Portable Power

Bug Out Power Solar Tent

Portable Power

For most of us, having access to electrical power has become so second nature that we hardly give it a thought. It's so abundant to be almost free, and there are lots of places all around to plug in your cell phone when it runs out of juice. But if the grid goes down for a long period of time, or you need to charge your devices on the move, then you need to consider sources of portable power. It makes sure you can recharge your child's tablet so they can watch their favorite shows, and hopefully be distracted to a less than ideal situation around them. It keeps your communication devices going, and keeps your lights working at night.

This list factors in only small devices, such as anything charged over USB like phones and tablets, or anything that runs off AA or AAA batteries like head lamps.

Ni-MH AA and AAA Batteries

There are several different types of rechargeable batteries: from the lead-acid which powers your car or truck, to Ni-MH which are used in AA and AAA batteries, to Lithium-Ion used in portable re-chargeable electronics like cell phones. Lets look at Ni-MH which stands for Nickle Metal Hydride.

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Eneloop Batteries

Panasonic eneloop AA batteries

Price: $40
We have been using eneloop batteries for years. They are considered by many insiders to be the best-made rechargeables. They maintain 70% of their charge after 5 years of storage and they can be charged and discharged up to 2100 times. Unlike the older rechargeable AA and AAA there is no memory effect on them, you don't have to fully charge and discharge to maintain them. They pay for themselves after using them only 5 times. We have them in our head lamps, torches, and table lamps.

AA / AAA Battery Storage Hard Case Boxes

AA / AAA Battery Storage Hard Case Boxes

Price: $8
It will help to keep your batteries organized and protected from the elements having these little cases to hold them in. One trick: Put a + on one side and a - on the other. When a battery is charged, have the tip facing the + and after it's been discharged face it towards the -. Neat huh?

Amprobe BAT-200 Battery Tester

Amprobe BAT-200 Battery Tester

Price: $7
You're gonna need a tester to figure out the charge of your batteries once you start getting into reuseables. We like these so much we bought 3 for around they house (they are cheap.)


Lithium-ion is a relatively newer form of battery, with very good energy storage in small sizes. Great charge and discharge rates with no memory effects. This is the type of battery which runs most cellphones, tablets, and laptops. Tesla Motors uses them to power their vehicles for this reason.

Limefuel Rugged L150XR

Limefuel Rugged L104XR Waterproof USB Pack

Price: $90
15000 mah lithium-ion USB battery. Waterproof and ruggedized, this guy can keep your electronics going strong for hours on end. Input is a micro USB port, output dual USB for simultaneously charging two devices. Gives about 7 charges to an iPhone.

Voltaic Systems V72 Universal Laptop Battery

Voltaic Systems V72 Universal Laptop Battery

Price: $129
20,000 mah, 72 Wh. More than doubles many laptops' runtime, charges smartphones up to 8 times and tablets up to twice. 12v, 16v, and 19v output along with the standard 5v USB output. Really powerful battery. Aluminum framed, but not waterproof.


Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar GeneratorGoal Zero Nomad 20 Solar Panel

Goal Zero YETI 150 + Nomad 20W Solar Panel

Price: $200 + $200
Self contained and easy to carry 150amp generator which can be recharged via wall-plug or solar. Can run a CPAP machine in addition to charging laptops, phones, tablets, etc. Lots of info on Amazon.

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus

Price: $40
This charger can keep your AA and AAA eneloops topped off while mobile. It has a solar input and mini USB input. You can use the batteries as they are or keep them in the Guide 10 and use the USB output to charge your phone or other lithium-ion device as well.

La Crosse BC500 Rechargeable Battery Charger

La Crosse BC500 Rechargeable Battery Charger

Price: $30
Another option for recharging eneloops is this "smart" charger. It can perform load-tests, charge, and discharge. It wont overcharge and it won't charge defective batteries. Runs off a cigarette lighter (12 volt) or an outlet. We have also connected this to a lager Voltaic V72 battery to charge up also.

Fuse solar charger

Voltaic Systems Fuse Solar Charger

Price: $115
Voltaic Systems makes all kinds of cool solar backpacks and chargers. This one of their smaller ones which can attach to the outside of a tactical backpack. It can charge the AA above using those chargers, or charge up a lithium-ion battery pack.


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