Life can get overwhelming. After a few months of work, family, and social obligations, I am usually ready for a week-long retreat in nature. Dreaming of camping in a remote area surrounded by natural beauty, while dedicating my time to meditating, hiking, and reading, sounds like a piece of heaven.
However, it’s difficult to fully unplug. Although it’s nice to be away from work stress or constantly scrolling social media, I usually still want to have the option to check in with my family, post photos online, and watch a show or two.
Aside from personal reasons, you will need a power source for practical reasons. You might want to power up your heater or have a backup energy source during a potential power outage.
Luckily, there are many fast-charging portable power banks on the market that are lightweight and easy to carry to and from campsites. Keep reading to get a list of my favorite portable battery packs and why they will make your next remote getaway so much easier.
My Favorite Portable Power Stations
After testing many portable power stations, these are the choices I recommend to my friends and family.
The Jackery Portable Power Station is the compact option of my dreams. It’s 40 percent smaller than most power stations and only weighs 7 pounds, so I can carry it from campsite to campsite without an issue.
Despite its small size, it still holds a 293Wh battery capacity. It can fully charge any devices or small appliances that I bring with me in a quick charge time.
It only takes 2 hours to charge the power station up to 80 percent and it is compatible with solar panels for solar charging. Although solar panels aren’t included, the Jackery SolarSaga 100 solar panels fit perfectly with this power station and are a wonderful addition. It features two pure sine wave AC inverter outlets, a USB-C, and a USB port; it should be compatible with any charging cord.
The Anker Portable Generator is still compact in design but is a more heavy-duty option for a power station. This power generator has a 778Wh capacity and the option to charge up to 16 devices at once.
Not only can it charge all your devices at once, but this is also a great option for total backup protection if you experience a power outage at your Airbnb or destination cabin. If you need to power a TV, mini fridge, large fan, or slow cooker (in addition to your personal devices), this is your best bet.
Although it does not come with solar panels, it boasts versatile compatibility, so any solar panels you have or purchase should work with this generator. It has a built-in flashlight and light panel with three different intensity settings.
You shouldn’t have a problem plugging in devices, either, since this generator comes with two AC outlets, two USB-C ports, four USB-A ports, one vehicle-class outlet, and two DC outlets.
The MARBERO 88Wh Portable Power Station is the smallest option, best for quick emergencies. It barely weighs over 2 pounds and is small enough to throw in my backpack. It has an 88Wh capacity, making it perfect for a few phone charges or for working on my laptop. The MARBERO doesn’t come with solar panels but is compatible with many alternatives.
This power station features a high-powered LED flashlight on the side, giving it a dual purpose. This is fantastic for a long day of hiking or a one- or two-night stay at a camping site.
This power station packs a good punch, given its large wattage capacity and sleek design. The BLUETTI power station has a 500Wh capacity with the ability to charge 11 devices simultaneously.
The BLUETTI AC50S Portable Power Station comes equipped with two AC outlets, one USB-C, four USB-A ports, two 12V/3A ports, one DC car output, one 10W wireless charging pad, and one LED lighting panel. It only takes about 6 hours to fully charge from solar panels, so one afternoon in the sun should be all you need.
Additionally, it’s light in design and even features a carrying handle to make for easy transportation.
The Togo Power 346wh Portable Power Station is the perfect middle-of-the-road option between a high-capacity, heavy-duty unit and a lower-capacity, sleek model. This power station has a 346Wh capacity and has the ability to power personal devices, lamps, fans, and even a mini cooler.
Its design is extremely durable and also features a carrying handle. Additionally, it comes with one standard AC outlet, two DC5525 outlets, one cigarette lighter port, and one wireless charger. It has one USB-C port and three USB Type-A ports, which means it can charge up to nine devices at once.
It’s compatible with the Advance 120 W solar panel, sold separately, and weighs under 10 pounds. All around, this is a wonderful, reliable option that will give you all the power you need for a multi-day camping trip.
What Is A Portable Power Station?
