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What You Need To Know About Batteries And Camping

Are you planning to go camping and want to figure out what batteries you need? Camping is a great activity to explore new things and keep active at the same time. But, while getting physical and mental stimulation is great, it is even better if you can still use electricity to power essential devices. To do so, you will need to bring batteries with you to make them function.

If you are looking to bring your power supply on a camping trip, you must look into these factors:

  1. How much electricity is required
  2. Battery size
  3. Weight and size
  4. Number of people
  5. Budget 
  6. Durability
  7. Features 
  8. Number of power outlets
  9. Types of recharging methods
  10. Environment considerations
  11. Warranty

This article goes over all there is to know about batteries while camping. 

How To Get Electricity While Camping?

There are several ways to get electricity for all your devices while camping. Depending on your needs and how many people come with you, you could use one or more systems. 

Primary Sources Of Energy To Use While Camping

  • Solar power and batteries
  • Batteries and power banks
  • Gas Generators (and generators that use other energy sources)
  • Car batteries
  • Water and wind turbines

You can recharge your devices using natural or renewable energy, such as sunlight and wind, or power banks to store electricity when your appliances need charging. 

You could also use generators that work with gas or other energy sources, but you have to spend additional money each time you get the fuel or gas. 

Why Would You Require Electricity While Camping? 

Although camping is to spend time away from the chaos of the city and disconnect from technology to enjoy nature, it is still a good idea to have an energy source with you.

Reasons Why You Would Bring Batteries With You Camping

  • Security Reasons 

You would need to have the power to keep your mobile phone charged if you need to call for an emergency or power your GPS if you get lost.

  • Lights

It is better to have lights available to see the environment during the night. Although you can light a fire, it is still better to have a portable light to see what you are walking. 

  • Other Devices

If you need to read or perform tasks on your computer or tablet in your tent, it is advantageous to have power banks. 

  • Cook Food

If you want warm food or coffee, you could use electricity to power an ​​electric stove to cook or boil water. 

  • Refrigerators

Camping often happens during summer or warm weather. A portable fridge would be convenient.

  • Portable Heaters

If it gets too cold, you could use a heater to get warm.

What To Consider Before Getting A Battery For Camping? 

Before getting a battery capable of charging all of your devices while camping, you should consider all the possibilities and the primary features you need. Modern batteries have other features that make it easy to carry them around and different advantages. 

Essential Things To Look For In A Battery

The Amount Of Electricity Required

If you need to charge only small devices occasionally, it is unnecessary to have a high wattage battery. However, if you need a mini-fridge, heaters, lights, and bigger equipment, you need to have a bigger and more capable battery.

It would be best to consider how long you need to run the electric devices you will bring outdoor. For example, you could look up how much each device consumes and estimate which battery can best suit you or if you require more than one battery. 

Battery Size

The battery size required should be based on the energy consumption needed. A larger battery can give more amp hours and allow more charges. But remember that the larger the battery, the more space you need for it. 

In addition, a bigger battery is heavier. You can expect a 100 ah volt deep cycle battery to run a 100W appliance for 6 hours. To calculate which size of deep cycle battery you need, you have to calculate the watts or amps used by each device.

How To Calculate Electricity

Once you know the watts or amps used, you should estimate how long you run each appliance or device. For example, a mini-fridge requires 35 watts, and it runs for 10 hours. To calculate the watt-hours, you have to multiply the watts necessary for the hours of use. In this case:

35 × 10 = 350 Wh (watts per hour)

You should calculate each device or appliance to have the total daily consumption. Once you know that total consumption, you can determine the battery capacity and size you need. 

You can do this by dividing the watt-hour by the battery voltage and the ideal depth of discharge. For example, you could use the following formula: 

Wh / Battery voltage / depth of discharge (DOD) = battery capacity

Weight And Size

Larger batteries have more wattage but are heavier to move around and occupy more space. More extensive and heavier batteries are necessary for longer camping trips or when many people come. 

