What is camping without having something that will keep you entertained and fun-filled till the end? Camping is an outdoor activity that requires you to be restricted to a particular place. Camping also requires you are restricted to the use of specific devices like your phone.
In that case, you will need a device other than your phone to keep you company. You need the best portable radio for camping that will keep you updated on what’s happening around the world.
With numerous portable radios for camping out there, it becomes challenging to select one that fulfills all your needs.
There are also some distinct features you may need to look out for on them, so the task of choosing the most suitable radio becomes a task itself.
The reason why you need to examine these features is simple; you can easily buy a portable radio that lacks the features you want, which means you, throwing your money away. That’s not so good!
So if you are in the market for a portable radio, chances are you reading this review to help ease your selection process.
We compiled this list based on extensive research on hundreds of products in the market. Read on to find out our top picks!
Top 6 Best Portable Radios for Camping
We shall be looking at the five best portable radio for camping according to features like battery life, durability, cost, and audio quality.
1. JBL Charge4 Portable Bluetooth Speaker – Best Overall
JBL charge4 is designed for those who are interested more in sound quality and battery than other specs. It has more power and enhanced bass quality, plus dual passive radiators that promise to deliver clear sound.
More power means more playtime! With a 7500 mAh power backup, you can listen to the radio for up to 20 hrs. At the same time, you can use your radio to charge your compatible device via USB.
So you never get to run out of power. You don’t need to panic over splashes of water or spills on your radio because it’s waterproof.
This radio is designed ruggedly to stand the test of time with its rubber material. You can wirelessly connect to your favorite devices via Bluetooth and amplify your listening pleasure with dual bass speakers.
- Large battery backup: Enjoy listening to the JBL charge4 on-the-go with the massive 7500 mAh lithium polymer battery. It has up to 20 hours of playtime, depending on the sound level.
- Water-resistant: Whether it’s submerged in water or plunged into a spill, you don’t have to worry because this device is IPX7 waterproof.
- USB charging: Never allow your phone to run out of power. With the USB charging mode on your radio, you can charge your phone via USB.
- Wireless Connection: Connect your phone or tablet to your JBL charge4 speaker via Bluetooth and enjoy clear sounds.
What I Like
- Exceptional long battery life
- Can charge your device
What I don’t Like
- The sound on the JBL charge4 is not stereo and has one speaker, which means sounds would only come from the speaker’s front right side.
- It’s expensive.
Again, the sound quality on the JBL charge4 isn’t exceptional because it lacks stereo output. However, considering that this radio compliments this fault with long battery life and other functions, it can still be a great buy.
2. RunningSnail Emergency Crank Radio – Best for Emergency
When it comes to emergent situations, this is one radio you can count on. It has features such as a bright flashlight that can easily help you find your way in the dark easily and a dedicated SOS button that sounds like a siren once pressed to attract help from nearby people.
It has four different charging methods that you can employ to charge up the device – USB, AA Batteries, Crank, and solar. One of the best features of this portable radio is its ability to charge other devices like your phone.
So in case you run out of juice, this radio can provide emergency power backup.
As most emergency radios like the RunningSnail Emergency Crank, this device is built to withstand some pressure and rigorous processes.
It is housed in a durable plastic case. It comes with a long antenna to get better reception or signals should you find yourself in an uncomfortable or bad receptive area, and has a solar panel at the top of its body. You will also find a USB port on the side.
If you are looking for a portable radio that can prove useful in more than one way and not just to listen to stations, you may consider buying this radio. It is a radio built for survival and one of the best outdoor radio.
- Massive battery life: This radio has a battery capacity of 4000 mAh. When fully charged, this device can power up for 40 hours of light use and 12 hours of radio.
- Variety charging methods: You charge up the radio using a USB, crank, AA batteries, and solar.
- Built-in emergency button: This radio has a built-in SOS button that you can initiate during an emergency to attract help.
- Flashlight: Should you get stuck in a dark place, this portable radio has a built-in bright flashlight that can help you find your way home.
What I Like
- It is ruggedly built
- It has various charging options
- It has an emergency SOS button for safety
- Good battery life.
- Reliable and excellent for emergencies.
What I don’t Like
- Audio quality is unimpressive
- The solar charging option is not ideal because it’s slow.
