We like neat solutions, so something that helps us charge our phones, plug in a fridge and see in the dark has got to be worth a look! We’ve tested a few power options for camping and outdoors and here are the results.
Crusader Products have come up with the Powerpro electric hook-up for camping, caravanning and campervanning. It’s a big box of tricks with three 13amp plug sockets, three USB slots for charging phones and laptops, a detachable LED torch and, of course, a 15m cable with plug for hooking up to site electricity points. There’s also a polarity warning light for those odd sites where the wiring’s the wrong way round.
They’re not light at 4.8kg but it’s a lot of kit in a fairly small package. The cost? Around £50.
A more traditional alternative to the PowerPro is Outwell’s EHU mains roller. Again, a 15m cable, three sockets, two USB ports and a built-in light, plus polarity warning. This one rolls into a more conventional looking extension reel and weighs around 4kg. Cost? About £65 (cheaper for the version without USBs and light).
If you don’t mind all that cable messing up your neat packing, the Crusader mains EHU unit is simple and cheap (around £30).
If you’re an explorer rather than a campsite comfort-seeker, then have a look at the Powertraveller range. There are some smart-looking compact power options for recharging phones, tablets and cameras. There are solar options too.
We tried the Monkey 2, which is waterproof and claims to be able to hold up a Land Rover! It has micro-USB connectors via a cable and a normal USB if you open up the top. It can be charged from your laptop or phone charger at the mains (though it won’t take the multi-pin iPhone connector you get with older phones).
Ours arrived with 60% charge and took around an hour to get up to 99% using laptop power. It then took around an hour and a half to get a half-full iPhone to 100% power. You can charge and use at the same time, which is clever.
These pocket chargers could be a valuable tool to have in your kit. Even on a campsite, there could be a use. We’ve often seen people leaving their phones plugged in to charge in the shower blocks. While honesty is a hallmark of campers, we’ve always worried about the danger of phones getting knocked into sinks or soaking up condensation. Leaving a charging unit to recharge rather than the phone sounds like a good idea.
For something that we’ve still not warmed to, have a look at our review of the Biolite. The Biolite is an ultra-portable and very fast wood-burning stove with a USB connection to power your phone or tablet from the heat of the stove, plus accessories such as a light. Another great idea, but we had some reservations about it. Lots of others love it, of course!
We’ve also got a feature on electric cooking options for when you’re on hook-up, including the Remoska, induction hobs and a portable microwave.
They won a Powerpro
Crusader kindly gave us two of their multi-socket+torch Powerpro EHUs, each worth around £70, to pass on to two lucky readers. Andy Findlay from Scarborough and Mike ‘MrPeas’ Mush from Wrexham were our winners. Don’t forget to subscribe and be the first to hear about new competitions.