How To Find The Best Solar-Powered Tent Heaters

best solar-powered tent heaters

When camping we are often removed from all the home comforts we are accustomed and used to, with one of the largest being able to quickly and effectively warm up when cold.

Fortunately however, tent heaters do a very good job of supplementing this comfort, and often make camping in colder conditions far more bearable than initially perceived.

Tent heaters come in many shapes and sizes, and in this article we want to focus on and discuss solar powered heaters in particular.

FAQ’s

Do solar powered tent heaters exist?

Tent heaters that are directly powered via solar panels unfortunately do not currently exist. However, a tried and trusted work around to this is to use a solar panel to charge and maintain a portable power supply unit, which can then be used to power an electric heater.

Can a solar panel power a heater?

A solar panel can supply power to a heater but it depends on several factors. The power rating of your heater will dictate the solar panel that you need.  For example, most tent heaters have a 1500W wattage, and a 1,500W rated solar panel would work perfectly with it.

What is a portable power supply?

This is a device that lets you make, store and use your own power, without being a part of and connecting the national power grid. It also gives you the privilege of recharging your devices and powering some of your appliances, whilst being fully mobile.

A portable power supply lets you enjoy all the fun that camping has to offer while enjoying some of the benefits of electricity.

Portable power supply benefits

Convenience – Portable power offers a handy solution for keeping your devices charged and running, especially when there are no alternative power sources, like in most camping situations.

This device comes in handy in emergencies – In the event that there is an urgent need to charge your phone, for example, you can use one of these devices to get you back online. Also, it would serve as a great back-up power source in case there is a black-out on your campsite.

Portability – As its name suggests, you won’t have to carry heavy equipment with you, as is the case with most generators.

You can work anywhere –  A portable power supply provides you with the opportunity to take your work anywhere.

Added comfort – This device grants you some of the privileges you would get at home, but a tent in the wild would not provide.

Some devices are designed to jump-start dead car batteries – With one of these, you wouldn’t need to stress over the thought of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Best Solar-Powered Tent Heaters

What to consider before buying a portable power supply

Type of device – The type of device you intend to power and recharge with the power supply unit, for example, a heater or a portable air conditioner.

Power output – This will be guided by the amount of power that you need. This amount is measured in mAh (milliamp hours).  

Type of camping – This factor also dictates the size of the supply that you will choose. Backpackers will need a small and portable power supply, while more location based types of camping will have fewer weight and size limits.

Frequency of camping – How often you go camping will help you determine how much you need to invest in a portable power supply.

Camping location – Where you camp will also affect the device you need, mainly due to how your unit will be recharged. If for example your campsite is off-grid with little to no available electricity, then you be will solely reliant on solar power.

How to choose the best portable power supply for camping.

How it is recharged – Some power supplies can only be recharged using an AV outlet, where others support the use of a carport (also called a cigarette lighter), wind power and a solar panel.

If you will be camping out for extended periods of time, and to cover all the bases, you may also require a unit that can be recharged via solar energy. However you must ensure that the solar panel has the right voltage and wattage.

Battery storage – Consider whether your power supply has the ability to actually store power as well as recharging other devices (some don’t). The unit should have an inbuilt battery, which will ensure you have a steady power supply.

Capacity – This is the number of electronics that you intend to power with your unit. A higher-capacity power supply unit will power more devices, and for longer, giving you even more efficiency.

Size and weight – As a camper, you already have a lot of essentials to take with you, and a large, heavy unit weighing you down should be the least of your concerns.

You should therefore also ensure that the size of the device measures well with everything else, such as your tent.

Automatic shut-off – Some devices can automatically turn off if they are being drawn under say, 10W power after a certain amount of time. This feature is excellent for power saving.

Durability – You should be able to get the most service out of the device that you buy.  You can do this by ensuring that the unit is made of quality long-lasting materials, helping to ensure that it can be used repeatedly and for longer periods of time.

