You’re out in the middle of nowhere and your smartphone battery is about to die.
Although a camping trip is the perfect time to go offline and forget about your technological devices, it’s sometimes unrealistic. So, when your smartphone screen goes dark, it’s natural to panic.
How long does a smartphone battery generally last?
On average, a phone should last for between five to seven hours between charges, but of course the more you use your phone the faster its battery will drain.
That doesn’t mean you have to be stuck out in the wilderness without being able to get in touch with your loved ones back home. You might not have your trusty smartphone charger, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to charge your phone.
Here’s How To Charge Your Phone While Camping
Portable Power Bank
If you’re going on a short camping trip, such as one that lasts two or three days, you could get by with the use of a portable power bank.
These are ideal for camping because they’re built to be small and compact so you can fit them into a tent pocket or your backpack. Most of them are also designed to charge most devices so you don’t have to worry about them not being compatible with your phone.
Best power bank: Anker Portable Charger PowerCore 20100mAh is extremely portable because it only weighs the equivalent of a soup can, but it’s powerful enough to charge the iPhone 8 up to seven times and the Galaxy S8 five times, so it’s perfect for a few days of camping.
Portable Solar Panels
For longer camping trips, you might want to make use of the sun’s rays. Portable solar panels can help to keep your smartphone up and running, but they only work well when the weather’s good.
If you want to ensure that your phone will be able to get charged with the use of portable solar panels, you’ll need approximately three panels that will charge your phone within a few hours.
Best portable solar panel: Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar Panel that’s foldable to save space while offering you the chance to charge various devices at the same time via USB. You can even charge your digital cameras.
Hand-Crank Phone Chargers
When you read that heading you might have wondered if a hand-crank charger could really work to charge your smartphone, but this type of device can be useful.
Generally, though, hand-crank phone chargers do require quite a bit of effort on your part so be prepared to put in elbow grease! These chargers require physical cranking to produce an electrical charge.
It will take approximately 10 minutes of cranking to make one call on your phone. Yikes. While they’re a good back-up charging solution, you might want to consider other ways to charge your phone.
Best hand-crank phone charger: RunningSnail Emergency Hand Crank Power Bank for iPhone/Smart Phone.
- Capacity of 1000 mAh
- With AM/FM & NOAA weather radio
- LED flashlight
It gives you the chance to recharge your devices in three different ways: manual cranking, micro USB, or solar charging, which makes it much more user-friendly than a traditional hand-crank – and it means you won’t have to work up such a sweat just to be able to use your phone.
Of course, you always have the option of using your trusty generator to power up your smartphone and other devices. Since it’s obviously more powerful than the short-term options we’ve listed in this guide, it can help you to charge your devices if you’re camping for longer periods of time.
A lithium-battery generator is a good choice like the Jackery Portable Solar Generator, but you could also use a generator that’s powered by gas, although that will be bad for the environment and make a lot of noise. It’s worth bearing in mind that some campgrounds have rules that won’t allow the use of generators because of the noise they make, while others will restrict their use, such as only state generators can only be used in certain areas of the campground.
You can also find thermoelectric generators that enable you to convert heat into electricity that you can then use to charge your phone. For example, some come with a cooking pot that you can use on any heat source and while it cooks it generates enough electricity for you to power up your phone, helping you to multitask and get more tasks done.
You can also make your own DIY thermoelectric generator. This YouTube tutorial shows you how to produce a heat source that enables you to power up your phone. It’s designed with a tray in which you can boil water.
Tips For Saving Battery Life While Camping
While having a non-electrical solution for the problem of a dead smartphone battery in the outdoors is recommended, especially if you are dry camping which basically means no electrical hookups in the campground where you’re staying, there are some general tips you can take to save your smartphone’s battery life.
- Update your phone before you go on your trip by having the most up-to-date operating system on your phone, this will ensure that you’ll have new features that can save your phone’s battery life so it’s worth updating your phone to prevent your battery from running out too quickly.
- Switch to airplane mode. If there’s no signal during a hike you’re on, it’s not worth keeping your phone on normal mode as it can be using up battery life by trying to get a network signal. It’s a good idea to make use of airplane mode until there’s a better signal available.
- Make use of low-power mode. This is a fantastic mode that you should use more often because it decreases the brightness of your screen, makes your phone work better, and it also prevents those annoying apps from downloading content and running in the background. These all contribute to your battery running out much faster.
- Turn off your phone’s location. Now, you might find it really convenient for your phone to be able to tell where you are, but this can drain your battery because its in-built GPS function will be constantly searching for your location. If you’re worried about getting lost in the outdoors, it’s better to use a different GPS device or make sure you pack a trusty compass. This is also more practical because if your smartphone is out of action it could leave you stranded.
- Limit your notifications. The last thing you need is to be disturbed by your phone beeping with new notifications every five minutes. You’re supposed to be enjoying your camping trip, after all. Those constant notifications can also suck your phone’s battery, so make sure you turn app notifications off before you head outdoors.
- Avoid extreme temperatures. When the weather’s really cold or hot, this will affect how your smartphone battery performs. These phones are built to perform at their best at room temperature, so you want to prevent extreme temperatures in the outdoors from affecting them. In cold-weather season, try to sleep with your phone in your winter sleeping bag or stash it in a warm pocket during the day. In the summer, take the phone out of its case to allow heat to escape and try to minimize how many apps are running on your phone as this can cause it to become even hotter.
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You might not have a power outlet at your campsite but that doesn’t mean your smartphone has to remain dead for the duration of your camping trip.
There are many ways in which you can successfully power up your phone no matter where you are.
Can you use your car battery to charge your phone?
When camping close to your car you can charge your phone by using the car’s battery.
That’s because cars usually have multiple ports to allow you to charge more than one device. This is a useful hack if you have no other charging method available to you.
Does Wi-Fi use less battery power than 4G?
Wi-Fi uses up to 40 percent less energy from your phone than 4G does, so if you’re switching on your phone to do a quick internet search it really pays to use Wi-Fi if you can.