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Camping Battery Buyer's Guide

You don’t need to carry around fuel to power your favourite appliances anymore! While a generator still can be an efficient way to travel off-grid (especially for high power drawing appliances), portable battery packs are becoming increasingly popular.

These fuel generator alternatives allow for portable power without the noise, fumes or maintenance of a traditional generator. The best thing about camping battery packs are that they’re portable so they don’t need to be hard wired into your vehicle.

The current range on the market varies in size, capacity and battery type depending on your application and needs. You will need to consider what you want to power when choosing between the various batteries on the market.


What Will My Camping Battery Run?



There are a few basic principles behind working out your run time and power requirements of your off-grid camping set up. You’ll need to answer the following questions:

 

 

If this all seems overwhelming, don't worry; we are here to help! Firstly, you will need to understand how many amps per hour your fridge draws. Let’s look at a typical example of a 40L portable fridge that draws an average of 1 Amp per hour, over 24 hours. Which means that in one day the fridge draws 24Amp hours. We have now calculated our load, which is 24 Amp Hours. 

Dometic Waeco CFX-40W Portable Fridge / Freezer

Dometic Waeco CFX-40W Portable Fridge / Freezer

 

 

Now, let’s say that our camping battery is a 135 Amp hour AGM battery. An AGM battery has a 50% Depth of Discharge which means there are 67 usable Amp Hours (135/2 = 67.5). So if our 40L fridge is pulling out 24 Amps per day, my battery will run it for just under 3 days straight without any solar input!

Now this brings us to our Solar input. You could use either a Solar Panel or Solar Blanket to help run your camping fridge. A typical 160W portable Solar Panel that is in direct sunlight will provide an input charge current of nearly 9 Amps per hour. If the solar panel works off 6 hours of available sunlight, we have a total input of 54Amps per day. 

Evakool Solar Panels



We now have 24 amps coming out, and 54 amps going in. This means that if the sun is available, our camping battery is going to stay charged up and we are given power indefinitely. This is how we are able to stay off-grid while camping!

With these products, we have more than enough power left over to charge mobile phones, laptops, led lights and 24V inverters. However, if the weather does decide to close in, and we lose sun all together, we will still get nearly three days of running our fridge.

 

Let’s Run Through a Few of Our Favourite Camping Battery Pack Models and Brands:


The Best Camping Battery Packs

 

Dometic PLB40 40Ah Lithium Battery:

Incase you aren't familiar with the brand, Dometic is global leader in manufacturing RV appliances. They are famous for their Portable Camping Fridges and Upright Caravan Fridges. Dometic launched their PLB40 Lithium Battery Pack to Australia in 2019. This battery system features cutting-edge technology, which is a result of years of research and development. It has an integrated DC to DC charger, which offers three convenient ways to charge: a 12V socket in your vehicle, AC mains power or via a solar panel.

With 40amp hours of lithium capacity this pack will provide up to 40 hours of cooling time for a 40 litre camping fridge, on a single charge. It also features two USB ports so you can charge your phone directly off the battery.

The built in LCD screen display allows you to track important performance information including the battery capacity, charging/discharging status and output status.

One of the best features about the Dometic battery pack is that it weighs under 8kg and is super easy to move about, unlike many other models in the market.

 

Dometic PLB40 Portable Lithium Battery

 

Goal Zero Battery Packs:

If you’re searching for more variety in terms of battery size and type, Goal Zero is the ultimate brand to look into! The brand offers both AGM and lithium battery packs depending on your power requirements. Both battery types feature built-in inverters meaning you can also run 240V appliances as well as your favourite 12 volt camping appliances.

Goal Zero's Yeti Lithium Power Stations are some of the most versatile and innovative power stations on the market! They feature built-in surge allowances and multi-stage protection, meaning greater compatibility with more devices. These Lithium models have become increasingly popular due to being lightweight and very efficient, but they do cost more than AGM packs.


Goal Zero Yeti 400, 1400 and 3000 Lithium Portable Battery Packs

Goal Zero Yeti 400, 1400 and 3000 Lithium Portable Battery Packs

 

The lithium range is offered in four capacities: Yeti 400 Lithium Portable Power Pack 39.6AhYeti 1000 Lithium Portable Power Pack 96.8AhYeti 1400 Lithium Portable Power Pack 132Ah and Yeti 3000 Lithium Portable Power Pack 280.8Ah.

The two larger lithium battery packs are also designed to run lights and appliances during an emergency home power outage.


Goal Zero | Yeti 1400 Lithium

 

On the other hand, the brands AGM power packs are great if you're on more of a budget. These units are heavier than the lithium models and do take longer to charge, but are still high quality products. They are offered in three different capacities: Yeti 150 Portable Power Pack 14AhYeti 400 Portable Power Pack 33Ah and Yeti 1250 Portable Power Pack 100Ah.

 

Goal Zero: The Best Portable Power Packs for Camping?

 

The best thing about the Goal Zero Power Stations is that you can use them in conjunction with a solar panel to travel off-grid indefinitely! The brand offer a range of packs that include a power pack and a solar panel for your convenience. Many of their solar panels can also be chained to others if you’re chasing extra solar power.

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Baintech Powertop 135AH V3 Battery Pack:

Now if you’re looking to charge a few more appliances, to travel off-grid for a longer, and don’t want to break the bank then a Baintech Powertop might be for you. It's an AGM 135 amp hour battery which also has 3 way charging: AC, DC and solar. This battery features a range of inputs including 2x ciga sockets, 2x Engel sockets (to run an Engel portable fridge) and dual USB ports.

It also is fitted with three 50A Anderson type Connectors:

  • Red: Solar/External (12V solar panel input can be unregulated)
  • Blue: Vehicle Charge Input connection
  • Grey: Load connection to and from battery

Baintech Powertop 135AH V3 Battery Pack V3

Baintech Powertop 135AH V3 Battery Pack V3 

 

Its anodised aluminium construction makes it suited for off-road camping. The Powertop is more affordable than lithium power packs but also heavier weighing in at 35 kilograms.


For further product specifications and performance, check out our full range of Portable Power Packs

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