The number of users – Having more users means that there might be more devices that will need to be powered, and this should be put into consideration.

Age of users – If you are camping with children, you should choose a power supply that is safe for them to use.

Emergency back-up – Some portable power supplies can power a car, and this might come in handy.


Recommended products

There are a lot of solar-powered heaters and portable power supplies on the market. Considering the features listed in the previous sections, this review analyzed 2 portable power supply units and 3 solar panels to help you choose the best one to suit your needs.

01 – Jackery Explorer 240 Portable Power Station

Product Dimensions – 5.2×9.1×7.7 inches | Weight – 105.6 ounces | Wattage – 200W| Voltage – 110V| Capacity – 240 Watt Hours| Outlets – 3- prong/ USB-A ports/ DC car port |  Fuel Shut-off – Yes

Sale
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup...
  • BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: The Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station has been featured as the "Best Portable Power Station for use in the outdoors" by Digital Trends. A classic choice for your pick.
  • EASY TO CARRY: This entry-level portable power station is equipped with a 240Wh lithium-ion battery pack, weighing only at 6.6 pounds. The solid handle makes it easy to carry around for outdoor adventures such as Tent Camping, Road Trip, Backyard Camping, etc.
  • VERSATILE POWER SOURCE: 1* Pure Sine Wave AC outlet (110V 200W 400W Peak), 2* USB-A ports (5V, 2.4A), and 1* 12V DC car port to charge your road trip essentials such as smartphones, laptops, cameras, fans, lights and so on. Pass-through charging is supported.
  • GREEN POWER SUPPLY: The power station can be recharged by the Jackery SolarSaga 60 solar panel or SolarSaga 100 solar panel. Its built-in MPPT controller enables the solar panel to operate at its max power point for the power station to be recharged at its highest efficiency. TWO alternative ways to recharge: through the wall outlet or the car outlet.

This power supply unit would be the perfect camping companion, due to its portable size and weight. It also has a sturdy handle grip that makes it easy to carry around. 

It is equipped with a 240 Watt-hour premium lithium-ion battery pack, which greatly helps to boost its efficiency. However, you will need 28 Li-ion batteries to power the device. The station can supply 3-4 full laptop charges, 11 camera charges or 2-4 drone charges.

There is also an LCD screen that reports on power use, charge and discharge status.

This device can be recharged fully using solar power (within 10 hours in full sunlight), from a carport (within 7 hours, whether on or off the road), or from an AC wall outlet, also in 7 hours.

The power supply unit is compatible with the below Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar Panel for Explorer.

Pros

– Its light-weight, which makes it very portable.

– It is completely quiet.

– No fumes are generated in its use.

– All ports are located on one side of the device.

Cons

– The device is not water-resistant.


02 – Honda By Jackery HL 290 Portable Power Station

Product Dimensions – 5.2×9.1×7.7 inches | Weight – 105.6 ounces | Wattage – 200W| Voltage – 110V| Capacity – 292 Watt Hours| Outlets – 3- prong/ 2 USB-A ports/ DC car port |  Fuel Shut-off – No

Sale
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup...
  • BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: The Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station has been featured as the "Best Portable Power Station for use in the outdoors" by Digital Trends. A classic choice for your pick.
  • EASY TO CARRY: This entry-level portable power station is equipped with a 240Wh lithium-ion battery pack, weighing only at 6.6 pounds. The solid handle makes it easy to carry around for outdoor adventures such as Tent Camping, Road Trip, Backyard Camping, etc.
  • VERSATILE POWER SOURCE: 1* Pure Sine Wave AC outlet (110V 200W 400W Peak), 2* USB-A ports (5V, 2.4A), and 1* 12V DC car port to charge your road trip essentials such as smartphones, laptops, cameras, fans, lights and so on. Pass-through charging is supported.
  • GREEN POWER SUPPLY: The power station can be recharged by the Jackery SolarSaga 60 solar panel or SolarSaga 100 solar panel. Its built-in MPPT controller enables the solar panel to operate at its max power point for the power station to be recharged at its highest efficiency. TWO alternative ways to recharge: through the wall outlet or the car outlet.

