Looking for the best portable radio for camping? Congratulation! You’re in the right place.
Music is great when you’re camping. This is especially true when you’re camping without anyone else with you, as the music somehow makes you feel less alone. But even if you’re with friends and family, the music can help provide a more festive atmosphere during the day and especially during the night.
Camping radio is more than just your source of music. You can also receive warnings if ever bad weather is headed your way. Some models offer extra features, so they’re useful in lots of ways. They can work as your reading lamp or flashlight, or act as the power bank for your mobile device. These radios can be so helpful that after you’ve used one, you won’t leave home without it.
Best Portable Radio for Camping – Reviews
With plenty of radios available, which ones are the best? You can save yourself a lot of trouble by starting your search with these 10 terrific radios for camping:
1. FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio for Camping
Let’s start this list with a truly versatile radio that offers plenty of emergency functions. This radio offers both FM and AM radio, so you can get music and the news. But this also gets emergency broadcasts from the NOAA weather channels. If there’s an emergency, you’ll receive an alert even if you’re listening to an FM station.
This also comes with some handy LED lights that can be of some use in a campsite. There’s a reading light, so at night you can check out a paperback while trying to relax right before sleeping. But it also works as a flashlight so you can get around in the dark.
For power, you have 4 options. This comes with a 2000mAh power bank that can recharge your smartphone. This means you can use your smartphone to get news online and to call for help. Even if you’re not in an emergency, it’s always a good idea to make sure your smartphone is always charged.
You can also get this going with 3 AAA batteries. For backup, you can use the solar panel here. Finally, you can even regenerate power manually by using the hand crank.
This is one tough radio, so bring this with you just in case. It’s tough enough that FosPower thinks this will last a lifetime.
- Has rechargeable 2000mAh power bank to power your smartphone
- Can be powered by batteries, solar panel, and hand crank
- Provides reading light and works as flashlight
- Can emit SOS alarm
- Gives you FM and AM radio
- Has access to NOAA weather stations and alerts
- Very tough
- Compact and lightweight
2. Midland – ER310, Emergency Crank Weather Radio for Camping
If you’re camping and then you find yourself in an emergency, what you don’t want is to end up holding a useless smartphone with no power. At least bring this radio as backup as it may save your life in an emergency.
This can provide extra power to your smartphone, as it has a rechargeable 2600mAh battery. If you don’t use it as a power bank, then its power can let you use your radio for 32 hours straight.
You can also recharge this battery by using the solar panel during the day and by turning the hand crank. As backup, you can also put in 6 AA batteries.
This is an FM/AM radio, so your music needs and news are covered. The speakers are adequate, and you can use headphones with this. There’s also a USB output port and a USB input port, so you can play your mp3 collection.
But this is a true camping radio because it also gets the NOAA weather channels and alerts. It will scan the 7 NOAA channels and give you the strongest signal, and the alert will sound if there’s a weather emergency.
The LED screen is easy to read, and it gives you the time. In the dark, you can use this radio as your flashlight to get around. There’s a Low setting to conserve energy, but the Bright setting can be used to signal your location if you’re trying to get the attention of first responders. There’s even an SOS emergency beacon that can emit the SOS signal.
There’s even a button here for the ultrasonic dog whistle. If the human first responders can’t find you, maybe their dogs can.
- NOAA weather channels and alert
- AM/FM radio
- LED screen gives you the time
- Speaker with headphone jack
- USB input and output ports
- Has rechargeable 2600mAh that can power your smartphone
- Can be powered by batteries, solar panel, and hand crank
- Works as flashlight and as SOS emergency beacon
- Can emit ultrasonic dog whistle
3. Kaito KA500 5-way Powered Solar Power weather radio for camping
This comes with several color options, but we opted for the bright yellow so it’s easier to find. However, it has a lot going for it aside from its looks.
First of all, you have plenty of options on how to power this radio. This comes with a built-in NiMH replaceable and rechargeable battery pack, which you can recharge in several ways. There’s a micro-USB DC charging port, a DC-in charging jack, and a USB DC output port. You can use the solar panel during the day, and the hand crank at any time. For backup, you can also put in 3 AA batteries.
