are, you can top up your battery as you wash and shave if there are suitable power outlets.
Pay for it
Every now and then, it just makes sense to pay the extra money on a tent pitch in order to have electricity! I normally do this on a bike tour when all my devices have reached a point where they could do with a good charge up. This is when I also recharge my power banks.
Ask a neighbour
Camping at a site that has RVs, campervans and mobile homes? Why not ask someone if they wouldn't mind recharging your phone for you. You might make a new friend in the process!
Crank Powered Charger
Although I think these aren't a great solution, I do have to mention hand crank devices. Generally, the power output on these is so low that full charging a phone at the most via this method would take days. You might get enough power in the battery for an emergency call out though.
I've not used one of these myself, but there are some charging options for charging your phone with a Biolite Campstove. I can't comment on how powerful this would be, but it's worth researching just in case you have one of these stoves and want to charge your phone at the same time!
Basically, you burn twigs etc, can use the stove to cook on, and the attached device turns the heat into electricity. At least I think that's how it works.
This might perhaps be more suitable for cabin camping, but not really practical to take along on a hiking, backpacking, or bike touring trip.
Extend Battery Life Of Phone While Camping
If you are spending a prolonged period of time camping, then it might make sense to conserve as much power in your phone as you can. Here's some ideas of doing that when going camping.
Switch the phone off
It might seem blindingly obvious, but we get so used to have a phone permanently turned on, that we forget it's got an off button! If you are not using the cell phone when camping, then switch it off, especially at night.
Change the brightness level of screen display according to need
In order to save power, another simple tip is to reduce the amount of power used by the display. You can do this by using Auto Brightness , or a light sensor app. This feature reduces the screen brightness according to ambient light level, so that you don't need it as high when in a dark tent!
Disconnect from the Wi Fi and Bluetooth
If you're not using the internet, save the phone's battery by at least disconnecting from the Wi Fi. The same goes for Bluetooth. You will end up conserving your phone's battery power for when you need it most.
Power Saving Mode
Some phones have a power saving mode , and these are designed to reduce the consumption of power when it is needed most.
Enable Airplane Mode at Night
If you must have an always-on connection with your phone while camping, then just enable Airplane mode at night. This disables all connections : Cellular, Wifi and Bluetooth.
Keep the phone warm
Phones and other electronic devices tend to lose power more quickly in colder environments. In some climates, I have wrapped up my phone in a pair of socks even when it is switched off in order to keep it warm.
I hope this blog has given you some ideas for charging your phone while camping. If you have any other charging tips, please share them in the comments! Oh, and don't forget your USB cable when you pack!
Charge Your Phone on Camping Trips FAQ
Some of the most popular questions to do with keeping a phone charged while camping include:
Where do you charge your phone while camping?
If you need to charge a phone without access to electricity points, it's best to take a battery pack, power banks, or a small solar panel setup. This way, you can keep your phone fully charged no matter what the circumstances.
How do you get power when camping?
If you are car camping, then you can use your car to keep your devices charged. If not, pick a campsite which has electricity, and failing that, travel with a portable solar panel or power banks.
How to charge phone in the wild?
The best ways to charge your phone battery when wild camping, are to use a portable power bank or solar charger.
Is a hand crank charger worth it?
A hand crank is really only as last resort charging device, as it takes a lot of effort to get even a minimal amount of charge into a cell phone.
Do solar chargers for phones really work?
A good solar panel setup works well on a camping trip to keep your phone full charged. Generally speaking, the small the solar panels, the lower its effectiveness.
Camping Trip Tips
Before you go, why not check out these other guides and insights into camping and adventure travel:
- Where to sleep when bike touring
- 10 Things to Look for when Buying a New Lightweight Tent
- Essential Outdoor Survival Gear For Your EDC Bag
- Bicycle Tools To Take To Africa and Do You Need A Stove?
- How to Stay Comfortable and Warm Sleeping Outdoors
- Wild Camping – Where to camp when bike touring
- Best Pillow for Camping
- How to stay cool camping in a tent in the summer
Dave is a travel writer who has been sharing outdoor advice and travel tips on this website since 2005. If you enjoyed this guide to camping phone chargers and other ways to keep your phone charged on a camping trip, you might also like his other blog posts about camping, bike touring, and travel. Follow Dave on social media for travel inspiration from Greece and beyond: