The Best Portable Power Station for Your Next Outdoor Activity
There are plenty of reasons to go outdoors. Fresh air, sunshine, and new scenery all have their benefits. But when we venture beyond the confines of our home and into the wild, our tech-centric lives become a little more challenging. Unless you want to be that person who can’t Instagram your hiking trip because your phone battery drained after 10 minutes of snapping photos and recording video, you need a portable power station with you. It’s easy to see why outdoor activities can put a strain on battery life – it’s almost guaranteed that they involve some combination of being away from a power outlet and spending extended time in nature (which is exactly why so many people love them). But the right portable power station can help keep any outdoor excursion stress-free. Read on for details about the different kinds of portable power stations and which one might be best for your next outdoor adventure – or any other activity where extended battery life would be useful.
What is a portable power station?
A portable power station is a device that generates electricity to charge a device of your choice. For outdoor activities, a portable power station is a great way to extend your device’s battery life so you can continue to use it as needed. But if you’re wondering about the “portable” part of the equation, keep in mind that the device itself may not be portable – you’ll just need to bring it along with you. Most portable power stations consist of two parts: a battery and a charging port. You plug your device’s charging cord into the charging port and plug the other end into an electrical outlet. The battery inside the portable power station will then charge your device.
What to look for in a portable power station
Power - how many watts are the portable power station’s battery and charging port capable of? While watts do vary between devices, the more watts, the faster your device will charge. Size - how much space does the portable power station take up? If you’re bringing a portable power station on a hiking trip, for example, you don’t want something that would take up one of your backpack’s precious pockets. Battery type - what type of battery does the portable power station use? Generally, lithium-ion is the best option for a portable power station. Output charging ports - what type of charging ports does the device have? This can vary from device to device, but some have the ability to charge more than one device at a time. Weight - how heavy is the portable power station? While the difference in weight between the lightest and heaviest options may be minimal, it’s still worth noting – especially if you plan on bringing the device with you on an outdoor excursion.
Portable solar power stations
Portable solar power stations are exactly what they sound like: a power station that uses solar panels as its source of power. You mount the solar panels to the outside of your bag, backpack, or whatever other gear you’re bringing with you, and they charge the battery inside. Portable solar power stations are a great option for the environmentally conscious. The panels can be recharged by sunlight, so you don’t have to plug them into an outlet at all. They’re also relatively lightweight and can be a convenient way to charge your devices in the field. But if you’re thinking about using a portable solar power station to charge your devices while at home (on your back patio, for example), you should rethink your approach. The sun’s rays don’t have the same strength while inside compared to when they’re outside and don’t charge the solar panels at the same rate.
Battery-based portable power stations
Battery-based portable power stations use a built-in battery that can be charged by connecting it to an electrical outlet. Many of these devices can hold a charge for more than a year, making them a great option for outdoor use. These portable power stations are lightweight and easy to carry with you on hikes and outdoor excursions. They’re also great for road trips, camping excursions, and for keeping at the office for emergencies. Battery-based portable power stations are the most affordable options on the market. They’re also the easiest to use, since they don’t require that you learn how to set up solar panels or connect them to a generator.
Which one should you get?
When you’re choosing the best portable power station for your needs, it’s important to consider your device’s charging requirements. Lithium-ion batteries can charge a wide range of devices, but they’re best at charging smaller or medium-sized devices. If you’re charging a larger device like a laptop or a large tablet, you might want to choose a device with a transformer instead of a lithium-ion battery. Portable power stations are an excellent way to ensure you can use your devices as needed, no matter where you are. And with so many options available, there’s a portable power station for every outdoor adventure.