All this power gives you a radio that offers AM and FM radio, along with the NOAA weather channels, 2-band shortwave, and the Public Emergency Alert System. The reception is excellent due to the advanced semiconductor circuitry design and the 14.5-inch telescopic antenna. Set this on Alert Mode, and you can get alerts at any time from the NOAA weather stations.
You can also use this as your power bank, so you can keep your smartphone charged. That gives the ability to call for help, and to just go online if you’re bored.
The radio itself is tough, as it is shockproof and water-resistant. The speaker here is nice, and definitely sounds better than your smartphone speakers.
- AM, FM, shortwave, NOAA, and PEAS radio
- Multiple ways of powering
- The solar panel adjusts 180 degrees
- Works as mobile phone charger
- Emits red SOS LED beacon
- Can be used as reading lamp
4. Eton Ultimate Camping AM/FM/NOAA Radio with S.A.M.E Technology
When Eton says this is the “ultimate” camping radio, they weren’t kidding around. They’ve packed this with enough communications technology to really make sure you get the alerts you need in case of an emergency.
This gives you FM and AM radio, for entertainment and for news. Then you also get the NOAA weather alerts. The NOAA access is terrific, as your radio will automatically broadcast emergency weather alerts.
What sets this radio apart is what Eton calls their “Specific Area Message Encoding” technology. You can just enter your county code (you can enter for up to 25 locations) and you’ll get any sort of warning or advisory pertinent to your location. Your radio even emits bright warning lights so you do miss it.
To power this radio, you have a rechargeable battery that you can also use to recharge your smartphone. There’s a solar panel that can recharge this battery fully in just 6 hours. There’s also a hand crank that you can turn for just 4 minutes to give you 10 to 15 minutes of music.
- AM and FM radio
- NOAA and SAME emergency alerts
- Rechargeable battery that can be recharged by solar panel and hand crank
- Works as a power pack for your smartphone
- Rugged and splash-proof
- Works as a flashlight and as ambient light with dimmer
- Functions as red emergency beacon
5. Panasonic RF-2400D AM / FM Radio
Panasonic is one of the more iconic brands in the radio industry, and this simple-looking radio helps explain why the brand is so highly regarded. It’s simple, but it’s a joy to bring along on a camping trip.
Most of the front is reserved for the 10cm speaker, and it’s big enough to give you nice audio when you’re listening to music. To the right, you have a simple analog display for the station ID. This also has a large knob that’s easy to turn to find the music station you want.
If you’re alone and you don’t want to disturb anyone else with your music, you can always just connect your earphones and enjoy your music in private.
This is compact (about 9 inches long) and lightweight, and comes with a large handle so it’s easy to carry. Bring it along plus some extra AA batteries, and you’re in for a more enjoyable time camping.
- Large 4-inch speaker
- Simple analog station ID display
- Large tuning knob
- AM/FM radio
- Comes with earphone jack
- Powered by 4 AA batteries
6. Greadio Emergency Weather Solar Radio for Camping and Outdoors
This isn’t really too big. It’s about as large as a high-quality flashlight, and it’s not surprising that this works as a flashlight too. It comes with a sizable handle on top, but it isn’t too hard to carry since it weighs just over a pound.
This is powered by a 4000mAh rechargeable battery, which you can recharge fully in just 5 hours. That will give you 15 hours of radio use (or 17 hours of flashlight use). You can recharge this with the micro-USB cable, with the solar panel, or by turning the hand crank. For backup, you can also put in 3 AA batteries.
This gives you AM and FM radio, and there’s also an aux-in jack so you can connect your smartphone. That means you can play your smartphone music but use this radio’s 2 large speakers for better audio quality.
This also gives access to the 7 NOAA weather channels, and these can give you any weather alert for your location.
At night, you can use this as a regular flashlight to move around a dark campsite. Or you can sit and relax, and use this as a reading lamp just before you sleep. This can also emit an SOS alarm to get the attention of emergency responders.
