Best Camping Power Pack

If you plan on spending a decent amount of time camping without a mains hookup, you may want to invest in a camping power pack. These are essentially large lithium batteries which can often allow both AC and DC power to be generated for your electrical items to run off directly or be charged up.

The best camping power packs can be trickle charged themselves using solar panels and therefore essentially allow you to live off-grid quite effectively for many days and weeks at a time. Of course you can also charge them up from the mains if required, but it sort of defeats the point when you’re camping. These big power packs are useful for larger items to be powered in your tent or campervan such as fridges, grills and lights. 

Smaller camping power packs are also available which are more suited to recharging less power-hungry devices such as phones, GPS, smartwatches, or even rechargeable hand warmers. These are fairly familiar to most people and can be bought quite cheaply. Owing to their small and portable size, these camping power packs are very useful and easy to travel with.

What's the difference between W and Wh?

This is quite an important distinction and should be borne in mind when looking at the specifications of these camping power packs.

W or Watts is the power or oomph which a camping battery can supply to a gadget or appliance. For instance, if your hair dryer runs at 1800W AC, it means you need a power supply capable of supplying at least 1800W (1.8kW) of alternating current (i.e. like a regular mains supply). Typically it’s also worth having a bit of headroom above this value too – we would therefore recommend a 2000W battery pack for the above case.

On the other hand Wh is shorthand for Watt Hours. This is a completely different unit and refers to how much storage or capacity the camping power pack has –  i.e. how long will the power pack last from a fully charged state to empty whilst running an appliance. For instance if you have a power pack of 30Wh capacity this means that you could run or charge a 30 watt (W) gadget for 1 hour before the power pack is out of juice.

The larger power packs can have high capacity – for example the EcoFlow Delta 1300 has a whopping 1260Wh and can supply a maximum power of 1800W to an appliance. This means that if you were running an 1800W hair dryer continuously using this power pack, it would last ~1260/1800 = 0.7 hours or 42 minutes before it was empty. Not that long, but then again you would normally only use a hairdryer or kettle in short 2-3 minute bursts.

After examining several of the leading battery packs on the market, we present our top 5 Camping Secrets recommendations for the best camping power pack available in the UK currently as well as an in depth buying guide to help choose the best option for your particular camping requirements.

Bluetti AC50S Portable Power Station

Bluetti AC505 Portable Power StationBluetti are a fairly big company in the world of portable power packs, and they encompass the Poweroak and Maxoak brands within their ownership.

Built with a 500Wh battery, the Bluetti AC50S is an excellent mid-range camping power pack which will cater to a high proportion of your on-site needs. This is not a device which you can carry solo in a backpack. Instead you should consider it as a portable power station for wild camping  when you’re travelling in a vehicle – i.e. car or campervan/motorhome – and you don’t have access to mains electricity.

The maximum power the AC50S can deliver is 300W. This is enough to power a TV, an electric cool box, a laptop and even a low power electric camping kettle. However, these could not all be operated at the same time.

Out of the box, it measures  26 x 19.1 x 19.6 cm and weighs 6.2kg. Very manageable even in the smallest of campervans.

And boy does it look great. Available with either blue, orange or dark gray edging, the AC50S really made an impression on us and I was immediately looking around for items to run off it in the garden. In the end I plugged in a mini fridge which worked really well for several hours, and barely dented the capacity.

bluetti ac50s

The AC50S power pack features a total of 11 outputs – you’re very well covered! These include 2 DC ports, one car cigarette lighter 12V port, PD 45W Type C, 4 USB-A, and 2 AC 230V outlets. The power charger also features a useful display to show how much juice is left.

On top of this the AC50S offers wireless charging – you simply place your mobile phone on top of the power pack and it will charge it  for you (as long as your phone supports wireless charging of course!). Really useful when you can’t be faffed finding a charging cable. 

Camping Lantern

The AC50S will also operate as a camping lantern – there is a switch on the side which fires up a broad light beam which will easily light up a tent or campervan if require. Nice feature and we found that it worked very well.

Recharging the AC50S

The AC50S can be recharged via solar power – we recommend the Bluetti/Poweroak SP120 solar panel – expensive, but will charge the AC50S up in around 4 hours of full sunlight. 

Overall, the AC50S finds that great balance point between providing enough power to genuinely be useful and the high prices of the EcoFlow Delta or the Bluetti AC200P. Highly recommended.

