Adventure Resources

Best portable power banks for outdoor adventures

The first power bank I ever got was this Red-E RW100 which was given to me as a gift a few years ago. And it's one of those devices that, once I started using it, I really wondered how I got along without it. I used it all the time and for just about everything I did outdoors.

Power banks are great if you use any devices like mobile phones, GoPros, navigation hardware, or portable blue tooth devices on your outdoor adventures.

They are especially great as backup power supplies, and in that sense, they can even be looked at as emergency equipment and are one of the essentials to pack on a day hike.

Power banks come in all different shapes and sizes and some are more suited to outdoor and adventure purposes than others. So, in this post, we're going to look at the different kinds of power banks you can get, and some of the things to consider when buying one.

You'll learn:

  1. Basic things to think about when choosing a power bank.
  2. Some technical terms and what they mean to everyday folk like you and me.
  3. A few products that are out there for specific outdoor applications.
  4. What we've learned from using a power bank for years on our trips.

Here's a summary video where I go into more detail on power banks and give you some things to consider:

(Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for our latest travel videos!)

Bonus: We've created dozens of adventure guides to help you explore. Join our family of avid adventure seekers and get access to ALL of our adventure guides.

Before you buy a power bank, you need to ask yourself one question: "Why do I need a power bank?"

  • Do I need a back up power supply in case my phone battery dies while I'm on a day hike?
  • Do I need to be able to recharge a device a number of times over days without access to power?
  • Do I need to charge larger devices like laptops and other portable electronics in a remote camp site?

Once you've answered this question, you're in a much better position to move onto the next step which is deciding on the features and specifications you need.

Here are 7 things to consider.

1. Weight and bulk

If you're going to be hiking and carrying your power bank on you, then smaller, more compact models will be more useful to you.

Something like the Anker PowerCore+ mini 3350 that weighs only 80g and can fit in your pocket would be something to consider.

 Anker PowerCore+ mini 3350

If space and weight are not big issues, or if you are going to be based out of a campsite and want maximum power then you could look as something really big like the Anker PowerHouse 200 which weighs around 2.7kg, but can charge power multiple devices including big items like laptops and cameras and is great if you want to run a remote camp office.

Anker PowerHouse 200

2. Power bank battery capacity

The battery capacity of a power bank means how much power it can store. This is measured in milliamp hours (mAh).

Power banks range from small to large and the trade off is usually price and size.

Small power banks are around 3,500-7,000 mAh and are usually very light and compact. The range between 10,000-15,000 mAh is considered high capacity and these power banks are still quite small and compact and could easily fit in your backpack. Power banks that are 20,000 mAh and above are considered ulta-high capacity. While some units are still quite compact, the ultra-high capacity power banks tend to be a lot more heavy and bulky and are best for use in a campsite or base station.

If you just need a back up power supply in case your phone battery dies, then you could go for something small like the Anker Astro E1 which is only 6,700 mAh and should be able to charge an iPhone around 2 times.

Anker Astro E1

If you need to charge more power hungry devices, or if you'll be away from a power source to a long period of time then you'll want something bigger like the RAVPower 26,800 or Anker PowerCore 26,800 which are both rated at 26,800 mAh and could charge an iPhone around 8 times.

Anker PowerCore 26,800

3. Number and kind of ports

Most power banks are designed to charge devices via USB, so they should all have that ability, however, some power banks come with additional kinds of adaptors, such as AC adapters and wireless charging too.

Just double check that the power bank adaptors fit will the device you want to charge.

If you only need a personal power supply which you will use for one device only, then a single USB port is all you need.

However, if you're going on adventures with other people or if you want to charge multiple devices at the same time, then you'll want to consider something that can handle that with multiple ports.

For example the Jackery Bolt 6,000 is a handy little power bank and can charge 3 devices at the same time.

Jackery Bolt 6,000

The Omni 20+ is a lot more versatile as it has AC / DC / USB-C and wireless charging for laptops, cameras and drones.

Omni 20+

4. Power bank charging speed

There are two charging speeds when it comes to power banks. An input charging speed - which is how long it takes to charge the power bank from the wall, and an output charging speed - which is how long it takes for your power bank to charge your device.

Generally, the higher the amp (A) value, the faster the charging speed.

For example, a power bank with an output rating of 5 volts and 2 amps (5V-2A), will charge devices faster than a power bank with a rating of only 5 volts and 1 amp (5V-1A).

Some of the power banks that can charge really quickly are the RAVPower 10,000 which has a total output rating of 5V-3.1A. It can charge an iPhone to 50% in 30 minutes, and also has a very fast input charging speed, recharging fully in only 3 hours.