Simply put, a portable battery power station is basically one big power supply that can act as an adapter-free powerhouse for your devices and tools. A portable power station is designed for remote trips where you most likely won’t have access to wall outlets but still need full functionality out of your smartphone, laptop, and other devices.
A portable power station allows you to power or charge any devices or tools you need. They are often equipped with USB, micro-USB, and 12-volt power output charging ports.
Why Do You Need A Portable Power Station?
If you are wondering why you would need to invest in a portable power station for what is supposed to be an “unplugged” getaway, it will come in handy much more than you might think.
Full Charge On Your Phone
First and foremost, no matter how much you want to stay off your phone for a relaxing vacation, you should never be totally without a backup power source. It can provide a connection to family, friends, or emergency services.
Even if it’s just a quick, daily check-in with loved ones, letting them know where you are and what your plans are for the day, your phone should have the battery life so it’s ready to use and keep you safe — even if you’re off-grid in the Himalayas or the Amazon rainforest.
While it’s tempting to plan a camping trip that doesn’t require any devices or appliances, you will be thankful when you can plug in a few devices. While you don’t need to do a full-on “glamping” trip (unless you want to), it’s nice to plug in a small heater overnight to make sleeping outside during the colder months more comfortable.
Additionally, eating beans out of a can or deli meat on bread for the 5th day in a row can get a little old. I enjoy elevating my camping experience by using my portable power source to plug in a blender for smoothies, a waffle maker for morning waffles, or a portable stovetop for bacon and eggs.
You want to make sure you are properly fueled for your camping activities and having power to help you cook will make achieving that goal much easier — without having to turn to a gas-powered generator.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have booked a cabin in a remote area that did not end up having usable outlets. Even if they promise a full electric hookup, you can never be too cautious.
Sometimes the outlets only work with certain chargers or, for some reason, at certain times of the day. Just to play it safe, bring your own power station so that you aren’t stuck running around your cabin looking for an outlet that works.
And, of course, if you are camping without a cabin, you definitely won’t have easy access to outlets and will definitely need your own power source.
I love to travel and have found myself taking more remote trips after the pandemic changed the way I look at vacationing. I have found that investing in a high-quality power station has opened up the possibilities for vacation destinations and increased the runtime of many of my trips.
Plus, I use my power station as an at-home backup in case of an outage, with its lithium-ion battery providing enough energy to keep my phone alive.
Additionally, I know my power station will last me a long, long time. I can throw it in my car on any trip for an added layer of security. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
What To Look For In A Portable Power Station
If you have never bought a portable power station before, I totally understand how you feel. Reading about the specifications can seem confusing and it can be difficult to understand what to even look for.
Here are some guidelines that helped me when I was deciding what portable power station to get:
The amount of power that your portable power station can hold is measured in watt-hours, written as Wh. The more watt-hours a portable power station has, the more power it has to charge and power your devices and tools.
Portable power stations can range from 50 Wh up to 6,000 Wh. If you are camping and looking for something simple that can charge your phones and power a small fan, you only need a capacity of a few hundred-watt hours. However, if you are trying to power large-scale appliances or protect your home from a blackout, you will need a higher level of watt-hour capacity.
Size is definitely something to keep in mind when buying a portable power station. Most likely, you will have to travel some distance from your car to your camping site. Lugging all of your camping gear, including your clothes, food, and essentials, is enough work; you don’t want to add on a huge, heavy power source.
Luckily, most portable power sources have this issue in mind and are designed to be compact and a breeze to carry.
A major benefit of portable power sources is that many of them can be charged using solar panels. This means that while you are camping, you can leave your power station out in the sun for a few hours during the day and have a fully charged power station. That solar power is present in several of our top picks listed above.
A solar generator also gives you the ability to extend your remote stay as long as you would like because, as long as you have sun, you will have power.
Charged And Ready To Go!
Don’t let your relaxing and restorative outdoor getaway be tainted by a dead cell phone. Stay connected and power small camping gadgets to make your experience fun, comfortable, and safe. Whichever portable power source you choose will be provided with a reliable, steady power connection.
I never go camping without my portable power source now, and soon you will wonder how you ever lived without one.
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