Camping is a wonderful opportunity to unplug, but in this modern world, it’s hard to escape the need for our devices. Knowing how to keep your phone charged while camping is a vital piece of knowledge for any outdoor enthusiast. Luckily, there are some options out there that can keep your phone charged while you enjoy your trip.
We’ll go over how to keep your phone charged while camping by using portable devices as well as some best practices that can prevent your phone’s battery from draining as quickly.
Whether you’re going out into the wilderness or just planning an extended vacation with friends and family, don’t let your battery die – read on for some helpful hints!
Table of Contents
How to Keep Your Phone Charged While Camping
Power Banks / Portable Battery Chargers
There are many different types of portable batteries, but they all have one thing in common: they can be charged with an in-wall outlet and will give you an extra charge for your phone when you’re out and about.
A portable battery charger is a good way to keep your phone charged while you’re camping because it can charge in a relatively short amount of time and will last for quite some time before needing to be charged itself. A smaller portable charger can recharge your phone one to three times, while larger and more powerful units can charge several phones at once many times over.
In order to choose the right power bank for your trip, you’ll want to factor in how many people will be on your camping trip as well as the length of time you’ll be without power. You can look up how many amps of power your current cell phone has and use that to decide which portable battery charger you will need.
Portable chargers have ampage that ranges from around 1000 amps to around 30,000 amps. If you have a phone battery that can hold 2000 amps of power, then an 8000 amp charger can fill up your phone battery up to 4 times.
The downside to using a portable battery charger is that you will need an extra item to keep with you throughout the day, but these chargers come in many shapes and sizes, so you can pick one that fits your phone and lifestyle.
Hand Crank Batteries
A hand-crank charger is designed with a crank on one end that generates power as you turn it. This is the exact same technology that a hydroelectric dam or wind turbine uses. The friction creates electricity that can be channelled into the device.
This device is ideal for very long and isolated camping trips where minimal phone use is needed. Many people only carry this kind of charger for emergencies, rather than as a way to charge a phone for taking pictures, making regular calls, or using media apps.
This is because hand-cranking the charger can take quite a bit of time for even a small amount of energy. On average, about 10 minutes of turning the crank on this device will provide enough energy for one short phone call.
These chargers are fairly portable and are a good option for backpackers as far as size goes, and the Pocket Socket is one of the lightest options you can find. It weighs about 15 ounces and is the size of a standard water bottle.
In addition to charging your phone, a hand crank charger will also be able to help you recharge USB devices like a small lamp or flashlight.
Use a Car Charger Adapter
Most people arrive at their camping sites in a car, which can easily be converted into a power source for your phone. You can purchase a car charger adapter that plugs into the cigarette lighter of your car.
This is a convenient option because you can simply plug it in and charge while you drive to the campground. This type of charger can come with several USB ports which will allow you to charge several devices at once, including your portable charger, so it’s ready to go once you arrive.
Although it may be tempting to turn the car on near your campsite and charge your phone every few days, it’s best to avoid charging your phone or electronics from a car that is idling.
A better option is to take the car on a short drive since the car battery recharges best when the car is in use. This will help to prevent any issues with your car battery, especially with an older car.
If you want your phone to charge fast, make sure to find a car charger that can send at least two amps of power to your phone. This will charge it up in about an hour and a half, which is much faster than most other options.
There are also outlet converters that you can plug into the cigarette lighter in your car that will allow you to charge your items from a standard wall outlet.
If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly and off-grid way to keep your device charged, then consider purchasing a solar pack charger. These chargers can easily be placed in the sun to charge your phone, and they typically come with multiple USB ports.
This is a great option if you’ll be in a place where you’ll have access to some sun during parts of your camping or backpacking trip. Many of them can be charged at home before your trip, so you’re starting off with a full battery.
Solar packs tend to be designed for outdoor use, which means they are often very durable, water-resistant, and come with additional helpful features such as a small light or compass built into the unit.
Some have a singular solar panel on the face of the charger while others will have several panels that can be folded up and put into a small case.
Both of these types tend to be fairly lightweight for their size, but the multiple panel type will be slightly heavier and bulkier.
Multiple-use device chargers are also known as portable power stations and make great solutions for those who want to be able to charge a variety of different devices in addition to your cell phone.
You can use this sort of device to provide power for lamps, heaters, fans, blankets, projectors, cooking devices, and even televisions.
These are wonderful alternatives to traditional gas generators and many even come with solar panels that can be used to charge the battery pack in less than seven hours.
Some of these even come with AC and DC outlets, so you can charge your phone and other devices, as well as power appliances.
