Let’s face it – camping today is not what it used to be.
When I was growing up, we had little more than a tent and some sleeping bags for a weekend trip in upstate New York. Now I have a trailer, a rooftop tent, all sorts of electronics, a full kitchen…you get the point.
Changing times require that we adjust the camping gear that we have, and modern times call for a portable power station for camping.
But you don’t need just any old portable power station – you want to invest in high-quality gear, just as you likely have done with your other camping essentials.
In today’s article, I’ll discuss a few reasons why you need a portable power station for camping, and I’ll give you my recommendation for the power station I think you should get. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
- Why You Need a Portable Power Station for Camping: To Keep Things Quiet
- There are Plenty of Recharging Options
- A Portable Power Station for Camping is Safe and Requires Little to No Maintenance
- You Get all the Power You Need
- The Portable Power Station for Camping That I Recommend
- Other Camping Gear You Might Need
Why You Need a Portable Power Station for Camping: To Keep Things Quiet
photo by yocamon via iStock
One of the best advantages of a portable power station is that they offer completely quiet operation.
We’ve all been in campgrounds before when a neighbor cranks on their generator and lets it run all night. It’s no fun for you trying to sleep with all that racket…
But that’s not a concern with a small portable power station. You get loads of power to run anything from a refrigerator to charging your phone, all without the noise of a typical generator.
When you’re camping in an established campground and your neighbors are close, or when you’re in an area that prohibits generators and doesn’t offer shore power, a portable power station for camping is the ideal solution for your power needs.
There are Plenty of Recharging Options
One of the drawbacks of a generator is that you’re locked into one type of fuel – gasoline, diesel, propane, and so forth. And while those fuels are often readily available, you might find yourself in a situation in which you run out of fuel and can’t access a place to refuel when you need it.
But that’s not an issue with a lithium ion portable power station for camping. Most of these power stations offer multiple options for recharging, like AC, DC, and solar power. Additionally, many small portable power stations come with rapid chargers that top off the battery in a much shorter period of time.
That means that if you decide to head out on a last-minute trip, your power station can charge up while you pack and charge more while you drive, giving you all the power you need once you arrive at your destination. And then once you’re there, set up some solar panels to charge the power station while you’re camping.
A Portable Power Station for Camping is Safe and Requires Little to No Maintenance
photo by skynesher via iStock
Unlike gas generators, portable power stations require little maintenance.
When you use a portable power station, you don’t have to worry about carbon monoxide like you do with generators. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about carrying fuel, spilling fuel, or smelling fuel, either.
Now, I’m not saying that generators aren’t safe. All I’m saying is that some of the concerns with generators aren’t concerns at all with a portable power station for camping.
Along those same lines, since you don’t have to bring any fuel with you, these small power stations take up less space in your vehicle. Sure, they are often just as big and heavy as a small generator, but without the need to bring extra gas cans along, you end up saving space.
I also like that a portable power station for camping really doesn’t require any maintenance. With a gas-powered generator, you have to change the spark plugs and the fuel filter, but that’s not necessary with portable power stations. Just charge it up, and off you go!
You Get all the Power You Need
A final reason why you should consider investing in a portable power station for camping is that they offer tons of power – often far more than you might need.
For example, with a 1500-watt power station like the Blackfire Pac1000 shown above and below, you can charge your electronics, run a small refrigerator, and get your coffee pot going in the morning. You can use it to fire up an electric grill, run a radio, and get dinner started in a crockpot.
Now, you obviously can’t do all of these things simultaneously, nor can you run power-hungry appliances for a long time. For example, you might get an hour to an hour and a half of runtime for your electric grill out of a portable power station for camping.
So this is an important point to consider – a portable power station isn’t going to run your RV furnace blower or air conditioning unit, nor is it something that will run your hairdryer or coffee pot for hours on end.
I don’t see that as a huge deal, though. I typically don’t need tons of power when I’m overlanding anyway, as my Turtleback Expedition Series trailer has an onboard power system. So, my portable power station for camping is mostly reserved for charging camera batteries, charging my laptop (as shown above) and tablet, keeping my phone juiced up, and so forth. For those types of accessories, a portable power station can last me all weekend.
I’m all about having duplicate systems (that’s my commercial pilot training kicking in…), so if anything else, I like having a portable power station for camping to serve as an emergency backup power source. If I’m stuck and my truck is dead and I need to charge my phone to call for help, I’ve got the power I need to do that in a portable power station. If nothing else, that kind of peace of mind by itself is worth the price of admission!
The Portable Power Station for Camping That I Recommend
Last fall, I was introduced to the Blackfire Pac1000 power station, and I was so impressed with it that it is my top recommendation for portable power stations.
This rig has a 982.8Wh lithium-ion battery that can output 1500 watts of power with 3000 watts of surge power if needed.
You’ll find that the Blackfire Pac1000 has all the ports you need for getting power to your devices, too. There are three Type-A USB ports, three Type-C PD ports, four 120V AC outputs, and a 12V DC output. So, no matter what your power needs are, you’ve got a way to get it to your devices!
In terms of powering up the power station, you have lots of options as well. There’s a mobile AC charger, a fast AC charger, and a DC carport charger. Additionally, you can purchase optional solar panels and charge the power station that way. With a solar panel in place, this power station can act as a rechargeable generator at camp. Nice!
This portable power station makes keeping tabs on its power easy. There’s a nice, big display that shows you input and output data, detailed battery information, and how much time the onboard battery has until it’s fully discharged or fully charged up.
On top is a small storage compartment that gives you a convenient spot to keep small items you might need around camp.
At 44 pounds, this portable power station might seem like a beast, but it weighs less than half of my big gas-powered generator. And it’s got a much smaller form factor, too – just 15.8” × 10.8” × 10.4″.
Of course, you get clean, reliable, quiet power when you’re out camping, which is a huge bonus when you’re trying to be one with nature while not disturbing your neighbors with a loud and smelly generator.
It’s also worth mentioning that Blackfire is the outdoor gear brand of Klein Tools, which has a long history of developing well-made, durable, high-performance products. While Blackfire is a relatively new brand on the market, with the backing of Klein Tools, you know that you’re getting something that’s tried and true.
With spring just around the corner and lots of camping trips planned, you’ll want reliable power around camp. That’s exactly what you get with the Blackfire Pac1000!
Other Camping Gear You Might Need:
- Portable DC/AC Refrigerator
- First Aid Kit
- Camp Grill
- GMRS Radio
- Camp Chair
- Camping Lantern
- Camping Table
- Small Axe
- Solar Shower
- Camping Cookset