The reasons that people love backpacking are different for everyone. A backpacking trip is a way to get away from it all and unplug from the modern world, a sort of digital detox. A way to escape from the infectious nature of social media and a healthy way to reconnect with the natural world around us and get some of our attention back to the things that matter most in life.
Cutting technology out of our lives is a healthy exercise that we all need more of. There is a reason that the new iphone and google pixel have digital well being options that limit the time you spend on certain apps.
That being said, there are some benefits to having your phone charged on a backpacking trip (believe it or not). The GPS on cell phones work wonders to help you navigate, a picture is a great way to capture a moment (even though they never do it justice), and you can track how far you have gone and how long you have to go. We took a look at the best power bank for backpacking so you can use your phone responsibly while backpacking (emphasize responsibly).
The Best Power Banks for Backpacking
Love it or hate it, technology is here to stay so you might as well embrace it. Here are our recommendations for the 5 best power banks for your next backpacking trip.
Anker PowerCore 10000
- Size: 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 in
- Weight: 6.35 ounces
- Recharge time: 5 hours
The Anker PowerCore 10000 is a portable power bank that comes with 10,000 mA hours of charging. The 10,000 milliamp hours is impressive considering the size and weight of the power bank, it’s small and slim.
The design is hardened plastic with 4 LED indicators that tell you how full the power bank itself is. The bottom comes with two ports, one is a standard USB port with a micro USB to charge the power bank. Included in the packaging is an Anker branded micro USB and a small carrying pouch to store the power bank.
It has high speed charging capabilities, which means you get the fastest charge possible. There is built intelligent power-management which prevents the brick from overheating. It also comes with an 18-month warranty, so if it stops working or slows way down they’ll replace it with a brand new power brick.
- One output
- Charging slows after time
- The Anker Advantage: Join the 50 million+ powered by our leading technology.
- Remarkably Compact: One of the smallest and lightest 10,000mAh portable chargers. Provides almost three-and-a-half iPhone 8 charges or two-and-a-half Galaxy S8 charges.
- High-Speed Charging: Anker’s exclusive PowerIQ and VoltageBoost combine to deliver the fastest possible charge for any device. Qualcomm Quick Charge not supported.
- Certified Safe: Anker’s MultiProtect safety system ensures complete protection for you and your devices.
RAVPower 22000mAh External Battery Pack
- Size: 6.5 x 2.76 x 0.94 inches
- Weight: 16 ounces
- Recharge time: 10-12 hours
The RAVPower 22,000mAh external battery pack is the largest power bank on the list, but it also provides you with the most power. This power bank can be shared by a group for at least one full charge with confidence, it lasts for 8-10 full charges.
This battery pack comes with RAV’s iSmart technology that intelligently detects the type of battery that you’re charging and sends out the proper signal. This means that you’ll get the fastest and safest charge with any type of device that you plug in. There are 3 charging ports on the bottom, so you can charge multiple devices at the same time.
There are 4 lights that indicate the amount of power left in the device, so each light equals about 25% of power left. It does take 10-12 hours to recharge, but if you’re in the woods that won’t be an issue.
- Can charge 3 devices at the same time
- Will charge a device 8-10 times
- iSmart charging output for the quickest charge
- Output capacity drops rapidly as you add more devices
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Ainope 10000mAh Portable Charger
- Size: 3.8 x 2.7 x 0.9 inches
- Weight: 8 ounces
- Recharge time: 3-4 hours
There is an LCD readout that gives you a number telling you what percentage of the battery is left. The numerical readout gives you a more accurate estimation about how much power is left when compared to the 4 light system that is standard in other power banks.
It comes with dual outputs on the base of the charger, so you can charge a couple devices at the same time. The compact size and lightweight design and build of this power bank coupled with a 10,000 mAh charge time makes it a good backpacking power bank. It also comes with a 22-month (random, but whatever) money back guarantee.
- Compact size
- Weighs 8 ounces
- LCD power display
- No carrying case included
- Can’t charge the power bank and a device at the same time
- Charging issues as time passes
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ZMI 10,000 mAh Power Pack
- Size: 5 x 2.72 x 0.5 in
- Weight: 6.2 ounces
- Recharge time: 10-12 hours
The ZMI 10,000 mAh Power Pack is both lightweight and powerful. One of the unique features of this power bank is that it offers 2 input ports for charging. The input ports on the charger are USB-C and micro-USB, which offer quick charging for most android devices.