While these devices are about the size of a basketball and are a great choice for a camper who is staying at one site, they may not be the best choice for backpackers or hikers who are constantly on the move.
Electrical Hook-Ups at a Campsite
One of the simplest solutions for charging your phone while camping is by using the electrical hook-ups that are already available at your site. This option can usually be verified when booking your campsite.
A primitive campsite, however, may not have access to electrical hook-ups. A campground may have a few select primitive sites, or there may not be any electricity available throughout the entire property, which is often the case in national parks.
Look for the word “electricity” when searching for your campsite online in order to find sites with hook-ups. They may also have a small icon next to them of a plug and a battery to make things even easier.
If you’re able to camp in a site that is set up for an RV camper, you will likely find several hook-ups on the side of your site. Some electric posts will need an adapter in order to fit your electrical cord, so be sure that you have the right adapter with you when heading out on a camping trip.
You may be able to run an extension lead from your campsites’ electrical hookup and into your tent via an e-port which will allow you to charge your devices without leaving the tent.
When in doubt about the power outlets provided at your campsite, go ahead and call the campground and ask.
A Communal Space on Site
If you don’t have any dedicated devices for charging your cell phone during your trip, you’ll need to find an outlet around the campgrounds. This can be tricky, but there are usually communal spaces on campgrounds where many of the visitors gather.
You may be able to find outlets in the main office where you check-in for your stay at the campground. There may also be a nature center, media room, or other communal space where you can charge your phone.
If your camping location doesn’t have these amenities, you can try to find an outlet in the bathroom or showering area.
Driving to another location such as a nearby café or store is also an option, but it can be time-consuming and inconvenient.
If there is no outlet in sight and you don’t want to drive to find a solution, asking a camping neighbour or two might be your best bet. You can even offer to pay them or offer them food or resources for the use of their electricity in exchange for allowing you access to it.
Campers and hikers are generally happy to help one another out because they would appreciate the support if they were in need of help themselves.
How Can I Save My Battery While Camping?
Turn Down the Screen Brightness
The screen is one of the biggest battery hogs on your phone, so turn it down as low as you can while still being able to see. The auto-brightness setting should be good enough for most situations too.
Don’t Run Apps in the Background
Unless you absolutely need them running, disable apps that constantly run either by manually shutting them down yourself, or using the task manager. This includes common apps like Facebook and Instagram, but also Bluetooth connectivity (for fitness trackers or speakers), GPS tracking (if not in use), and anything else you don’t need to keep open at all times.
Turn Off Vibrate / Mute Your Phone
If your phone is constantly buzzing when receiving notifications, you’re using up more battery. Turn it off or put it on silent to save power. This will also provide you with a bit more peace of mind and focus during your trip.
Use Your Phone Sparingly
If you don’t need your phone for a while, leave it in airplane mode and turn the screen off until needed again. This will not only consume less energy from your phone but also turn off any distractions or notifications that may tempt you to use your phone more than you should.
Turn Off WiFi
Unless you’re at campgrounds with WiFi, turn off your phone’s WiFi. This will also help conserve battery life when out of range of an access point or cell tower. Otherwise, your phone will be constantly searching for a WiFi signal, which slowly drains your battery.
Pay Attention to Your Phone Temperature
Your cell phone won’t do too well in extreme heat or extreme cold. If your phone is in cold weather, it will have to work harder to run, so the battery will drain much quicker.
If your phone is sitting out on a hot-weathered day or is directly in sunlight for extended periods of time, it will work harder to cool itself off, again using up more battery.
Try to keep your phone in the shade as much as possible as well as inside your tent to avoid being affected by the elements.
Turn Your Phone Off
If you’re not going to be using your phone for a few days or more, turn it off. This will save battery life until you need it again later on. Be careful not to turn it on and off again several times during the day, which can actually drain more energy than it saves.
Use Airplane Mode When Possible
Turning on airplane mode can help your battery last longer than usual and is an easy solution because it stops many phone functions without you needing to manually shut them down.
Purchasing a power bank or solar charger to charge your phone while camping is the best thing you can do for yourself, but there are plenty of other ways to keep your battery charged as well.
The charging method you use is less important than having a solid plan and even a backup for energy before you head on your trip.
Try not to use your phone excessively when on a camping trip. While it may be necessary for you to be on it at times, you shouldn’t be on it nearly as much as you are when you’re at home scrolling through the newsfeed or social media.
Keep these tips in mind when preparing for your next trip so that you don’t worry about how to stay connected with friends and family during your time in nature.
Looking for more handy tips for your next camping trip? Check out our in depth guides to keep you safe and comfortable.