Do Campgrounds Charge for Electricity?

Camper van plugged up to campground electricity

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Electricity is something most of us use daily without giving much thought to it. Whether it’s powering our smartphones or running the air conditioner, it is a crucial part of our lives. However, when it comes to camping, electricity isn’t as much in demand. Many people go completely off the grid for camping and may not use any electricity.

However, campgrounds are usually set up to provide electricity for those who need it but do they charge you extra for it?

Most campgrounds charge for electricity and this cost is usually included in your campsite fee. This usually means that you’ll pay extra for a campsite that has electrical hookups. On average, expect to pay about $5-$10 per day for electric hookups at a campground.

Many campgrounds have different options including primitive campsites and ones for partial or full hookups. You will pay more for those that have access to full hookups, which usually include water, sewer, and electrical service.

Read on for more information on how campgrounds charge for electricity, tips on reducing your power consumption while camping, and more!

Is Electricity Included in Campsites?

Electricity is included in most campsites as one of the amenities. This is convenient for campers who need to use electrical appliances or charge devices. While some isolated sites may not have electricity, it is increasingly common for even remote camping areas to offer this service.

Electricity hook-ups are often available in 15, 30, or 50 amp services required by different types of RVs. Some people might not need or want to have this feature while camping, but it’s a convenient amenity option.

When determining if a particular campsite meets your needs, it is crucial to determine what type of power hookups are available. If your RV requires 50 amps and the only options at the campground are 30 or 15, you may not be able to utilize the electrical service.

I have a 15 amp plug on my van and this allows me to stay at any campsite that offers electricity. With an adapter, I can plug into a 30 or 50-amp service. While 15 amps won’t provide enough power for a larger, higher-consumption RV, it’s perfect for my minimalistic electrical setup.

Do Campers Use a Lot of Electricity?

Campers do not use a lot of electricity. For example, a typical RV uses just 20 kWh of electricity daily, 10 kWh lower than the average house, which requires around 30 kWh. Therefore, a camper’s average monthly electric bill is significantly lower than that of an average home.

Even if you factor in using some appliances that consume more electricity, such as air conditioners and hair dryers, campers still use considerably less power than people who live in homes.

To improve efficiency, some campers install solar panels on their roofs. These harness the sun’s energy and can dramatically reduce your reliance on generators and the grid.

Another option is to choose an RV that comes with built-in solar panels. This is a common option nowadays and is available on most newer RVs. Some are even self-sufficient, meaning they generate all the power they need without any help from outside sources.

This is one of the reasons why camping is becoming increasingly popular among those looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Some people don’t like to rely on solar power but I wouldn’t be without mine. It has allowed me to go anywhere I want and not have to worry about having electricity. While I do plug into shore power when available, it isn’t always a necessity. The self-sufficiency of my van gives me a good feeling when I’m traveling.

Tips for Reducing Power Consumption When Camping

Any experienced camper will tell you that one of the keys to a successful camping trip is minimizing your reliance on electricity. Not only does this help to reduce your carbon footprint, but it could potentially save you money on campground fees and allow you to unplug from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Camping is best when it is done primitively so that you can enjoy the nature around you rather than relying on electronic devices to entertain you. Camping allows you to get away from all of this so less reliance on these types of items will bring you the most joy on a camping trip.

So, how do you reduce power consumption when camping?

Here are a few tips:

Bring a Solar Charger To Keep Your Devices Powered

Portable solar charger and phone

One way to reduce your power consumption when camping is to bring a solar charger. If your RV or camping setup is not already equipped with solar panels, this will be a good addition to help you harness electrical power from the sun in a minimalistic way.

Solar chargers are easy to use and are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint when camping. In addition, they are relatively inexpensive and can be a great way to save money on your camping trip.

Even if you already have solar installed on your RV, a portable solar charger can take care of smaller devices while you maintain a charge on your larger system.

As an example, the Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station is small, lightweight, and easy to include in your camping packing list. It’s one of the highest-rated solar chargers on the market thanks to its durable construction, efficient design, and affordable price tag. Goal Zero is known for its innovative solar products and I can vouch for how good they work as I use a Goal Zero system to power my entire camper van.

Bring a Battery Pack To Keep Your Devices Charged

Another sure-fire way to reduce your need to plug into the electrical grid while camping is to bring a spare battery pack. This way, you can recharge your devices without using a generator or plugging into an outlet.

