Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you can’t keep all your devices fully charged.
A portable power device is the key to charging smartphones, GPS devices, cameras, and laptops at the campground or on a road trip.
It’s even possible to power a CPAP while camping, run a refrigerator or electric cooler, or even use a heater with the right portable power station.
Today, we’re going to look at the best portable power for camping in 2021.
Looking for a portable solar panel for camping? Our guide to camping solar panels breaks down the top options in detail!
Best Portable Power for Camping in 2021
We’ve done a lot of research over the past several years. We’ve constantly updated our top picks as new products have been released and old products have been refined.
With that in mind, these are the top 7 best portable power devices for camping in 2021.
1. Goal Zero Yeti 150
Type: Portable Power Station
The Goal Zero Yeti 150 is hands down our favorite portable power station for camping in 2021.
As a power station, it’s not exactly light (it clocks in at 12 pounds), but it packs a big punch in terms of battery capacity and charging power.
It has 168 watt hours of battery capacity which is more than enough to charge smartphones, tablets, and even laptops. I’ve run string lights and a heating pad off of this Goal Zero power station with no issue.
Of course, the Yeti 150 does have its limitations. It’s not designed to provide continuous power to appliances like refrigerators, CPAP machines, or electric heaters.
Luckily, Goal Zero has an extensive line of power stations for those that need a little more oomph.
The Yeti 150 pairs seamlessly with Goal Zero’s extensive line of portable solar panels, including the Goal Zero Boulder 50.
2. Jackery Explorer 500
Type: Power Station
The Jackery Explorer 500 is a fantastic mid-size portable power station for camping.
Designed specifically for camping and off-the-grid living, the Explorer 500 boasts a highly reliable lithium ion battery that provides 518 watt hour battery capacity, 500 watts rated power, and 1,000 watts surge power.
It has multiple outlet ports, including three USB ports, an AC outlet, and a 12V car outlet. You can recharge the device via AC wall outlet, DC car outlet, or with a portable solar panel.
What I like most about this Jackery power station is its durable design (this thing is seriously rugged) and its surprisingly lightweight. It weighs in at just a hair over 13 pounds.
The Jackery Explorer 500 is a solid all-around power station. It’s great for charging small devices and can even power a CPAP machine overnight.
I personally prefer Goal Zero power stations, but I know a heck of a lot of people that favor those from Jackery above all else. The brand has a solid reputation in the outdoor industry.
3. Goal Zero Nomad 10
Type: Solar Charger
The Goal Zero Nomad 10 is our top choice for on-the-go campers.
Unlike a power station, this solar charger is super lightweight (just 1 lb 1.6 oz) which makes it perfect for backpacking.
Another key difference is the lack of battery storage. Instead of charging your devices off a battery, you actually charge your devices from the solar panel itself.
Naturally, this poses a big limitation. You can only use the Nomad 10 during the day. Although you can hang it from your backpack to use on the move, it works much better on the ground in a sunny location.
Despite these setbacks, a solar charger is a fantastic option for backpackers where saving weight is a huge concern. It does a surprisingly solid job at charging headlamps, smartphones, GPS navigators, and other small devices.
I really like that the Goal Zero Nomad 10 has a built-in kickstand to get the best charging angle towards the sun.
Personally, I almost always pair this solar charger with a portable power bank (I like the Goal Zero Flip 36) on my backpacking trips. That way, I still have the ability to charge my devices at night without adding much weight.
4. Nekteck 21
Type: Solar Charger
The Nekteck 21 is a robust solar charger for those on a budget.
It boasts 21 watts solar cell output capacity for just a fraction of the cost of many competitors. It clocks in at just 17.3 ounces total, making it ideal for backpacking.
The Nekteck 21 has two fast-charging USB ports so you can charge two devices at once. Built-in smart technology enables the solar charger to detect which type of devices you’re charging to best maximize charging speed.
Another highlight of this backpacking solar panel is its durability. High-quality materials are used to prevent damage in the field. A canvas outer layer protects the device from bumps and bruises. It’s also water resistant.
The only drawback is the lack of an internal battery. This can be easily solved by packing along a portable power bank.
5. Suaoki S270
Type: Power Station
The Suaoki S270 is another one of our favorite portable power stations for camping in 2021.
Although it’s not my favorite, I like the Suaoki because of its lightweight, compact design. It weighs just 2.9 pounds. Two hideable carry handles make it easy to move around the campsite.
The Suaoki S270 has 10 charging ports for all your charging needs. It boasts 150 watt hours of power output. It can charge all devices under 100 watts.
This is a great choice for budget campers thanks to its low price. It’s also quite durable which means you won’t have to replace it anytime soon.