- AM/FM radio with NOAA weather channels
- Aux-in jack to connect your smartphone
- Full charge for the battery gives you 15 hours of music
- Battery can be recharged by solar panel or hand crank
- 3 AA batteries for backup power
- Works as flashlight, reading lamp, or SOS beacon
7. Sangean TB-100 (Toughbox) AM / FM / AUX Portable Camping radio
Yes, this looks tough. The main body is surrounded by a rubber roll cage on all sides so that dropping this won’t cause any damage. The body of the radio itself is made from tough ABS. In addition, this is also water and dust resistant. You won’t have to worry about the rain, as even the speakers are waterproof.
The speaker in front is quite large at 5.25 inches, which gives you the nice audio you want for relaxing in your campsite. You also get a nice, readable LCD screen with backlighting. Then you have 5 1-touch buttons for your favorite AM and FM stations, giving you 10 memory slots all in all.
Or you can just use the aux-in jack to connect your smartphone or mp3 player, so that you can enjoy your own digital music collection.
This comes with a 9-foot attached AC power cord, which is great if your campsite has a power outlet. That means you don’t really need to set this up too near the outlet. You can also just use 4 C batteries, while you wind up the electrical cable at the back of the radio.
All in all, this is a tough radio that offers excellent music. In a campsite, that’s basically what most people want to have a good time.
- Long electrical plug
- Can be powered by 3 AA batteries
- AM and FM radio with 10 presets
- Backlit LCD screen
- Very tough, with terrific resistance to shock, dust, and water
- Large speaker with dynamic loudness for great music
- Aux-in jack allows for smartphone and mp3 player connection
8. iRonsnow IS-388 Emergency Radio for Camping
You won’t ever have to worry about getting the news whenever you want to when you’re at a campsite. This radio gives you AM and FM radio, plus shortwave (SW1 and SW2). You also get access to the 7 NOAA weather channels, and you can automatically receive any weather alerts if there’s a problem.
This comes with a 2300mAh rechargeable battery, and you can use this radio to recharge your smartphones. You can use the micro-USB port to recharge this battery, though you can also use the solar panel and the hand crank. For backup, you can also put in 3 AA batteries.
This may be a compact radio at less than 8 inches long, but it offers plenty of uses. You can put in a micro-SD card filled with your mp3 collection. It also works as a flashlight and as a reading lamp at night.
- AM, FM, shortwave radio, and NOAA weather channels
- Comes with rechargeable battery and acts as power pack for your smartphone
- Plays micro-USD cards as mp3 player
- Compact at less than 8 inches
- Can be recharged through solar panel and hand crank
- Uses 3 AA batteries for backup
- Works as flashlight and reading lamp
9. C. Crane CC Skywave SSB AM, FM, Shortwave Portable Travel Radio
This certainly isn’t cheap, but then you get a long list of features here that make you ready for any emergency. Even in a zombie apocalypse, this will help. That’s somewhat surprising when you consider its small size.
If you’re looking for info, this radio can provide it. This offers AM and FM radio, but you also get the NOAA weather channels and alerts. In fact, you even get Single Side Band (SSB) and VHF Aviation (Airband).
On every band except the weather band, you get fast or fine-tuning. It also offers 400 memory slots for your favorite stations.
This comes with a backlit LCD screen, which can display the time in 12/24-hour mode. It also offers lots of buttons for direct station entry and for getting to your favorite stations. Other features include an alarm along with a stereo headphone jack.
Your purchase actually comes with high-quality earphones along with a faux leather case for this radio. You only need 2 AA batteries to run this for at least 60 hours (70 hours with earphones). However, you can also buy the CC Skywave AC power adapter 5V DC 300 mA with mini USB tip to power this.
All in all, you really get your money’s worth.
- Extremely compact
- Comes with free earphones and a leather case
- AM/FM, NOAA weather channels, SSB, and Airband stations
- 400 memory slots for stations
- Numeric keypad
- Works as clock with alarm
- Backlit LCD screen
- Runs 60 hours on 2 AA batteries
10. TECSUN R-9012 AM/FM/SW 12 Bands Shortwave Radio
At first glance, it looks like an old-fashioned radio. It’s tiny at just 5 inches long, and it only weighs 200 grams (about 7 ounces). The front has the speaker and the large analog radio ID display, plus the switch for FM, AM (labeled as MW here), and SW.
