What Is the Best Portable Power Station for Camping?

Contributor

Tucker Ballister

Favorite Trip

5 Months Solo on the Road

Home Base

Hendersonville, NC

Favorite RV

2008 Fleetwood Bounder

About Contributor

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.

For RV owners, the best portable power stations for camping reduce battery usage while providing a clean energy source for sensitive electronics like tablets, smartphones, and computers. Models with higher capacities can also run CPAP machines or mini fridges for off-grid camping. 

I keep my portable power station in the cab whenever I’m towing. Keeping my phone and laptop charged is incredibly handy on long road trips. It even saves me on non-RV days when I don’t realize my phone is at 20% after I leave the house to run errands. Additionally, it has earned many compliments from friends who could use an extra charge on our way to the trailhead. 

Our list of the best portable power stations for camping includes top brands like Southwire, EcoFlow, and Jackery. Let’s learn more about their best-selling power stations for sale online or at a Camping World near you. 

The Best Portable Power Stations for Camping

Our selections are broken down by brand to compare their most popular models, starting with three excellent entry-level options from Southwire.

Three Best Southwire Portable Power Station Models

These Southwire portable power stations are more affordable than some of the others on our list, yet they still offer compact designs and versatile charging options.

All Southwire power stations use UL-certified lithium-ion technology that delivers clean, pure sine wave power for sensitive electronics. The front of each station boasts a high-contrast LCD screen with multiple readouts for easy programming and power level monitoring. 

Let’s dive into the specs and unique features of these three models:

Southwire Elite 200 Series Portable Power Station

Southwire Elite 200 Portable Power Station
Photo by Camping World
Specs
TypeCapacityCharge Time# of DevicesDimensionsWeight
Lithium-ion220 Wh1.7 hoursUp to 98.5” x 75.” x 6.3”6.6 pounds
Standout Features
  • Capable of running a 32” LED TV for up to 4 hours
  • Includes a built-in LED light with an SOS function for emergency use
  • 2 AC Outlets
  • 3 USB-A Ports
  • 1 USB-C Port
  • 1 27W PD Input/Output Port
  • 2 12V/5A DC Outlets
  • 1 12V/10A DC Outlet

Southwire Elite 500 Series Portable Power Station

Southwire Elite 500 Portable Power Station
Photo by Camping World
Specs
TypeCapacityCharge Time# of DevicesDimensionsWeight
Lithium-ion515 Wh3 hoursUp to 1013.2” x 9” x 8”11 pounds
Standout Features
  • Capable of running a 32” LED TV for up to 9 hours
  • Includes a built-in LED light with an SOS function
  • 2 AC Outlets
  • 4 USB-A Ports
  • 1 USB-C Port
  • 1 60W PD Input/Output Port
  • 1 27W PD Outlet
  • 2 12V/5A DC Outlets
  • 1 12V/10A DC Outlet

Southwire Elite 1100 Series Portable Power Station

Southwire Elite 1100 Portable Power Station
Photo by Camping World
Specs
TypeCapacityCharge Time# of DevicesDimensionsWeight
Lithium-ion1166 Wh5 hoursUp to 1213.1” x 9.1” x 8.1”25 pounds
Standout Features
  • Capable of running a 32” LED TV for up to 21 hours
  • 3 AC Outlets
  • 3 USB-A Ports
  • 2 USB-C Port
  • 1 27W PD Outlet
  • 1 60W PD Input/Output Port
  • 2 12V/5A DC Outlet
  • 1 12V/10A DC Outlet

As an optional upgrade that’s compatible with all Southwire portable power stations, consider the Elite Series 100-watt solar panel to expand your recharging capabilities.

Three Best EcoFlow Portable Power Station Models

While the Southwire power stations above can be powered with an optional solar panel upgrade, the best EcoFlow portable power stations already come with solar panels for an additional off-grid charging option. 

These EcoFlow power stations are among the industry’s first TUV Rheinland Certified models, which means they adhere to the highest possible safety standards. Backed by a 5-year warranty, EcoFlow guarantees the product’s safety, reliability, and longevity. 

Each EcoFlow portable power station features an intelligent battery protection system. This system constantly monitors voltage, temperature, and current to ensure safe operation. They also boast a fast automatic switchover speed (~30 milliseconds) that allows them to be used for emergency home backup power in case of an outage.

EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max Portable Power Station with 160W Solar Panel

EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max
Photo by Camping World
Specs
TypeCapacityCharge Time# of DevicesDimensionsWeight
LiFePO4512 Wh1 hourUp to 1110.6” x 10.4” x 7.7”13.4 pounds
Standout Features
  • Comes with a ~15-pound, 160-watt, self-supportable solar panel
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity via the EcoFlow app
  • Lightweight for easy portability
  • 4 AC Outlets
  • 3 USB-A Ports
  • 2 DC Outlets
  • 1 USB-C Port
  • 1 Car Outlet

EcoFlow DELTA Pro Portable Power Station with 400W Solar Panel

EcoFlow DELTA Pro
Photo by Camping World
Specs
TypeCapacityCharge Time# of DevicesDimensionsWeight
LiFePO43600 Wh1.7-3.5 hoursUp to 1125” x 11.2” x 16.4”99 pounds
Standout Features
  • Comes with a 400-watt, self-supportable solar panel
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity via the EcoFlow app
  • The ability to pair with a second unit for up to 7200 Wh
  • 4 AC Outlets
  • 4 USB-A Ports
  • 2 USB-C Ports
  • 2 DC Outlets
  • 1 30A RV Outlet
  • 1 Car Outlet

EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro Portable Power Station with 220W Solar Panel

EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro
Photo by Camping World
Specs
TypeCapacityCharge Time# of DevicesDimensionsWeight
LiFePO4768 Wh1.17 hoursUp to 1110.6” x 10.2” x 8.9”17.2 pounds
Standout Features
  • Comes with a 220-watt, self-supportable solar panel
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity via the EcoFlow app
  • X-Boost Mode for up to 1600-watts AC output
  • 4 AC Outlets
  • 3 USB-A Ports
  • 2 DC Outlets
  • 1 USB-C Port
  • 1 Car Outlet

Four Best Jackery Portable Power Station Models

Jackery offers a robust lineup of portable power stations with and without compatible solar panels. Their models can power up to 90% of all outdoor electronics and can be recharged through multiple methods, so you’re never without supplementary power. 

The best Jackery portable power stations feature a built-in MPPT module that delivers up to 23% more solar recharging efficiency. They also include a battery management system that monitors voltage and temperature control, protecting against short circuits and high voltage. 

All models include a front LCD display that shows the remaining battery life and charge/discharge status. Many of their designs are also compact to easily fit in the cab of your truck, on a motorhome’s center console, or in any other discrete, usable location in your RV. 

Let’s look closer at four of the top-selling Jackery power stations for sale at Camping World.

Jackery Explorer 550 Portable Power Station

Jackery Explorer 550
Photo by Camping World
Specs
TypeCapacityCharge Time# of DevicesDimensionsWeight
Lithium-ion NMC550 Wh7 hoursUp to 711.8” x 7.6” x 9.5”13.8 pounds
Standout Features
  • 1 500-watt pure sine wave AC outlet (1000 peak watts)
  • 3 USB-A Ports
  • 2 DC Outlets
  • 1 12V Car Outlet
  • 1 DC Input

Jackery Explorer 1500 Portable Power Station

Jackery Explorer 1500
Photo by Camping World
Specs
TypeCapacityCharge Time# of DevicesDimensionsWeight
Lithium-ion NMC1534 Wh3 hoursUp to 714” x 10.4” x 12.7”35.27 pounds
Standout Features
  • 3 1,800-watt pure sine wave AC outlets (3,600 peak watts)
  • 2 USB-A Ports with Quick Charge
  • 1 USB-C Ports
  • 2 DC Inputs
  • 1 12V Car Outlet

Jackery Explorer 290 Portable Power Station with SolarSaga 100W Solar Panel

Jackery Explorer 290 with SolarSaga
Photo by Camping World
Specs
TypeCapacityCharge Time# of DevicesDimensionsWeight
Lithium-ion NMC290 Wh5 hoursUp to 49.1” x 5.2” x 7.7”7.5 pounds
Standout Features
  • 1 200-watt pure sine wave AC outlet (400 peak watts)
  • 2 USB-A Ports
  • 1 12V Car Outlet
  • 1 DC Input

If you’re just looking for this portable power station without the solar upgrade, find the 290 here.

Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station

Jackery Explorer 1000
Photo by Camping World
Specs
TypeCapacityCharge Time# of DevicesDimensionsWeight
Lithium-ion NMC1002 Wh7.5 hoursUp to 613.1” x 9.2” x 11.1”22.04 pounds
Standout Features
  • 3 1,00-watt pure sine wave AC outlets (2000 peak watts)
  • 2 USB-A Ports
  • 2 USB-C Ports with Quick Charge
  • 1 12V Car Outlet
  • 1 DC Input
  • 1 Solar Input

What is the Best Portable Power Station for CPAP?

Man carrying an option for the best portable power station for camping out of RV
Photo by Camping World

Many of the best portable power stations for camping can be used to run a CPAP while you sleep. But there are two important questions to ask when determining which power station is best for you: 

  • How much wattage does your CPAP require?
  • How long can a given power station run a CPAP of that size?

Most CPAPs require 30-60 watts, but to compare the models listed above, we’ve compiled this table illustrating how long each model will run a 40-watt machine. 

