A power station for camping and RV

A power station for camping and RV

We are currently dealing a lot with the topic of lithium RV batteries, and of course you also stumble across the topic of power stations and power banks. A power station or power bank is a portable lithium battery that offers many connections to operate and charge devices. Nothing stands in the way of the mobile use of electrical devices. In this article, we’ll take a look at how these mobile power plants work, who they’re for, who the vendors are, and what else to look out for. In addition, the Renogy PHOENIX 300 Power Station has arrived for testing and we can report directly from practice.

What is a power station?

A power station is basically a portable lithium battery that in a robust housing at the same time, an inverter and Integrated connections for devices.

A power station when camping offers comfort that was unimaginable a decade ago apart from the RV. Because it is only thanks to lithium technology that power stations can be constructed with sufficient capacity and low weight.

So it is not a battery for permanent installation in the RV, but a portable lithium battery with which you can then operate devices anywhere. Although we usually travel in a RV and have our electrical installation there, we find such a power station very interesting. Because we don’t always stay in the RV, and there are certainly scenarios where we can well imagine using a power station.

Who needs a power station?

Obviously, a portable power station is of particular interest to all those who have no or insufficiently self-sufficient electrical installation in their vehicle.

Here are some examples:

  • A power station when camping is ideal for those who travel with a tent and still want to charge cameras, smartphones and computers. Because charging and operating devices in the car is only possible to a limited extent.
  • For occasional campers who are traveling, for example, with a sparsely equipped VW bus or other vehicle with a camping box, a portable lithium battery is a convenient solution that does not require installation. Mini campers are often used flexibly, a camping box is only installed before the next trip. A power station ideally complements this usage scenario.
  • Fishermen who want to prepare coffee or tea have an almost noiseless power station with them in the form of a power station.
  • Caravan campers who don’t have a 12V installation at all and still want to be self-sufficient occasionally without having to rebuild the electrical installation can travel a bit more self-sufficient with a power station without any assembly.
  • Owners of older VW buses who do not feel like modernizing the technology in them, but still want to carry modern electrical equipment with them, also have a convenient upgrade option with a power bank.
  • Travelers who need to operate medical equipment. Patients who need CPAP therapy can operate the corresponding devices with the Power Station, for example.

We were traveling for several years with a 30-year-old VW bus. It did have a small built-on battery, which was sufficient to operate the lighting. But she was not too tall and also decrepit. We knew we wouldn’t be keeping the vehicle forever, so I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars upgrading the electrical system. With a power station we could have easily bridged the time until the successor RV. Unfortunately, there were no portable lithium batteries back then.

Do you need a power station in the RV?

Almost all modern RV usually have their supply battery installed in the camper, and you can operate electrical devices directly in the RV.

Nevertheless, we find that a power station, in addition to the permanently installed electrical installation in the camper, expands the radius of action and the possibilities somewhat. A power bank in the RV allows electronic devices to be used outside of the RV, whether on a boat trip or while sitting in the shade under a tree.

In addition, a portable lithium battery for the motor home is ideal if you only want to use it sporadically. For example, it is not possible for RV renters to install an inverter, but the power station is easy to take with you.


  • For people with an RV, who want to hop from island to island and from beach to beach during the day in a rubber dinghy, a power bank comes in handy during the day.
  • RV renters are not normally allowed to install anything in the rented RV. However, very few off-the-shelf RV offer inverters or a solar system. Carrying a power bank in the motorhome is an uncomplicated solution here, and a portable lithium battery can be easily placed in the rear garage.
  • People who also work on the go, but don’t always want to sit in the motorhome to work, benefit from a power bank in the motorhome. Activities such as video editing require a lot of electricity, and a laptop’s battery is quickly exhausted. With the Renogy Power Station you are independent and can work anywhere for a long time. Whether in the surf club lounge, the Greek or just in the shade of the village square.
  • A power station turned out to be a useful utensil for us during the video shoot. With the Power Station, you can also quickly recharge camera batteries when using it on the go. In addition, you can operate video lights on the go if there is no mains power or it is difficult to connect with an extension cable (for example in a hall with strict safety regulations).
  • The power station is also great as a power reserve for the RV, you can even use it to charge the auxiliary battery. More on that later.

For whom is a power station not suitable?

A power station is not suitable for people who are satisfied with the electrical installation in their RV. If you only want to use electricity in the RV anyway, a portable lithium battery offers no added value.

