How families and disabled travelers can charge devices away from home and the power grid
The power of portable power
Power and charging on the go, wherever you are. When you’re away from a regular household outlet, or you’re camping and may have a limited battery supply, you don’t want your time away from home determined by how long your batteries last. Jackery portable power stations get past this exact problem. Available in a range of wattages, these compact, well-designed, mighty stations charge your devices and your peace of mind.
Power your adventures with our top pick for portable power stations
Why you should trust us
Our family of four regularly camps and road-trips. Often we are off-grid during our family travel adventures, such as a 4-week summer camping trip in 2021 and a 6-week California camping road trip in 2022.
We also pack our tech. Our kids use their tablets for reading, entertainment, and school. In addition to wearing fitness trackers and reading on e-readers, we parents run a business together. We bring smartphones, digital and action cameras, a microphone, and notebook computers.
Most importantly, Jodie has to be able to power her Ottobock Genium prosthetic leg, which has a microprocessor-controlled knee.
In 2021, we purchased a Jackery 300 Portable Power Station for our charging and powering needs. Along with charging at home, we’ve road-tested the Jackery on multiple camping trips. We’ve gotten out our Jackery for checking electronic devices at garage sales. One Sunday morning during a power outage, our Jackery even came to the rescue so we could grind coffee.
Affiliate Disclosure: We bought the Jackery with our own dosh. Since we liked the portable power station so much, we later joined Jackery’s affiliate program. If you go to one of our Jackery links and make a purchase, we receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
Off-grid portable power for a range of electronics, from phones to prosthetics
Jackery portable power stations are designed to charge and power electronic devices. They give you an electricity supply while you camp. They can also provide backup electricity at home, such as during a power outage or if you need a power source around the house but aren’t near a convenient outlet. These stations can be useful for families, campers, disabled travelers, and anyone who needs a reliable power source to charge or power critical devices while off-grid.
The wattage and design varies some from model to model. We’ll focus on our Jackery Explorer 300, but the overall utility translates to each Jackery. We bought our Explorer 300 in 2021. During multiple camping trips, including our month-long summer family road trip, and even some use around the house, our Explorer 300 has become a crucial piece of our family camping kit.
We’re going to roll through what we’ve found so useful about our Jackery, and break down how we use it. As a family of content creators and small business owners, our critical electronics are constant travel companions. However, we don’t rely on our Explorer 300 just to charge up our phones, camera batteries, and notebooks when we’re camping.
As an amputee, Jodie also has to charge her computerized prosthetic leg. And the last thing she needs to worry about it whether or not her leg will run out of juice.
What we’re not going to talk about
We’re not highly technical people. Our Jackery review isn’t going to talk about sine waves, teraflops, or midi-chlorians. We’re not going to break down wattages and amperages and voltages.
Need help figuring out the right portable power station for your power needs? Jackery has a guide to walk you through what to consider.
Key for us is that a portable power station needs to power and charge small devices. We’re also not interested in seeing how we could max out our power station.
Easy to use and easy to charge
Jackery portable power stations are not your deck-of-cards-sized little battery pack. For powering and charging a range of devices while away from household electrical supplies, Jackery portable power stations make it possible for you to run and charge your most important tech, such as computers, phones, camera batteries, or, for a disabled traveler like Jodie, her prosthetic leg.
But what about when your Jackery needs to be charged? Available in a range of wattages depending on your power needs, Jackery’s stations can charge from standard household outlets, 12V outlets in your vehicle, or with Jackery’s portable solar charging panels.
The design is simple. You can carry your Jackery around via its sturdy yet comfortable handle. The Explorer 300 weighs about 7 pounds. If you can carry a newborn, you can carry a Jackery. Our kids move our Explorer 300 around with ease. At the same time, the case is sturdy enough to withstand a few bumps and bruises. And, unlike children, Jackery stations are all designed with easy-to-grab handles.
The main stage of our Explorer 300 is a front panel that has:
- Input jack to charge Jackery
- 12V/10A outlet and DC power button
- 2 standard 110V outlets with power button
- 1 USB-C outlet
- 2 USB-A outlets
- Power button for USB area
- Button to power-on simple display that shows input wattage (when Jackery is being charged), output wattage (when Jackery power is being used), and how much power remains in the Jackery’s battery
You’ll find similar setups across Jackery’s lineup of Portable Power Stations. Examine the face of each to see if its combo of outlets works for your charging and powering. For example, on our Jackery 300 we’ve been able to charge a MacBook Pro, a fitness tracker, two smartphones, and even Jodie’s prosthetic leg—at the same time.
