Camping gear reviews

Selecting the Right Portable Battery for your Camping Trip

There is nothing more frustrating than having your device die on you when you’re miles away from an outlet. Having the best portable battery in your backpack can be quite reassuring and you’ll have all the necessary power you need.

How much power does your device need to recharge?

Power output is typically measured in milliamp-hours (mAh), and some will provide the rated output in milliwatt-hours (mWh) or watt-hours (Wh) output.  The mAh capacity of your device is generally available either online or in your owner’s manual. As a very rough guide, if your portable battery indicates mAh is approximately equal to your device, then you could expect, at very best, one recharge (or close to one recharge).

Let’s take a look at a few common devices:

  • Apple iPhone 6s – 1,715 mAh
  • Apple iPad Air 2 – 7,340 mAh
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 5 – 3,000 mAh

Your options for your ideal backpacking portable battery

The pocket models are generally fairly expensive, owing to their highly compact design and cost around $30 and up. The day pack options weigh between 6 ounces and 1 pound and their prices range between $15 and $35+. Your luggage options weigh approximately 1 pound, and are priced between $30 and $50.

Pocket options include the Jackery Mini, a neat little device which can supply 3,350mAh, and weighs only 2.7 ounces. It will give you a little over a full recharge for an iPhone 6, and as much as one and a half recharges for a GoPro Hero 4.

Day pack options include the EasyAcc 2nd Gen. This device is able to charge two devices simultaneously, and is good for 5 recharges for most mobile phones or similar devices. Weighing in at 226g, it is no bigger than an iPhone 6+.

Luggage options really pack a punch, owing simply to their ability to take up more space, which gives you greater power and multiple USB ports. A good example of a luggage model is the EC Technology Portable Charger 22400mAh External Battery Pack. At 462g it’s a little bulky for a day pack, but perfect for luggage and provides 3 USB ports. It will recharge your tablet about 4 times and your phone no less than 12 times.

Cycles and Capacity

  1. A fully charged portable battery will gradually discharge itself, in its dormant state, so be sure to top up your battery just before you head out.
  2. A portable battery is likely to give you about 500 cycles; this is the number of times it can be charged and then discharged before it becomes noticeably inefficient.
  3. You can expect your portable battery to only be able to deliver 50% to 70% of its original output at the two-year mark and after a few hundred cycles.

Always recycle responsibly.


Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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