Pros
  • Portable and easy to carry design
  • Built-in LED lantern with full bright, half-bright, and SOS flashing modes
  • Up to 11 power outputs for different devices 
  • It can recharge large items such as TVs, laptops, and mini-fridges
  • Available in a choice of three bright colours – i.e. blue, orange, and grey
  • Solar, vehicle, and AC charging options are available for the power pack
Cons
  • No power cables included
  • It cannot power devices that consume more than 300W

Goal Zero Venture 30 Recharger

Goal Zero Venture 30 RechargerIf you’re after a small camping power pack which is waterproof, the Goal Zero Venture 30 Recharger stores a decent 30Wh of power which can be accessed by two fast-charge (4.8 amp) USB ports.

This power pack is ideal for smartphones, tablets, and cameras. In fact, on a full charge, the power pack can fully recharge your smartphone up to 3 times. 

The dual USB ports allow two devices to be charged simultaneously which we found useful. Furthermore, the recharger has an inbuilt micro-USB connector, so you don’t have to haul around cables or worry about misplacing them. 

Rugged waterproof design

goal zero venture 30Weight is quite reasonable at only 250 grams, and we found the design of the power pack excellent. It looks very stylish with the green piping and has a fully waterproof casing (IPX6) – perfect for hiking adventures where you may need to use the power pack out in the elements.

The Venture 30 has the capability to be recharged via either solar power (panels not included) or USB – the latter takes around 4 hours.

It might be considered an expensive option for what it delivers, but we feel that it delivers it very well.

Pros
  • Powerful 3.6V/7800 mAh battery delivers up to 30Wh of power
  • Charges quickly
  • It can be recharged by USB or solar power
  • Durable IPX6 weather-rated body
  • Built-in micro USB connector so you don’t have to pack leads
  • High-speed USB 4.8 dual ports
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Perhaps not enough power storage for really long wild camping trips

Bluetti AC200P Portable Power Station

Bluetti AC200P Portable Power StationIf you’re feeling wealthy, the Bluetti AC200P Portable Power Station is a perfect device for supplying all the power you need at a campsite. It’s expensive, but we think it’s worth the price.

Bluetti have recently increased the battery capacity of the AC200P to a massive 2000Wh and it can supply both AC and DC power to a maximum level of 2000W! This is immense power and means that you can run cookers, stoves, kettles, hair dryers or power tools from the AC200P. Incredible.

Bluetti have incorporated new LiFePO4 battery technology into the AC200P which allows more than 3500 charge/recharge cycles. They say that this will lead to an enhanced service life ~3x longer than other portable power stations on the market. 

Dimensions

The AC200P measures 42 x 28 x 39cm and will therefore take up a bit of space in your setup, but nothing compared with a petrol generator. The weight is also substantial at 27.5kg – you’ll get a good workout carrying it for any distance, and so it is not really suited for lugging to a picnic for example. This is a ‘stick it in the corner of your tent’ device which will then power your entire gear for days on end.

bluetti ac200p plugged in

The AC200P can have its charge topped up in multiple ways. You can plug it into a mains outlet, a solar panel, a 12V cigarette lighter socket, a petrol generator, or a lead-acid leisure battery. We found that the charging time was very fast using the mains – around 2 hours to get fully charged.

Outputs

For running your appliances, the world is your oyster in terms of outputs. The power station features thirteen (!) DC and AC outlets in total which can all be used simultaneously. For the UK units there are 2 x 240V AC 3-pin sockets (see photo above) as well as a 12V DC output, 4 x USB-A and 1 x USB-C outputs. There is wireless charging on the top of the unit which is great to chuck your mobile phones on for a quick blast of power.

In Use

We were blown away by the performance of the AC200P after a weekend of testing. My wife Ali was able to dry her hair after a shower using her 1875W hair dryer on maximum power. This was while staying in a tiny campsite in the middle of nowhere with no mains electricity available – a total godsend. I was able to keep my laptop, phones and camera charged as well as topping up my ebike battery. We did not have chance to check the solar charging functionality, but it seems extremely straightforward. Just plug in your solar panel of choice (e.g. the Bluetti SP120) via the MC4 connector and it will start trickle charging the Bluetti. In full sunlight you can be fully recharged in 4 hours.

Overall we can highly recommend the new and improved Bluetti AC200P Power Station. It is an excellent workhorse and in conjunction with solar panels it can keep you fully supported for cooking, lighting and heating almost indefinitely. Expensive but very good value and we recommend it highly. 

