Solar Powered Camping: Is it Really Roughing It?

Taking the family out to the wilderness to experience nature has been a favored past-time for millions of people over the years. Moving from a method of survival to a form of entertainment, people have been gearing up to spend a few days within the unknown environment for generations. However, innovation and technology have somewhat skewed the outlook many people have of their own definitions of “camping.” As long as the experience is similar, who’s to say that any form of camping is wrong in comparison to others?

Solar power has become such an increasing attraction to people that more and more equipment is being developed for a wide range of purposes. While some of these items don’t necessarily classify as “roughing it” to some, it’s quite amazing what humans can build in order to make the experience more enjoyable to other groups of people.

Showers

When growing up, I remember that we needed to jump in the ice-cold river with a bar of soap if we wanted to be clean while up in the mountains. In today’s world, people can buy solar powered showers that can provide a brief supply of warm water for the same purpose. The Sun warms water that is stored in the bag that then comes out nice and warm.  Although they don’t provide the same amount of pressure that you may experience at home, they can still be far more enjoyable than diving into an icy river.

Cooking

Solar-Oven-on-the-Beach

Photo: Flickr/EBKauai

Growing up in my family, Dad always made sure that we had enough propane to operate the stove and lanterns for several days. However, solar ovens can cook the same food without the use of any fuel outside of sunlight. Even campfires can save on wood from cooking foods reducing your visits to the forest to gather limbs and branches. Essentially, these ovens are lined with a reflective foil that concentrate the sunlight on a specific point within the oven. These devices can get up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and higher depending on the size and model.

Lighting

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A great deal of propane can be consumed at night when illuminating the tent or camper. Even batteries can exhaust quickly when the use is extreme. Solar charging lanterns can save you money on both batteries and propane by storing a charge from the sunlight throughout the day. Some of these lanterns, like the Lighthouse 250, can last up to 48 hours of continuous use. Or check out our Light-A-Lifes that can run off our portable power packs for upwards of 10 hours. While some may view these devices as “too modern,” I would have to disagree. Technically, our fore-fathers didn’t have compressed propane to light lanterns. Wouldn’t that be too modern in comparison?

Radio/Phone

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Although many people prefer to truly “rough it” in the wild, there is something that still needs to be said about safety. Too often do campers and hikers become lost or stranded without means of communication. Having portabled solar powered methods, like the Goal Zero Nomad 7, to communicate doesn’t mean you’re any less of an outdoorsman – it means you are responsible enough to keep yourself and your family safe. Plus if you don’t Instagram that epic hike did it really happen?

While I don’t agree with crab legs and bacon wrapped sirloin being served at the campsite, using solar devices to improve specifics can be fun and provide a layer of safety. How often do propane fires start compared to a lantern with rechargeable batteries?

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @ gmail.com.

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