Whether you’re out backpacking for an extended period of time or you want never-ending electricity at your fingertips for a fallout shelter, taking advantage of solar power is always a smart decision. There are dozens of options to choose from, but not all of them are worth your hard-earned money. So, what’s the best portable solar charger for survival and emergency situations?
The RunningSnail Emergency NOAA Crank Solar Powered Radio is as good as it gets. You can charge it with the sun or by cranking the lever by hand. Either way, you’ll have access to radio signals, battery chargers, and a flashlight.
Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following info:
- Which portable solar charge you should use
- What to look for before you pick one out
- How you can get the most life out of your solar charger
The Best Portable Solar Charger
Getting stuck in a survival scenario can be scary, especially if you don’t have access to electricity. Being able to call for help, charge your devices, use a built-in flashlight, and listen to radio signals is essential. Fortunately, all of those features and more can be found in my favorite Solar Crank Radio.
This radio comes with a solar panel on the back to charge a 4000 mAh battery. That’s more than enough to charge cellphones and tablets to access the internet or call local emergency services to come to rescue you whether in your car, on a boat, or at home. Even if you’re not in danger, being able to maintain your devices is always a great convenience.
If the sun’s not out and you still need power, there’s a hidden hand-crank lever on the back of the radio. You can turn it over and over to start charging the battery without any sunlight required. Double the charge time by cranking it in the sun, or rotate shifts with friends and family to keep it operating at all times.
Perhaps the most useful feature in the dark would be the built-in flashlight that’s as bright as you’ll find anywhere. It doesn’t consume too much of the battery, but you can keep an eye on the LCD display to watch the remaining percentage so you don’t overuse it. The screen also shows the radio station, volume, and more.
According to Charger Harbor, the battery bank on this solar panel radio is more than enough for emergencies and survival situations. It’s nice for peace of mind and convenience, but being able to actually use it when you’re lost or in trouble can’t be overstated. Pair it up with the AUX port and the USB charging port, and you’ll see why hundreds of customers rely on this product.
This compact solar charger is only about 8 x 3.5 x 3 inches, making it perfect for backpacking and prepper kits. It’s also super lightweight at around a pound, which is significantly lower than other products of the same caliber that weigh up to 5 pounds. All in all, this portable solar charger takes the cake in every category.
- Includes a solar panel as well as a hand-crank lever
- Uses a 4000 mAh battery bank
- Comes with multiple weather stations, emergency alerts, and AM/FM radio
- Compact, lightweight design for a variety of situations
Related Long-Term Camping Gear List | 14 Must-Have Items.
What to Look For
When you’re picking out survival gear, you can probably assume that it needs to be the best. There’s no use in settling for second or third place if you’re talking about saving your own life or that of your family. With all of the choices on the market, it can be hard to pick one over the other.
However, there are five key traits to consider prior to purchasing a portable solar charger. Let’s check them all out below to bring you one step closer to your new life-saving device:
- Check out all of the extra features. Having a solar panel and a battery bank with a charging port is essential, but the additional features are more than noteworthy. Look for flashlights, additional charging ports and methods, radio stations, and other useful tools.
- How big is the battery bank? Some portable solar chargers come with huge panels, but there’s no point to them if it doesn’t come with a good-sized battery bank. The amount of storage at your disposal is much more important than the size of the panel. It’s like having a good income without a bank or wallet to store it in!
- Review the dimensions and weight. If you’re in a survival situation, you shouldn’t have to worry about being weighed down by a clunky, bulky solar charger. The panel mentioned in this post is lightweight, so try not to buy one that weighs more than a couple of pounds. It also shouldn’t be too large, or you won’t have room for other gear.
- How many panels are there? Solar panels are made with solar cells that cover the surface to absorb the sun’s rays. The current pulled in is then converted to usable electricity. If you have a tiny panel, you won’t be able to convert much energy at all. On the other hand, a large panel will be excellent to get quick access to electricity.
- What can it charge? Some portable solar chargers don’t have USB-C ports, while others don’t have AUX jacks to listen to the radio. Before you spend your money, figure out what kind of devices can be hooked up and used with the charger. Nothing’s worse than having power that you can’t use.
A Solid Alternative
My favorite survival supply store is My Patriot Supply. One of the items that they offer is a hand crank/solar radio. I really like this model as well and it’s a great option if you want to support a smaller American company that has a great reputation.
How to Maintain Your Solar Charger
A top-quality solar charger doesn’t do you any good if it stops working. The great thing about solar power is that it continues to work as long as two factors remain consistent:
- The sun stays in the sky (highly unlikely that this changes)
- The solar panel is cleaned and maintained properly
Unlike other electrical devices, there’s no expiration date for solar power. If you’re able to wash them and prevent scratches, then you’ll continue to get fantastic results throughout your life.
Below, you’ll find a list of different ways that you can maintain your solar charger:
- Wash the panels off with water and light soap monthly. If you’re using a small portable charger, then a soft cloth will do just fine. Make sure you don’t let dust or debris build-up on the panels, or they won’t absorb as much sun as they’re supposed to.
- Ensure that the connections are all intact. This process isn’t as easy with a compact charger, but if you’re able to access the internals of the radio, then open it up and check the connections once a year.
- Remember that too much heat can ruin all electronics, including solar panels. They’re designed for direct sunlight, but never let them sit too close to a fire or on the dashboard of a hot vehicle.
When you’re picking out a new solar charger for survival and/or emergencies, the RunningSnail Solar Crank Radio is the best one to buy. It has all of the features to keep you as well as your family and friends safe when you need it the most.
Having access to the sun is all you need to power your charger. Even if it’s night time, you can use the hand-crank system to bring in electricity. The battery bank keeps your power ready to go to charge all of your devices, the radio, weather stations, and a flashlight. Enjoy the convenience and utilization of crucial tools from this survival kit must-have.
Helpful Products List
For your convenience, I listed the products mentioned in this article as well as some recommended related items that you might find useful while building your emergency kit.
- Solar Hand Crank Radio- Amazon
- Solar Hand Crank Radio- My Patriot Supply
- Solar Charger
- Multi-Purpose LED Flashlight
Are you fully prepared?
And if you are in the market for long-term survival food with a shelf-life of 25 years or more, My Patriot Supply is the best option out there in my humble opinion. Letting them do the work is practically cheaper than doing it DIY.
Hey, I’m Jim, and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up, I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!