Let’s face it, even the most hard-core campers sometimes need a little juice. From charging laptops and mobile devices to the occasional need for a power drill or even a margarita.
I often just use my car to charge my mobile devices if I am only out for a few days. But if you do want to check out some portable generators, here are a couple of recommendations.
I borrowed a friend’s Jackery portable power station last year and it worked beautifully. These units can be charged at home, via solar panel, or your car’s 12V battery. The entry level (167w) is around $129 and should provide enough power for a long weekend for a family for mobile devices and laptops. If you need to top it off, just run it off the car for a bit, or plug in to a generator or solar panel.
Mobile generators run from as low as $379 up to $1,000 or higher if you need a monster. I had a Honda 2200 for years (~$1,000). I remodeled my mountaintop cabin using this unit–it never failed to start on the first pull and ran quiet and delivered smooth power to all manner of power tools.
Similar to generators and battery systems, there are a number of companies now making very cost-effective and durable solar panels. We recommend if you go this route, either use the same manufacturer (Jackery for example) if you want to use solar panels to recharge mobile power station–this ensures all connections are compatible.