The Best Camping Radios for 2023

Radios for camping are an entirely different breed. It is because this piece of outdoor camping equipment is usually more than just as simple radio. You can use it in survival situations. The best camping radio even comes with a specialized set of skills that will allow the owner to get through a sticky situation.

A legitimate 12-volt radio camping setup is something that you buy not just for the radio alone but also because of the sum of its parts. If you are just looking for a simple radio, you should have gotten a regular transistor version then. A camping radio is more than just a radio receiver.

I have browsed through numerous camping radio reviews and I have narrowed down the best choices. Here, you will receive recommendations on the best portable radio for camping, a buying guide if you want to search on your own, and other important bits of information that will help you with your search.

Best Overall Best Durability Best Battery Life
Preview FosPower FOSPWB-2376

Runningsnail MD-088

ZesGood 8541720643


Dimensions 6.2″ x 2.9″ x 2.1″ 5″ x 1.8″ x 2.4″ 4.53″ x 2.56″ x 0.98″
Weight 10.9 ounces 7.84 ounces 5.64 ounces
Band 7-Band 2-Band 2-Band
Battery 2000mAh 2000mAh 2AA
Power Sources Corded, Hand crank, solar, AAA battery Corded, Hand crank, solar, Li-ion battery Battery

Best Camping Radio Reviews

1. FosPower Hand Crank Portable Radio

The first of the radios for campers that I will be discussing is the FosPower Emergency Portable Radio. I loved that this emergency radio is an all-in-one device. Aside from the radio itself, I discovered that it also provides light and acts as a power bank. This is the type of device that one would want within easy reach in case of emergencies.

This radio has a built-in 2000mAH battery, which will not only power the radio and the lights (of which there are two, but more on that later) but can also be used in recharging small electronic devices, such as cellphones and some flashlights.

For today’s power-hungry generation, 2000mAh might seem small. However, in emergencies, that is more than enough power to get help. The radio component of the FosPower is excellent, too. With the help of its lengthy antenna, I had no problem looking for clear radio stations.

I also love that this radio can effortlessly receive broadcasts from NOAA and Weather Alerts, thus making this a nice storm radio for your home and vehicle. I am also truly amazed by the fact that you can power it in three ways. First, you can charge the battery using an AC wall charger, which is undoubtedly the fastest way.

You can also charge the battery using the built-in hand crank dynamo. This method is much slower than AC charging but it will certainly do during emergencies. Then there are the solar panels that will take an entire day of full sunlight to charge the batteries fully. This is very long indeed but it will do in a pinch.

This radio also provides light in two ways. There is a flashlight in case you need to investigate or if you are feeling adventurous and want to explore the woods at night. There is also a small floodlight that you can use if you want to read in your tent.

The only thing that I did not like is that when you tilt up the solar panel to angle it to the sun, the light underneath will automatically turn on without providing any way to turn it off.
  • Small and compact design, making it easy to take anywhere
  • Crystal clear reception thanks to the telescoping antenna
  • Can be powered three ways
  • Equipped with a 2000mAh battery that also serves as a power bank
  • Very durable, especially the hand crank
  • The floodlight automatically turns on when the solar panel is angled
The issue with the LED floodlight is just minor that can be easily compensated for. The important thing for me here is that this device performs as advertised and you can rely on it when needed.

2. RunningSnail AM/FM NOAA Solar Weather Radio

This is the upgraded version of the older RunningSnail emergency radio. This one now has a 1000mAh battery, which can power the radio for an entire day with the volume set to around medium. This is more than enough for casual listeners and those who are camped in a very quiet part of the forest.

The battery is not just for the radio. I am happy that it also has a bright flashlight so that you will not be stuck in the dark when an unforeseen change in the weather knocks out your local power grid. This flashlight is also great if you want to see your way in the forest at night.

I like it that this radio has a dedicated switch for receiving broadcast signals from NOAA. When you switch it back, you get to use the regular AM or FM radio bands. Having the NOAA feature makes this one of the most effective emergency radio that you should keep in your home.

