Some old-fashioned hikers might roll their eyes and groan at the suggestion of bringing a power bank on a hike. They'll moan about something like outdoors supposedly being about getting away from modern life. But don’t take any notice of that because a power bank can be as much a necessity as it can be a luxury on a hike.
For example, you might have your OS maps downloaded on your phone and that’ll need to be recharged if you’re to save yourself from getting lost. A power bank can also recharge your headtorch and other modes of lighting. Additionally, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to listen to music on a device, or boot up some cool camping gadgets at the site! A good power bank can be the star of any family camping trip; we think it's well worth investing in the right one.
Goal Zero Venture 75 – Best in test
RUGD. Power Brick – Best value
Zendure Supermini – Best compact power bank
Anker 521 PowerHouse – Best power bank for camping
Biolite Charge 40 PD – Best power bank for ultralight hiking
Here, we’re going to help you by recommending the best power bank options for outdoor endeavours. Your choice ultimately boils down to two options: a standard power bank protected by a dry bag, or a rugged power bank with a high IP rating. We've covered both – and thrown in a wildcard option for those who love a bit of luxury.
The best power banks for hiking and camping in detail
The Venture 75 has a large battery capacity that is suitable for longer treks where you may need
- Big capacity
- Reasonably compact
- IP67 rating
- Quite weighty
Goal Zero offers a smaller sibling to its Venture 75 but the RUGD. Power Brick is the better
- Very tough
- Looks awesome
- Useful built-in light
- Not many different outputs
Prime day deal
SuperMini is indeed an apt name for this power bank. With its 10,000mAh capacity and footprint of
- Extremely small
- Can charge devices while being recharged
- Durability is a concern
On the one hand, this thing is massive and probably quite silly to take on a hike. However, for
- Gigantic cell capacity
- AC outlet for larger devices
- Runs quietly
- Too big and heavy for hiking
Thanks to its 10,000mAh capacity, this power bank can charge the average smartphone battery 2.5
- Relatively low weight
- Reliable charging
- Not fully weatherproof
How to recharge your power bank
The easiest and fastest way to recharge power banks is by the same means you would with a smartphone. However, away from mains power, options are limited.
Small, portable solar panels are a solution. 5- and 10-watt solar panels are small enough to take with you on a hike, and many of them can be strapped to your pack so they charge devices while you walk.
By no means do these solar chargers achieve the same performance as a standard plug, but they are useful for keeping devices topped up.
BioLite and Goal Zero produce some of the best lightweight and robust solar chargers around. For example, their 10-watt solar chargers weigh about half a kilogram and can charge power banks or devices directly via a cable.
What to look for in a power bank for hiking
Capacity: A smartphone requires between 2500 to 3500mAh to recharge. On this basis, a 10,000mAh power bank will provide about three recharges, for example. Consider how much you’re going to use your device(s) when on a hike and how much charge they demand. You can get more recharges of a headtorch from 5,000mAh than you can from a smartphone, for example.
Toughness: Power banks with decent ingress protection are always more suitable for outdoor endeavours, particularly for those who have a habit of being rough on their gear. However, it’s not strictly necessary. Regular power banks can be smaller and have more capacity, which is appealing, and you can pair them with a dry bag or case for protection. It comes down to personal preference.
Size: Cramming as much capacity into as small a size as possible is one of the ultimate goals of a power bank. Some brands are better at this than others, but it’s also important to remember that tough power banks with good IP ratings are never going to offer the power to weight ratio of regular power banks due to all that extra protection.