Pros
  • Built-in AC inverter with a power output rating of 2000W
  • A large battery capacity of 2000Wh/540Ah
  • Up to 13 different DC and AC outlets
  • Five flexible charging methods – wall, solar, car, gas-fired generator, and lead-acid battery
  • User-friendly touch LCD screen
  • The power station’s built-in Eco mode allows it to save up to 50% of its electricity loss
Cons
  • Expensive but who cares?

EcoFlow Delta

ecoflow-delta-1300The EcoFlow Delta could be considered a mid-range power pack, lodging neatly between the Bluetti AC50S and the AC200P.

It is a firm favourite of ours and has accompanied us on many wild camping trips in our Mercedes Marco Polo. Check out our full review of the Ecoflow Delta here.

Supplying up to 1800W of power from 4 x 240V 3-pin sockets, the EcoFlow Delta is right up there with the Bluetti AC200P in terms of being able to drive the most power hungry devices in your camping setup – both AC and DC or USB. Hair dryers and electric stoves are not a problem for it at all. We had success charging an electric scooter too (see the photo below).

ecoflow delta in vanHowever the battery storage on board is quite a bit lower than the Bluetti AC200P at 1260Wh (the Bluetti is 2000Wh). I wouldn’t be surprised if EcoFlow update the specs of the Delta in the near future to keep it competitive against their rivals.

The Delta also lacks the wireless phone charging of the AC200P but it is almost a third cheaper at time of writing, so there is an obvious upside there – it depends how important that feature is to you as to which to buy.

In conjunction with a solar panel, the Delta can be the hub of your camping setup power, allowing off-grid life to continue for weeks on end. We highly recommend it.

Pros
  • Equipped with 4x240V AC sockets, 6 x USB ports, and a 12V output
  • 1800W output power will drive most appliances
  • Excellent display
  • Decent battery capacity (1260Wh)
  • Solar panel compatible
Cons
  • A little expensive
  • Fan noise can be high

Powertraveller Condor 100

Powertraveller Condor 100If you just need a laptop and some USB gadgets charging then we recommend the Powertraveller Condor 100. With a 27,000 mAh battery giving around 100Wh of storage, it can recharge a laptop twice and a smartphone up to ten times on a single charge. Fantastic!

The Condor 100 power bank is useful because it offers both an AC outlet for laptop charging (as well as other sub-60W appliances) and two standard USB-A ports. There is also a USB-C port to charge the latest smartphones, laptops and other electrical gadgets. Great flexibility on offer.

powertraveller condor 100The tough exterior of the Condor 100 makes it a perfect option for the rugged outdoors when camping or hiking and this should definitely be borne in mind when purchasing. In addition, the power bank is both dustproof and fully waterproof, thanks to its IP65 rating.

Dimensions are 17.2 x 8.6 x 8.6cm which is not much bigger than can of baked beans. It weighs 800g though which is fairly hefty if it’s going in your rucksack.

Overall we really like the Powertraveller Condor 100. It charged our devices well, and we liked the flexibility of the AC and USB connection points. The LED indicator to display the internal battery status was also useful. Recommended.

Pros
  • Equipped with an AC outlet, dual USB ports, and a USB-C port
  • IP65 rated body for waterproof and dustproof performance
  • Can recharge a laptop twice and a smartphone up to 10 times
  • The LED indicator shows the status of the internal battery
  • 100Wh battery allows the power bank to recharge 5V, 20V, and 220V devices
  • Stylish design with a carry strap
Cons
  • A little expensive
  • Not the lightest

Goal Zero Sherpa 40 Power Bank

Goal Zero Sherpa 40 Power BankThe Goal Zero Sherpa 40 Power Bank is a sexy, flat power bank which is excellent for general charging of smaller USB-based devices. It is a good low cost option for campsite charging but we would not recommend it for backpacking as it is not waterproof.

The Sherpa 40 integrates a decent capacity battery and multiple charging ports. The battery can deliver 12W of juice and there is 44.4Wh of storage on board. This equates to about 4 hours of max current charging available for your gadgets.

The Sherpa 40 can be charged itself via the mains (~7.5 hours) or via a solar panel in about 7.5 to 12 hours. Handily you can still use the Sherpa it is being charged itself – nice feature!

There are three key ports on board: an input micro-USB for charging up the Sherpa, and then 2 x USB-A ports for subsequent charging of your gadgets. Goal Zero also provide a range of small cables (e.g. Lightning for Apple) to then convert the USB-A to your gadget of choice.

Dimensions are easy to live with: 19 x 10.7 x 1.1cm and a weight of 380g. That thin width of 1.1cm means the Sherpa can easily slide into a chair pocket or drawer to hide it away when not using it.