The feature that I truly liked is that the 1000mAh battery is also useful in charging cellphones and smartphones. There is a rubber cover at the back of the radio. When you open it, you will find a USB port and a mini-USB port. You can use the mini-USB port to charge the battery using a wall charger.

The USB port is where you plug in the charging cable for your smartphones. Although 1000mAh seems kind of small for today’s smartphones, keep in mind that only a fraction of the battery life is needed in making a simple call to the police or any other emergency personnel for help.

Just like the previous RunningSnail, you can charge this improved version in three ways – via the hand crankbuilt-in solar panels, and AC power adapter. The most notable improvement this had over the previous version is the hand crank dynamo and the solar panels are now more efficient at charging the battery.

One issue, though, is that the battery seems to be unable to last that long. You can only expect it to function for a year or so.
  • Equipped with a more efficient hand-crank charging capability
  • Can charge smartphones via USB port
  • Great reception quality, especially with the weather broadcast
  • A powerful 1-watt LED flashlight that is bright enough for most camping applications
  • Compact size at just five inches long, making it easily fit in your car’s glove compartment
  • The battery tends to fail after a year or so
Despite the noted drawback, this radio is still one of the frontrunners in the industry, especially if what you are looking for is that which works great for outdoor and recreational activities.

3. ZesGood Portable Transistor Radio

Though it is just a regular transistor radio, I found that the ZesGood radio has its fair share of charm and might be a great addition to your camping equipment. It works well as a backup radio, too.

Unlike the other camping radios mentioned here, you can only power this up using two AA batteries – no hand crank and no solar panels. Although you can only power it one way, the batteries can last for a month of regular use, so there is no problem regarding that.

The thing I liked about this radio is the sound quality of the built-in speaker. If tuned perfectly to an FM radio station, the sounds coming from the radio is almost crystal clear. It also has an earphone jack so you can listen to your music or news in private.

Speaking of tuning, I had no trouble tuning in to my favorite radio stations, thanks to the long radio antenna. I am delighted that I do not need to extend it fully unless I am in a place that has bad reception. This means you can use this while walking or jogging around the neighborhood.

With its compact size and the awesome built-in speaker, this would have been a perfect camping radio, but it is not a true one because it can only run on alkaline batteries. It is just a regular transistor radio.
  • Boasts of an extremely long battery life
  • Comes with a strong radio reception
  • Equipped with a nice-sounding speaker
  • Sleek compact design that fits perfectly in the hand
  • Very easy to use as only takes three steps to operate
  • Not technically a camping radio
Although this radio is not technically made for camping, it does perform well, especially the built-in speaker, which makes listening to music more fun and enjoyable, so investing in it is a wise move.

4. Eton AM/FM/NOAA Ultimate Camping Radio

The next product that left a positive impression not only on me but also on other camping radio users is the AM/FM/NOAA Ultimate Camping Radio offered by Eton. I am so impressed with the way this camping radio is structured because I noticed how great it is in making you fully prepared in any situation.

You can use it for fun, like when you are doing some recreational activities or outdoor adventures, like camping, running, and hiking. I also discovered how great this camping radio is when used for survival situations and preparedness. It even makes for a great additional tool for your survival or preparedness kit.

I am happy to say that this also works as a weather alert radio enclosed in a rugged and reliable structure. It makes use of Bluetooth technology, which means that it allows the wireless streaming of all your favorite sounds and music. You can do that even if you are charging your device. This radio also allows solar-powered charging.

This is a multifunctional digital device. It features a digital display and tuner, which comes with excellent signals and receptions for several AM/FM stations and NOAA channels. I also discovered how easy it is to charge this camping radio. It has a lithium battery, which you can easily recharge through solar power or hand-crank generator.

With the help of this radio, you will stay updated and in tune with the recent news. It also carries other nice features, including a red emergency beacon, big ambient light featuring a dimmer, alarm clock, and bright LED flashlight. However, this radio is not waterproof, which is one of its drawbacks.
  • Ideal for fun, recreation, and emergencies
  • Rugged and reliable build
  • Can stream music wirelessly, thanks to its Bluetooth function
  • Can be charged through solar power or hand-crank generator
  • Features a bright LED flashlight
  • Not waterproof
Still, the Eton AM/FM/NOAA Ultimate Camping Radio is one of my ultimate choices because its quality is unmatched plus it has several features and benefits that make it stand out.

