Update Best Lightweight Battery Pack Review – In recent years, the rise of portable battery chargers or power banks has meant that going outside no longer means going off the grid. And being able to charge your devices even when you’re miles from mains offers some undeniable benefits. After all, a working phone can be a lifesaver in an emergency. We’ve tested ten of the best portable power banks and solar chargers for backpacking in various sizes and capacities. So whether you’re after a small, light pocket buddy or a rugged, heavy duty hero, there should be something for you. The group also tested three solar-powered chargers. They offer an alternative solution to the perennial energy problem for adventurers planning to spend several days in the wilderness.
First, think about how much power you will need and how long you can be away from the power source. This will determine what size power bank you need in terms of battery capacity, which is usually measured in milliamp hours (mAh).
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To help you out, keep in mind that it typically takes 2,500 to 3,500mAh to charge a modern smartphone (although many factors can affect power consumption). A GPS unit or digital camera is likely to use the same amount of power when charging, while a head torch, smartwatch or GoPro will use much less when charging. High-powered devices like tablets and laptops are the biggest drain on battery capacity.
The Best Portable Chargers For 2022
Simply put, the higher the rated capacity (in mAh), the more juice the power bank can store – although the trade-off is increased size and weight. So if you’re carrying a smartphone on a day trip and want a backup power source, look for a pocket-sized battery charger. On the other hand, if you plan to spend several days in the wilderness with multiple devices (such as GPS, phone, GoPro, and digital camera), you’ll need one of the larger power banks around. (probably 20,000mAh+).
You will also need a power bank that supports simultaneous charging to effectively power multiple devices, ie. One with at least two or more outlet ports. Many recent models also offer features like fast charging via USB or USB-C connections, as well as internal technologies to prevent overcharging and optimize charging efficiency.
Also consider your environment. In damp, humid conditions or on expeditions you may need a waterproof and rugged power bank, which can handle moisture or even full submersion as well as shocks and knocks. If so, look for a product with a certified IP (international protection) rating, usually expressed as two letters or a number, such as IPX6 or IP67. This standard classifies the degree of protection provided against penetration, dust, accidental contact and water.
In addition to being shock and water resistant, power banks designed specifically for the outdoors often have LED lights, so they can be used as torches. This can be a useful extra feature, as well as a power bank with an integrated charging cable – so you don’t have to bring a separate cable with you.
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Other devices have integrated or additional solar panels, which provide the ability to generate power by harnessing energy from the sun. Solar panels are becoming more efficient all the time, meaning it’s now a viable option for those looking to spend days or even weeks off the grid. Most solar panels charge a power bank for a few hours, but others can be plugged directly into your device.
One of the most innovative pieces of outdoor gear we’ve seen recently, GP Battery’s The Charge Anyway is a 2-in-1 battery charger and power bank. It comes with 4 x RecyKo+ rechargeable AA batteries. All these batteries can be used separately from the power bank. That means this power bank and battery has the versatility to charge your smartphone or battery-powered devices like a head torch. It’s also easy to use, thanks to a dual-color LED indicator that shows charging status. Internal safety protection provides protection against overheating, overload or short circuit.
Advantages: Lightweight, versatile, easy to use and environmentally friendly, as it uses rechargeable batteries instead of lithium ion cells, reducing your reliance on disposable AA batteries.
Cons: Not the fastest. The supplied 4 x AA RecyKo+ AA batteries take approximately 6 hours to fully charge It is not as fast as other portable chargers when used as a power bank due to the 1A USB output.
Best Power Banks Of 2022
The smallest power bank tested, the Biolite Charge 20 weighs under 200g and fits easily in a pocket. It has a capacity of 5,200mAh – enough to charge about two smartphones. It is easy to manage. Just one button lights up a four LED indicator that tells you how much juice is left There is a micro-USB input and a USB 2.1A output, which offers quite fast charging. The stainless steel housing is sleek and durable, while a flip top lid helps protect the port from dirt and moisture. The Charge 20 has an IPX6 rating, which offers resistance to rain and spills. It comes with its own charging cable.
Advantages: Light, compact and durable. Put it in a pocket and head to the mountains for peace of mind, knowing you can keep your phone alive all day.
Cons: A single outlet port and limited battery capacity mean this little guy reaches its limits when it comes to charging larger devices.
The Goal Zero Venture 70 is a highly rugged, waterproof power bank with an IP67 rating. It has a rather generous capacity of 17,700mAh – enough to charge a smartphone five times (although the manufacturer quotes up to six charges). Two fast 2.4A USB outputs can charge two devices at the same time.
The Best Portable Chargers And Power Banks In 2022
The Venture 70 has a Smart Charge feature that can detect different devices. It then applies the fastest possible charging profile without the risk of overheating or overcharging. It allows pass-through charging. This means you can safely charge devices from the power bank even when it is plugged into the mains. We also liked the built-in 65-lumen LED torch, which has two brightness settings and three strobe modes, including SOS.
Pros: Packed with useful features and some sophisticated internal technology. The extremely rugged, waterproof housing with integrated cables makes the Venture 70 a very practical option for the outdoors.
Cons: It’s the heaviest power bank in this roundup, and also the most expensive If you really want to get the most out of the product, you need to read the instruction manual. It explains how to initiate the smart charging sequence whenever you plug in a device for the first time.
Zendure’s state-of-the-art A6PB power bank features USB-C and 3.0A outlet ports for fast charging of two devices at the same time. It has a generous capacity of 20,100mAh, which is enough to fully charge the iPhone X 5½ times. We found that real-world performance matched the manufacturer’s claims. It also offers pass-through charging. Automatic detection means devices start charging as soon as they are plugged in Adaptive charging automatically adjusts output to charge your device at the best possible speed. The A6PD also has internal protection against short circuit, power surge, overheating and overcharging. It comes with a protective cloth pouch and a USB cable.
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Pros: With the fastest charge times of any power bank in this roundup, the A6PD is ideal for those who need to juice up their latest devices quickly.
Cons: Despite being housed in a very rugged composite case, this power bank does not have an IP rating and is not waterproof.
With USB-C and twin 2.4A outputs, the Battery GP M series power bank supports the latest devices and offers fast charging. You can charge up to three devices at the same time. The 15,000mAh capacity gives a real-world performance of about four to five smartphone charges (although the manufacturer quotes six). It’s very simple and easy to use – a single button with four LED indicator lights and automatic device detection means you can plug in and go. It comes with a 2-in-1 micro-USB and USB-C cable.
Pros: Striking a good balance between power, weight and size, it’s a competitively priced all-rounder. For us, it is the best value option in this test. The triple outlet ports are very useful, while the USB-C input/output supports the latest devices and allows fast mains charging.
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Cons: Although the case has non-slip rubber coated edges that can help absorb minor impacts, the power bank does not have an IP rating. It also doesn’t get a protective bag.
Thanks to its IPX7 rating, this power bank from Outdoor Tech can be submerged in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. This makes it very suitable for the most demanding conditions. It has a built-in 100-lumen torch with three light settings – another useful feature for the outdoors. The design is compact and relatively light, while the 10,000mAh capacity gives you the real-world performance of just three full smartphone charges. However, although there are two USB outlet ports, there is only one of them
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