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Thread: Power Banks

  1. #1

    Default Power Banks

    It looks like this hasn't been visited in a while and its a topic subject to updates. Plus I'm hoping to start my section hike soon so it's relevant to me.

    I've listed the specs on a few power banks. I like the Nitecore for features and weight but it's pricey. I've read good reviews and might bite the bullet if someone has a positive long term review. Otherwise I'm leaning towards to the Ravpower 15000 for a balance of power, cost, and weight. Zendure also makes some interesting models but I can find almost no reviews on them. I'm avoiding off brands.

    power bank weight(oz) length(in) width height mah recharge price
    RAVPower Portable Charger 20000 15.7 6.2 2.9 0.59 20000 6hrs 40.00
    RAVPower Portable Charger 15000 10.2 5.53 2.8 0.81 15000 4.7hrs 33.00

    Anker Powercore Essential 20000 12.1 6.2 2.9 0.8 20000 6.8hrs 40.00
    Anker Solar Power Bank 19 6.88 3.46 1.19 20000 7hrs 65.00 weatherproof, solar

    NITECORE NB10000 5.29 4.8 2.32 0.42 10000 60.00 dustproof, water resistant, need 2?, (have 15% off coupon)


    My goal is to have my iPhone SE (new) last up to 10 days as a camera and occasional Guthooks app use. May even check for phone or text messages once in a while.


    Comments and experiences welcome.
    EDIT: I'm not able to format my specs very well. Sorry.
    power.jpg
    Last edited by perrymk; 03-02-2021 at 13:55.

  2. #2

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    Use the phone as you would on the trail for 10 days. That will give you a good idea of exactly how much power you actually need. 10K would enough for me.
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  3. #3
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Just another data point; my Anker 6700 mAH can charge my phone from roughly 25% to near 100% twice, and I get 3-4 days of phone use (pics, guthook, audiobooks) per charge, so basically my Anker 6700, 4 ounces, will keep me good for 9-10 days with a bit left over. I own both a 10K and 20K anker, never use either anymore, don't need that much juice, and they weigh more than my trusty 6700.

  4. #4

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    I had a battery fail on a trip once, so I started carrying some small generic 2200mah battery packs. They weigh 2.2oz each and will recharge my phone fully once and partially a second time. I like that I can carry a small bank on an overnighter and I usually carry 2-3 for a 7-day trip. If I need to keep the InReach and headlamp powered too, I'll carry a 10,000mah that weighs 8oz, depending on resupply. Having some redundancy in terms of power supply is something to also think about...
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  5. #5
    Registered User Maineiac64's Avatar
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    The nitecore looks great, I like that if you only need one for a shorter trip you can do that or 2 for longer trip.

  6. #6
    Leonidas
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    I have 2 of the Ravpower 10k banks that apparently they don't have now... I was going to point you to those as they weigh 205 grams or 7.23oz each. Slightly less than the 20k and they are faster to charge. I really like the idea of the Nitecore but not the price.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Just another data point; my Anker 6700 mAH can charge my phone from roughly 25% to near 100% twice, .



    what's the charge time for this model?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    what's the charge time for this model?
    Don't know, sorry, never measured, never really cared, it charges overnight at town stops, probably in a couple hours.

    I would guess charge times, using the same plug/cord, are proportional to the mAH of the unit, meaning a 6700 mAH unit will charge to full in 67% of the time of a 10,000 mAH unit. Always use at least a 2A charger. I've seen 1A and even 0.5A charge plugs, they are slow.

  9. #9

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    Thanks for the comments. I'll address a few.

    -I can't really use the phone as I would on the trail as I need a phone now. Maybe for a day hiking I could, but not 10 days. Extrapolating is where I come up with wanting 4-5 re-charges.

    -From reading descriptions of power banks, it seem there is recent technology (USB-C, some others) that charges noticeable faster, even half the time.

    -I like the idea of having two power banks, in case one fails. Also can take only one (less weight) for shorter trips.

    I'm leaning more towards the Nitecore as it is water resistant and so light. It's pricey but as I sometimes say about price: buy once, cry once.

  10. #10
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    I have quite a collection of Anker and Rav batteries.