5. Kaito KA340 AM/FM/SW NOAA Weather Alert Radio

The Kaito KA340 is also another radio that will never disappoint camping enthusiasts as well as preppers and survivalists. I instantly sensed that this unit is versatile because I find it useful not only in the household but also for outdoor uses. It suits plenty of applications and purposes, not just camping.

I find its performance impressive when backpacking, having a picnic, doing some outdoor recreational adventures and activities, and when dealing with roadside emergencies and disasters. If you are a survivalist or prepper then you might also want to include this in your emergency or disaster preparedness kit.

I am so happy that this AM/FM radio boasts of Bluetooth functionality. It is because it allows me to play my favorite tunes clearly and loudly through wireless streaming from my devices, like a tablet and mobile phone. This radio also allows you to play music stored in your micro-SD memory card.

It has an impressive and extensive broadcasting coverage. You can even use it to access several local AM/FM stations as well as various NOAA weather channels for 24 hours a day. It also lets you gain access to shortwave stations worldwide. It has a weather alert function, which tends to be activated automatically once emergencies or disasters strike.

These include earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, floods, and thunderstorms, among many other alerts and warnings. You can also power up this unit through five ways – micro-USB input, AA batteries, hand crank generator, rechargeable battery, and photovoltaic cells.

Furthermore, it boasts of its rechargeable battery, which gives you up to sixteen hours of light as well as radio playing time of up to 20 hours. However, I am not that happy that this radio does not feature a headphone jack.
  • Versatile as you can use it in several applications and purposes both indoors and outdoors
  • A great addition to a disaster or emergency preparedness kit
  • Boasts of Bluetooth functionality, making it handle wireless streaming
  • Can be powered through five different means
  • Features a rechargeable battery that lasts long per charge
  • Lacks a headphone jack
Overall, I am greatly contented with all the striking and cool features and benefits offered by this radio from Kaito. I like its versatility, too, as it means I can use it both indoors and outdoors – whether it is for entertainment, emergency, or adventure.

6. PPLEE AM/FM/SW/NOAA Weather Alert Portable Radio

Another radio that is compatible with several outdoor adventures, like camping, backpacking, and hiking is the PPLEE AM/FM/SW/NOAA Weather Alert Portable Radio. I discovered so many fantastic and impressive features integrated into this unit. It also has several cool and nice traits – one of which is its portability.

This is so portable while having the ability to withstand all sorts of weather, thereby boosting your chances of surviving any challenge you encounter outdoors. It is multi-functional and built in such a way that it acts effectively as an emergency weather alert radio featuring a hand-power generator crank and solar power to stay connected.

I am so satisfied with the overall functionality of this portable radio. It allows you to remain fully informed even during extreme disasters and weather emergencies, like thunderstorms, tornadoes, and floods. I am also delighted that this unit offers two great sources of light – one of which is the 5-watt bright and strong flashlight.

The other one is 6-LED reading light. The presence of both these lights offers convenience since they can assure you that you will never have to worry about not having any source of light during emergencies. I like the fact that this unit also has a bright and loud SOS alarm light.

This is a great way to call for help during emergencies, thereby boosting your chances of survival. You can also use this unit as a cellphone battery charger whenever emergencies or survival situations strike, thanks to its USB output port. You can use this to charge your gadgets via the hand crank.

Moreover, you do not have to worry about this portable radio losing power because it provides several methods to charge itself, including its solar panel, rechargeable battery, USB input, AAA batteries, and hand crank. It can also help you remain fully informed whenever you are facing severe disasters and emergencies.

