8 Best Backpacking Power Bank Options for an Incredible Trip

Best Backpacking Power Bank Options For Any Trip Intro Image

Introduction

In today’s article, we’re going to cover the 8 best backpacking power bank options for 2021. Afterwards, we’ll run through a quick buyer’s guide/set of tips if you want to find one on your own. Enjoy!

Why Bother Finding the Best Backpacking Power Bank?

Let’s say you excitedly wake up one morning on your next backpacking trip, only to discover that your phone’s dead. But you remember that you packed a charging cable in your bag. Thank goodness, you think. Now, if only there was an outlet nearby

Whether it’s a dead watch, GPS, flashlight, or mobile phone, bringing a power source on a backpacking trip is important. You never know when you might need one of your devices, only to be left high and dry due to a discharged battery.

That is why it is a good idea to have a power bank as a backup. While many people dread taking power banks on a backpacking trip owing to their bulky weight, fear not. We’ve scoured through online reviews and articles to find the 5 best backpacking power bank options on the market. 

After that, we go over some tips for shopping around on your own. Now on to the best portable power packs!

Top 8 Best Backpacking Power Banks of 2021

1. (Top Pick): Anker PowerCore Essential

Specs:

Price at Time of Writing: $60.
Battery Capacity: 20,000 mAh (enough to fully charge an iPhone 12 at least 6 times).
Warranty: 18 months (“Lifetime of the product”).
Weight: 12.1 ounces.
Dimensions: 6.22 x 2.93 x 0.76 inches.

Pros
  • Outstanding customer reviews.
  • Huge battery capacity, one of the largest on our list.
  • Handy indicator light.
  • Rugged power bank with a textured surface to give a better grip.
  • Can recharge via a USB-C or micro usb cable.
  • Good warranty.
Cons
  • Large battery takes about 20 hours on a wall charger to reach capacity.

What We Liked:

Our best backpacking power bank, the Anker PowerCore, comes with a host of excellent features.

For starters, the battery bank has a whopping 20,000 mAh of capacity, easily enough power to charge a phone battery at least 5 times.

Among these already excellent perks, the Anker PowerCore earned its place as the best portable power bank on our list by also having features like a handy indicator light and a good 18-month warranty.

The Anker PowerCore is also has a rugged, textured grip design that helps keep it from slipping.

Finally, Anker’s customer support is outstanding, and coupled with the warranty, you should be set if you run into any problems.

What Fell Short:

Unfortunately, a downside of the Anker PowerCore’s high internal battery storage capacity is that it’s heavy , weighing just over one pound.

Verdict:

In our view, the Anker PowerCore is the best portable charger on the market. It offers a great warranty and customer support, huge battery storage, and a convenient integrated micro usb cable. If the weight doesn’t bother you, it’s hard to go wrong with it.

2. (Runner Up): Anker Astro E1

Specs:

Price at Time of Writing: $30.
Battery Capacity: 6,700 mAh (enough to fully charge an iPhone 12 almost 2 times).
Warranty: 18 months.
Weight: 4.2 ounces.
Dimensions: 3.82 x 1.71 x 0.88 inches.

Pros
  • Same good warranty as the Anker PowerCore.
  • Extremely lightweight.
  • Supports fast charging (full charge in 5 hours on a 1 ampere supply).
  • Excellent reviews and outstanding customer support.
  • One of the smallest battery packs on our list.
Cons
  • Only one output port.

What We Liked

Just like our best power bank pick pick, our second choice is another from Anker. The company is one of the best-known power bank manufacturers, and the E1 justifies the popularity.

Like the Anker PowerCore, the E1 is incredibly durable and relatively easy on the pocket. The overall tech innovations created by Anker work wonders for the battery pack (the same kind of tech they use for their portable solar panels!)

This power bank, in particular, can be fully charged in 5 hours, with a 1 ampere supply. So plug it up the night before your trip, and you’d be laden with an extra 6700 mAh of pure power. Another plus point for Anker is the fact that their efficiency is one of the highest in the market. Whereas other brands might offer 66% to 70% efficiency, Anker offers 90% efficiency, easily exceeding its competitors.

The highly efficient charge delivery makes it one of the preferable power banks for a long trip. Most power banks lose their maximum charge capacity, but Anker, thanks to its state-of-the-art tech, can feasibly become your go-to power bank for the foreseeable future. The durable build also weighs in as a huge pro. And finally, the compact size allows you to carry it in small bags or even your hands easily.