    Likelihood of failure is low enough that it's worth the risk for me to carry a larger battery on longer AT hikes and hikes in the Eastern US in general. The fewer things I have to keep up with the better. One thing I do carry 2 of is charger cables. And a plug of course for charging at an outlet.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by perrymk View Post
    Thanks for the comments. I'll address a few.

    -I can't really use the phone as I would on the trail as I need a phone now. Maybe for a day hiking I could, but not 10 days. Extrapolating is where I come up with wanting 4-5 re-charges.

    -From reading descriptions of power banks, it seem there is recent technology (USB-C, some others) that charges noticeable faster, even half the time.

    -I like the idea of having two power banks, in case one fails. Also can take only one (less weight) for shorter trips.

    I'm leaning more towards the Nitecore as it is water resistant and so light. It's pricey but as I sometimes say about price: buy once, cry once.
    Chargers usually charge at about either 1 or 2 amps per hour. If you have a 10,000 mah battery pack, you are looking at about either 5 or 10 hours to charge a fully discharged "power bank" (10 divided by either 1 or 2). The power in a powerbank usually comes from 1-4 batteries, 18650 batteries. The best are made by Panasonic and have a capacity of 3400 mah per cell. Cheaper ones have around 2000 mah per cell. Legitimate Panasonic batteries are not cheap nor are the other two almost as good imo. Look for a 2 port usb-c charger that outputs 2 amps. The one that came with your iphone is weak.

    NITECORE NB10000 has a capacity of 38.5 wh, so, it clearly has top quality (3400 mah) batteries in it. 4 volts times 3400 mah gives 13.6 wh in theory per battery times three gets you to 38.5 wh. The NB1000 case is made from carbon fiber. It is a high end product and if I needed that kind of capacity, I'd buy it when available. Each battery weights 46 grams (1.6 oz). So, the 5.3 oz for the NB 10000 is astounding because there are electronics, connectors, and the carbon case. They might remove the plastic coating or use a special lighter coating on each battery. If their published specs are accurate, they have pretty much reached the limits currently

    I carry a simple Ankler lipstick. 3350 mah each. 2.8 oz each. I have thought of upgrading to the Ankler Astro E1 6700 mah, it would save 1.5 oz but I cannot see needing the capacity unless carrying a PLB.

  12. #12

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    NITECORE NB10000 does not use conventional 18650 lithium batteries. Total custom. Sorry for wrong info.

  13. #13
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    I think if one needs 10,000 mAH, the Nitecore looks like the way to go (and I love my nitecore headlamp, best headlamp I've owned).

    But if one only needs more like 6700, save $30 and an ounce and the Anker does just dandy.

    I personally find no need for a backup^2 (backup to a backup battery!), I've never had a battery failure (except running out!), and even if I did, it's not a critical item at all.

  14. #14

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    I have 2 of the small (cell phone sized) batteries that do solar. IMO, the solar portion is too small to be effective. I had mine in full, direct, sun for many hours and they didn't really charge much. While hiking, my guess it they'd be even less effective. A quality lithium battery would be better.

  15. #15

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    I use an Anker 10AH and it's around 6oz. Always works for charging phone and Suunto watch. I have an InReach Mini but I turn it on briefly only twice a day to ping my wife so it lasts a long, long time on a single charge.

    I could probably get by with the 6.7AH but very cold weather tends to be unkind to batteries and saps far more energy than anticipated so the bit of buffer is welcome. In warmer weather it's usually more than I need. My phone battery recently died on the trail (single digit temps) and I plugged in the bank to keep it on "life support" although it was by no means a necessity.
    Last edited by cmoulder; 03-04-2021 at 07:06.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  16. #16

    Default

    I know I need to get one of these, the swag bag solar one I got at a conf a few years ago with 5k won’t cut it.

    So appreciate the thread and the comments. I notice the Nitecore and a couple of Ankers have the ability to fast charge themselves with the right charger (Anker Nano et. al). Seems like that could let one charge up more on shorter town stops, either for speed or Covid or both, and just to free up an outlet for others.

    Having a higher capacity power bank might be worth the weight penalty for similar reasons.