It is because of the AM/FM and pre-programmed NOAA stations it offers. However, I noticed that the reception in some stations is somewhat weak, making it prone to some buzzing sounds.
  • Portable yet sturdy build
  • Provides multiple ways to power it up
  • Serves as a battery charger for your devices during emergencies
  • Can give access to AM/FM and weather stations
  • Equipped with a bright and loud SOS alarm light
  • Somewhat weak reception that is prone to buzzing
To conclude, I think this radio from PPLEE makes an incredible and budget-friendly companion in any situation that requires you to be fully prepared whether indoors and outdoors. Of course, it works for recreational and entertainment purposes, such as when you are camping, but it also performs great when used as a way to survive disasters.

7. Greadio Solar Crank Emergency Weather AM/FM NOAA Radio

The 9th radio that you can use for your camping adventures that I would like to talk about is this highly impressive Solar Crank Emergency Weather AM/FM NOAA Radio from Greadio. It is a fantastic choice for all your outdoor survival and household emergency radio requirements.

One thing I instantly noticed about this AM/FM radio is its truly affordable price that does not seem to affect its overall quality. It even seems to match high-end and other more expensive units. It comes at a small yet functional size. The fact that it is small and compact makes it so portable.

This specific size also ensures that you can easily pack this unit inside your emergency toolbox. You can also easily attach it to a belt through the sturdy clip integrated into it. Apart from the local AM and FM stations that it broadcasts, you can also use it to listen to several NOAA weather stations.

With that, I am sure you will receive updated information about the weather, especially during emergencies and natural disasters, like tornado and hurricane, 24 hours a day. This means that it does not only serve as an entertaining companion during camping adventures.

It even features an SOS alarm, which also has a flashing red light. This makes it a truly functional tool if you are after emergency preparedness when you are doing some outdoor activities, like camping, traveling, and backpacking.

You do not also have to worry about power interruptions because this unit features a flashlight and reading lamp. Furthermore, it comes equipped with a portable power bank with a 2000mAh capacity, thereby preventing you from losing power all of a sudden.

However, I dislike the built-in knobs in this AM/FM radio from Greadio. It is because I find it slightly difficult to turn.
  • Affordable without negatively affecting its overall quality and performance
  • Portable and compact, making it a fantastic companion for outdoor adventures
  • Features an SOS alarm, which is helpful during emergencies and disasters
  • Equipped with a flashlight and reading lamp
  • Provides access to AM/FM stations as well as weather stations
  • Somewhat difficult to turn knobs
The overall quality of this amazing camping radio is impressive, which makes it a truly wise and sound investment for any budget-conscious outdoor and emergency preparedness enthusiast out there who needs this kind of radio.

8. RunningSnail Emergency Crank AM/FM NOAA Weather Radio


Among all the camping radios AM/FM listed here, this RunningSnail Emergency Crank radio is probably the most feature-packed and impressive of the bunch. First of all, you can power this up in four ways – via the built-in rechargeable battery, large solar panels on top, hand crank, and three AAA batteries.

Unlike the first RunningSnail emergency radio, this one has a much larger 4000mAh Li-ion battery. I discovered that this is most impressive because it is large enough to fully recharge a small smartphone, twice. However, it is advisable to charge it using the AC adapter, as it takes forever to recharge it using the crank lever and the solar panels.

Speaking of the solar panels, I liked that the ones on this radio are almost twice the size of the panels on the other camping radios. This means this is more efficient at using sunlight to charge the built-in batteries.

Another neat addition that I love in this camping radio is that it has an auxiliary jack. This means that I was not limited to listening to FM or AM radio. I can plug in my smartphone via aux cable and play my music and use the radio as a loudspeaker.

The only real issue I have with this radio is that it is bulkier than the rest, which is quite understandable given the large 4000mAh built-in battery.
  • Comes equipped with a large 4000mAh battery
  • Equipped with an auxiliary input jack
  • Provides four ways of charging the battery
  • Features two powerful, front-facing speakers
  • Offers two illumination modes – a flashlight and reading light
  • A bit on the chunky and bulky side as it is more than 7 inches long and 3 and a half inches wide
The increase in size can be easily justified by the addition of a large rechargeable battery, which is a welcome addition since it means you can charge your smartphone completely. Having a large battery is also a great advantage because it means you can listen to the radio longer.