Honda, a brand more well known for its vehicles, teamed up with Jackery to bring you this device.

Its strong handle, combined with its small and lightweight size, makes highly portable.

It has a 292 Watt-hour Lithium-ion battery, which is rated at 500 cycles to 80%, providing enough electricity to power a car fridge for 5 hours, an LED light for 40 Hours, or a 32-inch TV for 3 hours.

The LCD display also makes it easy to monitor the status of your power supply. The station also comes with an internal cooling fan that prevents it from overheating.

It can be recharged using a solar panel (10 hours under the full sun), from a carport, from an AC wall outlet, or a generator. The three would take 7-8 hours to fully recharge the power supply.

This power supply would also work optimally with the below Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar Panel.

Pros

– Its high capacity makes it more efficient, as it can power more devices.

– The cooling fan produces a low but noticeable sound.

– The device has an over-voltage and short circuit protection feature and this protects your devices.

Cons

– It is not water-resistant, and cannot be used or stored in rainy or moist areas. The manufacturer also warns against using it in direct sunlight. This makes it difficult to use especially in an outdoor setting like camping.  

– The power supply does not have an emergency car jump-start feature, considering it is a Honda- licensed product.

– There is also no warning indicator for low power- the device just suddenly shuts off.


Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar Panel for Explorer

Product Dimensions – 17.4×12.4×2 inches (when folded)| Weight – 87.04 ounces | Peak power – 60W| Cell efficiency – 23% | Power voltage – 18 volts | Operating temperature range- -10°C ~65°C | Fuel Shut-off – No

Sale
Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar Panel for Explorer 160/240/500...
  • EASY TO CARRY & KICKSTAND INCLUDED: Weighing at only 6.6 lb, this solar panel is foldable and handy with a TPE rubber handle. The kickstand leans on an angle that makes the solar panel to easily soak energy from the sunlight.
  • HIGHER CONVERSION EFFICIENCY: The monocrystalline silicon solar cells provide conversion efficiency of 23%, higher than other conventional panels, allowing your Explorer 160/240 power station(sold separately) to be charged in 4.5hrs/6.5hrs. Ideal for RV camping, off-grid road trip and unexpected power outages.
  • DURABLE & SPLASH-PROOF: The ETFE-laminated case is durable enough to extend the lifespan of the solar panel. It is IP65 water-resistant that will protect from water splashing (Do not place it under the rain, or to soak in water). The zippers on the pocket can hold the power cords, and cover the power port.
  • COMPATIBLE WITH JACKERY EXPLORERS: It takes 4.5hrs and 6.5hrs to charge Jackery Explorer 160 and Explorer 240 with Solar Saga 60. This portable solar panel is also equipped with 1* USB-C and 1* USB-A port that allows you to charge up to 2 devices at once.

The Jackery SolarSaga panel is a fantastic product, although you have to ensure your power supply device is compatible with it. The panel is good for travelers as it has a tri-fold design and a soft rubber handle that makes it even easier to carry inside a backpack, which might not be necessary since it comes with a pouch.

The panel is made from durable cloth, zipper and PET material, which is high temperature resistant, providing added product longevity. It has a small status display panel that lets you optimize the power input as you adjust the position of your panel. 

The solar panel also comes with a standard solar charging plug, which makes it compatible with other portable power stations and battery packs. However, this panel works most effectively with the two power supply units in the previous sections, and it can recharge them fully in 7-8 hours under full sunlight.

The panel has an open circuit voltage of 21.6V and a short circuit voltage of 3.63A. 

Pros

– The rubber handle increases portability and the pouch also builds on its carrying convenience. Its small and foldable device makes it easy to fit in small spaces.

– It is made of durable heat resistant material.

– The panel boasts of high efficiency. It can convert 23% of the solar energy it receives to electricity.

