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What's the best form of camping power and lighting?

Solar panels and LEDs have changed the way we camp these days.

Solar means you don't have to run a generator or idle the 4WD engine to keep your camping batteries charged.

LEDs are bright, cheap and come in many different shapes and sizes. They draw less power than incandescent or fluoro lights, so they're kinder to batteries.


Q: Hi there. We have been camping for the last year around Victoria and we're sick of buying bags of ice every day for the two eskies and tired of trying to find power to charge the camp lights. We need an all-round solar package to run a few lights a fridge, maybe a small bar fridge and to charge our lights mobile phones, iPod and speakers. What is the best package at a good price as we know sweet bugger all about solar and when we go to a shop it's all double-Dutch - Doug M.

A: We suggested a Projecta folding panel, in conjunction with a 100AH AGM battery.


Q: How can we get rid of flying insects around our lights?


We've tried many different types of camp lighting and all of them attract insects to some extent. Yellow lights seem to work better than white, we agree, but it's the dimness, not the colour that we think does the trick.  We find that LEDs running at low intensity work as well as yellow fluoro lights and use far less power. A trick we have when camping is to make camp well before dusk and have all the cooking done while there's still some daylight. That way, we can enjoy our meal with a dim LED lantern that doesn't attract insects on its low setting.


Q: I would like your advice as to a solar kit. I would like to take my laptop camping and this is the only item that will need electricity. Could you recommend a solar kit that is highly reliable, efficient and easy to use? - Dianne P, Adelaide, SA.

A: We directed her to a Projecta folding panel kit.


Q: Hi, I have a very old fluorescent camping /work torch with a small tube in it and a beam torch on the end. It was working fine until the fluoro went in it and now I don't seem to be able to get the right globe or there is another reason it is not working? There is 12 volts to the ends of the tube but it won't light it up. Do you know why this could be? - Rod C, NSW.

A: We gently suggested the effort wasn't worth it and the light should be replaced with an LED item.


Q: I am looking around for solar power 12/24 volt washing machine and microwave convection oven, to use in our motorhome while travelling Australia, do you know where I may go to find these products? We have four solar panels on the roof of our motorhome - Kerry AS.

A: We gave them a short-list of suppliers.


Q: Soon to buy a generator for around-Australia trip for two years. We will do a lot of free camping away from everything - David E, NSW.

A: We suggested a name brand with good support around Australia, not a hardware store 'cheapy'.


Q: Thanking you so much! Glad I found you could answer so many questions. Your Solar Power article really shed some light on the difficulties I'm facing - Jed K.


Q: Hello. I am looking for a lithium deep cycle battery to run a 35W 35L portable fridge which will be continually charged by my 80W solar panel. What battery would you suggest? - Phil G.

A: We put him on to Revolution Batteries.




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