9. DreamSky AM/FM Portable Radio

Another impressive unit that caught my attention is the DreamSky AM/FM Portable Radio. I super love it because it is one of the most compact and portable AM/FM radios I discovered for camping purposes. This is a small-sized digital pocket radio, which easily fits your suitcase, backpack, or pocket.

With such a small and compact size, I am sure you will never look at it as a burden if you bring it on your next outdoor adventures, like hiking, running, and camping, among many others. It also works indoors if you want something to entertain you or one that can send you news reports every day.

It is because of the numerous AM and FM stations and bands that it offers. Another advantage I found out regarding this DreamSky portable radio is that it has the greatest reception. I think that the metal telescopic antenna plays a major role in it as it tends to catch a great signal free of static.

With that benefit, I am quite sure that this radio is created in a way to improve your listening experiences. The good thing about the telescopic antenna integrated into this unit is that you can extend it up to fourteen inches. This allows it to further improve its reception, especially if you are in a place with a weak signal.

I am happy to say that this portable radio is simple enough that you will not have problems operating and using it. You can do a lot of things with it without dealing with complicated processes, such as when you tune it to your favorite stations or make adjustments on its volume.

Furthermore, this comes integrated with high-performance and large speakers designed to produce loud and clear sounds. One complaint I intend to point out in this radio, though, is that its dial seems to be less durable than the others because it is constructed from a flimsy plastic material.
  • Compact and portable
  • Easy to fit in various spots, like your suitcase, backpack, and pocket
  • Useful not only during camping but also in other outdoor and indoor applications
  • Simple construction, promoting ease of use
  • Produces loud and clear sounds with the aid of its high-performance and large speakers
  • Not that durable dial because it is only constructed from plastic
So far, I am impressed with every little thing that the DreamSky AM/FM Portable Radio does. It is a truly functional camping radio, which does a lot of functions, making it worth buying.

10. Tiemahun Hand Crank Dynamo NOAA WB AM/FM Radio

The last camping radio I would like to suggest using is this Hand Crank Dynamo NOAA WB Radio from Tiemahun. I find it versatile because you can use it in numerous outdoor and recreational activities – among which are camping, hiking, and backpacking.

It is suitable for several outdoor acivities because it is lightweight and compact. Both these favorable traits make this AM/FM radio from Tiemahun easy to carry. I am glad of the multiple ways that it provides to charge the unit – through manual hand crank, solar charging, and with the use of micro USB.

With multiple charging options, I can assure most users that this unit will never stop working. It even works as a 1000mAh power bank, which helps charge your phone through the micro-USB cable. It has a solid and nice feel, so I am sure you will never run out of reasons not to love using it.

The sound of this radio is also of top-notch quality. It can catch AM/FM stations while also acting as a weather radio. This can, therefore, provide you with up-to-date information regarding the weather and other possible safety hazards around the neighborhood.

Another great benefit of this amazing unit is that it has a bright 3-LED flashlight. The light is bright enough that you will also find it useful during emergencies. One complaint I have, though, is on the tuner. While its tuner functions well, I noticed that it is slightly gritty making it harder than usual to use.
  • Useful in various outdoor and recreational activities – one of which is camping
  • Lightweight and compact construction so carrying it around is easy
  • Multiple charging options provided – solar, manual hand crank and USB
  • Boasts of a solid and nice feel
  • Features a 3-LED, bright flashlight
  • Slightly gritty tuner
All in all, I am delighted with the overall performance of this emergency and camping radio as well as its suitability to several outdoor and recreational activities and scenarios. The price is also just right (not too expensive and not too cheap) while still carrying the kind of quality most potential users are hoping for.

What to Look for When Buying a Camping Radio


In your hunt for the best camping radio for your next big adventure outdoors, you may realize that finding the right one that checks all the boxes according to your criteria can be quite difficult. This is especially true if you consider the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of brands and models.

To make things a bit easier for you, here are some of the characteristics that you need to keep an eye out for when you’re shopping for camping radios.