RAVPower 10,000

Likewise the Anker PowerCore II has quick charging capabilities at 5V-3A.

Anker PowerCore II

5. Life span and quality

Power banks do not last forever, so one thing you'll want to look for is how many times it can be charged.

One of my first power banks, the Red-E RW150 had a lithium-polymer battery that could be charged up to 500 times which seems to be the benchmark.

Also, be sure to read the reviews of the power bank you're looking at to see if there are any common issues that people are having and make sure that you're getting something that's good quality.

6. Special features

Power banks have become quite sophisticated these days and there are some features that are mere bells and whistles, while others you'll find very useful.

For example, you can get waterproof power banks such as Goal Zero Venture 30 which has an IP67 rating, and is great for outdoor adventure use.

Goal Zero Venture 30

The Outdoor Tech Kodiak Plus also has an IP67 rating and can be submerged in 1m of water for up to 30 minutes.

Outdoor Tech Kodiak Plus

Some power banks are designed to be rough and rugged like the Fos Power Power Active which has a durable exterior that makes it tough and easy to handle while the Zendure range of power banks claims to be crush proof.

Fos Power Power Active

Zendure

Many of the power banks designed for outdoor use come with built in torches which can be useful around the camp or in an emergency.

Others, such as the Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Power Bank has solar panels which allow for portable charging while out in the wilderness. These power banks are also dust, shock and water resistant.

Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Power Bank

Ultimately your choice in power bank will come down to how you answered the question in the beginning as well as point number 7, which is….

7. Price

Here, you're basically deciding what you can live without, as most of the features we've discussed in this post come with a price tag and you'll need to choose what's really important to you.

Our experience with power banks

From our experience, we've used power banks on many adventure trips in the mountains, in the bush and on the beach to charge cell phones, GoPro's, portable speakers and lights. The ones we've found most useful have been in the 10,000 - 15,000 mAh range with an output charging speed of 5V-2.4A.

While the more robust power banks with hard outer shells are designed to take big knocks, we've never found a need to get anything more than the standard compact units. For added protection, we stuff them into a sock or bundle them in with our towels and we've never had an issue.

The one thing that does always catch us out is forgetting to recharge the power bank and only finding out we've done so once we've left the house - so it's best practice to charge them up as soon as you get back from your adventure trip rather than waiting for the night before.

Power bank buying guide

Here are a few great options to look for when choosing the perfect power bank for your outdoor adventures. We've included links to Amazon as well as TakeALot (for our South African readers).

Power bank Stats Buying Link
Anker PowerCore+ mini 3,350

Anker PowerCore+ mini 3350

Weight (grams) 80g
Capacity (mAh) 3,350mAh
USB Output Ports 1
USB Output Speed 5V-1A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 5V-1A
Special features Super small and light
Price $19.99
Amazon
Anker Astro E1 6,700mAh

Anker Astro E1

Weight (grams) 120g
Capacity (mAh) 6,700mAh
USB Output Ports 1
USB Output Speed 5V-2A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 1A
Special features Super small and light
Price $16.99
Amazon
Anker Astro E1 5,200mAh

Weight (grams) 119g
Capacity (mAh) 5,200mAh
USB Output Ports 1
USB Output Speed 5V-2A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 1A
Special features Super small and light
Price R449
TakeALot
RAVPower 6700

RAVPower 6700

 

Weight (grams) Unknown
Capacity (mAh) 6,700mAh
USB Output Ports 1
USB Output Speed 5V-2.4A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 5V-2A
Special features Super small and light
Price R370
TakeALot
Jackery Bolt 6,000

Jackery Bolt 6,000

Weight (grams) 170g
Capacity (mAh) 6,000mAh
USB Output Ports 3
USB Output Speed 5V -2.4A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 5V-2A
Special features LED flashlight
Price $24.99
Amazon
Red-E Power Traveller PD-20

Red-E Power Traveller PD-20

 

Weight (grams) Unknown
Capacity (mAh) 20,000mAh
USB Output Ports 4
USB Output Speed 5V-3A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 5V-2.5A
Special features iPhone adaptor
Price R799
TakeALot
Anker PowerCore II 10,000

Anker PowerCore II

Weight (grams) 195g
Capacity (mAh) 10,000mAh
USB Output Ports 1
USB Output Speed 5-9V 2A, 9-12V 1.5A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 5-9V 2A
Special features Fast and reliable
Price $29.99 / R399
Amazon

 

