Large Capacity, Portable Power Stations for Camping

portable power stations for camping

Portable power in the form of lithium-ion battery storage and solar panel tech has advanced enough where you can now have your own portable power for electronics and electrical appliances just like a full RV, without having to actually own one. In fact, these portable power units are small enough to take with you camping in a small car.  Let’s look at a few popular examples below so you can get a better idea:

Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station

This kit comes with the Jackery Explorer 1000Wh (83.3Ah, 12V) Portable Power Generator with an onboard lithium battery. With 2000W surge power capability, this unit can even run most electrical appliances and weighs about 22 lbs with a handle to carry it.

  • 4 USB ports
  • 12V DC power port 
  • 3 AC outlets.
  • LCD Readout
  • Built-in MPPT charge controller

Just to give you an idea of how much power storage the Explorer 1000 generator holds, a 60W portable cooler can run 66 hours off the power storage without any recharging.  The unit also comes with an AC charging adapter so you can charge it at home, and a 12V car socket adapter so you can charge while driving.  It also comes with an adapter for solar panels.

Jackery’s 1000 portable power package also comes with 2 of their foldable 100W monocrystalline solar panels (200W total). These panels, with a peak power of 100W, recharge your power station during the day. Each panel has kickstands so they can be aimed towards the sun, and weigh about 10 lbs with carry handles.

Goal Zero Yeti 1500 Power Station

Stepping things up in power, if you need or want more, consider Goal Zero’s YETI 1500 portable power station, connected via their Solar Panel Extension Cable and one or two of their Boulder 200 Briefcase Solar Panels to deliver 200W solar recharging capability for the YETI 1500 Power Station from a single panel.  The YETI 1500 weighs about 45 lbs and has a max capacity of 1516Wh (126.3Ah, 12V) power storage. Other features include:

  • 4 USB ports
  • 12V DC power port 
  • 2 AC 120V outlets (2000W, 3500W surge pure sine wave)
  • LCD Readout
  • Built-in MPPT charge controller

Build Your Own Portable Power Station

I actually built my own power station into the Savage Camper Kitchen, which was a DIY project to incorporate a removable, self-contained camp kitchen into my small SUV. The Savage Camper Kitchen is actually a portable power station, as it houses an AGM battery, and incorporates a fold-out briefcase solar panel.  The camp kitchen has 3 USB ports and a 12V socket.  If you desire, you can scale up and build yourself a much larger power station than what I’ve built.

Sungzu 1000W Power Station 

If you’re looking for a bit cheaper solution, maybe consider something like Sungzu’s 1000W/1010Wh power station, which runs a couple hundred dollars less than the comparable Jackery model mentioned above. Charge the on-board lithium battery from a wall socket, or solar panels. Sungzu also offers a foldable 100W solar panel that would recharge their 100W station, and the total for both of these comes out to about $1,000 making it the most affordable ready-to-go setup on our list (except the DIY solution). Wall socket recharge time is about 5-7 hours, and 100W solar panel, about 14 hours. The unit weighs just over 25 lbs and includes:

  • 4 USB ports
  • 2 12V DC power port 
  • 2 AC 120V outlets 
  • OLED Readout
  • Built-in MPPT charge controller

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