Portable power. A look at Powerstations/ Powerbanks. Cheaper, more flexible than you may think!

Back in November 2020 I wrote a piece on the idea and options on using solar power when shooting in remote locations to keep gear all charged up and ready to use.

Power technology has come a long, long way over the years, and the primary conduit for this has been Lithium.

Long gone are the days of super heavy lead acid batteries being the only option; lithium batteries are available for a multitude of uses and in a variety of sizes and guises.

Using lithium power to give electricities to cameras, lights etc simply makes sense.

One way I have been using for the last few months is by way of a power station. This is a portable device that at its core is a lithium battery. You can tap into this in various ways including 12v, USB (in different forms such as USB-C or USB-A), cigarette lighter connection, Anderson plug or even with it acting as an inverter for 240v power.

Conversely you can recharge the power station from 240v, 12v (cigarette lighter say) or even a solar panel.

I have two of these that are rated at 42mAh. One I keep at home for a multitude of uses including major domestic power outages, and one on my boat so that the boat batteries are not being used up when the engine is off. Of course when the engine is running, I can then recharge the power station as well via a cigarette lighter connection on the console.

Various sizes of power station are available, and each gives different options on how they can be used. A top of the range unit is like this, and there are others here and here.

Another way to recharge devices is via a power bank. I keep half a dozen on tap (always have two with me) and they are used to quickly recharge mobile phones,  cameras, LED lights such as the GoPro Zeus Mini and so on.

They are also useful for providing continuous power to locked off GoPro cameras, and depending on the rating, can keep a GoPro Hero Black 9 say, recording for hours – SD card capacity dependent of course.

A “standard” power bank will have around 10,000mAh capacity and offer a variety of USB ports for connectivity and charging. You can even get ones that are rechargeable from solar, with their own little built in solar panel.

As mentioned,  common sizes are 10,000mAh to 20,000mAh versions and I have heard of, but not yet seen a 50,000mAh unit.

Expect to pay between $30 – $90 for one depending on capability, connectivity and capacity.

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