Portable power pack recommendations
January 4, 2014 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for a portable battery pack with inverter for 120vac. Bonus points if it can also jump-start a car.

Recent power outages make me think that it might be useful to have a portable power pack on hand, the kind with a built-in battery and inverter that can supply 120vac for a desk light and for the cable modem. If it could jump-start a car in a pinch, that would be great, and if it had a built-in USB power outlet, all the better. Which one do you own and how does it work for you?
posted by BillMcMurdo to Home & Garden (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There are a few solutions.

Goal Zero has their Yeti line of power packs - and with their solar chargers and whatnot, it's basically plug and play. It won't jump start a car, but you could run a charger off it. It's spendy, though - $2000 plus for a complete setup -but everyone I know that has one loves it.

Slightly less expensive is a sort of build your own - ArkPak. They provide the box, and you supply a battery. You can jump off of it - in fact, most of these I have seen are as secondary/accessory batteries for offroad vehicles and they work well. A good 31m battery is a bit spendy, but if you watch for sales, you can save a bunch of money. About $5-600 for the whole thing.

Finally, little jump packs like this are handy and inexpensive. Not a lot of juice to them, but you can jump a car and it has outlets for charging cell phones and stuff. I have one of these I take on my trips. I charge it off the inverter in my truck, and use it as a backup. My main battery runs my refrigerator and other nonsense. Even with good Low Voltage Cutoffs, I've had to jump a couple of times. It's worked great, but still, I'll be upgrading to an ArkPak in a few months because it is a more robust solution.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:11 AM on January 4, 2014

Great suggestion about the ArkPak, Pogo. Hadn't heard about it - thanks.
posted by BillMcMurdo at 10:27 AM on January 5, 2014

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