Cons 

-The panel does not have built-in USB ports, which would make it more efficient.

– The panel lacks an automatic fuel shutoff system.

– The panel is not waterproof. Although a little water would not damage the device, it is not advisable to leave it out in the rain.


03 – SUAOKI Portable Power Station

Product Dimensions – 7.3×4.3×4.7 inches | Weight – 46.4 ounces | Wattage – 100W| Voltage – 110V| Capacity – 150 Watt Hours| Outlets – 4 DC outputs/ 2 AC outlets/ 1 QC 3.0 USB-C port/ 3 USB-A ports | Fuel Shut-off – yes

No products found.

This device has two sturdy and hideable handles, meaning you can carry it alone or hold it with someone else. Although at 150 watt-hours it would not be fit for home use, this capacity is perfect for camping and road trips.

An attractive feature of this power supply unit is the high number of ports it has. Here is a description of the output ports.

  • It has 2 AC outlets with a 100W total power limit, one 2-prong outlet and one 3-prong one that are suitable for powering small appliances like tent heaters and small fans.
  • 4 DC output ports. These are good for powering devices like an air mattress pump and a tire compressor.
  • 4 USB ports. Out of these, 3 are the standard 10.5W ports and the other is an 18W fast charging port.

The manufacturer also provided multiple recharging options. You have the option of using an AC wall outlet, your car’s cigarette lighter (carport), or using a solar panel. The unit also comes with the connecting cables you might need.

This product has a 40500mAh battery which comes with an integrated battery management system. This system provides voltage and temperature control together with other safety features that protect your connected devices. There are 5 LED lights that show the battery life status.

This power supply unit is compatible with the below SUAOKI 60W solar panel.

Pros

– This unit has a total of 10 output ports, which would be ideal if you have a large camping party.

– The unit is inclusive of the necessary recharging cables, unlike the others.

– There is a built-in emergency flashlight that might be helpful in certain situations. The flashlight also has two modes, strobe, and normal-lit.

– The unit has passed UL certification, guaranteeing its safety.

Cons

– The power rating of any device you connect cannot exceed 100W, as this will force the power supply to automatically shut off.

– The LED lights only display the battery left, and there’s no way to see the discharge rate and estimated time remaining.


SUAOKI Solar Charger 60W Portable Solar Panel

Product Dimensions – 11.5×7.1×2.9 inches (when folded), 67×11.5 inches (unfolded)| Weight – 77.6 ounces | Peak power – 60W| Cell efficiency – 20% | Power voltage – 18 volts| Operating temperature range – -10°C ~65°C | Fuel Shut-off – no

No products found.

This solar panel is packed with amazing features, and it was built for the outdoors. It comes with a stylish bag for storage. It is also highly compatible with multiple power supplies, and this won’t limit you to only buying from this brand.

The panel is also fashioned out of durable materials that can withstand harsh sunlight. Also, it has mounting loops that give you more options to find direct sunlight, meaning you can attach it to your backpack.

It also offers multiple functionalities, as it has a USB-A port attached to it. It has an intelligent chip that uses TIR-C technology that determines the charging efficiency. There is also a waterproof pocket on the panel for storing devices as they charge. 

Pros

– The panel has a USB port, which lets you charge your devices even without a power supply.

– It is small and portable in its folded state, and it has an impressive size when opened up.

– The panel has an IPX3 waterproof rate, which makes it perfect for camping.

– The TIR-C technology provides overcharge, overcurrent and overload protection for your devices.

– The solar panel is compatible with other power supplies that aren’t of the same brand

Cons

– Its high performing power is also reflected in its price.


Conclusion

The SUAOKI Portable Power Station stands out mainly because of the output ports available. Its powerful battery also lets you store charge for longer, and it comes with an automatic shut-off system that protects your devices from overcharging. Although it has a low power rating (150 Watt-hours), it would be the best power source for a camp setting. Plus, it is completely silent. 

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