People who don’t backpack often ask me if I take any tech into the field. We live in a world where our reliance on tech is only going to increase. A lot of people look at hiking as a way to disconnect, but they don’t really follow through. They bring smartphones, DSLRs, MP3 players, headlamps, GPS units, and more. Some people even purify their water with ultraviolet light. And we need power to keep those devices running. That’s where a portable power bank comes in.
I wanted a power bank that was powerful, could stand to be jostled around all day, and weighed as little as possible. After a lot of research, I bought the Anker PowerCore 10,000 mAh Portable Charger. This thing holds enough juice to fully charge my smartphone 4 times from zero and it only weighs 6.72 ounces! That’s about the same weight as my merino wool shirt.
The Anker PowerCore powers itself via micro USB and other gadgets plug into it via USB3 (the big, normal USB port). That means most USB cables can be used with this bank. When I come off the trail, I use a 2-port wall charger to power my phone and this bank simultaneously. It’s really convenient.
I’ve switched to using a rechargeable headlamp to cut down on the redundancy of carrying a power bank and batteries. That and my smartphone are all the tech I carry 90% of the time I’m in the woods. If I have my DSLR, I carry two charged batteries due to the impracticality of recharging them via USB cable. The same goes for my GoPro.
The power bank takes around four hours to fully charge. That’s a relatively long time, but I’m usually in a situation where I can power it overnight before it runs out. It has three little lights that indicate how much power is left. I’ve only ever drained it once on a 3-day hike where I listened to books all day and watched downloaded TV shows at night.
Honestly, I can’t recommend this product enough. I bought a second one when I hiked the Foothills Trail and put it in my food cache in the middle of the woods. It’s lightweight, compact (about the area of a credit card and 3/4-inch thick), and it does what it’s supposed to do. The only downside is the recharging time, but it’s worth it for 10,000 mAh of energy. Whenever a big storm is set to hit at home, I always charge this baby up so that I’ll be able to charge my phone if the power goes out. That’s valuable peace of mind for the price of a good pizza.
I plan to replace these power banks with quick-charge iterations once USB type C becomes ubiquitous. I won’t get rid of these—it’s always good to have extra batteries around—but I will welcome a faster charge time and a universal connector. I’m linking the newer version of the battery because it has Power IQ for phones that have fast-charging capability. I’m also linking the corresponding Anker Power IQ charger that will allow you to charge your phone and your battery bank simultaneously when you stop to resupply in towns.
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