The best power bank for camping in 2023, tested and reviewed

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Aug 09, 2023

The best power bank for camping in 2023, tested and reviewed

A fully charged (or solar-compatible) power bank for camping will keep all of your devices juiced without adding extra weight to your kit. This is the ideal mix of capacity, features, bulk, and price

A fully charged (or solar-compatible) power bank for camping will keep all of your devices juiced without adding extra weight to your kit.

This is the ideal mix of capacity, features, bulk, and price for most campers.

This tiny charger weighs less than a third of a pound and fits in your pack.

The built-in illumination can save your in a pinch when your phone is dead.

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A power bank for camping can change the way you adventure outside. These days camping tends to involve all manner of devices—lanterns, flashlights, cooking appliances, drones, and, of course, your phone—which means you need to pack along a way to charge them. That’s where power banks come in. Power banks are available in various forms, with different models offering particular features that make them ideal for different purposes. In any case, the best power banks for camping always offer outdoor-ready durability and reliable operation, and we have recommendations for a few outstanding options you can count on when you head off the grid.

To say that I’ve spent a lot of time under the stars or without cellphone bars would be a major understatement. Over the past 40 years, I’ve spent weeks and even months at a time camped in the great outdoors, and during the latter decades, that meant bringing along plenty of power to keep my devices charged. This has become increasingly important as my location-independent work requires more juice for my laptop, camera, portable WiFi hotspot, drone, and more.

Accordingly, I’ve used power banks of all varieties, from small pocket-sized models to large solar generators. These have spanned everything from the top established brands to new and lesser-known competitors, and I’ve come to recognize those that are all hype and those that deliver true quality. Equipped with this experience, I’ve written about power banks and a range of other outdoor tech for Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, the Daily Beast, Thrillist, and more. In cases where my opinion was split between two products, I typically looked to reviews from real-world customers and a variety of outdoor experts to determine which power banks are truly the best for camping.

The recommendations below span a range of forms and sizes, from small power banks that cost a few dozen dollars to hefty power stations that cost a few thousand. Some are intended for short camping jaunts with limited electricity needs, while others are designed for longer trips and larger power demands. Whatever you need to recharge an iPhone or an ebike, you’ll find something suitable on this list.

Nick Hilden

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Why it made the cut: Outdoor durability, excellent portability, and solid storage capacity make this an outstanding power bank for camping trips of any duration.

Specs

Pros

Cons

The Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core is an ideal power station for camping for several reasons. Its 983-watt-hour capacity will more than meet the needs of most campers, easily powering small devices and lighting for a long weekend without recharging. Plug in a solar panel or two, and it will keep those same devices going indefinitely. It offers some of the best craftsmanship on the market and is durable enough for hauling around in a vehicle and to and from your campsite. And its squared shape with inlaid handles makes for excellent portability.

In terms of use, the Yeti 1000 Core offers plenty of plugs. Dual AC, USB-A, USB-C, and a single 12V car plug translate into plenty of port options, and its 1,200-watt output capacity is capable of powering just about anything you could need while camping.

Its one drawback is that its recharging rate has fallen behind some competitors, but for use with typical devices—phones, drones, lights, etc.—it will provide more than enough power for a long weekend.

BioLite

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Why it made the cut: Super compact, durable, and capable of charging multiple devices simultaneously, it’s the perfect power bank to toss in your pack.

Specs

Pros

Cons

The BioLite Charge 80 PD power bank will do pretty much everything you want of a charger while backpacking. It offers an abundance of capacity for such a small package—enough to charge a phone five times, a headlamp or flashlight 16 times, or a tablet twice—and its 18-watt output is strong enough to charge a 13-inch laptop once. It can charge two devices simultaneously via its dual USB-A and single USB-C ports.

I really haven’t found any flaws in the Charge 80. There are a handful of reviews out there from people who complained of a short lifespan, but most users—myself included—report that it’s hardy and reliable. It’s a great backpacking power bank by every metric.