Power Sources – You will want to have a radio that can operate using different power sources. Campsite radios do not need to be large and loud. The great outdoors is quiet enough so even a small transistor radio will be enough and these gadgets need very little electricity to get going.

This is why you can find camping radios powered using just one or two AA batteries, small solar panels, and a dynamo and crank battery charging system. Some are also spring-loaded and use a wind-up mechanism to power them up.

The batteries of a camping radio can last for a very long time. However, for worst-case scenarios, your unit should run on renewable and free energy so you can technically use it as long as you like. This is quite helpful the next time the power goes out.

Weatherproofing – Camping radios must be able to withstand getting caught in the rain, falling into puddles, and accidentally getting water or other liquids spilled all over them. If you make the wrong choice here, your radio will be broken, most likely on the first day of camping.

Choose a radio that has at least an IPx4 rating. This means it can withstand water splashes that come from all directions. It may even survive getting submerged in a bit of water for a couple of seconds. Also, look for a radio that can still operate in freezing and hot temperatures.

Sound Quality – Just because a camping radio has to be rugged and tough, that does not necessarily mean that it should sound horrible. The built-in speaker/s should be able to deliver passable sound quality. This means that music coming from FM stations should at least sound nice.

The voices of people chatting should also be clear. Even though this kind of radio is meant for the outdoors, it should still sound decent. It should not create sounds that seem like they are played through a tin can.

Reception Quality – You will know that you picked the wrong radio when you find out that you have to hang it halfway up a tree or attach an external antenna just to get a clear AM radio signal. You don’t have to worry about not getting any FM stations when you are in the woods.

It is because they would have usually dispersed by the trees and other obstructions. You just need to extend the antenna and then adjust it until the reception gets as clear as you can get it.

As there is no exact way to tell how well the reception of a particular radio, you have to do a bit of sleuthing. Read through as many customer reviews as you can to find out which of them are worth your money.

Lightweight and Portable – When you are out camping that requires hiking up towards your campsite, you need to pack light. Because every gram of weight counts when you are trekking, pick a radio that is not too heavy without compromising on build quality and functionality.

It should also be too light that it feels like you are holding a child’s toy in your hands. It should feel solid and have some weight to it.

Shockproof – When you are using anything in the great outdoors, it is unavoidable that your gear will suffer from a couple of bumps and drops. The radio you need to get should be one that can withstand more than a drop or two.

Get one that looks like it can take some punishment. A great example is that with thick ABS housing and bumpers made of hard rubber.

Other Features – If there is a feature that all camping radios need to have, it should be an NOAA or a Public Alert logo. This means that the radio can receive weather broadcasts or warnings. It comes with a dedicated channel for broadcasts that the radio can tune into.

Having a Public Alert logo, on the other hand, means that the radio has alerts and tone enabled. It also has provisions for devices like emergency lights for those who are hearing impaired.

Other Important Factors to Consider


What is Camping Radio?

A camping radio is a compact transmitter radio that does the basic audio functions of the traditional version of this unit. The only difference is that it carries a couple of extras, like using alternative means as a source of power. Aside from the usual AC cord and batteries, these radios can also run using solar energy.

You may also power it up with the help of a dynamo, which you have to crank to charge an internal battery. You can also find additional features on a camping radio not present in traditional ones. As mentioned earlier, it usually has access to broadcasts from NOAA and the National Weather Bureau.

Some of them even have useful features like flashlights and emergency beacons. Others even have USB ports that you can use to charge your electronic devices. The last one is a relatively new feature and can be a lifesaver nowadays, especially because most people cannot seem to live without their smartphones.

Who is the Camping Radio For?

Just because it is called a camping radio, this does not automatically mean that it is for camping use only. Of course, the people who will most likely make the most use of these radios are those who regularly go camping. It is because these usually have excellent reception and can get broadcasts even deep inside a densely-wooded forest.

First responders can also benefit from having these in their vehicles. When they receive reports of bad weather approaching and it is confirmed by their two-way radios, they will start going on high alert and get ready to help anyone affected by it.