What Fell Short

Although the power bank comes from one of the most reputed companies, it suffers from various defects, which might be a deal-breaker for some people. The presence of only one port causes it to be pretty rigid in its uses. Moreover, the lack of fast charge support makes it challenging to charge devices in a short time, thereby rescuing its use cases.

Moreover, this power bank can be a bit dull in its appearance. Although the weight management is flawless, the design of the power bank leaves something to be desired.

Verdict

This power bank is suitable for people looking for a quick trip and people going on solo trips.

3. Blavor Solar Power Bank

Specs:

Price at Time of Writing: $25 (with free $4.35 coupon)
Battery Capacity: 10,000 mAh (enough to fully charge an iPhone 12 almost 3 times).
Warranty: 1 Year.
Weight: 10 ounces.
Dimensions: 5.9 x 3.1 x 0.8 inches.

Pros
  • Lifetime technical support.
  • Small and lightweight.
  • Like the name suggests, the Blavor is a solar charger via an integrated solar panel.
  • Can charge devices wirelessly.
  • Has multiple output ports.
  • The only IPX4 rainproof/waterproof power bank on our list.
Cons
  • Charging the device with the integrated solar panels can be slow, even when using multiple solar panels.
  • Integrated compass can be off alignment.
  • Does not officially support high speed charging.

What We Liked

The Blavor Solar Power Bank is another great portable battery option. As you probably noticed, it’s a solar charger, which already begins to set it apart from many of the other options on our best power banks list.

Specifically, the power bank’s solar chargers work in two different ways: Firstly, it has solar panels on the device itself, allowing you to charge it by just leaving it out in the sun. Secondly, and most importantly, you can then use that energy for your devices via the charging ports.

Speaking of ports, the portable battery has a USB-C, micro USB, and standard USB-A power output port to conveniently charge all your devices.

The Blavor is also an extremely small power bank, measuring just around 6 x 3 inches and weighing 10 ounces.

In addition, this battery power source is the only waterproof power bank on our list, with a rating of IPX4. This means that the device holds up against light rain and splashes, but should still not be submerged in water.

Last of all, the Blavor is also a wireless charger, which can be awfully convenient for devices like AirPods.

What Fell Short

The solar panel on the portable power bank can be slow. Even if you add additional solar panels, don’t expect the charge to speed up much.

Also, the handy compass that comes with the solar charger can arrive off alignment, making it virtually useless.

Finally, as part of the device’s solar panel capabilities, don’t expect it to charge a device all that quickly. Still, it does a good job overall (at least in regards to solar panel charging in general).

What Fell Short

Despite a few minor setbacks, we feel like the Blavor is a great option if you’re looking for one of the best power banks for backpacking. It has a solar panel, wireless charging, an acceptable charging speed, and holds more power than most of the other options on our list.

4. INIU Triple 3A USB-C Portable Charger

Specs:

Price at Time of Writing: $34
Battery Capacity: 10,000 mAh (enough to fully charge an iPhone 12 almost 3 times).
Warranty: 3 Years.
Weight: 18.74 ounces.
Dimensions: 7.72 x 7.48 x 0.94

Pros
  • Excellent reviews.
  • Compact form factor.
  • 3A fast charging that can charge three devices simultaneously.
  • Uses a USB-C port for fast charging.
  • Convenient integrated flashlight.
Cons
  • No integrated Micro USB or Lightning cable support.
  • Inaccurate LED indicator can lead to running out of power prematurely.
  • Heavy.

What We Liked

The INIU Tripe 3A Portable Charger is another of our top picks for the best backpacking power banks of 2021. For starters, the lightweight power bank has excellent customer reviews .

In addition, the INIU easily counts as a compact power bank with dimensions of about 8 x 8 x 1 inches.

The portable charger also supports 3A fast charging, both for the power bank itself and for charging up to three devices simultaneously.

Also, the backpacking power bank uses a USB-C to charge it, as well as a normal plug-in wall charger.

The USB-C can also be used as a power output to charge a device, and combined with the USB-A (commonly just called USB) dual output ports can do simultaneous charging for up to three devices.

What Fell Short

Like many portable chargers, the INIU Tripe 3A requires an addition USB to micro USB cable to charge micro USB devices, and requires a Lightning to USB cable for Apple devices.

Also, the device has a nifty light to show how much charge is left in the battery pack. However, as far as LED indicator lights go, the INIU Triple 3A’s is pretty inaccurate.