Goal Zero

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Why it made the cut: With its excellent balance of capacity, charging capability, and portability, this is the perfect power bank for content creators on the go.

Specs

Pros

Cons

A laptop power bank needs to provide two things above all else: AC power inversion (so that it Is actually capable of charging a laptop in the first place) and solid capacity. The Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC delivers on both, plus a bunch of other camping-friendly features. Not only will it charge the average laptop twice, a phone eight times, or a camera over a dozen times, but it can be plugged into a solar panel and recharged if you expect to stay off the grid for more than a couple of days. Multiple ports allow it to charge two to three devices simultaneously, and its build quality is absolutely outstanding.

While the wireless charging doesn’t always do what it’s supposed to—many users report that the 15-watt wireless charging is realistically more like three—every other function works perfectly. For a content creator on the go looking to power a laptop, camera, phone, drone, and other gear, the Sherpa is the ultimate portable pick.

Nick Hilden

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Why it made the cut: No other portable solar power station on the market offers such an outstanding combination of portability, capacity, input/output capability, and solar rechargeability.

Specs

Pros

Cons

Simply put, I love the Jackery 2000 Pro. It does pretty much everything you’d want of a medium-to-large-sized portable power station. While its 2,160-watt-hour capacity is huge—big enough to power a van conversion for 2-3 days—its boxed shape and relatively compact size make it easy to fit into your vehicle. It has plenty of ports and more output capacity than any typical camper could reasonably need. And, having knocked mine around a good bit while on the road, I can definitely attest to its durability.

But if you’re specifically interested in solar capabilities, that’s where the 2000 Pro really shines. Capable of wielding six 200-watt solar panels, it can charge as fast as 2-2.5 hours in ideal sun conditions. That’s lightning fast. So if you plan on setting up camp and then leveraging the sun for a prolonged stay, you won’t find a better option.

QiSa

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Why it made the cut: With its fold-out solar panels and surprisingly large capacity relative to its size, this is a great power bank for off-grid device top-offs.

Specs

Pros

Cons

For more humble solar purposes—say to keep a couple of devices charged while out in the woods for the day, or if you want a reliable way to charge up a phone in an off-grid emergency—check out the QiSa Solar Power Bank. Its 194-watt-hour capacity is surprisingly large for such a compact bank and will charge a phone around a dozen times. Multiple ports and effective wireless capabilities allow you to charge up to three devices at once. And its solid weather-proofing holds up under most conditions.

Key here are the four foldout solar panels. While their recharge rate is admittedly gradual—you more or less have to keep them resting in the sun all day for a decent charge—they work fine for keeping your devices topped off over the course of camping.

Nick Hilden

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Why it made the cut: Offering paramount power capacity in a decently portable design, this is a great choice when you want big batteries above all else.

Specs

Pros

Cons

When only the biggest box of juice in the biz will do, you want the Jackery 3000 Pro. Its massive 3,024-watt-hour capacity will charge a phone over 100 times, power an electric grill for nearly three hours, or will keep an electric cooler going for days uninterrupted, and its 3000-watt output capability will power pretty much anything. It delivers all the other pluses I mentioned for the previous Jackery, such as plentiful plugs, fast charging, and durable build quality. What’s more, all that is packed into a surprisingly portable unit. At over 60 pounds, it’s not exactly lightweight, but integrated wheels and a retractable handle make it easier to move around.

Greatness does come at a cost. Four thousand bucks isn’t cheap, and the addition of solar panels makes that price climb fast. If you have the budget for it, however, this is the ultimate high-capacity setup.

Dark Energy

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Why it made the cut: If there’s a more durable power bank out there, I haven’t seen it.

