There was a time when car camping meant going without life’s simple pleasures. That meant leaving your espresso maker, heated blanket, and kegerator at home. But it’s not 2010 anymore. Portable power packs are lighter, more compact, and more affordable than ever. With one of these beefy battery banks, you can tote almost any household appliance into the front-country for a legit luxury car camping experience. Here are our top picks for the best portable power packs.
We’ve been fans of Goal Zero’s portable power packs ever since field-testing the brand’s Yeti 200X. The Yeti 1000 Core is the brand’s latest release, and it packs more than enough juice for a luxury car camping setup. With a 1000Wh capacity, it’s capable of powering almost anything you might plug in at home, including laptops, smartphones, coffeemakers, and even portable fridges. A total of seven port types provide for a variety of charging options. Plus, with the optional 300W charger, it quick-charges in under five hours.
For shorter car camping trips or those where portability matters over sheer power, there’s Jackery’s Explorer 500. It’s the middle child of the brand’s much loved Explorer lineup of power packs. The 500W capacity is ideal for topping up smartphones, laptops, and camera gear in the woods. The handful of power ports, including a 110V AC port, three USB ports, and a 12V DC output port, means plenty of versatility. The best part is that it’s about the size of a basketball and weighs just over 13 pounds, so it’s easy to toss in the back of your vehicle.
Anker’s ultra-portable backup batteries have been a favorite amongst travelers for years. Now, the company is expanding with more robust alternatives like its flagship PowerHouse II 800. The 500W/777Wh capability offers more than enough juice for powering your favorite electronics and appliances in the front country. It also comes solar-ready and can be fast-charged with combined DC and USB-C inputs for 240W power flow.
For RVers, vanlifers, and anyone who appreciates living it up (even in the wild), there’s Bluetti’s AC200P Portable Power Station. This “power monster” boasts a 2000W/2000Wh capability — more than enough for heaters, electric grills, window-mounted air conditioners, hairdryers, and even microwaves. Sure, it weighs more than 60 pounds. But, that’s a small price to enjoy the convenience of almost any home appliance wherever you decide to make camp.
Baldr’s Portable Power Station 330W is one of the least powerful on this list, but that also means it’s smaller and more portable. It offers the three most essential port types, including 110V AC, USB, and 12V DC, so it’s compatible with most ordinary electronics. The fact that it weighs just over seven pounds makes it ideal even as a backup battery. Throw it in the trunk ahead of your next outdoor adventure and forget about it until you need it.
Judy’s latest release, the aptly named Power, is designed to keep you going through any emergency. But, that also makes it ideal for car camping with a 1000W capability that’s powerful enough for just about anything you might want to take outdoors. Unlike ordinary gas generators, the Judy Power is silent, maintenance-free, and emission-free too, so it’s safe to use indoors, too.
While it lacks the capacity of other power packs on this list, the BioLite Campstove 2 offers one key feature that sets it apart: Limitless power. The unique design converts virtually any combustible material — sticks, twigs, leaves, and even dryer lint — into usable battery power. You won’t be running a pellet grill off of it, but it does guarantee virtually unlimited charges for essential gadgets like your smartphone or tablet. Bonus: It boils water too!
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