Preppers will also like to have one or two of these units in their bug-out bags and emergency caches. During SHTF situations, it is very likely that power lines will no longer be working all over the city. The only way to receive information is through radio broadcasts.

In worst-case scenarios, the only units with the ability to receive broadcasts are camping radios. Even if you are not preparing for the destruction of society, as we know it, having a camping radio in the glove compartment of your car is always a good idea. There is no telling when you will get lost in an unfamiliar stretch of highway.

You can’t also guess when the road leading to your home will get washed out by a freak landslide as well as when you get stranded in your car because of other stranded motorists that might block your way.

In these cases, instead of using the valuable fuel in your tank, bust out the camping radio so that you get updates on what is happening around you. It does not matter if you like to go camping or not. Having at least one of these in your home and vehicle will be very beneficial.

How Does Camping Radio Work?

Camping radios are technically still transistor radios. The only difference is that it has a couple of tweaks that make it still usable even during emergencies. The main difference between traditional and camping radios is that the latter does not need an AC power source nor do they need dry cell batteries.

You can power them through alternative means. Camping radios are also multifunctional tools. Many of them have other uses other than receiving radio broadcasts. The most common additional feature is a built-in torch. This means you will always have a flashlight ready in case of emergencies.

You can also use it when you need to quickly investigate something near your campsite. Probably the most popular, and maybe even the most important additional feature, of a camping radio is a USB slot that you can use to charge your electronic gadgets.

These include your smartphone, GPS units, and other devices. As long as the radio has enough charge, it will share its charge with other devices that need it.

What are the Different Types of Camping Radios?

The main way that you can easily differentiate camping radios from each other is by the way to power them. As mentioned earlier, these radios get their energy from various sources.

First of all, there is what we call the traditional transistor radio. It is very basic as it only has AM/FM tuners and nothing else. The great thing about these radios is that they consume so little energy. This can make their batteries last a week or so before you need to replace them.

Some small camping radios come with built-in solar panels, which, in turn, charges a small built-in battery pack. A couple of hours of exposure to the sun will be enough to fully charge the batteries. This can lead to a couple of hours of radio content.

Some camping radios also feature dynamos inside connected to a small rechargeable battery pack. By cranking up the dynamo, it then proceeds to recharge the built-in battery. The more you crank it, the faster the battery gets charged up.

You can also find clockwork radios that work in the same vein. However, instead of hand-cranking, they use a wind-up coil spring to spin a dynamo. This will directly power up the radio.

Why Do You Need a Camping Radio?

Investing in a camping radio is essential for many reasons. It is not just all about luxury as this unit performs several important functions. First, a camping radio can instantly give you access to the emergency broadcast system.

For instance, if there are lots of dark clouds looming on the horizon, you will most likely get broadcast in the NOAA advising people living nearby to evacuate the area. This will allow you to act appropriately at the right time.

Even if you are not camping out, if a storm hits your city and knocks out the power, you will most likely want to have a radio that you can listen to for any news that is going on around you.

Furthermore, since there are lots of radios that come with USB charging capabilities, you no longer need to worry about your smartphone battery emptying and cutting you off from the rest of the world.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the most trusted camping radio brands?

Seeing as there are so many different brands and models of camping radios, it might seem like choosing several and deeming them trustworthy is an impossible task. However, after all of the reviews that I have seen, several manufacturers take pride in their products.

When it comes to camping radios, you will never go wrong if you choose trusted brands and providers, like FosPower, RunnngSnail, ZesGood, Eton, DreamSky, Kaito, PPLEE, Greadio, and Tiemahun.

How to set up and use the camping radio?

Here is the nice thing about camping radios and devices that are similar to them – they take very little effort to set up and start using. Most of them are already ready to use straight out of the box.

Camping radios usually have large dials and clearly labeled buttons for ease of use. Even the additional features are easy to find and use. For instance, you should easily be able to turn on the torch (if there is one) with just one button press.

Most of the time, the only step that might be called “setting up” is to open up the battery compartment and put in fresh batteries. It is that simple to use camping radios. If you see a unit that claims that it is a camping radio but you cannot seem to figure out how to even turn it on, then that is not even worth buying.

