More and more Australians are looking to get away from everyday life and venture into the vast Australian wilderness. For some, it’s a way to detox from all their digital surroundings and just enjoy mother nature. Some opt for survivalist-type trips and leave all of their electronic devices behind, while others prefer a relaxing break and still take their laptops and tablets for entertainment. Whether you like it or not, you’re probably going to need some type of portable power supply when you go camping. Camping battery packs are the ideal portable power solution that can satisfy any camper’s needs. But how do you choose the ideal portable camping power supply for you?
You’ll need to start by considering the required capacity. Take a look around and make a list of all the things you’ll want to power. If you’re camping for just a few nights, you might be able to charge all of your battery-powered devices and get away with a small portable power unit just for emergency use. If you’re going away for several days, you’ll want more powerful camping battery packs that can charge your devices and keep everything powered during the entire trip.
The size and weight of the power supply should also be taken into consideration. If you’re camping in your vehicle, or are backpacking, the weight and size will play a big role in your selection process. Typically, the size and weight of the power source are directly correlated to the amount of power it supplies. But if you’re going backpacking, chances are you won’t be bringing too many electronic devices that require recharging, so you’ll be able to find quite a few units that fit your needs.
Portable power generators are the first thing that pops to people’s minds when you mention portable power. While these units can be very powerful, there are quite a few downsides to them. Many campgrounds don’t allow them on-site, for instance, and even when they’re allowed, your neighbours won’t appreciate the noise and fumes they release. Furthermore, they require fuel, which is oftentimes propane or gas, both of which can be harmful if handled wrongly, so you need to make sure they’re properly stored away from your camping spot.
Portable power stations are a silent, fumeless alternative to generators. These units use lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries that can be recharged from a power main or a portable solar panel. They provide enough power for charging multiple devices, can run a TV, lights or fridges, and some models can even jumpstart your vehicle. However, these units can be heavy, so you don’t want to take one if your trip involves a lot of walking.
Solar power chargers are another popular solution, especially in the past few years due to the fact that they’ve become lighter, smaller and cheaper. They’re great for backpackers and campers who venture off the grid for extended time periods. As long as the sun is out, you’re going to have unlimited power. But this blessing can also be a curse. Their effectiveness can be impaired by a few rainy or cloudy days, or if you’re camping in a forest or steep-sided valley where there’s little direct sunlight. Different units have different capabilities, and you generally get what you pay for.
Then, there are reusable USB power packs, which you can charge at home and use them to charge your electronic devices. These units vary in capacity, size and cost, so you’re bound to find something that meets your needs and budget. The downside to USB power packs is that once you discharge them, you’ll need another power source to recharge them again. Moreover, they’re designed for smaller electrical devices, so you can’t run a TV, fridge or lights off them. However, they’re the ideal option for weekend trips and emergency use.
Next, there are niche, environmentally power supply solutions, such as portable water or wind turbines, that let you generate power. Similarly to solar power chargers, these don’t need to be recharged with electricity, making them ideal for campers who want to stay off the grid for extended time periods, especially if those places are forests or other areas where solar isn’t reliable. But of course, you’ll either need a fast-flowing water nearby or a windy camping spot, which comes with its own set of issues. These power supply units aren’t mainstream, so they can be expensive. However, they’re still worth checking out if other solutions don’t meet your needs.
And your last option is to charge your devices from your vehicle. Although this isn’t recommended, as it can drain your starting battery, it’s something you can consider in dire times. Charging light devices like a smartphone and laptop doesn’t take too much battery, but if you want to power a portable fridge, you should just get an auxiliary leisure battery.