However much you love camping, having all of your electronic toys and gadgets taken away is still be a bit of a wrench.
Having electricity at the flick of a switch has become second nature, so adjusting to living off-grid can be a shock.
Luckily some manufacturers have thought of some very clever ways to ensure you never have to go completely without. You may not be able to plug in your hair straighteners or games consoles, but here are some solutions that will help keep you and your family fully charged.
Although it may not feel like it, every hour the sun radiates more energy onto the earth than the world’s population can use up in a year. We can harness some of that power with solar panels, giving us an environmentally friendly energy source wherever we are in the world.
Solar power is constantly being developed to become more efficient and solar powered alternatives are now available for many of our favorite gadgets and devices.
Solar powered lanterns, torches and nightlights can provide lighting long after the sun goes down. With just five hours of charging producing enough power for two to three hours of usage.
If you can’t bear to leave your iPod, iPad or mobile phone at home, solar chargers are available for all. You can find panels that can attach to your car, bike or rucksack so you can charge all of your essentials while you’re on the go.
You can even buy a tent with an integrated solar panel, so that after 2-4 hours of direct sunlight, it’s like you haven’t left home at all, well for a few hours at least.
Wind it up
Like solar power, wind-up power is developing at a rapid pace. Charges last longer so you won’t have to risk dislocating a shoulder just to switch on a torch.
Wind-up power was first brought to public attention by the 1991 invention of the wind-up radio. Created as a cost effective solution for people in Africa living without electricity, the popularity of the wind-up radio has increased ever since.
Today wind up technology is still used to power radios, as well as torches, and mobile phone chargers.
We’ve all seen those wind farms dotted around the countryside, and even more are planned to provide power for homes up and down the country.
But did you know you can actually harness the power of the wind for your own personal use?
Small, portable wind turbines are now available for campers. They are generally very lightweight and easy to set up, and in a country where wind seems a lot more common than sun, they can run day and night.
Although wind turbines don’t produce as much power at wind-up or solar power, they can still charge batteries so your favourite devices can stay powered up.
Another unexpected source of power is the humble campfire. You may think it’s only good for roasting sausages or for baking potatoes, but the heat generated by your fire could actually be used for a great deal more.
Small mobile stoves are now available that use the heat produced by the fire and turn it into power via a thermoelectric generator. This electricity is then available on demand whenever you need to charge a battery.
Even better, the stove works with sticks and twigs, so there’s no need to carry bulky gas canisters around with you.
There are many ways to overcome a lack of electricity whilst camping, and many offer alternatives that are almost as good as the mains.
But if you can’t get your head around solar power or don’t have the energy for wind-up, why not just embrace the lack of power and enjoy a back to basics holiday, complete with peace and relaxation.
An article by Alan who advises to buy Vango tents to accompany your camping holiday experience.