Specs

Pros

Cons

If you’re one of those outdoor adventure types who tend to push the durability of their gear to the limits, the Poseidon Pro from Dark Energy was designed for you. Supposedly, it can survive being dropped from 50 feet, submerged underwater for 45 minutes, exposed to extreme temperatures, crushed by 1500 pounds, fired upon by a shotgun, or blown up with 1.5 pounds of explosives. So “all-weather” is something of an understatement. It will also hold a charge for over eight years, so it’s ideal for charging up and then throwing in your kit for emergencies. And included accessories—like a 3-foot knitted USB-C cable, leather strap, and Dark Energy’s Carabiner Pro (a carabiner with an integrated knife blade, screwdriver, bottle opener, and window breaker)—bolsters its value.

The battery capacity isn’t exactly enormous—enough to charge a phone a couple of times, a camera once, or recharge a lantern several times—but for a bit of extra power in what may as well be an invincible shell, the Poseidon Pro can’t be beat.

Outdoor Tech

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Why it made the cut: Compact, waterproof, and equipped with a wide, bright light, it pulls double duty as a lamp and battery.

Specs

Pros

Cons

With its super compact design, solid weatherproofing, and—most important for our purposes here—highly functional integrated light, the FUEL+ Charger from Outdoor Tech is a great little power bank. The LED lantern offers three modes: normal, high, and SOS flashing. It’s tiny and waterproof, making it perfect for hooking onto your backpack or tossing in your go-kit. It does everything you want for a supremely portable power bank that leans into illumination.

Admittedly the power capacity isn’t all that big—realistically, it will charge your phone once, maybe, alongside use as a lantern—but for a bit of extra power plus plenty of light, it’s an excellent choice.

Scosche

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Why it made the cut: With its compact size, decent capacity, and—most importantly—AC plug capability, this is the perfect power bank for portable, multi-device charging.

Specs

Pros

Cons

It can be difficult to find pocket-sized power banks capable of charging several devices at once and next to impossible to find one that offers an AC plug. The Scosche PowerUp 32K is almost entirely unique in that it delivers on the latter point. With its four-device capability, it can be switched to charge via USB-C or USB-A, 110-volt AC, or all three at once. It’s pretty small but still delivers decent capacity, and it is capable of charging a phone nine times, a laptop 1.5 times, or a drone 20 times, and it can power a light or USB fan for a full day.

While it doesn’t boast any waterproofing and isn’t exactly designed for rugged outdoor use, the addition of a protective case helps keep it safe, and it’s still a great option for keeping your smaller electrical gear going while camping.

Goal Zero

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Why it made the cut: Affordable yet designed with well-considered camping features, this offers high quality at a low price.

Specs

Pros

Cons

Goal Zero has created something special with the Flip 24. While it’s exceedingly affordable—power banks don’t get much cheaper than this—it’s still a well-thought-out piece of puny camping equipment. Super compact, it’s smaller than a deck of cards yet can throw a couple of charges into a phone, lamp, or GPS tracker. It also has an integrated USB tip that can be plugged into a solar panel, making it a great tool for gathering a bit of emergency power while off-grid.

Some users say that charging via a wall outlet—which requires plugging the USB tip into a wall adapter—can be a little tricky, but beyond that, this is a smart yet cost-effective power bank for bringing a little power outdoors.

While many power banks offer relatively straightforward designs, here are still a few things you should consider when choosing the right one for your specific needs:

You need a power bank that offers capacity relative to your power needs. If you’re just looking to charge a phone or lantern a few times over the course of a camping trip, you probably don’t need one of the larger power stations. A pocket-sized battery will suffice. But if you’re hoping to stay for longer and use a lot of power, a smaller product simply won’t do the job.

Most power banks rate their capacity in terms of watt-hours or milliamp hours, though when it comes to smaller devices, these numbers themselves don’t tell you a whole lot. A good rule of thumb is that a cell phone (probably the device you’ll charge most often) can be recharged approximately two to three times with 30 watt-hours. You can usually find information on capacity relative to other devices by checking the product description.