The portable battery also overheated for a few customers, though this was definitely the exception and not the rule.

Verdict

The INIU Tripe 3A has a lot going for it. As a lightweight power bank that can fast charge multiple devices, it’s a good choice. Add to that a solid battery capacity, and you’ve got one of the best backpacking power banks.

5. INIU Fast Charging LED Display Charger

Specs:

Price at Time of Writing: $25 (with free $3 coupon)
Battery Capacity: 20,000 mAh (enough to fully charge an iPhone 12 almost 6 times).
Warranty: 3 Years.
Weight: 15.52 ounces.
Dimensions: 7.72 x 7.48 x 0.94

Pros
  • Excellent 3-year warranty and outstanding customer support.
  • Three output ports and included charging cable.
  • Great battery capacity.
  • Supports fast charging.
  • Comes with a USB-C charging cable.
Cons
  • Heavy.
  • No wireless charger support.
  • Lots of faulty units, but the seller seems to always replace them.

What We Liked

Our final best portable charger pick, another INIU (clearly they make good portable chargers!), starts off its list of features with an excellent 3-year warranty.

Warranties are, of course, only as good as their customer support. In INIU’s case, they truly go to great lengths for customer satisfaction, with lifetime technical support even beyond the end of warranty.

In addition, our last pick of the best portable chargers of 2021 can charge multiple devices. Specifically, it can charge two devices with standard USB-A and one device with USB-C all at the same time.

The external battery pack comes with a USB-C charging cable and can hold an internal battery capacity of 20,000 mAh.

Finally, as per the name, the INIU power bank supports rapid charging, just like many of the other portable power banks on our list.

What Fell Short

The INIU battery pack is heavier than many of the other power banks packs on our list. At over a pound, you’ll definitely notice it in your pack.

In addition, multiple customers reported receiving faulty units. INIU customer support was quick to send replacements, but the number of defective battery packs doesn’t bode well.

Finally, while a small point, the INIU also does not support wireless charging.

Verdict

With an excellent warranty, a solid battery capacity, a fast charging speed, the INIU Fast Charging LED should hav enough power for almost any backpacking trip.

6. NiteCore F2 Flexible Power Bank

Specs:

Price at Time of Writing: $15.
Battery Capacity: 3,500 mAh per cell (enough to fully charge an iPhone 12 almost 1 time).
Warranty: None.
Weight: 1.6 ounces.
Dimensions: 6.1 x 3.15 x 1.38 inches.

Pros
  • 1512 mAh per ounce, which is one of the best ratios compared to the other battery packs on our list.
  • Small and lightweight.
  • Great price.
  • Can easily be replaced with other cells.
Cons
  • Batteries are a bit pricey.
  • Can become challenging to keep track of full and empty cells.
  • Taking too many can be counterintuitive.

What We Liked

We have all heard about the various power banks and the amount of power they claim to hold. But their size becomes a huge limiting factor when shopping for one. But what if there was a way you could use cells to power your electronic devices?

That is what NiteCore 2 promises to deliver. It fits inside the device that pairs with the NiteCore cells, allowing them to be used whenever you want. Each cell holds a charge of 3500 mAh and can be recharged using the same apparatus. All you need to do is to plug the cells in and allow them to charge your devices. 

Although the power bank takes two cells as input, it can work with a single cell as well. This way, you can plan out your trip in detail and know how many cells to carry.

The new-gen design of the power bank makes it energy and space-efficient. The form factor matches those of traditional energy storage cells, and hence, allows people to use them without any prior technical knowledge easily.

The add and remove formula of the power banks make it easier to handle the charging operations. Just unplug the batteries with a full charge, and enjoy the extra power.

This is one of the most innovative ways of charging compatible devices. The cells are comparatively small but pack a punch. Additionally, you don’t need any other apparatus to charge them back. Just use the same charger and connect it to the supply. 

What Fell Short

It can become challenging to distinguish the empty batteries from the full ones, and hence, you need to keep an eye on the usage. Taking too many batteries can also spell trouble, so only consider taking the number of batteries that you’d be requiring for your trip.

Finally, due to high efficiency and small size, the batteries come at a comparatively higher cost than their competitors. While the investment pays for itself in the future, it can still be daunting for new customers to spend so much on batteries.

Verdict

The NiteCore F2 is the smallest power bank on our list, making it easy to bring along. In addition, the versatile nature of the battery bank makes it perfect for short but energy-heavy trips.