On the sides, you have the large dial on the right for tuning. On the left you have the volume control. It’s easy to use.
But that’s really all you need if you want to get music and news from your radio. To power this, you can connect a DC 3V adapter. But you can also just put in 2 AA batteries.
This offers great reception despite the size, with low noise issues. The built-in speaker works well enough, but there’s an earphone jack as well. It is compact enough for easy carrying, and there’s a carrying strap too.
- AM, FM, and shortwave radio
- Simple analog tuning and display
- Powered by DC adapter and 2 AA batteries
- Comes with speaker and earphone jack
- Compact and easy to carry to campsite
Overview of Camping Radio
It’s true that a lot of people go camping to enjoy the sounds and silence of nature. But that can be boring after a while. Eventually, you may want to listen to music as a way to fend off boredom. A good portable camping radio will help you in this situation.
Best Portable Camping Radio – Buying Guide
There are some important factors you need to consider when you want to buy the best camping radio. Look for the following features:
Sure, your audio system at home sounds great. But it won’t be practical for you to bring your multiple components along with huge speakers to a campsite.
Portability is the main issue here. The best radio for camping needs be small, lightweight, and easy to carry. Find something that fits nicely in your backpack, or maybe even in your pocket.
One of the main problems with bringing a radio to your camping site is that this will increase the chances of dropping to radio on the ground. That’s not good news for fragile radios. What you need is a tough unit with ample shock-proofing, so that drops like these won’t affect the radio.
Another feature you’ll need is waterproofing. It might rain and your radio can get wet. You may also drop the radio into a puddle. Your campsite may even be at the beach or lake, and you may drop your radio into the water. Your radio has to survive these events.
In a campsite, you won’t have walls that can reflect the sound waves and improve the acoustics. That’s why your smartphone doesn’t sound all that nice outdoors.
But the best camping radio can offer bigger and better speakers, and you can get much improved sound quality. Try to get a radio with ample bass, even though portable radios may not be big enough for truly booming bass. At the very least, you can get better bass than what you get with your “treble-only” smartphone speakers.
The most common option for portable radios is to use batteries. Just have spare batteries in your backpack.
If you have a rechargeable battery built-in, there should be multiple recharging options such as solar panel and hand crank. Remember that some campsites don’t have convenient power plugs so you can use an adapter to recharge the battery. In case of emergencies, you need to know about weather alerts for your area.
Regular radios generally offer FM and AM radio. However,the best weather radio for camping will give you access to the NOAA weather channels. You can even get NOAA alerts even when you’re playing music or even when the unit is turned off.
There are other functions you can look for that makes your camping radio a lot more useful:
Some radio models can act as power banks for your smartphone, which is crucial if you need to call for help.
Some radios also work as flashlights and reading lamps. They may even emit SOS lights and buzzers to get the attention of emergency responders.
For more music variety, see if your radio has a micro-SD port or an aux-in jack so you can play your mp3 collection.
Why Do You Need a Camping Radio?
- It gives you music so you’re not bored.
- You can tune in to the news.
- The best portable camping radio can give you weather alerts so you can prepare for bad weather.
FAQs on Camping Radio
Why doesn’t my radio have AM radio and instead it has MW radio?
AM and MW both refer to the same band of stations. AM radio is sometimes known as medium wave, which is why it’s called MW.
Why do I need a shortwave radio for camping?
While you don’t absolutely need shortwave radio, it adds variety to your usual AM and FM stations. Sometimes you can even get broadcasts from other continents!
How much power does the hand crank offer?
It doesn’t offer much, which is why it’s mostly for emergencies only. Each minute of cranking gives you maybe 2 minutes of radio music.
How many spare batteries do I need for camping?
Always bring an extra set of batteries for your radio when you go camping. To be on the safe side, bring 1 set of batteries for each day of camping.
Safety is always a concern when you’re camping, because inclement weather can suddenly head your way. Boredom is another issue, especially if you go camping alone. All these problems can be solved with the best portable radio for camping.
Bring one along the next time you go camping, and you won’t regret it. You don’t risk much—they’re affordable and easy to carry. But the benefits you get will be tremendous.