Number Of People Joining The Camping Trip

An essential factor is the number of people coming camping and how much each person is supposed to consume electricity. If you are going by yourself or going only with another person, you would not need as much as going with an entire family of 3 or 4 persons. 

Budget Available 

One of the critical factors to consider is the budget available to purchase a new battery. If you are on a tight budget, you must consider smaller batteries and figure out ways to consume less. 

But on a limited budget, you can also consider solar energy options since solar energy is renewable and some types of solar energy solutions are relatively cheap. 

Durability

Before choosing which battery to use for camping, you should also consider how long the product you want to buy will last. For example, selecting a high-quality battery can be more expensive if you are often camping. 

Still, you will economize over a more extended period since you often do not have to buy new batteries. 

You can determine if a battery will last longer if it is waterproof, dustproof, withstand temperature changes, and shock-resistant. In this way, you will have a product that can resist and work in different conditions and withstand even a few falls, thus determining a longer lifespan. 

Features Available

Another factor to consider is the presence of additional features. 

For example, how portable is the battery? How many ports or a socket plugin is there?

If you have to move the battery from the car to the camping site, it is better to select one with a lifting handle to make things easy. 

Number Of Power Outlets

The number of ports to charge your devices can be essential if running many things simultaneously. For example, some people might need to charge a phone, laptop, camera, or appliances simultaneously. 

It would be annoying to limit the possibilities and wait to recharge one or more devices. 

Types Of Recharging Methods

If you want to get a rechargeable battery pack, it is wise to consider the rechargeable options. You want to be able to recharge your battery often and have different options at your disposal. 

One of the recharging possibilities is wall charging. You can plug the batteries into the wall before the trip. You can also charge it into any other outlet during the travel. Another recharging method is through the car. 

Some batteries include a kit to recharge through a car outlet. Last but not least, you can restore the batteries through solar panels. Choose a battery that has a few recharge options. 

Environment Considerations

Getting an eco-friendly battery can help the environment, and it also means that the battery will use a renewable energy source. For example, a gas generator is not eco-friendly, while a battery that uses solar energy is more respectful of the environment. 

There are other eco-friendly energy sources, such as water and wind, although it might be difficult to find batteries that recharge using them as a source. 

Warranty

It is essential to check the type of warranty included with the battery you choose. Some products could have fabrication problems, and you want to be sure that you are covered for a few years before you run into potential problems. 

In general, it is possible to find batteries with one or two years’ warranties, and if something happens during this period, the battery can get replaced or repaired. 

However, it is essential to read the warranty specifications to determine what it covers since not all warranties will cover every issue you encounter. 

What Methods Can You Use To Get Power While Camping? 

When you go camping, you can use many different methods to recharge your devices, and often you can use more than one at the same time. 

Here are some of the possibilities you have to power your appliances and gadgets while camping:

Deep Cycle Battery

A deep cycle battery is a battery that helps to power many appliances, such as fridges, fans, and other devices. It can look like a typical car battery, but it is different as it provides power over a long period. You can also discharge up to 80% of its power.

“Deep-cycle” refers to the ability of the battery to discharge so much before requiring charging when compared to other batteries that let go of only a tiny percentage of their charge. 

For example, a starter battery discharges only 2% or a little more of its charge when providing a burst of energy to start an engine. 

A deep-cycle battery is composed of lead acid, but lithium batteries are also prevalent due to their higher efficiency, durability, and lighter weight. Although lithium batteries are more expensive, they last longer. 

Recharge Your Battery Through The Car Outlet 

Another method to recharge a camping battery is through the car outlet and the car battery. 

An alternator is required to charge the camping battery while driving. The right equipment must ensure that the battery is sufficiently charged (and not overcharged) without draining the car battery. 

You have to drive quite a while to recharge a deep cycle battery for camping purposes, so it can’t be the only way you have at your disposal, especially if you are camping for a long time. 

Solar Panels

Solar panels are compatible with solar batteries or power banks. Depending on the solar panels you are using, you can recharge the battery each time there is sun while camping or driving. 

