Tent camping offers almost anyone, at any budget the ability to enjoy the great outdoors. However, in our connected world, you are likely going to need to run power in your camping tent.
Whether you need to charge a device, edit photos, or live-stream your latest adventure, getting power into your tent can be a small challenge to sort out.
In this article, I will share three easy options you can do today to power your tent. From power stations to extension cords for your camping tent, it’s time to talk about primitive campsite power!
Safety When It Comes To Power Sources and Camping Tents
I wouldn’t be responsible if I didn’t at least throw in a little word to the wise about safety precautions when considering putting power sources in your camping tent.
Be aware of fire hazards, rain, or water making contact with your power supplies, as well as checking the amp rating of extension cords and power supplies to ensure compatibility.
An underrated amperage cord can get hot and literally start an electrical fire at any point if not properly checked for compatibility before using the powered items.
Portable Power Banks
Portable power banks are an excellent option if you want cheap and easy off-grid power when tent camping.
A quality portable power bank can hold enough battery power to charge your phone and earbuds a couple of times, not to mention, they can be charged via USB on your drive to the campsite or re-charge on the drive in-between camping sites.
Portable power banks are often small in size, take up little space, are super-affordable (relative to other options), and can be found at most any outdoor store or even most big box stores like Walmart or Costco.
On the downside, portable power banks hold a very limited amount of power. If you are heading out camping for an extended trip and need to power your devices for more than a few days, a portable power bank will not hold up charge that long and require a re-charge each day depending on use.
Fortunately, many power bank companies offer a small, foldable solar panel which is excellent for setting on top of your tent each day while you are out, or, you can affix the solar panel to your backpack to soak up the sun while you are out exploring.
We own the Otterbox Qi Wireless Charging Power Bank featuring a 10,000MAH battery storage.
We have found that both my wife and I can charge our phone completely as well as wireless earbuds, all on one full charge. For small day trips, it is perfect! Check it out here on Amazon.
However, power banks have come a long way since we bought our power bank 2 years ago. In-fact, the majority of power banks these days come with much more battery power and a built-in folding solar panel.
Something like the Feelle Solar Power Bank boasts a 24,000MAH battery (2.5 times MORE power than our Otterbox) and includes 3 folding solar panels delivering 4.5watts in direct sunlight.
If I was to buy it again today, I would go with something like this. Check it out here on Amazon.
Extension Cord For Camping Tent
So, you are camping at an established RV campground, BUT, you are camping in your tent and you want power.
Well, I can’t disagree, if you need power, you are in the right spot to take advantage of unlimited power directly into your tent.
But…..the big problem, all the power hookups are 30 amp or even 50amp which are designed to power large RVs and Motorhomes. So, what is a tent camper to do about power in their camping tent?
Good news! This is a problem that has been dealt with before and one small purchase places you in a position to run an extension cord into your camping tent for power.
A 30A to 15A “dongle” will allow you to hook up your extension cord to an existing power supply at the campsite and run the extension cord into your camping tent.
From there you can power a single device or plug in a power strip and charge/run multiple devices.
Check out this quality 30A to 15A Power Dongle from Amazon, I personally have this one and it works great (not to mention highly rated and a great price).
Be advised, you may want to clear this first with the campsite hosts or office as they may rule against this.
Also, I recommend using a 30A surge protector just in case the property receives a lightning strike or other power supply issue.
This will protect the campsite and your equipment, not to mention your personal safety. Learn more here on extension cord safety.
Portable Power Stations
Finally, the big boy of camping, a good ol Portable Power Station. Now, don’t confuse a “power bank” with a “power station”.
A Portable Power station holds a much larger lithium-ion battery inside and has a built-in inverter to allow you the ability to literally plug in your devices to the multiple 110v and USB plug receptacles on the face of the power station.
We own the Jackery 240, it’s been a really good purchase for us. In deep winter months up in the rooftop tent, we can just place the Jackery 240 inside and run a heated blanket and charge our devices all night at once.
Keep in mind, this was a 12V heated blanket, we tried a traditional house heated blanket and found it pulled way too much power to be effective as the power station would drain in only a few hours.
Once we went with a 12V option and car plug, we were able to power the heated blanket through the entire night. You can see what heated blanket we used here on Amazon.
Here is the best part, portable power stations are pretty inexpensive at the smaller level and they pump out a ton of power.
Also, most power stations have the ability to plug in a solar panel and my Jackery can be recharged from 0% to 100% in just 5 hours of direct Colorado sunlight. Check out Jackery products here.
Check out our full review of the Jackery 240 plus video test results with a heated blanket here.
All in all, hopefully, this was helpful in letting you know you have some easy options when it comes to getting power into your camping tent.
Yes, even if that includes running an extension cord into your camping tent, it can be done!