When you need power off the grid (or even during a power outage)
Jackery understands that, sure, people want to get away from it all. But they also need to bring a few things with them. Some of those things need power or have batteries that need charging, and that’s okay.
So let’s start with absolving ourselves of any guilt. When it comes to camping or recreating in the good ole Great Outdoors, it’s easy to think that we’ve got to leave our creature comforts behind. Except that sometimes those comforts aren’t comforts. They make the experience better, such as a digital camera or action camera, which uses rechargeable batteries. A GPS device can help you with navigation. A prosthesis such as Jodie’s leg is also not some nicety, but a necessity.
Whether camping for a weekend or a few weeks, electricity is useful. Maybe you want to read on an e-reader and will need to charge it up now and again, or pair your phone to a wee speaker for rocking out with some tunes or firing up an audiobook.
In short, it’s okay to have devices with you. It’s okay to need to charge a battery or have a power supply.
Jackery’s portable power stations help you have the power you need and want, when and where you need and want it.
Now, we’ve talked mostly about using our Jackery when we camp. But that’s not the only time it’s come in handy.
The Sunday morning coffee grinding emergency
One Sunday while Jodie’s parents were in town, we woke to a power outage. Fortunately, it was a lovely spring morning. We didn’t have to worry about staying warm or cool.
But we did need coffee.
The water part was actually easy. We grabbed our camp stove and it’s portable propane tank, set them up on the outdoor patio table, and started heating water in a kettle.
However, our coffee beans needed to be ground.
Anthony grabbed the Jackery from the office, set it on the kitchen counter, and plugged in the coffee grinder. Soon, we were making pourovers for the four of us. Though if we had wanted, our Jackery also would have happily powered our drip coffee maker, which we usually bust out when we have guests.
A little while later, the power was back on.
Still, it was a reminder that power outages are good to be prepared for. Sometimes people live in a place that’s prone to seasonal outages. And sometimes, as happened with us, something random just happens.
Whether power when you’re off the grid or as backup during an outage at home, a Jackery portable power station comes in handy in a range of situations.
How do you charge a prosthetic leg when you’re off the grid?
It had been an amazing weekend, boondock tent camping with friends in a burbly creek canyon way, way south of our home base of Eugene, Oregon. We were off grid. No phone service. We’d had a fantastic time, especially the two infants in our respective families, who got to spend the weekend trying to crawl off a blanket and eat dirt.
Our last morning, though, Jodie was a little nervous. An above-the-knee amputee from the age of 13, ever since she was 21 she’s used a prosthetic leg with a computerized knee. Computerized knees do wonders for amputees. Similar to an organic knee, the prosthetic’s computer figures out how much or how little resistance to give, so Jodie can do a range of activities and have more mobility.
There’s just that one little thing.
It’s a computerized knee.
So her prosthetic has a battery. Which needs to be charged. And, if it runs out of juice, her knee simply locks in place. She can still get around, but it’s not easy.
As we packed up our camp site and wiped dirt off a baby Connor’s mouth for the final time that weekend, a loud, long beep came from Jodie’s knee.
She looked at her knee. She looked at Anthony.
“My leg’s almost out of battery.”
We scrambled to get the rest of our gear packed up. While Jodie secured Connor in his car seat, Anthony did a last sweep of the camp site, so Jodie didn’t have to use more power than she absolutely had to.
In the car, a plume of dust trailed behind us as we made our way back toward the city, cellular reception, a hot shower, and, above all, electrical outlets.
What would we do when Jodie needed to charge her leg?
Fortunately, Jodie’s prosthesis didn’t run out of charge on that camping trip. If it had, would we have managed? Sure. At the same time, Jodie’s prosthetic leg and its computerized knee gives her so much more mobility. And when she feels like she has to worry about how much charge her leg has, it takes away from how much she can enjoy the trip. Instead of being in the moment with our family, she may have to feel more preoccupied about how to conserve her movement, so she doesn’t unnecessarily drain her leg’s battery.
That worry has always been on our mind. Then, in 2021, we were planning a month-long road trip. While some of our accommodation would be with family, one stint in a motel, and a vacation rental with Jodie’s parents, a lot of our accommodation would be at campgrounds with no electrical hookups.
And, you guessed it, Jodie would still need to charge her prosthetic leg.
Portable power for camping and other outdoor adventures
After we bought our popup camper in February 2020, we started to wonder what we would do for electricity. While campgrounds such as those in Oregon State Parks often have hookups for water and electricity, we often camp on Federal campgrounds, which generally don’t.