    I know Anker has a good reputation but their website is very inconsistent in giving weights. Some items it’s posted and others not. The Nitecore 10k does seem about the best mAH/gm product, in my quick hunt and poking today

  17. #17

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    The charger is the bigger factor in how long it takes for the power bank (battery) to charge.

    The charger that comes with an iphone puts out 5 watts, or lets say 1 amp at 5 volts (watts = amps times volts). It would take 10 hours to charge a 10000 mah power bank using one of those during which time the poor iphone battery would still be drawn down.

    At the other extreme is a 2+ outlet charger with 36 or more watts) with smart technology (Quick Charge 3.0). You will be able to charge both the phone and powerbank simultaneously at 2+ amps and a customized voltage (pumping in more watts per given time). The downside is weight. Such a charger is around 4-10 oz. They are quicker. I carried a 3.5 oz one of these types on bikepacking races or touring where I would immediately connect once or twice per day when stopping to eat (phone and Garmin navigation). With backpacking, it seems more likely to only have the opportunity to recharge every 3-5 days and it also would be an overnight unless someone is doing a FKT Nero pitstop. So, my thinking is speed of charge isn't so important because there are few opportunities to charge and when I do get that opportunity, I will be sleeping in a bed with an outlet near. 12-18 watts in a foldable, compact, light package is where I am looking to buy. YMMV.

    A charger solution for me is probably going to be a 12 watt with two outlets. Aukey makes a Minima 12 watts with folding plugs and small footprint (some are so big that they block the other wall outlet recepticle). It will put a total of 2.4 amps to share between the 2 outlets. My phone battery is smaller and would take less time to charge than the lipstick. If staying in a lodging, I would first charge my phone by itself and then let the power bank charge while I am sleeping although my lipstick is so small, it would only take a few hours. I think the Aukey only weighs 1.2 oz or something like that. 12 bucks. Ankler makes a very nice compact wall charger 18 watts with usb-c and Quick Charge 3.0 but only one outlet. The Nitecore NB10000 has passthru charging, which adds some functionality.

    It is important to realize that not all devices will accept fast charging although it is safe to assume that a powerbank from any reputable company that has USB-C input will be able to manage the higher inputs. The maximum input to the Nitecore NB1000 is 18 watts, so, it would probably only take 2.5-3 hours to fully charge it with such a charger. Some other powerbanks charge at 30w or even 45 watts. Also, some (cheap) wall chargers will only fast charge one port at a time. So, if you have the powerbank connected to the USB-C port and your phone to the USB port, the phone won't charge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    Likelihood of failure is low enough that it's worth the risk for me to carry a larger battery on longer AT hikes and hikes in the Eastern US in general. The fewer things I have to keep up with the better. One thing I do carry 2 of is charger cables. And a plug of course for charging at an outlet.
    For whatever my input is worth, I agree with this and would encourage a second thought about bringing two "in case of failure".... I have a couple of Ankers (10k & 21k) and have used both extensively -- the 10k since 2013, and the 21k since 2017. They have been used in cold environments (I take the usual precaution of keeping them in my bag at night, and wrapped in my clothing sack deep in my pack during the day); they've also been used on many other long non-hiking travels. After all that, I've only noticed slight degradation in the 10k, but neither have failed. I've had a phone fail on me, but not a charger. I think that you would be carrying several ounces of pricey dead weight -- and one more thing to account for.

    If in fact you did have a failure of the battery pack, I think you could probably pick up a small one or two at almost any store anywhere; that could hold you over until you get a replacement.
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  19. #19

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    Might seem obvious but the lithium batteries in a powerbank perform poorly in cold temperatures. I'd either charge from it during the day optimally in warmer temps or warm it up. How much less efficient in say 25F vs 65F? Good question. Based upon experience, I suspect 40-60% as efficient...wild guess....but it is significant.

  20. #20
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Just a point on cold and batteries.... Cold itself does not discharge or otherwise harm batteries when they are not being used, it just slows down the chemical reaction inside which affects in-use energy draw-down only.

    This means that as long as you warm up a battery to a reasonable temperature (say, 70F or so, in your pocket) before using it, there is no loss of energy.

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