There is only one output which means that while you’re limited to charging a single device, you can count on it charging rapidly. They offer 2 charging speeds with the outputs, standard and quick charge. When you use the quick charge feature you need to subtract 1,500 mAh from the overall supply due to the power loss during quick conversion.
ZMI uses proprietary charging technology to ensure that you get the maximum conversion of power to your device. It protects against over-heating, short circuiting, reverse-voltage, overcurrent, and overvoltage. These additional safeguards are extra layers of protection for your device.
- USB-A quick charge port
- 2 input ports for charging
- 2 charging speeds
- USB-C is only an input
- Fast charging drains battery faster
- Over time the battery loses capacity
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Anker PowerCore 5000
- Size: 1.3 x 1.3 x 4.25 inches
- Weight: 4.8 ounces
- Recharge time: 2-3 hours
The Anker PowerCore 5,000 is an
This device includes surge protection and short circuit protection to keep your devices safe. It is recommended that you use the cables that come with the device for optimal charging speeds.
Power IQ charging technology identifies the connected device and delivers the optimum voltage for high speed charging. Voltage boost technology determines when the cable is encountering resistance and adjusts accordingly. This means that the length of the cord will not have an adverse effect on the charging speed.
- Voltage boost technology
- Built-in safeguards
- 5,000 mAh
- Heats up when charging large devices
- After time charging power diminishes
- The Anker Advantage: Join the 50 million+ powered by America's leading USB charging brand.
- High Cell Capacity: Contains 5,000 mAh of power. Enough to provide over an entire replacement charge for iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9, or almost 2 charges for iPhone 8.
- Ultra-Compact: The portable charger’s remarkably small, tubular design slides easily next to your phone in any pocket or bag. Just 10cm tall and 3cm wide.
- What You Get: PowerCore 5000 portable charger, Micro-USB cable, welcome guide, our worry-free 18-month warranty, and friendly customer service. USB-C cable and Lightning cable for iPhone and iPad sold separately.
How to choose the right power bank
Besides size and weight, there are other factors to take into consideration when looking for a power bank for backpacking.
The capacity of a charger is the amount of power that it holds and is measured in milliamp hours. Generally, the higher the number the better but with a larger capacity you’ll have to sacrifice size and weight.
For example, the Google Pixel 3 has a 2,915 mAh battery. In theory, a 10,000 mAh battery would charge the pixel 3 times fully and you would still have 1,255 mAh left over.
It’s important to understand that the mAh of a battery is usually overstated by the manufacturer. You can expect to get about 70% of the stated discharge under normal usage. The best way to test a power bank is to fully charge it and give it a test run with your device, this lets you know how many charges you can reliably count on for your specific device.
Number of charging ports
The number of ports is how many devices that you can charge at the same time. Most of the larger capacity chargers have multiple charging ports so you can charge a phone and kindle at the same time.
While the option to charge multiple devices is nice, some power banks do slow down as you add more devices to them.
The power output is how fast (or slow) that the power bank charges your device. The output of power banks range from 1 amp to 2.4 amps. The higher the output amps the faster your device charges.
2.4 amps power output considered “optimal charging” and this is the highest level of output for most power banks. A 1 amp power output will charge your device, it’s just going to take a long time.
The larger power banks that have multiple outputs the power output is higher, but it’s also shared. This means that you may not get the same performance in terms of speed while charging multiple devices.
Charging the power bank
Power banks charge at different speeds and the more mAh a power bank holds the longer it takes to charge. Most power banks have transformers inside that adjust accordingly, so you can plug it into any outlet in the world.
The cables that you use to charge your device make a subtle difference in charging speed. Higher quality cables perform better than cheap ones and most power banks will include a cable for charging. Chances are that you already have a cable and the fact that the output is a USB, any cable that you have is going to work just fine.
Most power banks charge your device with a USB port, you simply plug it in and your good to go. There are power banks that have a hard-wired cord that come attached to the device, however, with the different cable style this is more of a pain in the ass than a benefit.
Bringing electronics on a backpacking trip is still a new thing. Sure, you might get a few
Whether it’s your smartphone, GPS, GoPro, or a kindle having a battery bank is a life saver. Power banks for backpacking are here to stay, so you might as well find the best power bank for backpacking and learn to love it.