If you are camping, you could put the panels in the sun to charge the battery during the day, which you can use at night. On the other hand, day hikers may need to find a place to charge them at night to avoid carrying solar panels.

In some cases, it is possible to use solar energy to power some devices directly without using a battery in between, but you have to be cautious and use the right equipment. 

Use A Power Outlet

You can find a power outlet while traveling or in camping communities equipped with it. Although if you are going off the grid, you can only use a power outlet during the trip or before leaving. 

Tips to save battery life when you are camping

While you can invest in powerful batteries and figure out a way to harvest the sun while camping, it is still possible to use good sense and methods to preserve the battery life of all of your devices. 

Simple Things To Do To Save Battery Life

Use “Airplane Mode” When There Is No Signal

When the signal is weak, goes on and off, or there is no signal, the mobile phone will continue to look for a signal, draining the battery unnecessarily. If you need to keep your phone turned on, maybe to take pictures or videos, you could use the “air plain mode.”

It will prevent the phone from constantly looking for a signal. 

Dim The Screen

Deeming the phone, laptop, or tablet screen can help you preserve energy. 

Turn Off Your Devices And Appliances

Turning off all the devices and appliances, even for one or two hours, can help you save energy. 

Putting the devices only on sleep mode is not as good as turning them off, especially if you are in a situation where you don’t have access to electricity so often. 

Don’t Overcharge The Deep Cycle Batteries.

Overcharging reduces the efficiency of the batteries and overheats them. When that happens, or it happens too often, it wears the batteries out. 

Put Your Devices In Power-Saving Mode

If your devices have a power-saving mode, use it to prevent background updates and the use of unnecessary energy.

Disable Notifications

If you have notifications enabled on your laptop, phone, or any other smart device, disable them to prevent the battery from using energy. 

Disable Automatic Settings From Your Devices

If you have appliances with a digital system, do not set them to turn on automatically or do a task at a specific time. If you forget about it, you will consume an extra battery.

Keep Devices Out Of Direct Sunlight

Hot temperatures or direct sunlight can damage the battery of your phone and other devices. It is also dangerous because it can create accidental fire hazards.  

Close All Unnecessary Apps And Tabs

If you are using a phone, tablet, or computer, close the apps you do not use, and work only with the apps and programs you need. For example, additional tabs on a laptop consume significant energy, even if you are not running anything. 

Frequently asked questions

How Long Will A 12V Battery Run In A Fridge?

You can expect a 12V battery (50ah) to run a fridge for 35 to 50 hours. In addition, you have to consider that you would need a 104 Ah battery (lead-acid) to run a top-loading fridge for two days or a 52 Ah battery (lithium) to run a refrigerator for two days. Remember that you should not drain a battery.

Why Are Batteries Essential For Camping?

Batteries are essential for camping to power essential devices and appliances such as phones, lights, fans, TVs, cooking appliances, etc. For example, having the possibility to power a phone can be vital in an emergency or the need to use the GPS to figure out the correct location. 

How Long Will A 12V Battery Last?

A 12V battery can last up to 6 years. You can expect the battery to lose efficiency after 4 to 5 years. Poor maintenance, high temperature, overcharging, and poor battery quality can significantly reduce the battery lifespan. 

Sources

  1. YouTube, “Camping Electrical & Off-Grid 12v Power Explained”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R59GqaOzRGk, accessed June 1, 2022
  2. BattleBornBatteries, “Your Guide to Free Camping with Lithium Batteries”, https://battlebornbatteries.com/guide-to-free-camping/, accessed June 1, 2022
  3. Science Direct, “Aging of lithium-ion batteries”, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378775303009388, accessed June 1, 2022
  4. Recapturenature, “How to Get Electricity While Camping”, https://recapturenature.com/how-to-get-electricity-while-camping-0053/, accessed June 1, 2022
  5. Electro Everything, “ How long will a 12V battery last?”, https://electroeverything.com/how-long-will-a-12v-battery-last/, accessed June 1, 2022
  6. Rei, “How to choose batteries”, https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/batteries.html, accessed June 1, 2022

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