This portable radio may not have significantly excelled in sound quality, but you can consider it worthy of buying for the large battery capacity and low budget.
3. FossPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio – Best for Flashlight
Have a great reading experience at night, and enjoy your journey far into the night with this amazing emergency solar hand-crank radio. The FossPower radio provides you with two LED lights, 4w and 1w LED, for emergencies.
Get access to weather forecasts through the NOAA weather radio and stay on top of weather conditions. 2000 mAh battery size ensure you don’t run out of power with three different charging modes; hand crank, solar panel, and AAA batteries. So you always have power when you need it the most.
Also, the 2000 mAh battery capacity can act as your alternative power bank in emergent situations. Simply connect your phone or tablet through the USB to your radio and get emergency power.
- Two LED lights: This emergency crank radio has a 4w and 1w LED reading light and flashlight, respectively, to keep you out of the darkness.
- NOAA Weather Broadcast: Let’s you stay abreast of weather forecasts and broadcasts from NOAA directly on your AM/FM stations.
- Three power charging options: Charge your radio when you are out of power through cranking, AAA batteries, and solar panel.
- SOS alarm: Call out for help in emergencies with the SOS button that sounds an alarm when initiated.
What I Like
- Has multiple charging options
- Convenient and easy to use
- Broadcasts weather reports
- It Improves safety through the SOS alarm.
What I Don’t Like
- Poor battery life. Barely lasts more than three hours of heavy use daily.
If you are looking for something basic, this portable radio is highly recommendable. Overall, it’s an excellent value for money.
4. RunningSnail Solar Crank Radio – Best for Reception
This ruggedly built radio is designed to help solve your basic radio needs in an outdoor activity. Whether you are camping or hiking, this low-budget radio comes with features that will make your outdoor activity worthwhile.
With a 2000 mAh battery, this radio can power up to 12 hours of light use and 6 hours of radio time. You can charge the battery with a hand crank and solar. Alternatively, you can use 3 AA batteries to power your radio.
Other features in this radio include; NOAA weather update for emergency weather conditions, a 1w LED flashlight, a table lamp for use in a dark environment, an emergency alarm, etc. This radio keeps you prepared for the unexpected.
- Multiple charging methods: Self-charge your radio with your hand, solar, and 3 AAA batteries. Stay powered and never run out of the unexpected power outage.
- NOAA weather alert: Receive a broadcast from NOAA concerning weather information about your area and stay safe.
- SOS alarm: This feature enables you to call out for help when you need it. A red flashlight beeps when the alarm is initiated.
- Emergency power bank: Charge your phones and tablets through the USB port and stay connected always.
What I Like
- It’s budget-friendly.
- You can recharge the battery in multiple ways.
- I can keep you out of emergencies.
- Great travel companion. – It has a good network reception
What I don’t Like
- Battery life is fair.
This portable radio might not have advanced features and a good battery, but it can provide you with what you need for good radio.
5. iRonsnow Solar Emergency Hand Crank Radio – Best for Budget
If you want a portable radio that you are not willing to spend for and, at the same time, provides the basic needs of radio, iRonsnow solar emergency radio is your right pick. This radio offers clear sound output and suitable for your outdoor activities.
This budget radio is powered by a 1000 mAh battery that can be recharged using a hand crank. It also comes with an integrated solar panel and a USB for alternative charging.
A powerful 3w LED flashlight for your night activities, weather radio that provides weather news through NOAA. If you are a small item lover, you would love to carry this device in your backpack or during your hiking adventure.
- Compact: This radio is small-sized and can fit into your backpack or hand easily. It’s light and easy to carry.
- Variety of charging methods: Charging your radio is easy. You have the option of using a hand crank, USB, and solar, which makes it great for an emergency.
- Rugged: Whether it’s a storm, hurricane, or earthquake, this radio can withstand them all.
- NOAA weather radio: Stay updated with weather news through NOAA weather radio.
What I Like
- Great value for money.
- It comes with three charging methods.
What I Like
- Poor battery life.
- It cannot be used as an emergency power bank.
Judging by its worth, this radio is a bargain. However, it fails woefully in the battery department. If you are looking for something more on radio other than compact size and budget, this radio may not be an ideal choice.
