Backpacking can be a hugely rewarding experience, whether you choose to go across the globe or simply explore more of your own surroundings! Seeing more of the outside world can change your perspective and give you a whole new lease on life. It’s an incredibly effective form of stress relief, but how long can you go without your personal electronic devices?
We might all like to pretend that exploring the great outdoors is an opportunity to “disconnect,” but electrical devices serve many practical purposes. Going without them can prove challenging. Luckily, you don’t need to worry about that anymore. With the development of solar generators, portable power stations, and battery packs, you can keep all of your favourite devices powered while out on your adventures.
Let’s look at how.
4 Ways to Power Your Devices When Backpacking
There are numerous ways to keep your electrical devices charged and running no matter how far off-grid you go. One of the best ways to do this is through portable solar generators. Not familiar? Don’t worry. We’ll take you through it step by step. First, let’s explain how some of these gadgets work.
Portable Solar Generators
One of the best ways to keep your devices alive while backpacking is by using a portable solar generator. All you need to do is pair solar panels with a portable power station, and you have your very own portable solar generator. This means you can generate your own energy supply at any point when you’re out in the wilderness, provided you have access to daylight.
You can achieve this by pairing one of the EcoFlow River power stations with one of EcoFlow’s range of portable solar panels. They are designed to work together seamlessly, meaning you can spend more time exploring and less time trying to get set up. Check out an example of what this would look like right here!
Portable Power Stations
As we said above, you can make your very own portable solar generator by pairing a power station with a set of solar panels, so let’s look at the former in a little more detail. Portable power stations are effectively large power banks that can hold significant amounts of energy without taking up a lot of space in your backpack. All you need to do is charge them using solar panels, household AC electricity, a car adapter, or even an EV charging station. Then you can hook up your chosen devices whenever they need the extra juice.
The River portable power station from EcoFlow can power up to ten devices at once, thanks to its numerous ports, while still remaining lightweight enough to fit in your bag. It possesses a 600W output (up to 1,200W of surge power with X-Boost) which is more than enough to recharge flashlights, cell phones, and similarly small devices. With 288Wh of battery storage capacity — and the option to add an additional battery — it’s perfect for your next backpacking excursion.
Portable Solar Panels
Now let’s talk about solar panels. You might assume they are just too big to take backpacking with you, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Solar panel technology has come a long way in recent years, with many featuring folding designs, meaning you can take them just about anywhere with minimal effort.
This holds true for the many portable solar panels that EcoFlow provides. Ranging from 110W of rated power all the way up to 400W, there is something for everybody, ensuring that your electrical devices will stay alive no matter how far out you travel. Each of them features monocrystalline silicon solar cells (the most energy efficient on the market), and they are highly durable, with IP68 waterproofing and dust resistance. No matter where you are in the world, EcoFlow’s portable solar panels can handle the trip.
If you have your portable solar generator all set up but want a little extra reassurance, consider investing in some battery packs. Although they will never be able to match the power and performance of a portable power station, they can still provide you with an extra kick when you need it. Think of them as little top-up supplies when you forget to charge your station!
Battery packs are especially helpful for recharging devices that use (you guessed it) rechargeable batteries. Flashlights, headlamps, and your smartphone will all benefit from this. Depending on the wattage of the battery pack, you could even recharge a portable cooker. They shouldn’t be what you rely on the most (that’s what solar generators are for), but they definitely give you an extra edge in a pinch.
How to Power Your Devices When Backpacking
So, now we have covered the devices that can help you stay charged while backpacking. It’s time to talk about how to use the equipment. We’re specifically going to focus on power stations and solar panels here, as battery packs are pretty self-explanatory. Let’s walk you through it.
Set Up Your Portable Power Station
Forgive us for pointing out the obvious, but the first thing you will need to do is set up your power station. This should be relatively easy, as most portable power stations just need you to flip the on/off switch. If your PPS isn’t plug-and-play, make sure to consult your owner’s manual and familiarize yourself with the device’s operations before you hit the trails.
Make Sure it’s Charged
If you are struggling to get your power station to work, it may be because it’s run out of power. This is a likely and frustrating scenario if you forget to charge it before embarking on your adventure. EcoFlow power stations can reach 80% charge within just an hour when plugged into a household AC outlet, so it should be easy to stay prepared. If you find yourself short, attaching solar panels could be the perfect quick fix.
Depending on the capacity of your EcoFlow portable power station and portable solar panels, you can often charge your power station using solar power in under six hours or less. However, this time can vary significantly based on the size of your solar panels and power station and the amount of direct sunlight.
Larger stations typically take longer to charge fully than the more compact options, so bear this in mind before committing to a purchase.
Unfold Your Solar Panels
If you have made the very wise decision of investing in solar panels to attach to your portable power station, then it’s time to set them up. EcoFlow’s range of solar panels champions portability thanks to their folding design. This remains true even for the larger, more powerful panels, as they come equipped with an easy-to-use stand. Even if you have never used portable solar panels before, you should be able to get up and running with minimal difficulty.
To get your solar panels working, all you need to do is prop them up in a position where they are receiving the greatest amount of sunlight and attach them to your power station. Remember, solar panels don’t work independently. The energy they capture has to be converted to AC electricity and stored. Ecoflow Portable Power Stations take care of all that for you in one handy compact design.
Link Your Solar Panels to Your Power Station
How your solar panels link to your power station will largely depend on the brand you are using. If you are using EcoFlow, you just need to complete the following steps:
- Connect the solar panel MC4 connectors with the MC4-to-XT60 cable
- Connect the XT60 cable to the XT60 port found on your portable solar panel
- Ensure the solar panels are fully unfolded, and your power station is up and running
Now you’re ready to sit back and let your solar panels generate the energy for you!
Link Your Devices to Your Power Station
Congratulations! You are now fully set up and ready to recharge your favorite electrical devices. This is the easiest step by far, as all you need to do is hook up your gadgets to your power station via the appropriate port. These often include traditional wall sockets, USB-C, and USB-A outlets.
Just ensure that the power station you are using can handle what you want it to charge. The wattage usually indicates this. The higher the wattage of the power station, the more power it can provide to multiple devices. For example, a cell phone requires between 2 and 6 watts to reach full charge.
Take Advantage of Daylight Hours
Finally, a crucial note about solar panels and daylight — you need to take advantage of every bit of sun you’re going to get. If you’re an experienced backpacker, you’ll already know all about making the most of the daylight hours, but it’s especially important if you’re relying on your solar panels! Set up your solar panels whenever you take a break or stop for some food during the day. They will generate energy even in low light, and you will thank yourself later!
So there you have it, you’re now an armchair expert on portable solar generators, and you’re ready to take on the great outdoors. The days of ditching your electronics to explore the wilderness are long gone. Just try to avoid staring at your phone screen for too long!