TakeALot

RAVPower 10,000mAh

RAVPower 10,000

Weight (grams) 196g
Capacity (mAh) 10,000mAh
USB Output Ports 1
USB Output Speed 5V-3.1A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 5V-2A - 5V-3A
Special features Super fast output charging
Price $31.99
Amazon
RAVPower PD Pioneer 15,000

RAVPower PD Pioneer 15000

Weight (grams) 281g
Capacity (mAh) 15,000mAh
USB Output Ports 1
USB Output Speed 5V-3A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 5V-3A
Special features Super fast output charging
Price $33.99 / R830
Amazon

 

TakeALot

RAVPower 26,800

 RAVPower 26,800

 

Weight (grams) 480g
Capacity (mAh) 26,800mAh
USB Output Ports 3
USB Output Speed 5V-2.4A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 5V-2A
Special features High capacity and compact
Price $47.99
Amazon
RAVPower 32,000

RAVPower 32000

Weight (grams) Unknown
Capacity (mAh) 32,000mAh
USB Output Ports 3
USB Output Speed 5V-2.4A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 5V-2.4A
Special features Ultra high capacity
Price $68.99 / R1,300
Amazon

 

TakeALot

Romoss Simple 20 (*Reader's recommendation)

Romoss Simple 20

 

Weight (grams) Unknown
Capacity (mAh) 20,000mAh
USB Output Ports 2
USB Output Speed 5V-2.1A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 5V 2.1A
Special features Great value for money
Price R398
TakeALot
Goal Zero Sherpa 100 AC Portable Power Bank

Goal Zero Sherpa 100 AC Portable Power Bank

Weight (grams) 907g
Capacity (mAh) 25,600mAh
USB Output Ports 2
USB Output Speed 5V-2.4A
AC Output Ports 1
Wireless charging Yes
Input speed 60W
Special features Great all-rounder. Solar panel adaptors
Price $299.95
Amazon
Omni 20+

Omni 20+

 

Weight (grams) 611g
Capacity (mAh) 20,000mAh
USB Output Ports 2
USB Output Speed 5V-3A
AC Output Ports 1
Wireless charging Yes
Input speed 5V-20V, up to 3A
Special features Versatile
Price $199.00
Amazon
Anker PowerHouse 200

Anker PowerHouse 200

 

Weight (grams) 2.7kg
Capacity (mAh) 57,600mAh
USB Output Ports 3
USB Output Speed  5V-3A
AC Output Ports Yes
Wireless charging No
Input speed AC delivery
Special features Charge anything, anywhere
Price $259.99
Amzon
Goal Zero YETI 400

Goal Zero YETI 400

 

Weight (grams) 13.2 kg
Capacity (mAh) 396Wh
USB Output Ports 2
USB Output Speed 5V-2.1A
AC Output Ports Yes
Wireless charging No
Input speed 14-29V, up to 10A
Special features Charge anything, anywhere
Price R8,000
Amzon

 

TakeALot

FosPower PowerActive

Fos Power Power Active

Weight (grams) 218g
Capacity (mAh) 10,200mAh
USB Output Ports 1
USB Output Speed 5V-2.1A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed unknown
Special features IP67 Waterproof, compass, LED flashlight
Price $26.99
Amazon
Zendure Range

Zendure

Weight (grams) 195g
Capacity (mAh) 10,000mAh
USB Output Ports 2
USB Output Speed 5V-3A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 5V-3A
Special features Crush-proof
Price $35.74
Amazon
Goal Zero Venture 30

Goal Zero Venture 30

Weight (grams) 250g
Capacity (mAh) 7,800mAh
USB Output Ports 2
USB Output Speed 5V, up to 2.4A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 5V, up to 2.4A
Special features Waterproof
Price $79.95
Amazon

 

TakeALot

Outdoor Tech Kodiak Plus Ultra

Outdoor Tech Kodiak Plus

Weight (grams) 204g
Capacity (mAh) 12,800mAh
USB Output Ports 2
USB Output Speed unknown
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed unknown
Special features IP67 Waterproof, LED light
Price $76.95
Amazon
Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Power bank

Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Power Bank

Weight (grams) 538g
Capacity (mAh) 25,000mAh
USB Output Ports 2
USB Output Speed 5V-2.1A
AC Output Ports No
Wireless charging No
Input speed 5V-1.8A
Special features 4 solar panels, rugged build
Price $42.99
Amazon

What to do next

Bonus: We've created dozens of adventure guides to help you explore. Join our family of avid adventure seekers and get access to ALL of our adventure guides.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.