How to choose a battery powerbank

With the rise of smartphones as a tool in hiking (GPS, mapping apps, cameras or if you’re like me, for reading Kindle books!), the addition of a battery powerbank to recharge them is becoming a must-pack item for our backpacks.

How to choose a powerbankUp until now, you’d choose your powerbank based on mAh (milliampere hours), which describe the amount of total power that the unit can hold until you need to charge it again.

As a bushwalker, I’ve settled with using a 10,000mAh unit. For 195 grams I can get about 4-5 x iPhone 6 charges, so that suits me for most multi-day trips that I take. For shorter trips, I’ll save on weight and take a smaller one that just gives me 1-2 charges.

How to choose a powerbankHowever, with airlines tightening their boarding policies for batteries (which includes powerbanks!), it’s a good idea to ensure that when you buy a powerbank, it meets the guidelines set down by not only your country’s aviation regulation body (CASA in Australia), but also the individual airlines. Both Qantas and Virgin outline their policies on their sites, so always make sure you check before you start packing your bags, carry-on that is!

And here’s where it can get confusing…How to choose a powerbank

The policies and regulations are written in Wh (watt hours), not mAh. So to avoid fumbling around with arithmetic and formulas to convert, the simple thing is to choose a powerbank that clearly outlines what both the Wh and mAh is.

One Australian company (Laser) has woken up to this faster than anyone else and is changing all their packaging to include the watt hours.

How to choose a powerbank

To coincide with this announcement, I have 4 of their 10,000mAh (that’s 36Wh!) powerbanks to giveaway to four lucky LotsaFreshAir readers…

Update: Congratulations to winners D.Naylor, Lachlan MacDonald, Lisa Thomsen and Carlos Jimenez. Please check your emails for further information.


Writer, producer and content creator by trade, search and rescue volunteer by passion, Caro Ryan started to inspire, teach and encourage people to get into hiking and the outdoors safely.

It’s all about connecting people to wild places in meaningful ways, so they can look after themselves, their mates and these precious places we visit.

She teaches wilderness navigation, authored the book, ‘How to Navigate’ and hosts, ‘Rescued - an Outdoor Podcast for Hikers and Adventurers.

In the bottom of her pack you'll find coffee grounds, instant noodles past their used by date and an insatiable curiosity.

Bushwalking & Hiking Tips from an Unexpected Outdoors Chick

Join my eNewsletter and get the latest articles, videos, pics and inspiration.
No charge. No spam. Only love.