Camping these days isn’t as much “roughing it” as it once was. Thanks to advances in 12v technology, keeping our favourite gadgets powered up is easier than ever before.
On the flip side, running out of power whilst camping can lead to a disastrous camping trip. Imagine heading out to your favourite spot in the heat of summer and your fridge runs out of power, leaving your food and beer to go warm!
When camping off the beaten track and needing a good power source, a great option is a battery box. In this article, I’ll review the 7 best battery boxes for camping in Australia, so you can choose the battery box that will keep your devices powered up!
My Review Process
For my birthday 3 years ago, my parents brought me a 12v fridge to use on my camping trips. My first time using it, I plugged it into the socket in the back of my ute, filled it with food and drinks, and off I went. After leaving my car parked up for a couple of days, I went to start it to drive home. Of course my battery was dead flat!
I soon realised I needed a better power source, and I settled on a battery box. Fast-forward 3 years, and I still use that battery box to power my accessories.
In my opinion, a good battery box has a rugged construction, a range of outlets, and can be charged numerous ways.
This battery box in my opinion, is the best overall battery box on the market. Hardkorr is an Aussie brand specialising in 12v gear, and this is their most popular product.
What makes this battery box great is the wide range of different outlets built into it. There’s more than enough to run all your power-hungry devices! It’s also made incredibly tough and won’t mind bouncing around in the back of your vehicle. Hardkorr also provides a two year warranty.
This particular battery box also has a feature that others don´tt. It allows you to jump-start your vehicle through a 175A Anderson outlet. A neat feature to have when you need it.
Giantz is a relatively new camping brand in Australia. They manufacture a range of outdoor-related gear at a great price point. The Giantz battery box is hard to beat on price; it’s one of the cheapest you’re likely to find.
The Giantz box has a great range of outlets, allowing it to power pretty much any 12v device you have, plus charge two USB devices simultaneously. It even features a battery voltage indicator, and a 10A re-settable circuit breaker which is a handy safety feature.
The Giantz battery has some great features for its low price. However, what does let it down is its poor construction. The plastic is quite flimsy and not the same quality as some of the others on this list.
Depending on how often you’ll be using it and what you need it to do, the Giantz Battery Box is a great ‘no frills’ budget option.
Very few battery boxes tick every box. But the Atem battery box has many features that make it suitable for various applications like camping, 4WDing and boating. This battery box has pretty much every outlet you’d want in a battery box, including a Quick Charge USB port.
However, the feature that sets this battery box apart is that it comes with an in-built VSR (Voltage Sensitive Relay). The VSR allows the battery to be charged via your car’s alternator. It will also isolate the batteries when the vehicle isn’t running, which prevents it from running your car battery flat.
This makes it a great portable battery box, allowing you to charge it on-the-go.
Kings is an extremely popular camping brand in Australia. They provide camping accessories at an unbeatable price point.
‘Seasoned’ campers will screw their nose up at anything with the Kings logo on it, but their gear is designed to get you into camping without breaking the bank.
The Kings Battery Box is a good reflection of this. It has all the outlets and features you need, and it works great. I should know, I’ve owned one. The battery box is equipped with two Anderson plugs, two USB outlets and a cig socket. However, the plastic construction isn’t as sturdy as it could be, which lets it down. But for the price, it’s not a deal-breaker.
ArkPak’s battery box is by far the most premium product on this list. Its greatest selling point is the fact that it comes with an in-built inverter. This allows you to power any 240v device under 300 watts.
You can charge this battery box in a variety of ways. These include via 240v, car adapter, Anderson plug, and even solar charging. This makes it perfect for use with your vehicle. You don’t have to mess around installing a separate DC-DC charger as it’s already built-in to the battery box. It’s also available with a mounting kit, so you can keep it secure.
The ArkPak is equipped with lots of different outlets and an intuitive digital display. It even feels like a quality unit, with nice grab-handles and a tough construction.
The AutoDunk battery box is a super-tough box with all the important outlets you need.
In my opinion, a heavy-duty battery box should have a thick plastic construction, high-quality hardware and a good warranty to back it up. The AutoDunk ticks all of these boxes.
The outlets are intuitively placed on the top of the box, which means you won’t damage them when the box is knocking about in the back of your car. The securing strap is good quality too, so you won’t have to keep tensioning it. This can be an issue with other brands.
To top it off, the AutoDunk has a carry handle on top, allowing you to carry it with one hand. It’s the only battery box I’ve seen on the market with this feature, which is surprising as it’s really handy!
Kickass is an Aussie brand that lives and breathes all things camping. Their gear is tried and tested, and it’s at a good price point!
Kickass’s portable power station is one of the most popular around, and recently they have combined it with their 25A DC-DC charger. It's a plug and play solution that will allow you to charge your battery via your vehicle’s engine. You can also easily remove it from your vehicle - making it safe and versatile.
The battery box itself has some good features and all the outlets you’ll want, plus it feels like a quality box. The DC-DC charger is a game-changer. It provides the benefit of a dual battery system for your vehicle, without it being a permanent fixture. It also has a solar input which means you can charge it many different ways. This battery box is the perfect addition to your touring rig and will keep all of your accessories powered up when off-grid!
How To Choose The Best Battery Box
Choosing the type of battery box should be your first consideration. That is, deciding between a box that already has a battery inside versus one that you’ll need to fit your own deep cycle battery into.
The benefit of a self-contained battery box is you don’t have to worry about which battery suits it best.
Choosing a battery can be a tough task, as there are many different types, sizes and brands to choose from. However, you also have a lot more options when choosing your own battery. Plus you are likely to save money on supplying your own.
Most battery boxes on the cheaper side will need to be charged with a conventional car battery charger (if you don’t have a vehicle charging system set up).
This is where a self contained battery box or one fitted with a DC-DC charger can be a good solution. These options can be charged numerous ways like solar panels, 240V or through your vehicle.
It really depends how you’ll be using your battery box and how long you plan to be off-grid.
Arguably the most important consideration when buying a battery box is the amount and types of power outlets fitted.
Depending on your power requirements, you’ll want a range of outlets to make sure none of your gadgets and accessories miss out!
A good place to start is at least two USB ports for charging smaller electronic devices (preferably quick charge), a cigarette port that can be used for a range of devices, and some Anderson outlets.
Battery Box Warranty
Many battery boxes aren’t cheap. They can be a significant investment and you’ll want to ensure they’re backed by a good warranty.
You can easily see which camping battery box NOT to buy. They are the ones that don't have a decent warranty.
As a minimum, you’ll want at least 1 year warranty, ideally two. This gives you the peace-of-mind you’ll always get your money’s worth.
Battery boxes come in a range of different price points. Like most camping equipment, you get what you pay for in terms of features and quality.
There are 3 main things to consider when deciding how much to spend:
- How much you’ll be using it
- What you need it to do
- What conditions it will need to endure
If you’re only using your battery box a few times a year to charge your phone, you might not need to spend big dollars on one.
On the other hand, if you’re travelling around Australia and need to power numerous devices, you might want to consider spending good money for a quality battery box.
It all depends on what’s important to you and how much battery power you require!
I recommend a good, versatile battery box like the Hardkorr Heavy Duty Battery Box. This box is tough and offers a good amount of features for the price.
The ArkPak 730 Power Station is a great option for camping as it comes with an in-built inverter, allowing you to power 240V devices under 300 watts.
The Kickass Power Station is a good solution for using with your vehicle, as it comes with a DC-DC charger.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.