7. Fenix ARE-X Smart Battery Charger

Specs:

Price at Time of Writing: $15.45
Battery Capacity: 3,500 mAh per cell (enough to fully charge an iPhone 12 almost 1 time).
Warranty: None.
Weight: 4.9 ounces.
Dimensions: 7.13 x 5.51 x 2.17.

Pros
  • Uses a common micro usb input cable.
  • Compact in size.
  • Has special cell containers for better storage.
  • It can be used in a single combination.
  • Perfect for small outings.
Cons
  • Other cells require storage.
  • The cable length is a bit short.
  • The weight is a bit on the higher end of the spectrum.

What We Liked

Another charger that takes inspiration from the NiteCore is the Fenix ARE-X charger. It works in a similar way but has some added functionalities that make it stand out from the crowd. 

The Fenix chargers are slightly heavier than the NiteCore ones, but they come with a self-contained cover, meaning you won’t have to lug them around or find new storage.

They also feature a top-of-the-line cable with built-in clips, allowing you to have flexibility in the way your devices are charged. Although the cable is a bit shorter in length, the high quality of the wire more than makes up for that drawback. 

Additionally, the chargers are easy to use, have better accessibility options, and are perfect for short trips where the power requirement is not significant.

The small size, combined with the built-in container for the battery, spells victory for this product. Single charge allotment allows you to use only one battery at a time, thereby eliminating the need to keep track of the batteries that might be empty. Additionally, owing to cross-platform connections available, it can be easily paired with other cells of the same type to increase the power delivery. 

Finally, the cable allows you to change the container and various devices at the same time. The cable is also made of high-quality materials, which is a huge plus, considering that trips tend to become rough and dangerous at some points.

What Fell Short

Like NiteCore, these batteries also come at a higher pierce than the normal ones. Moreover, the container can only hold one battery at a time, meaning you need more battery containers to hold them all. 

The cable included with the cell, while handy, is a bit small for many practical uses. This can be easily overcome by using cables of other brands, but seeing as the cable is an add-on piece of tech, it could have been made longer, keeping the prices similar. 

The weight of the battery also tends to the higher end of the spectrum, making it useful for short and quick trips.

Verdict

These power banks, too, are suited for shorter trips but work better in smaller groups when compared with larger ones.

8. Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger

Specs:

Price at Time of Writing: $25
Battery Capacity: 10,000 mAh (enough to fully charge an iPhone 12 almost 3 times).
Warranty: 18 Months.
Weight: 6.3 ounces.
Dimensions: 2.34 x 3.62 x 0.87

Pros
  • 10000 mAh charge allowance.
  • 90% charge delivery efficiency, increasing effectiveness.
  • 1574 mAh per ounce power ratio is one of the highest offered ratios.
  • 5V, 2.4A of output allows you to charge devices quickly.
  • Recharges in 5 hours under a suitable supply.
Cons
  • Features the same blocky design.
  • Contains only one output port, making it less suitable for multiple devices.
  • Lack of accessibility options.

What We Liked

The Anker PowerCore 10000 is another excellent portable power pack. As the name itself suggests, this power bank has a capacity of 10000 mAh, which is quite a lot, considering that most mobile phones require about 4000 mAh for a full charge.

Additionally, the Anker PowerCore follows a similar pattern to its other deliverables, allowing it to charge in 5 hours on a suitable supply. Moreover, with a charge delivery rate of 1574 mAh per ounce, it is also one of the lightest batteries on the list.

The upped battery output of 2.4 amperes allows some of the newer devices to utilize the fast charge feature of the power bank. But the same blocky style and a single point output make it inflexible in how it can be used.

The high capacity and efficiency of the power bank allow you to charge even the most demanding of gadgets without compromising on energy transfer rates. The 2.4-ampere of output is also a good add-on for people looking to utilize the fast charge technology of the Anker PowerCore 10000. 

And keeping in mind the fact that the increased charge capacity can still be charged under 5 hours on a suitable supply, and you have one of the perfect power banks for your trips, both long and quick ones.

All in all, if you are looking for a reputed power bank that offers huge charge options, doesn’t take a long time to reach full capacity, and plans to go on a long trip, then this would be the best power bank for your backpacking trip.

What Fell Short

Like the other brand offerings, this power bank also faces flak for having the same blocky design.

