As you journey into the world of ultralight backpacking, there’s something crucial you need to know about – power banks.
These nifty devices can be your best friend on the trail, keeping your gadgets charged and your adventures on track.
But here’s the catch: it’s a balancing act between capacity and weight, and we’re here to help you make the best choice. Let’s get started.
A power bank is like a portable battery that fits right into your backpack. It’s most crucial aspect is capacity. Think of capacity as the power bank’s fuel tank – it determines how much charge it can store.
Capacity is measured in milliampere-hours (mAh), ampere-hours (Ah), or watt-hours (Wh). These are just fancy terms to tell us how much electricity the power bank can hold. The larger the capacity, the more charges it can provide for your gadgets.
To make things practical, consider your smartphone or GPS device. They have their own battery capacity, like around 3,000 mAh. Now, if your power bank has 6,700 mAh, it can provide about two full recharges for your device.
You can use this simple formula: (Device power needs) x (number of needed recharges) = (required power capacity).
But here’s the catch – power transfer isn’t 100% efficient. So, a 2,000 mAh power bank won’t fully recharge a 1,000 mAh device battery twice. That’s why it’s smart to add a little extra capacity to your calculations.
Now that we’ve got a handle on power bank capacity, let’s shift gears and talk about something equally important: power output and compatibility.
The power output of a power bank, measured in volts, is indicative of its charging speed for your gadgets. Most power banks offer standardized outputs such as USB-A or USB-C, which are widely compatible with various devices.
Nevertheless, it is essential to take into account not only voltage but also amperage (current) as a crucial factor in determining charging speed.
Example: Consider two power banks, A and B, both with a 5-volt output. Power bank A delivers 1 ampere, while power bank B provides 2 amperes. Power bank B charges your device twice as fast as power bank A due to its higher amperage, despite both having the same voltage.
Now that you grasp the basics of power banks, capacity, and compatibility, it’s time to tackle the big question: How do you choose the perfect power bank:
Furthermore, always choose well-known brands with international certifications. Cheap imitations may fail to deliver the correct voltage, putting your device at risk and even posing safety hazards.
For example, a recent test revealed that around 40% of power banks from China presented a potential fire hazard. Remember, if a deal appears too good to be true, exercise caution.
Just so you know, we’ve included the lightest power banks in our TOP 5 guide.
Caring for your power bank ensures it stays reliable on future trips:
Choosing the right power bank isn’t a one-size-fits-all task. It’s a delicate balance between capacity and weight.
You’ve learned about the fundamentals of power banks, including capacity, output, and compatibility. We’ve even suggested a capacity of over 10,000mAh for those who can recharge every couple of days.
And it doesn’t end there. Maximizing the life of your power bank is essential. By following a few simple tips like avoiding complete drains and storing it properly, you can ensure that your power bank remains a reliable companion on your journeys.
So, as you embark on your next ultralight backpacking adventure, armed with the knowledge from this guide, you’ll not only stay connected but also make the most of your power bank.
Interested in an ultralight power bank? Check out our TOP 5 Guide for the lightest power banks on the market.
For backpacking, the ideal power bank size depends on your trip’s duration and device needs. A power bank with a capacity of at least 10,000mAh is suitable for longer trips (a week or more) with limited charging options. Shorter trips may suffice with a 5,000mAh to 10,000mAh power bank.
For efficient charging of most smartphones and devices, the optimal amperage range for a power bank typically falls between 2.4 amps (2.4A) and 3 amps (3A). This range strikes a balance between charging speed and compatibility. However, it’s essential to check your specific device’s requirements, as some may benefit from higher amperage for even faster charging.