We knew we had some power source already, since the camper has a small electrical system and on-board battery. However, the outlets only work when we’re plugged into a campground’s system. Yet while Jodie’s prosthetic leg is our most important charging need, it’s certainly not the only one. We still would need to charge our phones. Our camera batteries. And since we are also running our business from the road, we had to be able to charge our computers too.
Now, we could certainly retrofit the camper. Jodie poured through blog posts and YouTube videos. We checked out scads of folks who had mounted solar panels on their popup roofs, sized and installed inverters and mini-fusion nuclear reactors, and cut in enough outlets to power a modern office. To be honest, everything we found was more work and expense than we wanted to invest. Plus, we also would have to figure out a bunch of things about electrical load and general safety wirey-mirey things so nothing blew up.
A surprisingly simple solution
Feeling dispirited, we did the only responsible thing we could do: We ignored the problem. Then, one evening, Jodie was doing some research on her computer, and her eyes got really wide. She told Anthony there was something he had to see.
While looking around Instagram, Jodie found an account for Jackery. Diving into their content, she began to see a way we could have power camping—or anywhere, really.
And that something was a portable battery, with charging outlets on the front. It was only a couple hundred dollars. It could charge itself from the car while we were driving, and we could take it wherever we needed for power: inside the camper, back of the car while we slept, or on a picnic table in the middle of the day while we worked.
A few days later, we unboxed our Jackery and put it to work. Plus, we knew exactly where we’d really see what it could do: a month-long road trip, camping all over the American West.
Our Jackery’s daily charging workout during a month-long camping road trip
During the summer of 2021, we took a month-long, 3,851-mile road trip, camping and adventuring across 5 states. Sometimes we were staying with family or in some sort of motel or rental. Often, though, we were camping. And when camping, we still needed to charge and power our devices. Typically, we didn’t camp at sites that had electrical hookups.
Just about every day, we put our Jackery to work, charging anything from a fitness tracker to Jodie’s prosthetic leg. (Sometimes, even when staying at a motel or a rental, we would still use the Jackery, in case we had more to charge than we had outlets.) We’d take the Jackery wherever we needed it. Sometimes it was in the back of the car overnight, charging devices. Other days we’d bring it into the camper, set it in an out-of-the-way spot on the counter, and hook it up to whatever needed some juice. And other times we’d simply take it to a picnic table or flat rock at camp, and power things up while getting some work done in the sunshine.
Taking care of business, school, and mobility devices while on the road
For the first time ever with our camping adventures, Jodie didn’t have to worry about how much charge was left in her knee’s battery. She didn’t have to take herself out of the moment to make sure her leg was okay. We didn’t have to adjust the day’s hikes or other activities based on whether or not her prosthesis might run out of juice. Finding our Jackery made a huge difference not only in our comfort level camping with our devices, but above all, for Jodie’s peace of mind.
During this month-long trip—and, in 2022, a 6-week popup camping road trip—our Jackery made it possible not only for us to charge our devices, but to keep our business going when we’re on the road. It’s made it possible for Jodie to enjoy every moment that we travel and camp, because she never again had to worry about whether or not she could charge her leg.
Her leg gets the power it needs, when it needs it. So does every other device we bring on our trips. For us, that’s the power of Jackery’s portable power stations. They have made it possible for our traveling, adventuring family to do all the more, and be more in the moment than ever.
Anywhere becomes a mobile office
When we’ve gone camping before, there’s always been some anxiety about charging about devices. Plus, Anthony writes every day. So, if it’s not a work trip, he might leave his notebook at home, but he’ll bring his iPad and keyboard.
When we started using our Jackery in 2021, all that power anxiety did not come with us on our trip. For starters, at home, before we left, we did a few testing runs with the Jackery. Did it really work as promised? Was it easy to plug in our devices? Could we plug in multiple devices at time?
During our month-long road trip, we used our Jackery at camp. Sometimes we even used it when we were staying in motels—after all, do motel rooms ever have enough outlets in the right place? Instead of worrying about power and charging, all we had to do was make sure the Jackery was charged up and ready to go.
Here are a few ways our Jackery brought us peace of mind:
Charging wherever we are.
One afternoon while camping at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, Anthony took his notebook computer to the picnic table to get some work done. He brought the Jackery with him. While writing and tending to some other business, he charged his notebook, phone, Kindle, and Fitbit.
Overnight in the camper or the car.
Sometimes we bring the Jackery into the camper and set it on a side counter. That’s especially helpful if something needs a power-up during the day. At night we often put the Jackery into the back of the car, so there’s one less thing in the camper. But if something needs to be charged, we can plug it into the Jackery. When we get up in the morning, that device is ready to get going too.
We could charge the Jackery while we drove.
