Time spent in nature, without the noise and distractions of everyday life (read: the nearly constant pinging of phone notifications), is priceless. And while we whole-heartedly endorse venturing beyond the reach of cell phone towers, we also recognize that most people travel with at least a couple electronic gadgets, and keeping those devices juiced up is important. You don’t want to lose your digital hiking map in the middle of your trip, or have your GoPro go dark in the middle of a trail ride. That’s where portable chargers come in—they’re the best way to keep your key gadgets powered when you’re miles away from a wall outlet.
For this roundup, we pulled together products from trusted brands and lesser-known items that have garnered solid reviews on Amazon. Then, we narrowed things down by nixing chargers and batteries that are too big to comfortably carry in a pack. If you’re car camping and need to charge a lot of devices, you might want to consider something larger and more powerful than the items listed here. The tradeoff, of course, is that those models are bulky and heavy. But if you’re lacing up for a day hike or spending a night or two in a tent, these rugged batteries and solar chargers will help you keep your battery topped up.
The chargers here fall into two general categories: small power banks and solar-powered chargers. To use the power banks, you charge them up before going off the grid and plug in your devices later. The solar chargers derive their energy from the sun, so you can get more power once you’re away from civilization. To test these products, we used an iPhone 7 to see how much charge each device could provide, and spent time carrying each product around to assess portability.
If you’re heading into the backcountry, these are the best portable chargers to take with you.