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How to Charge a Marine Battery while Camping?

to charge a marine battery while camping

So you decided to go camping. The only problem is that there is no electricity available. However, you have a marine battery sitting in your boat, which you can use as a power source.

Is this possible?

Can you use a marine battery for camping? If so, how would you charge it, and can you charge it while it’s in use?

This article answers all these questions regarding camping with a marine battery for a power source. Let’s get started!

Can you use a marine battery for camping?

ACDelco Gold M24AGMC 24 Month Warranty Marine AGM BCI Group 24 Battery

Yes, you can use a marine battery to supply power while camping. A marine battery is often a 12-volt battery, so if your power needs can be met with 12-volts, you will be able to use a marine battery.

If you need more than 12-volts, you can run multiple marine batteries in a circuit to increase the voltage.

The main difference between a marine battery and a typical 12-volt battery is the size of the plates used on the inside of the battery. Thin plates are used in car batteries for starting the vehicle. A marine battery has thin plates as well as thick plates. This enables it to start the boat and be used as a deep cycle battery.

How do you charge a deep cycle battery when camping?

SUV camping deep cycle battery setup for no build camper

While camping, you might discover your battery is running low on power, and you need to charge it. While it might be more of a challenge to charge a battery while camping than it would be to charge a battery at home, it’s still possible.

You have several options available to you to charge a deep cycle battery while camping.

Regular Electric Battery Charger

NOCO GENIUS5, 5-Amp Fully-Automatic Smart Charger, Trickle Charger

If you have access to an electrical outlet, charge the battery the same as you would while at home. Hook up a battery charger and let it charge. There are a few different chargers depending on the type of battery and how fast you want to charge that battery.

You can purchase a quick charge charger or a trickle charger. The fast charge option is excellent if you’re in a hurry; however, charging a battery too quickly can reduce its longevity.

A trickle charger is best for extending the battery’s life and maintaining the charge for an extended time.

These are the best and most convenient ways to charge a battery. The fast charge option is excellent, but what happens when you don’t have access to an electrical outlet?

What can you do at that moment? We discuss the solution to this dilemma in the following sections.

Solar Charger

DOKIO 220w 18v Foldable Solar Panel Kit (Lightweight 9lb) Monocrystalline Solar Cell

One of the most convenient ways to charge a battery without electricity is to use a solar charger. As long as there is sunshine, you will have the ability to charge your batteries. Solar chargers are compact, so you can store them out of the way when it’s not in use. Or, if you prefer to mount the solar panel to your boat, you can mount it in such a way that it receives the most sunlight.

Wind Turbine Charger

Dyna-Living Wind Turbine Generator Kit 400W DC 12V Wind Turbine Motor 3 Blades Wind Power Generator

Most people don’t bring a wind turbine with them while camping. Because wind turbines are rarely compact, however, if you manage to find a compact wind turbine and are located at a windy place, then, by all means, harness the wind.

With Your Vehicle

We recommend saving this option for last. Only if you’re in desperate need of charging your batteries should you use your vehicle. You will need to leave the car running for an extended time, burning fuel and leaving you stranded.

You will need a set of jumper cables with a voltage meter telling you when your battery is fully charged. This will keep you from overcharging the battery and ruining it.

Hand Crank Charger

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Using a hand crank charger is a workout for your shoulders and arms. However, they are often compact and only depend on your ability to turn the crank, so you don’t have to worry about having enough sunlight or wind.

Pedal Powered Generator

K-Tor power box IMPROVED! 20 watt pedal generator

Much like a hand crank charger, a pedal-powered generator requires you to be the power source, so you don’t have to depend on an outside power source.

Gas Generator

PowerSmart Generator, 1000 Watts Portable Generator, Gas Powered Portable Generator

The best substitute for an electric campsite is a gas generator. Today’s generators are quiet and can provide power for several devices, including charging marine batteries.

How can I charge my boat battery without electricity?

Sometimes you just don’t have access to an electrical outlet, and you need to keep your batteries charged up. Thankfully, there are several different ways to charge your batteries without electricity.

Add An Alternator

New Mando 11A1086 Alternator Original Equipment

Adding an alternator will give you the ability to keep your batteries charged. An alternator, just like the one for your vehicle, charges your battery while the engine is running. As long as the battery is good, an alternator ensures that your batteries will always be charged and ready to be used.

Solar Panels

Renogy KIT-STARTER200D Solar Panel kit, 200W 30A PWM Controller

The technology of solar panels has gotten much better over the last several years. They still work best in direct sunlight, but their efficiency has increased in the shade and on cloudy days. Having solar panels onboard your boat is one of the best options to keep your batteries charged.

Wind Turbine

Pikasola Wind Turbine Generator Kit 400W 12V with 5 Blade, Wind Generator Kit with Charge Controller

If you have a smaller vessel, a wind turbine is not going to work for you. However, if your boat is large enough, adding a wind turbine is an excellent additional way to charge your batteries onboard without electricity.

A wind turbine has a lot of drag, so adding this to your boat will not be the best option if you are concerned with speed. Another downside is when the wind isn’t moving the turbine; then it is not generating power, so you always need a little wind.

Water Turbine

Hydro Generator Micro Hydro Water Turbine Generator

Similar to a wind turbine, a water turbine is bulky and causes lots of drag. However, it doesn’t entirely depend on the wind or the sun. If you’re in moving water or your boat is moving, then your batteries are charging.

Can you charge a marine battery while using it?

Yes, you can use a marine battery while it is charging.

The best way to do this is to have an alternator installed. That way, when your motor is running, your batteries are charging.

Another great way to charge a marine battery in use is with a solar charger. You can mount a solar charger and wire it in to charge while using the marine battery.


Charging a marine battery while in use or without electricity is possible using many different options, such as an alternator, solar charger, wind turbine, or water turbine.

A marine battery can be a substitute for power while camping. So you don’t have to worry about camping at a location that has electricity.