Of course, you’ll need to make sure the battery pack is charged before leaving. Depending on how long your camping trip is and the size battery pack you have, it may get you through the entire trip, allowing you to charge your small devices multiple times.

In addition, battery packs are relatively inexpensive and can be a great way to save money on your camping trip. The Anker 325 Power Bank Portable Charger is a great choice and provides you with a 20,000mAh cell capacity to help keep your small devices charged for several days.

Bring an Led Flashlight for When the Sun Goes Down

Besides the tips I’ve mentioned, you can reduce your power consumption when camping by bringing an LED flashlight for when the sun goes down.

These flashlights use less power than traditional incandescent flashlights, and they last longer too.

As a result, you’ll save battery power, and you won’t have to worry about changing batteries as often. If it’s a rechargeable flashlight, you’ll be able to charge it with your portable solar charger or battery pack. In addition, LED flashlights emit a brighter, more focused light than incandescent flashlights, making them ideal for campers who need to participate in activities after dark.

I prefer the UCO Leschi Compact LED Lantern and Flashlight as it is small, fits into my pocket easily and can be used as a small flashlight or a small lantern. There are numerous options on the market so you will have no problem finding one that works well for you.

Use Low Power Consumption Fans

Camping in the summertime can be quite uncomfortable if you are in a hot and humid climate. The most obvious way to combat the heat is to use an AC if your RV is equipped. However, many smaller RVs, vans, or trailers aren’t equipped with them so you’ll need to find other ways to stay cool.

Small 12-volt or USB-powered fans can help you combat the heat while using minimal electricity. In fact, you can run one of these fans on a portable solar charger or battery pack for quite a while on a full charge. Even if your RV is equipped with AC, it’s good to make use of windows and fans as often as you can in order to reduce your dependence on the electrical grid.

For those camping in tents and smaller RV setups that don’t have air conditioning, fans are an absolute must! I use a combination of windows, a roof fan and a USB-powered fan in my van to help move air throughout the living space. This has always worked well for me.

Cook Meals on a Campfire or a Propane Camping Stove

Cooking noodles over campfire

One significant way to reduce power consumption when camping is by cooking meals on a campfire or on a propane camping stove instead of relying on an electric stove or microwave (if your RV is equipped). Not only is this more fun, but it will also not require any electrical usage.

Besides, there’s nothing quite like the taste of a meal cooked over an open fire.

Pack Light and Only Bring What You Need

While this may not be directly related to electrical energy consumption, packing light and only including the essentials will help you to enjoy camping for what it is. Some campers want to bring an entire RV full of entertainment along on the trip. While this will provide you with lots to do, it will also distract you from the joy of the camping experience.

Camping provides a great opportunity to get back to the basics. You can enjoy a card game rather than scrolling on your phone or sit outside and marvel at the stars in the sky. This may sound boring to some but allowing yourself to step away from all the distractions of daily life can be healing for your soul.

If you are interested in other ways to make your trip better and save money in the process, here’s an insightful video that will come in handy:

Limit Your Use of Electronics

Last but not least, one of the best ways to reduce your power consumption when camping is to limit your use of electronics. This means turning off your cellphone, tablet, laptop, and other electronic devices when you’re not using them.

Not only will this save battery power, but it will also help you to unplug from the digital world and enjoy the great outdoors. This good old-fashioned way of living is what makes camping fun. Rather than electronics, how about reading a book, drawing, or taking part in some other type of art form.

Allow nature to inspire you to be creative rather than just getting lost in a screen as you would in your regular life.


In a nutshell, electricity is included in most non-primitive campsites, and most campgrounds charge extra for these campsites. However, This is usually a non-issue. I have been to many campgrounds and the cost for full hookups is minimal when you consider the benefits. Once parked and plugged up, you will generally have access to an unlimited amount of electrical power.

There are plenty of ways to reduce your power consumption when camping. For example, you can bring a solar charger, pack a spare battery, or use an LED flashlight instead of an incandescent one. In addition, you can cook meals on a campfire or over the stovetop, pack light, and limit your use of electronics.

Dan Collins

I consider myself an outdoor enthusiast. I love to travel and go to places that most people don't get a chance to go. I want to see it all and live life to the fullest while I'm alive. My camper van is helping me to do just that. I write about my experiences to help inspire others to do the same.

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