Author Topic: Charging electronics on camping tour?  (Read 6945 times)

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Offline davestuartjr

Charging electronics on camping tour?
« on: May 27, 2007, 10:23:15 am »
Has anyone tried camping the TransAm + Western Express, E-W, with basic electronics (cell phone, camera)? What are some strategies for keeping your equipment charged when camping the whole way?

Because of the charity I'm riding for, hotels are out of the question.

Also, does anyone have any tips for planning places to stay on a camping tour?

Offline ptaylor

Charging electronics on camping tour?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2007, 10:55:07 am »
Hi Dave.

For starters, do a 365 day search for 'charge'. Use the little 'search' button in the upper right corner of this window.

Good luck.


Offline valygrl

Charging electronics on camping tour?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2007, 09:23:54 pm »
Bring your wall chargers.  When you eat out (cafes, fast-food, whatever), bring your e-stuff and chargers in with you, and select a table next to an outlet.  Plug in while you eat.  Same strategy for libraries / internet cafes / laundromats, etc.

If you stay in RV parks, many have rec-rooms or laundry rooms or something like that, where there is an outlet.  Worst comes to worst, if you are in any sort of campground, there is usually an outlet in the bathroom (althoug it sucks hanging around in there until the thing is charged.)

Don't leave your electronics alone while charging.  

Turn your phone off most of the time.  

To plan places to stay, first of all, your AC maps have lots of info.  Also, almost every town of any size has a chamber of commerce or tourist info center.  They have brochures for camping.  The people who work there are usually knowledgable & friendly.  Just ask.

Also, RV parks are OK, they are usually expensive but have good services (laundry, pool, ice cream).  Many tourist info centers and almost all RV parks have brochures for RV park chains, and/or for the state.  

Forest Service, National Park and Bureau of Land Management Ranger stations have lists/maps of low-cost camp grounds.  State parks will often have info about other state parks in the area.

If worst comes to worst, go to the police/fire station/library and ask if they know anywhere you can camp for free (park, fairground,etc.)  Also, don't forget kindness of strangers - ask for help and someone will.

AAA Maps and Campbooks have a lot of info too, often redundant with the above sources.

Usually every night in my tent, I look at the map for the next part of the route, look at my camping resources, and pick a couple of probable destinations, one short/moderate distance, and one optimistic/long distance.  I only reserve in advance if there is a holiday or other reason to think it will be hard to get a spot.

And don't rule out the hotel every week or two - it can really help if you are sick, or freezing, or whatever.  

Have a great ride!!!!


Offline ptaylor

Charging electronics on camping tour?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2007, 11:52:56 pm »

Your advice is right on the mark, and is a valuable asset to this forum. I'm guessing 99.4% of all Americans want to help their fellow citizens. It's the 0.66% that get the media coverage.

You and I only differ on making advance reservations. I want to know ahead of time where I am camping/motelling a few days in advance. I'm not as adventurist as you.

Your contributions to this forum are appreciated.


Offline bogiesan

Charging electronics on camping tour?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2007, 11:44:27 am »
How did we ever manage for 200 years without these things?
Disposable 35mm camera with prepaid processing envelope. Prepaid
phone card. Maps. The music in my head.

david boise ID

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline jnorth

Charging electronics on camping tour?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2007, 10:38:29 pm »
try a brunton solar charger you can strap to the top of a pannier or leave out on a picnic table:

Offline valygrl

Charging electronics on camping tour?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2007, 03:16:48 am »
I have tried a brunton charger, it was inadequate.  i just saw this thing, which might be of use.

Offline MichaelTheWingN

Charging electronics on camping tour?
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2007, 12:46:36 pm »
Personally, I carry a solar panel that can charge 3, 6, 9 and 12 volt battery systems...The panel costs about $25 including shipping (the model I carry). You can attach it to your panniers or trailer and charge batteries while you run down the road...It is indeed the best $25 I have spent for gear in a long time! Check E-bay for one...Mine is only about the size of the palm of your hand.

Happy riding!

This message was edited by MichaelTheWingN on 7-25-07 @ 9:21 AM
Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live. Mark Twain

Offline mudmin

Charging electronics on camping tour?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2007, 12:28:44 am »
I agree with using the solar chargers. I have one made by solar style. Buy one get one free, came with lots of adapters and love it.

Lemme give you guys two other pieces of advice I learned while doing my southern tier tour.  These two really help when you're riding for a cause.

1. Fire Departments will usually let you camp out on their property and often, when you tell them what you're doing will give you a bunk, meal, and shower.

2. There's a site called that lists nearly every church in every town in America.  They will often let you camp on their property, stay in their building, or point you to a member who can help out.  AND you can usually charge your equipment there too.  Churchangel was my number one source for finding places to stay.  Just PLEASE respect their property and don't drink or litter.