Furthermore, the single output port makes it rigid in its use cases, and the lack of accessibility options for all sorts of people causes it to be a less famous offering than some of the others on this list.

Verdict

Suitable for solo trips that stretch over longer periods of time.

Differences Between “Power Bank” and Other Terms

Is a “Battery Pack” the same as a “Power Bank”?

Yes. In most cases, people use the two terms interchangeably.

A power bank, according to Wikipedia, is “a portable device that can supply power from its built-in battery, typically through a USB port.”

By comparison, Wikipedia says that a battery pack is “a set of any number of (preferably) identical batteries or individual battery cells. The term battery pack is often used in reference to cordless tools.”

How About Differences Between Power Bank and Portable Charger?

As we already know, a power bank is a portable device that can supply power from its built-in battery. Pretty generic.

A portable charger, by comparison, is a device that stores power. Again, generic. And just like for the term battery pack, portable charger is interchangeable with the term power bank.

What is Capacity?

On paper, the battery capacity refers to the amount of charge that the power bank can hold. While this is good to look at theoretically, no power bank actually delivers the full capacity listed. 

All power banks have their capacity listed in milliamp hours, or mAh. This refers to the amount of power that it can provide in one hour. So if you have a device that requires 5000 mAh of power, a 10000 mAh power bank can keep it powered for 2 hours.

But AC/DC conversions require a lot of power, and hence a lot of energy is lost in the various conversions taking place. This means that the 10000 mAh power bank won’t be able to charge the device for 2 hours. That is why, although this metric is helpful to figure out the various banks that you can use, it cannot be the sole identifier. You need to see at the realistic capacity by doing your own research and experiments. Most power banks give around 60% to 80% of their actual capacity.

There are various easy ways to increase the battery capacity of your power banks.

  • Do not discharge the batteries completely. Allow them to recharge after reaching around 20%. Going below can put an unnecessary drain on the power bank’s resources, lowering its efficiency.
  • Try to keep the attached devices and the power bank at a low and stable temperature. Higher temperatures cause the charge to leak more and make the act of chatting inefficient.
  • Use high-quality cables. Lower quality cables lose charge, even while charging, as heat. So even though your battery might be in perfect condition, the wrong cables won’t let the devices be charged according to your capacity.

How much power to carry?

Figuring out the amount of mAh you need to carry can be broken down into simple math. You get as much power as your devices require. But the math isn’t so easy. It would be best to keep in mind that the power bank will lose its efficiency after the first round of use, which will decrease further as time passes. This also means that the various capacities written on the devices are not their actual values. So the written ratings go down on both devices. 

Phones

Most phone batteries range from around 3000 mAh to 4500 mAh. So it would be best if you had a charger that is twice (at least) the capacity of the phones. This will allow you to charge the phone more than once, giving you optimum times for recharge.

But it would help if you also kept in mind that the phones lose their battery capacities over time. Older batteries (three to four years) lose capacity rapidly, while the more recent ones (around 500 to 1000 charges old) reduce to approximately 80 % of their capacity.

Now, you need to keep in mind the charge that your phone can hold and similarly regulate your use. To increase the amount of screen time, keep it on battery saver mode, reduce brightness, and keep airplane mode on. 

Also, minimize the use of the phone as much as possible. Finally, turn the phone off entirely while charging, and keep it that way unless you need it again. In this manner, you will be able to increase your phone’s battery life to more than a day without even needing the power banks.

GPS

Now you need to find out the battery life of the GPS and the amount of charge it can hold. Most GPS in the market can last for about 16 to 20 hours, depending on the specific device and the features it has. 

To reduce GPS battery drain, only use it when you need to. This will conserve power and allow you to use the device for a longer amount of time.

Flashlights

A flashlight is extremely useful and should be used whenever you need to. To reduce battery drain, check your flashlight before storing it away to make sure the light is off. Sometimes, leaving the light open drains the whole battery, leaving you with a dead flashlight when you might need it most.

Also, change the flashlight when you aren’t using it. The light should be charged at all times, and hence, the use of the light should also be supervised. 

Conclusion

Your backpacking trip will never be complete without all the bundled devices that you need to take. Sure, you can argue about the need for everything to be natural, but having devices that help you find your way, or show the path in the dark, allows you to enjoy the journey much more than you actually would. 

This brings us to the main point of the article. Always do your research before settling on a good power bank to invest in. A good power bank could help you even in the direst of times, so keep a handful ready at home and use them according to your needs and preferences.

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