The solar power movement is making a serious splash amongst eco-friendly individuals, and we have the scoop on the latest sunny trend: the solar powered tent.

Designed to bring convenience and connectivity to your camping experience, the solar powered tent essentially allows the outdoorsy to have as much internet access in the great outdoors as is available in the not-so-great indoors. This tent will do you the favor (or hindrance, depending on how you look at it) of charging up all those techy devices we so heavily rely on – iPhones, laptops, you name it.

It does subtract from the earthy, wild experience just a tad — picture this: you’re huddling around a toasty campfire, enveloped in a blanket of expansive starry skies, soaking up the tranquil orchestra of rustling leaves swaying from towering trees – when, you’re jolted by that familiar interruption – that dull vibrating and buzzing noise. Text messages and email alerts snap you right out of your trance.

All technology bitterness and back-to-nature advocacy aside, we do see some perks to this innovative gadget. Here, we’ll break down how it works, features of the most popular brand, and the pros and cons of following the trend.

What is a Solar Powered Tent?

Solar powered tents are traditional tents with a tech twist. Equipped with a solar panel, these tents allow you to charge all your devices (mobile phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, speakers, and mp3 players), so you never have to truly unplug. That’s right: any low-voltage device is chargeable from the energy of the sun.

The tent’s solar panel must be facing the sun as much as possible throughout the entire day. As the panel brings in the energy from the sun, the lithium solar storage bank stores it for use later. This energy transfers directly to your device.

friends in solar powered tent

How It Works – A Simple Solar Solution

Intimidated by gadgets? Don’t sweat it. The setup and application of the solar powered tent hardly varies from that of your typical regular old tent. Here, we’ll outline how a major brand quickly growing in popularity, Bang Bang Tents, harnesses the sun’s power.

Popular Brand: Bang Bang Solar Powered Tent

Bang Bang Solar Tents were originally designed for a target audience of outdoor music festival go-ers. The trend has since caught on as an option for campers of all destinations. The details:

  • Inside each tent is a small 5w solar panel which captures the energy from the sun during the day and a lithium solar storage bank which stores the energy until you need it.
  • How-to: place solar panel in pocket located at the rear of the tent. Make sure the solar cell is facing direct sunlight. Plug the solar panel into the power bank. The energy of the sun will charge your device.
  • Each tent comes with: 5w solar panel, lithium solar storage bank, and mobile phone/USB charging adaptors.
  • What it can charge: mobile phone, laptop, speakers, mp3 player, and camera.
  • Size: Sleeps 4 people.

laptop in solar powered tent

Perks of the Bang Bang Solar Powered Tent

Quirky colors make tent spotting a breeze. Seasoned campers are all too familiar with the frustration of losing one’s tent in a sea of grayish blue or brown look-a-likes. With Bang Bang Solar Tents, this will not be an issue. You may even get a few odd looks, but you certainly will have no trouble standing out. Bang Bang tents come in a variety of flashy styles, some of which include: geometric shapes, jellybean pattern, butterflies, chopped wood, and grass.

These durable tents are made to last, set up quickly, and can withstand anything from a downpour to the scorching sun thanks to waterproof polyester fabric.

The Plus Side 

Sadly, vacation doesn’t always mean leaving work responsibilities behind. Family camping trips to Yellowstone or romantic Yosemite backpacking adventures are often forgotten and dismissed because fully unplugging from work feels unrealistic. In such cases, solar powered tents are highly convenient for people who crave nature but can’t afford to flee to the woods with reckless abandon.

We wouldn’t suggest wasting days cooped up inside the tent, laptop in hand. Still, one could argue that the ability to check in and connect with the “real world” makes long treks in the wilderness easier for the tech-reliant.

On that note, you could potentially extend your trip now that you’ve released the need to hurry back. You know what … if this makes camping so ridiculously convenient and comfortable, why not pack up for good and just live in a solar powered tent? We could certainly get on board with working from Sequoia Nat’l Park or Zion Nat’l Park.

Downside: Isn’t the point of camping to disconnect from tech?

woman in solar powered tent

Like it or not, our fast-paced, tech-hungry society lives and breathes convenience and distraction. We must be plugged in and reachable 24/7. Have a few moments of silence? Better fill it with music, texting, facebook, instagram, twitter, pinterest, or insert your preferred go-to distraction.

The daily demand to be  hooked up to our devices is relentless. Until now, trekking out to peaceful, undisturbed, untouched, untarnished nature – the only place resistant to our materialism and petty problems – has been our 1 and only escape from it all. Our last chance to cut free from the clutter, clear our busy minds, and gain a fresh perspective on what is truly valuable and beautiful in this lifetime.

So, now we’re hauling our clunky, cumbersome devices out to the place we’re meant to escape from it? You may as well just stay at home.

“Experiencing nature is about recharging our souls, bodies, and minds. Not about recharging our iPhones.”

Think about it: when you’re tuned into screen time, you’re tuning out from the world around you. This moving short film makes the sad, raw truth very clear: when we choose to focus on our tech devices, we are choosing to disengage from experiencing the actual moment.

Many of us head to the mountains to restore, relax, and heal. There is nothing as detoxing and cleansing as crisp mountain air and the fresh scent of pines. But hold up: screen time in the mountains? That doesn’t cut it. A study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden found that heavy technology use has been linked to fatigue, stress, and depression in young adults. Pitching a tent and chillin lakeside with your laptop doesn’t negate the effects.

One last thing: you know how annoying it is to overhear someone’s loud cell phone conversation at a coffee shop? Meet, your new fellow campground neighbors.

couple in solar powered tent

Still interested? Fair enough -Where to buy a solar powered tent:

We won’t judge. We are big fans of solar power, and we don’t want to downplay the eco-friendly strides being made by the solar powered tent. We see the convenience perks, and if it helps more people get outside and enjoy nature, then there is a lot of good in that!

Just make sure you only use it for brief moments of tech time. Be strict with yourself – 10 minutes to check your work email is one thing. Watching an episode of Modern Family (and missing the sunset because of it) is another.

To find a solar powered tent, check out: eBay, REI, Backcountry.com, and Amazon.