Our Outback has a 12V outlet in the hatchback’s cargo area. On a driving day, if the Jackery needs a charge we simply plug the 12V into the outlet, plug the input jack into the Jackery, and hit the road. Even a couple of hours can add significant charge to the Jackery’s battery. And on days where the Jackery had been pretty depleted and we had a big, big driving ahead, we’d roll in to our next stop with the Jackery topped up and ready to power things.
The power of portable power
There are lots of portable power stations out there, but Jackery is making something that can work really well for families, campers, and amputees or other disabled travelers.
Our Jackery is small, lightweight, and portable. It’s lighter than Aster was as a newborn. Whenever we needed to shift it, such as into the camper, or the car, or at picnic table, it was easy to move around. We could charge multiple devices at the same time, while barely making a dent in the Jackery’s charge. And whenever we did need to charge the Jackery? We could time it for when we were driving somewhere. Before we’d leave, we plugged the Jackery into our Subaru’s 12V outlet, and the Jackery could charge its battery via the car’s electrical system while we drove. We could even charge devices on the Jackery, while the Jackery itself was charging.
The electronics we charged and powered are pretty simple, everyday items: fitness trackers, smartphones, notebooks, and camera batteries. And one not-so-every-day: Jodie’s Ottobock Genium, her computerized prosthetic leg.
A great choice for traveling families and travelers who have disabilities
The power of portable power is that families and disabled travelers can live their lives and their adventures more fully. Having our Jackery has meant that wherever we were and whatever we were doing, we could camp and explore, and Jodie could always keep her leg charged.
Whenever we need to work, we can turn any picnic table into a mobile office. Our Jackery gives us the power to charge our devices whenever and wherever we need. Working on a marathon project? Along with vacation time, we were working on the road, so there were days and evenings when we had to be working. Or, we needed to prepare for a project the next day. With our Jackery, we could charge up notebooks, camera batteries, and phones, and know that our gear was always ready to do its job.
The power of Jackery is portable power, whenever and wherever you need it.
Naturally, no product is perfect. However, from our experience, we have not encountered any cons with the Jackery at this point. Part of the reason is that we aren’t trying to push the Jackery to its max. We’re not running high-wattage devices that gulp electricity, for example. For our simpler charging needs, our Jackery has been a champ.
From what we’ve seen in terms of other customer examples, people have run everything TVs to blenders on portable power stations. Some people have even used Jackery systems, usually higher-end systems such as the 1000 Portable Power Station, to be a backup power source for their home appliances, such as in the event of a blackout.
The main consideration with picking your Jackery Portable Power Station is simply making sure you pick the correct size based on what you need to charge or power. With 7 options ranging from the compact 160 to the mega-charger 2000, you’ll be able to find your sweet spot.
What we like about our Jackery
Here are the main pros we’ve identified:
Generators can be loud. However, when we plug something in to our Jackery, there’s an initial short whirring noise, then the Jackery is quiet. We love that we can charge and power devices without a much of noise from the charger itself.
Peace of mind.
We no longer worry about whether or not our devices, especially Jodie’s prosthetic leg, will run out of charge while we’re off-grid.
Easy to carry.
The handle is easy to grip and hold, even for the kids.
Charge on the go.
If the Jackery’s battery charge is under the 50% mark and we’re heading into a long driving day, we’ll charge it up while we drive. From 0% charge, we can have the Jackery up to 80% in around two hours.
Power up all the devices we need.
We travel with a mix of smartphones, tablets, notebooks, fitness trackers, e-readers, cameras, and one badass prosthetic leg. We’ve road-tested our Jackery on trips ranging from a weekend to six weeks, and found that it excelled in charging everything we needed.
Power up your adventures with a Jackery Portable Power Station
Whatever you need to power at home or on the road, odds are Jackery has a Portable Power Station that can keep you charged up and ready to go. Plus, if you need to charge devices such as a prosthetic leg, a Jackery can give you peace of mind that helps you do more on longer trips.
From its quiet charging to its ease of use, our Jackery Portable Power Station 300 has impressed us time and again. We’ve used it on overnight trips, weekenders, and even two huge camping road trips, one for a month, and the other for six weeks. We’ve relied heavily on our Jackery for day, in, day out charging when off the grid, and it has never let us down.
As an amputee whose prosthetic leg has a microprocessor, Jodie knows how important it is to keep her device charged—and charge it with a device we can trust.
Our Jackery has helped us:
- Run our business on the road
- Charge devices while off-grid
- Keep Jodie’s prosthetic leg charged
- Have peace of mind about powering our devices while traveling
- Handle a short power outage at home
A Jackery can help you too.
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