Portable Power StationCPAP Run Time
Southwire Elite 200Up to 5.5 hours
Southwire Elite 500Up to 13 hours
Southwire Elite 1100Up to 29 hours
EcoFlow RIVER 2 MaxUp to 13 hours
EcoFlow DELTA ProUp to 90 hours
EcoFlow RIVER 2 ProUp to 19 hours
Jackery Explorer 550Up to 13 hours
Jackery Explorer 1500Up to 38 hours
Jackery Explorer 290Up to 7 hours
Jackery Explorer 1000Up to 25 hours

How To Charge a Portable Power Station

Person plugging one of the best portable power stations for camping into solar panels
Photo by Camping World

Most portable power stations can be charged in one of three primary ways: via an AC wall outlet, a 12V DC car charger, or a solar charge controller. Other available charging methods include via PD charger, portable generator, or onboard RV generator. Some models include more than one available charging method, and the best portable power stations for camping offer all three main charging methods and additional supplementary options.

The charge time specifications listed above represent each model’s quickest possible charge time. The manufacturer sometimes suggests using multiple charging methods simultaneously to achieve the fastest possible recharge. 

The table below provides a more detailed breakdown of charge times for each model based on available charging methods: 

Power StationAC Charge TimeDC Charge TimeSolar Charge Time
Southwire Elite 200~3.5 hours~3.5 hours~4 hours
Southwire Elite 500~4.3 hours~5 hours~7 hours
Southwire Elite 1100~9.7 hours~12 hours~15 hours
EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max~1 hour~6 hours~3-6 hours
EcoFlow DELTA Pro~2.7 hours~37.5 hours~4-8 hours
EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro~1.17 hours~9 hours~4.5-9 hours
Jackery Explorer 550~7 hours~8 hours~8 hours
Jackery Explorer 1500~3 hours (w/ 2 adapters)~15.5 hours~4 hours (w/ 2 panels)
Jackery Explorer 290~6 hours~6.5 hours~5 hours
Jackery Explorer 1000~7.5 hours~14 hours~7.5 hours (w/ 2 panels)

Can a Portable Power Station Run a Refrigerator?

Best portable power station for camping on mat outside RV
Photo by Camping World

Many of the best portable power stations can run either a mini fridge in an RV’s outdoor kitchen or the large refrigerator inside. The run time can be calculated by dividing the power station’s watt-hour (Wh) capacity by the refrigerator’s wattage draw. 

For example, the Southwire Elite 200 has a maximum capacity of 220 Wh. 

220 Wh / 60 W (a conservative running wattage for an RV mini fridge) = 3.67 hours of run time 

Southwire likely advertises up to 3.5 hours for this model to account for the added draw of the fridge’s starting wattage.

Here are the advertised run times for a 60-watt mini fridge for these power stations: 

Portable Power StationFridge Run Time
Southwire Elite 200Up to 3.5 hours
Southwire Elite 500Up to 8.6 hours
Southwire Elite 1100Up to 19 hours
EcoFlow RIVER 2 MaxUp to 8 hours
EcoFlow DELTA ProUp to 60 hours
EcoFlow RIVER 2 ProUp to 13 hours
Jackery Explorer 550Up to 39 hours
Jackery Explorer 1500Up to 90 hours
Jackery Explorer 290Up to 19 hours
Jackery Explorer 1000Up to 66 hours

What Size Portable Power Station Do I Need?

Person plugging phone charger into portable power station
Photo by Camping World

Sizing your perfect portable power station requires understanding the kinds of devices you need to power. For example, RVers that only need extra power for sensitive electronics like smartphones and laptops will be fine with one of the smaller power stations above, like these three: 

Moving up the scale, RVers who need to run a CPAP machine on a nightly basis when they aren’t connected to shore power or running a generator need the kind of power capacity supplied by these three models, at a minimum: 

At the upper end of the spectrum, these portable power stations for camping provide the ability to run multiple devices like a mini fridge and a CPAP, while also charging smaller electronics like phones, tablets, and laptops: 

How Long Do Portable Power Stations Last?

Woman with phone connected to portable power station
Photo by Camping World

Many manufacturers provide a lifecycle specification, indicating the number of times it can be recharged before its original capacity is reduced. Some manufacturers specify the estimated capacity drop after the lifecycle is reached, meaning the power station isn’t “useless” after you exceed its lifestyle. But it will hold less capacity. 

Here are the lifecycles for some of the models above: 

Portable Power StationLifecycle
Southwire Elite 200>1,000 cycles
Southwire Elite 500>1,000 cycles
Southwire Elite 1100>1,000 cycles
EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max3,000 cycles to 80%+ capacity
EcoFlow DELTA Pro3,500 cycles to 80%+ capacity
EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro3,000 cycles to 80%+ capacity
Jackery Explorer 550500 cycles to 80%+ capacity
Jackery Explorer 1500500 cycles to 80%+ capacity
Jackery Explorer 290500 cycles to 80%+ capacity
Jackery Explorer 1000500 cycles to 80%+ capacity

Portable power stations significantly improve your RV’s battery storage capacity, allowing you to charge sensitive electronics more safely and stay out longer on boondocking adventures. Do you need a few additional resources for planning off-grid trips? 

Which power station is best suited to your RV lifestyle? Share your vote and reasoning in the comments below.

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