When camping, you want your gear to be as portable as possible. With power banks, that means ensuring you don’t go overkill in terms of power capacity. If you don’t need a big, multi-thousand-watt-hour power station, don’t waste the car space and effort lugging it around. If you do end up going with a larger unit, look for products with helpful features like handles and wheels.

Anytime you bring electrical equipment into the great outdoors, you should bear in mind the weather and the fact that camping gear tends to get banged around. That means looking for power banks that offer durability and ideally some form of waterproofing.

Durability is hard to assess without time and use, so the best way to judge this before heading into the woods is by reading reviews written by those who have already put a particular product through its paces. Waterproofing is rated via an “IP” code including two numbers (the first for dust-proofing, the second for liquid) ranging from 0-8. A rating of IP67, for example, is completely dust-proof and protected against submersion in water for up to 30 minutes.

Essentially yes. “Power bank” is a catchall term for portable chargers and larger power stations.

No, for a device to charge wirelessly, it must have “Qi” compatibility. Check your device information to determine if it can use wireless charging.

No. While smaller 5V power banks can charge most devices with low energy demands—like phones, tablets, cameras, speakers, or USB fans—larger devices like laptops usually require a voltage output of at least 16V-20V. This is less common in small banks, so check product descriptions.Once you jump up to larger banks like power stations, they’ll typically charge any device you throw at them. Powering larger equipment or appliances can be less certain, so check that a power station’s output is relative to whatever you plan on powering.

The list above has positioned each product as if it is the only power bank you’ll need for camping, but I’ve found that it’s best to use two or even three banks of different sizes in conjunction. I almost always bring along a large power station for heavier power loads, a pocket-sized bank for carrying while hiking or just using around camp, and a third, smaller bank that I keep charged and stored in my kit in the event of an emergency. Between two or a trio of power banks, it’s pretty easy to cover all your electricity needs while enjoying the great outdoors.

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

Nick Hilden writes reviews and recommendations coverage of fitness, outdoor and tech gear for Popular Science. He’s spent over a decade writing about lifestyle and culture topics for a slew of publications, including Scientific American, the Los Angeles Times, Vice, and Men’s Health, among others.

Best overall:Best for backpacking:Best for laptops:Best for solar (large):Best for solar (small):Best for high capacity:Best all-weather:Best with light:Best multi-device:Best budget:How we chose the best power banksThe best power banks for camping: Reviews & RecommendationsBest overall:Why it made the cut:SpecsStorage capacity:Dimensions:Weight:Price: ProsConsBest for backpacking:Why it made the cut:SpecsStorage capacity:Dimensions:Weight:Price: ProsConsBest for laptops:Why it made the cut: SpecsStorage capacity:Dimensions:Weight:Price: ProsConsBest for solar (large):Why it made the cut: SpecsStorage capacity:Dimensions:Weight:Price: ProsConsBest for solar (small):Why it made the cut: SpecsStorage capacity:Dimensions:Weight:Price: ProsConsBest high-capacity:Why it made the cut:SpecsStorage capacity:Dimensions:Weight:Price: ProsConsBest all-weather:Why it made the cut:SpecsStorage capacity:Dimensions:Weight:Price: ProsConsBest with light:Why it made the cut:SpecsStorage capacity:Dimensions:Weight:Price: ProsConsBest for multi-device charging:Why it made the cut: SpecsStorage capacity:Dimensions:Weight:Price: ProsConsBest budget:Why it made the cut:SpecsStorage capacity:Dimensions:Weight:Price: ProsConsWhat to consider when shopping for the best power bank for campingFAQsQ: Is a power bank the same as a portable charger?Q: Do power banks with wireless charging work with all devices?Q: Can a power bank charge any type of device?Final thoughts on the best power bank for campingBest overall:Best for backpacking:Best for laptops:Best for solar (large):Best for solar (small):Best for high capacity:Best all-weather:Best with light:Best multi-device:Best budget:Why trust us