6. Anker PowerCore II+ 6700
Type: Power Pack
The Anker PowerCore II+ 6700 is small but it packs a big punch.
As a portable power pack, it’s incredibly lightweight and doesn’t require solar to provide a charge.
It’s a great option for backpacking but I also love it for camping, hiking, and road trips. It’s also a good choice for an emergency kit.
This Anker power pack is notable for its stellar capacity-to-size ratio. It weights just 5 ounces and measures just 3.7 x 1.8 x 1 inches. But it packs a whopping charge.
To top it off, the PowerCore II+ 6700 is sleek and stylish. It has 6 bright LED lights to let you know how much juice is left in the battery bank.
7. Maxoak Bluetti EB150
Type: Power Station
The Maxoak Bluetti EB150 might be last on our list – but it’s definitely worth a look.
As far as high-capacity power stations go, it’s honestly one of my favorites for camping in 2021.
The EB150 produces 1500 watt hours and 100 max watts. You can recharge the power station via wall outlet, car outlet, or solar panel.
Because of its high capacity, recharging this Bluetti power station isn’t exactly quick. With most solar panel setups, it will take several days to get a full charge.
The EB150 has several USB ports and two AC outlets. The LED screen shows you how much battery life is left.
Personally, the Maxoak Bluetti EB150 is my top recommendation for long-term camping such as vandwelling or off-grid living. Pair it with a solar panel setup for the best benefits possible.
Portable Power Buyer`s Guide
Here are a few of the most important things to keep in mind when reviewing your options for the best portable power supply for camping.
Before You Buy
Here are the most important factors to consider before buying portable power for camping.
- Type of Device – What do you intend to power? Your smartphone, laptop, a television, a refrigerator?
- Power Output – How much power do you need? Most manufacturers measure this in mAh (milliamp hours). About 10,000 mAh translates to 3 complete smartphone charges.
- Type of Camping – Are you backpacking, car camping, or boondocking? Backpacking requires a small, lightweight portable power device outlet while boondocking has few size/weight limits.
- Frequency of Camping – How often do you camp? If you camp on a regular basis, it`s probably worth investing in a more powerful device (even if it costs more upfront).
- Camping Location – Solar power for camping is hot right now. Yet it`s not right for every location. You`re better off with battery power in many locations.
Your answers to these questions dictate, at least partially, what type of portable power bank for camping is right for you.
How to Choose Portable Power For Camping
Now that you have a better idea of what type of portable power device is best for you, here’s what you need to know to further narrow your options.
- Number of Users – Will only you be using the power device? Or do you need one capable of powering devices from several users?
- Age of Users – Those with children should select portable power devices that are safe for youngsters to use.
- Power Type – How is the device powered? Popular options include solar power, wind power, gasoline power, and rechargeable electric (at home or with your car`s 12V cigarette lighter).
- Battery Storage – Does the portable power source simply recharge devices or does it store a charge itself? The inclusion of an in-built battery is valuable, especially for solar chargers.
- Capacity – How many charges does the device provide? Power output is usually measured in mAh (milliamp hours), but most manufacturers also list this in more usable terms.
- Size/Weight – How big and heavy is the portable power gadget? Small size and lightweight are of utmost importance for backpacking. Remember that larger devices usually have a higher power output/capacity.
- Durability – Camping takes a serious toll on outdoor gear. Ensure your power source is prepared for hot sun, snow, and rain as well as bumps and bruises.
- Features – How many charging ports does the device have? Are these standard power outlets, USB ports, or something else? Solo campers might be fine with one portable power outlet while family campers should look for a device with multiple charging ports.
- Emergency Backup – Not all portable power devices can jumpstart a car. If that`s something you want, select one with this emergency capability.
Consider all of these factors ahead of time to narrow down the options to the type of portable power for camping that matches your personal needs and preferences.
Portable Power for Camping FAQ
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions (with answers) about portable power for camping.
Q: Will my portable solar panel work in cloudy weather?
A: Solar panels work best in bright, sunny weather. That said, they still perform in cloudy conditions, although at a slower rate (roughly 25% of total charging output depending on the model).
Q: How do you charge a portable power station?
A: You can charge your portable power station via a wall outlet, 12v car port, or a portable solar panel.
Q: How much power output do I need from my portable power device for camping?
A: You might only need enough power to recharge your smartphone once or twice. For longer trips, you’ll probably want to recharge your devices several times – and maybe even power small appliances. A portable solar panel enables you to recharge your power station as many times as needed.
There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to portable power for camping.
Need more help? Just let us know in the comments below. We’re happy to answer your portable power questions here.
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