Best Solar Power Sources for Preppers, Disaster Planning and Camping

Alternative power sources are an essential part of any doomsday prepper’s inventory and very useful when the power grid is down. Solar powered gadgets offer better portability and help prepare for emergency situations. While such gadgets might not be the least expensive option due to extra circuitry and solar cells, they are lightweight, highly portable and most importantly work on renewable energy. Something with its own power source is a must for doomsday preppers who are looking for a reliable source for long-term survival.

Should You Really Be Worried About the Power Grid Going Down?

Most people are not much concerned about failing power grids, but history tells us things don’t always remain the same. Threats such as natural disasters and terrorism can strike any time and power grids are one of the first things to go down in such situations. Looking for a self-reliant power source after the power grid goes down might not be possible so you’d probably want to prepare in advance for emergency situations.

That’s not the only situation when you’d need an alternative power source as hikers, campers and RV enthusiasts also have similar requirements for their survival in the wild. Those smart enough to prepare for emergency situations know how important it is to have an alternative power source, which in some situations can even mean the difference between life and death.

Everyday Use

Not only solar energy as an alternative power source can help you survive in emergency situations, but they also work great for everyday use. Whether you are at home or camping in the wild, solar-powered devices can be very useful, providing you with a self-reliant source of energy. This post primarily focuses on solar energy as an alternative power source for preppers and campers and isn’t really about home solar power systems.

Let’s jump straight to some of the best solar powered products you should consider adding into your prepping and disaster planning resources.

Where to Buy
d - light S3 Solar Rechargeable Portable LED Lantern
RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio
Instapark Mercury27 Battery Charger
Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Starter Kit
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station Kit

1. d - light S3 Solar Rechargeable Portable LED Lantern

A portable lantern is a must-have item for doomsday preppers and also useful during a power outage and camping. What makes the S3 solar rechargeable lantern a great option is its price and surprisingly bright light. It can charge even on cloudy days and is rated to last up to 12 hours on a full charge (real-world runtime may vary). The metal handle is adjustable and makes it easier to place the portable lantern almost anywhere you like (you can even hang it on a wall or hook).

Although it is not fully water-proof, it does feature a rugged design that provides protection against weather and dust to some extent. There is no maintenance involved and the rechargeable batteries should last a good amount of time. It can also be used as a camping or everyday use light as it weighs only 0.33 lb. and fits nicely into a travel bag.

Key features and specs

  • 450mAh rechargeable battery

  • Up to 12 hours backup on a full charge

  • Charges in indirect sunlight

  • Adjustable metal handle

  • Lightweight and portable

  • 6-8 hours charging time

  • Semi-rugged design and construction

  • Maintenance free

2. RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio

Solar Crank NOAA is much more than a weather radio as it also features a flashlight, reading lamp, and a power bank, saving preppers and campers from having to carry extra weight. It’s more like prepper’s Swiss Army Knife made using high-quality materials for multiple purposes. It’s a solid package that includes the most important things you need for recovery, including communications, emergency power, and light.

An affordable price tag makes this multi-purpose device a must have for everyone. The compact and lightweight design makes it a perfect choice for campers and adventurers, while IPX3 water resistance allows you to keep using the radio in rainy conditions (cannot be submerged into water, just able to survive light showers on the top). The bright LED flashlight comes with an adjustable beam focus and can also be used for sending SOS signals. The 2000mAh battery is good enough 12-hour continuous usage (LED flashlight) or 4-6 hours listening to the radio.

You can even charge your cell phones, but considering the average smartphone battery size of 3000mAh, you’d want to save the juice for lighting and communication. In addition to solar energy, the battery can also be charged using hand crank so you can juice it up in the dark. AAA battery backup provides an extra source of energy in case nothing else is working for you.

Key features and specs

  • AM/FM & NOAA weather alerts

  • 1W LED flashlight

  • Table lamp

  • SOS alert with red flashing light focused beam

  • Hand crank self-charging

  • 2000 mAh battery

  • Up to 12 hours of light and 4-6 hours or radio on a full charge

  • Solar and MicroUSB charging

  • 3 AAA batteries backup

  • USB port for charging smartphones

3. Instapark Mercury27 Battery Charger

Mercury27 provides a reliable way of charging and running important electronics, including lights, power tools, lamps, and fans. You also don’t need an additional battery to charge external devices, making this portable and compact charger a great option for preppers. In addition to the 12V DC output, you also get dual USB-ports for charging smartphones and other devices that use 5V.

The charger is compatible with a variety of battery packs, including Instapark Mars2OS, Wagan Power Dome and PowerPack Series (an additional adapter is not needed). The panels fold up nicely into a highly portable and compact pack that weighs under 3 lbs and can charge a Powerpack 600 from 50 to 100 percent in around 10 hours. The panel is made using weather and scratch resistant fabric, which makes it a good choice if you are planning to use it outdoors.

Key features and specs

  • One 12V and two 5V outputs

  • No additional battery needed for charging

  • Four Mono-crystalline high-efficiency panels (foldable)

  • Weather and scratch resistant fabric

  • Pocket holds for protecting the charge controller

  • Max 27W output

4. Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Starter Kit

The solar-powered oven is lightweight, portable and works great for preppers and campers. It allows baking things like cakes, potatoes, and even whole chickens and streaks. You can also use it to boil water and prepare bulk supplies of dried rice and beans. The biggest advantage of this solar oven for preppers is that it does not give off any smoke or fire (so they don’t get spotted), while they can keep doing other things instead of sitting there and tending a fire.

It only takes a few seconds to set up the oven, which is easy to use as there is no assembly required. The kit includes a solar oven thermometer, baking tray, dehydrating rack and a carrying back. Covered cookware is recommended for optimal use of the oven. Weighing only 1lb, 2oz the oven is highly portable and a perfect solution for campers who don’t want to add extra load.

Key features and specs

  • Very lightweight and portable (1lb)

  • No smoke and fire

  • Up to 285 F temperature

  • Water pasteurization indicator

  • Collapsible black cookware

5. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station Kit

The portable kit comes with Boulder 50 solar panel and makes life livable when you are off the power grid or camping in the wild. It also works well at home during temporary power outages and saves you from the loud noise and fumes of fuel-powered generators. The kit includes a portable power station and Boulder 50 Solar panel with kickstand and 8mm cord.

The 396Wh lead acid battery can power 7 devices simultaneously @12V/33Ah and provides a variety of output options, including AC, 12V/120W and USB ports (2.1A). Recharging it is pretty straight forward, which can be done using the AC power or a 12V source. The solar panel is built using an aluminum frame and tempered glass, while the built-in kickstand makes it easier to place the panel at just the right angle. The power station can also be chained with other 33Ah lead-acid batteries and Yeti 400s for longer runtime.

Key features and specs

  • No fumes and noise

  • 400-watt output, 33Ah

  • Chainable with other Yet 400s and lead-acid batteries

  • Rechargeable via AC outlet and 12V source

  • Two USB ports, one 12V outlet, and AC outlet

  • Continuous 300/600W pure sine wave inverter

  • LCD display, power consumption, and estimated runtime

  • Real-time input and output calculator