What to Lookout for Before Buying a Portable Radio for Camping
Which features do you look out for when you decide to buy a portable radio? This is the frustration buyers get when they are comforted with a buying situation. They choose to select a product based on packaging and design and the relatively low price tag out of ignorance.
Before you decide to pick up a product and head towards the counter, you must be aware of the following factors:
Since we know camping is an outdoor activity, you must go for radios that can withstand the pressure of camping. No matter how careful you are, at one point, your radio may fall out of your hand or hit a hard surface.
A durable radio should survive these rough circumstances and rigorous handling and still be able to function normally.
Under normal circumstances, one always plans a camping trip in mild weather conditions.
However, you must prepare for unexpected weather changes during your outdoor activity should it happen. The radio should withstand any weather conditions, be it storm, rain, snow, etc.
Besides, it should be waterproof and work in perfect condition even after exposure to these weather changes. Most waterproof devices are dustproof.
This review is already about portable radio devices, so no much emphasis will be placed here.
It’s necessary that during camping, your camping gear and properties should be as compact and lightweight as possible to avoid dead weight.
Carrying an extra-weight on your hand while walking or hiking will slow you down.
Battery life / Power
A portable radio should have enough battery backup to power the device for a long time so that you would never run out of power when you need it the most.
Many campers would opt for a portable radio with a big power source more than any other feature. These days, many radio units come with an alternative source of charging like solar to charge the in-built battery should you find yourself in a secluded area.
It’s worthy to note that two types of batteries could power a portable radio; rechargeable or in-built battery and AA batteries. A rechargeable battery is better because you save the cost of buying batteries all the time and are easy to use.
However, having a radio with a rechargeable battery would mean you, carrying your AC adaptor all the time.
Sound quality is an essential factor when considering a portable radio. A radio with good sound quality will enable you to listen to news, documentary, or music without you having to strain your ears.
There are two types of audio quality you need to look out for; mono and stereo. Stereo radios are always better than the former because it has two-channel output. Hence, the sound is more precise.
Type of Radio
There are two radio types to consider: Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) and AM/FM radio. DAB radios are gradually crawling their way into the market and gaining popularity.
When it comes to better bandwidth signal and better sound reproduction, DAB offers more. However, AM/FM radios tend to have more stations and are less expensive than DAB radios.
So while you are in the market for a portable radio, ensure you know what you want and choose wisely.
Individual preferences are always centered on the budget. Depending on the features you seek, a good low or mid potable radio should not cost more than $140.
You should only buy the one with relevant features that you think you need and not the other way round.
These are secondary features in a device. If you care for some advanced functionality and not just the basic ones, you can purchase a portable radio that has advanced some.
These additional features include; Bluetooth, USB port, flashlight, NOAA emergency broadcasting for the weather, belt clip, alarm clock, MicroSD card slot, etc. Most AM/FM radios have the flashlight feature.
FAQs About Buying The Best Portable Radio For Camping
Which is better between DAB radio and an AM/FM radio?
It depends on the user. There are no overwhelming differences between the two. DAB radios produce clearer sounds and even has a better network signal than AM/FM radios.
However, AM/FM radios have more stations and can still provide faint sounds even without a strong signal. DAB, on the other hand, provides no sound when there is no signal. AM/FM radios are generally less expensive than DAB radios.
● Can you get a clear reception if your campsite is far from a station?
If your campsite is far from a reachable station, getting a clear reception may be difficult. The alternative solution is to continually change the position of the antenna until you get better reception.
Also, change dead batteries as often as possible as they affect radio reception.
● How can I clean my radio if it’s stained?
If you find stains on your radio, soak a clean cloth in water, squeeze it hard to remove excess water, and then wipe off the stains.
● How can I improve my radio signals?
Several factors can impede your radio from getting a good signal. CD players, microwaves have radioactive rays that can act as signal interference.
Also, a poor antenna can contribute to you not getting a clear signal. Eliminate anything that can cause interference and get rid of poor antennas in favor of a new one.
Final Thoughts- Best Portable Radio for Camping
Getting something right the first time is never easy. With so many radios in the market, one cannot make some mistakes while selecting the right radio for their outdoor activities.
If you plan on going for outdoor activity, the chances are that you may need a device like a radio to keep you entertained. So far, we have reviewed the best portable camping radios out there, and we hope this guide has helped you to make the right choice.