How to care and maintain the camping radio?

If there is one word to describe camping radios, it would be that they are tough. It would take a real force of nature to break a true camping radio and those are the kinds of devices that you need to get your hands on. However, be that as it may, they will still benefit from a bit of care and maintenance from time to time.

It does not take much to maintain camping radios. You just need to wipe them clean using a clean piece of cloth after every outing. Do not wait until the dirt and grime have caked on top before you even think about cleaning the item.

Also, be aware of some common reminders on the proper use of camping radios. First, never leave them outside for too long. Do not expose them to extreme heat and cold or heavy rains on purpose.

Even if they can technically handle the punishment, you should still avoid abusing e them. Second, when your radio uses alkaline batteries, remember to remove them when not in use to prevent them from leaking acid.

What is the warranty?

The warranties for camping radios are typically just as long as most other electrical devices. This is usually around one to three years and covers factory defects. This means that if you receive a defective product, you can send it back for a complete refund or have it replaced.

However, since camping radios are meant to be rugged and tough, some brands will refund or replace the item if you accidentally broke it or incur damages through certain scenarios like when there is a crack on the case or water got into the board.

This is especially important when the manufacturer specifies on the box and in advertisements that the camping radio they have is completely shockproof and waterproof.

How long do I have to crank my radio before I can use it?

In the past, the hand-cranked radios need to be cranked for quite a long time before one can use them. However, modern crank radios have more efficient dynamos. Also, the radios themselves do not use that much power, to begin with.

You just need to spin the handle continuously for about two minutes (on a completely drained battery). You can also listen to the radio, on medium volume, for around ten minutes. If you crank the handle longer, you can charge the batteries more, leading to longer usage.

How long do solar radios need to be under the sun?

Unlike hand-crank radios, solar-powered ones require you to wait for the batteries to charge. It takes around eight to ten hours of exposure to direct sunlight for three to five hours of playtime.

It is not recommended to use the solar panels to completely charge the batteries. If you want to fully charge its built-in batteries, use the AC charger. Use solar panels if there is no other choice. Also, consider charging only up to 30% to 50% as it often takes too long before the batteries get above that level.

Which is better: hand-crank or solar radios?

When it comes to speed, the hand-crank radios win hands down. In most models, turning the crank continuously for at least two minutes will result in thirty minutes of radio use at low (but still audible) volume.

However, it is best to get a camping radio that has both solar panels and hand crank charging, so that you always have different charging options available. For instance, if it is sunny outside and you do not need to listen to the radio, you can plop it up outside and let the sun’s rays work for you.

Can I charge my phone using these radios?

Yes, there are many modern camping radios that you can use to charge your phone when it gets a bit low of charge. This feature is pretty useful when the power goes out in your neighborhood. This is even more important if you need to have your phone charged and ready to call 911 in case of emergencies.

It is quite easy to charge up your phone using a crank-powered camping radio. You might need to crank the radio for a bit longer. You might not also charge your smartphone 100% but you will get it to a very usable level.

Where to buy camping radios?

You can find camping radios in almost all camping goods stores and many big-box superstores. However, although you will be treated to a rather wide variety of choices, that number pales in comparison when you shop online. If you look in Amazon alone, you will be treated to hundreds of different camping radios.

You can get even more options when you go to eBay and Best Buy. However, there is one advantage brick and mortar stores have that online shops don’t – that is the ability to test out the product personally before you purchase it. You can get a feel of the product before you buy it, which is something that you can’t do online.

However, if you do your research right and read as many reviews as you can, you can avoid getting a defective or downright useless product. Camping radios might be on the less expensive side but it is still not an excuse to waste money on those that do not work as well as you thought at first.


Finding the right camping radio is not that difficult, especially when you know what to look out for. You also have a higher chance of finding the best camping radio if you do some research and browsed through enough user reviews.

Spend time browsing through the aisles for the perfect one. There are plenty that you can choose from and even more information about every one of these online. The good news is that these units do not cost all that much, so you can afford most of them.

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