Overall, we like the Goal Zero Sherpa 40 Power Bank for its simplicity and ease of use. It’ll charge your gadgets up reliably and for not much cost. Recommended.

Pros
  • Decent storage of 44.4Wh
  • Built with USB-C and micro USB ports
  • It allows you to charge two devices at the same time
  • You can set up on uneven surfaces thanks to the built-in kickstand
  • Impact-resistant and weatherproof aluminium housing
  • Three charging cables are neatly built into the power bank
Cons
  • Not waterproof
  • It doesn’t come with a wall charger

Buying Guide – How to Choose the Best Camping Power Pack

When choosing the best camping power pack, you want to establish how you intend to use it. Do you want to charge small devices such as smartphones and MP3 players? Or do you want to run larger appliances such as camping fridges? After deciding how you intend to use the power pack, it is easier to pick the right option. This buying guide shares the key features to look out for after figuring out how you intend to use your power pack.

  • Outlet

When shopping for camping packs, you will notice that various models offer various outlets. For example, a low-capacity power pack for devices such as smartphones and cameras only features USB ports. On the other hand, larger capacity power packs feature more options. For example, you can find one designed with both AC (220V) and DC outlets.

In fact, ultra-large capacity power packs can offer a choice of up to 10 or more outlet options. These include AC, DC, USB, and car cigarette lighters, just to mention a few. However, it is also worth remembering that, as the variety of outlet options increases, so does the budget.

This is because, with more outlet options, the battery capacity increases too. Therefore, to power up the AC devices, you need a higher capacity. Additionally, AC power packs also differ in capacity. For example, you can find one with a 300W rating that can power up devices as large as portable fans. You can also find one with a 2000W rating that can power a single-plate stove.

  • Battery Capacity

As mentioned above, you want to consider how you intend to use the power pack before choosing an option. The battery capacity is a crucial feature as it determines to what extent you can use your battery. If you intend to be outdoors for a long time or want to use larger devices, you will want a more powerful battery. 

You can determine the capacity of your power pack by looking at the watt-hours (Wh) or mAh. The larger the value, the more powerful your battery is. For example, the Goal Zero Venture 30 Recharger is equipped with a 7800mAh battery which translates to 30Wh. This battery capacity is ideal for charging items such as phones and cameras. 

The Bluetti AC200P Portable Power Station features a 540Ah battery, which translates to about 2000Wh. This powerful battery can power larger devices like televisions, fans, and a single-plate stove. As a general rule of thumb, for an overnight camping trip where you need to charge small devices, a 25 to 30Wh charger is enough. However, if you intend to use bigger items such as DSLR cameras or fans, a battery capacity of about 200 to 300Wh is enough.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How Can I Charge My Camping Power Pack?

Different power packs come with varying designs of charging. Some only have a single option (USB charging), while others offer up to 5 different charging modes. These include wall charging, solar charging, generator charging, lead-acid battery charging, and USB charging. So, you want to go for an option that is much more convenient for you.

2. How Much Power Output DO I Need for My Camping Power Pack?

It all depends on your needs. You can easily compare the power output of the power pack you intend to buy with the devices you wish to carry. Additionally, you have to consider how long you plan to stay outdoors and your power pack charging options. 

3. How Do I Increase the Efficiency of My Power Pack?

There are plenty of ways you can increase the efficiency of your power pack. These include:

  1. Fully charge your devices before you leave the house 
  2. Alternatively, make sure your devices are at least 50% charged, as it takes up more energy to charge devices that are below this limit
  3. Unplug devices as soon as they are near fully charged as continual topping up will drain power bank energy quickly 
  4. Use the supplied cables to keep the power bank from draining
  5. Use higher-rated outlets (high amps) on the power pack for faster charging
  6. Avoid using devices when they are being charged
  7. Avoid exposing your power pack to cold air because it slows the discharge of battery energy

Conclusion

With the rise of the best camping power packs, you no longer have to go off-grid if you don’t want to. Nonetheless, you don’t have to struggle with heavy power supply devices. You will still have a relatively portable and lightweight power pack while enjoying an adequate power supply. The best thing about camping power packs is how versatile they are.

You have the freedom to choose the features that work best for you – whether it’s charging methods, outlet options, or battery capacity. So, to keep up with the rest of the world or simply power up your essential items during your next camping trip, invest in a power pack. Our recommended list of the five best power packs for camping above is an excellent place to begin your search.

Camping Secrets - Outdoor Guides and Reviews
Logo
Enable registration in settings - general