Alternative/Off Grid Methods to Charge a Power Bank

Hi guys,

Just looking for some help brain-storming I guess.
I'm wondering about what are some possible options to charge a power bank off-grid?

E.g. 2 week camping trip without mains power, how would I keep it charged?

I've seen things like portable solar panels, so I'm interested in peoples opinions and experiences of these things. What are their pros and cons, and what other options are there?

Cheers

Comments

  • +1 vote

    The Goalzero was reviewed in this Linus Tech Tips video…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmtQSvc3dZY

    It received a mediocre review but as Luke explained he's no electronics nerd so review should be taken with a grain of salt.

    $200 AUD is probably a bit of a ripoff price, try checking Amazon for some much cheaper options.

    •  

      Thanks.
      Yep, I agree the GZ is a rip off and I wouldn't get it, just threw it up as an example. As you say Amazon or eBay have cheaper (seemingly equally good) options.

      Any other thoughts of what I could use?

  • +2 votes

    Saw BangGood is doing presale for this BlitzWolf foldable solar charger at the moment. USD $49.98, delivering on 18 Oct. 28W max output on 2x 5V USB port. 0.68kg & look hilarious to have that on the backpack.

    • +1 vote

      Wow, comment from scotty! Is there a badge for that?! ;)

      Thanks for the tip on the BlitzWolf. Does look like a pretty decent price.
      Yeah, not sure how effective it would be on a backpack either, despite all the pictures advertising that… Not what I'd be doing anyway. Probably mainly camping in the same spot, so would leave it out on the table/ground.

  • +1 vote

    Buy a few extra power banks?

  • +3 votes

    I have used portable solar panels (anker) when i go on long multiday hikes. It does work but there are issues to be aware of.

    The panels are best used with a powerbank with quickcharge feature. So you charge the powerbank and then use the powerbank to charge your items fast.

    They need almost direct full sunlight. They dont work well in clody overcast conditions. This is also a reason for the powerbank.

    These are useful if you are stationary (eg in a fixed, secure campsite) where you can leave the panels to charge your powerbank while you are out and about. I sometimes leave it on the dashboard of the car or on the roof while i hike. When i comeback at night i have a fully charged powerbank.

    They are not great if you are constantly moving (eg multiday hiking from place to place). Solar panels are slow to charge the powerbank (5-6 hours). So either you have to stop or put the panel on you backpack where it may not always be in direct sunlight.

    I now mostly carry 2-3 fully charged high capacity powerbanks for anything less than 2 weeks. Less weight, less fiddly and much more reliable.

    Read below for options on panels.

    http://m.outdoorgearlab.com/topics/camping-and-hiking/best-s...

    •  

      Great info, thanks for this.

      Solar panels are slow to charge the powerbank (5-6 hours). So either you have to stop or put the panel on you backpack where it may not always be in direct sunlight.

      I now mostly carry 2-3 fully charged hugh capacity powerbanks for anything less than 2 weeks. Less weight, less fiddly and much more reliable.

      This is the sort of thing I was wondering.

      •  

        I tried to put a link in for you for a good anker panel (Anker 21w) which you can pick up from amazon for $60-70 usd but for some reason my post got removed (i have no affiliation with either).

        Powerbanks - your anker is fine, xiomi powerbank 2 20,000 has higher capacity and qc3 and will last a week ($35-40).

        •  

          Cheers for that. I'll have a look at the Anker Panel.

          Can you explain the Quick charge stuff? I've never cared about it in the past as I thought it needed compatible hardware (device + charger), and my devices aren't capable of it. But does it work both directions i.e. Power bank will charge faster too? Do I still need a compatible charger or will any regular USB charger do it?

  •  

    Hiking or car camping?
    If you are in one place, solar is good.
    Not very practical to use solar if hiking, the small panels don't produce adequate output.
    That said, presumably your power needs will be very modest?
    An led light will probably run for the fortnight with a spare set of disposable batteries.
    Same with a pocket radio.
    A smartphone needs quite a bit more, using the equivalent in power of approx 3 AA cells for every full charge, but perhaps manageable for an hour or so a night if you power off between uses?

    I have a solar panel that outputs 1a at 5v with a USB connector, so it takes about 5 hours to charge a phone in full sun.
    It is about the size of an A4 sheet of paper. Anything smaller won't produce enough power,to be useful. Double the wattage would be a lot better, considering, for example, an iPad charges at 2.1w.

    The item you linked is over-priced garbage, please stay clear of it. There is no benefit to be gained from paying extra, the issue you have is the physics of solar energy don't allow for enough energy to be concentrated by small panels.

    •  

      Thanks for the info.
      It will mainly be car camping and staying in the same spot. I can basically charge anything I need from my power bank (Eneloops, phone, tablet, etc), but I would like to be prepared in case I need to charge the PB.

      The item you linked is over-priced garbage, please stay clear of it. There is no benefit to be gained from paying extra, the issue you have is the physics of solar energy don't allow for enough energy to be concentrated by small panels.

      Thoroughly agree, and just linked that one as I thought it might be more well known. As I said above, I won't actually buy the GZ.

  • +1 vote

    how would I keep it charged?

    With your car?

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