And if you buy the inverter, solar charge controller and battery as individual parts, you can select the specification for each component individually. With the Power Station, the device is of course only available as offered by the manufacturer. Is 300Wh enough for you, but do you want a 3000 watt inverter? Bad luck, that is not offered.

In addition, a power station for camping is simply too heavy if you don’t use a car. So it will hardly be the right choice for backpackers, because you don’t necessarily want to carry a portable lithium battery over many kilometers. A power station therefore requires a car in order to be able to transport it comfortably.

Introducing the Renogy PHOENIX 300 Power Station

The Renogy PHOENIX 300 is a newcomer to the power station market in US and we’ve already had the opportunity to take a close look at it. So, before we get to the power station overview, let’s take a look at what such a device offers and how to use it.

About Renogy

Don’t you know Renogy? Neither have we so far. It is a Californian company that, according to the website, was founded by a former Apple battery engineer. I couldn’t find out whether that’s true or marketing-speak. However, Renogy should not be a pure sales brand, because the reviews in America go back a long way and are very positive.

In any case, the company offers portable power stations and solar modules. And we can test such a power station.

The technical data of the Renogy PHOENIX 300 Power Station

Here are the key data of the Power Station:

  • 300Wh capacity
  • Integrated inverter with 300W continuous power (with pure sine wave)
  • Integrated MPPT solar charge controller
  • 3x USB A
  • 3x 12V DC (1 cigarette lighter connection, 2x DC plug)
  • 1x 230V socket
  • Charging via 12V in the car, via 230V or via solar (separate solar module required)
  • The Power Station weighs 6.4kg and, at 30x19x24cm, is about the size of a sheet of A4 paper.
  • There is a 2-year warranty and lifetime support.

The number 300 in the designation indicates the size of the solar battery( such as agm battery), in this case a little over 300Wh, which can also be almost completely used thanks to lithium-ion technology. And yes, you conclude correctly from this: There are also other sizes to buy. The offer currently ranges from very small 160Wh to 1000Wh.

The display of the Renogy Power Station

There is a display on the housing of the Renogy Power Station. This shows

-) The current state of charge in percent

-) The currently delivered power (sum of all three ports)

-) The current power consumption (when charging)

The outputs of the Renogy PHOENIX 300 Power Station

The Renogy PHOENIX 300 Power Station offers three output blocks, each of which can be activated and deactivated with its own button. This avoids performance losses for unused ports.

230V devices can be connected to the appropriate socket. If you want to operate several devices, this is possible via a distributor socket, as long as the total power consumption remains below 300 watts.

Many small devices can be charged via the three USB plugs, for example:

  • eBook reader
  • smart phone
  • Tablets
  • Camera batteries (with suitable 12V chargers, which I highly recommend for on the go)
  • smart watches

Finally, there is a 12V plug as known from cars (cigarette lighter) and two more 12V DC plugs.

Service life and repair possibilities of the Renogy PHOENIX 300 Power Station

Renogy states a service life of >500 charging cycles. This is similar to most lithium batteries, and usually just means that the capacity after these charging cycles is, for example, only 80% of the original capacity. However, this does not mean that the Power Station is immediately unusable.

The battery consists internally of 18650 batteries and the housing is not welded but screwed. This indicates a certain suitability for repairs, although no information is available as yet as to whether corresponding offers are available. The operating instructions strictly prohibit opening the housing.

Using the Power Station

After the Power Station has been charged, it is ready for use. But how exactly does that work? Well, that’s very simple.

  • You activate the display with a button and the respective output with additional, separate buttons.
  • Then you plug your devices into the respective port and you can then monitor the power consumption and the (decreasing) state of charge of the power station on the display.

If you no longer want to use devices, you should deactivate the respective ports again using their buttons to avoid energy losses.

Power stations are a useful accessory for all outdoor enthusiasts who still don’t want to do without their electrical devices. We were able to get a real-world impression of the Renogy PHOENIX 300 Power Station and it was promising. The case is robust, looks high-quality and promises a long service life. The carrying handle is comfortable and the weight is acceptable for moderate distances. Using the PHOENIX 300 Power Station is very simple. With the included 230V and 12V chargers, you can charge the battery at home or in the car and then use it on the go. The 3000W inverter is sufficient for many devices that do not generate heat, and small devices can be charged via the USB plug and 12V plug. We were even able to prepare coffee and milk froth off-grid in the test. The integrated flashlight is a nice additional feature. A different mechanism would be desirable here in terms of child safety. The fact that the device is not waterproof is irrelevant from our point of view, because who wants to use electronics in the rain.

We can recommend the device, it is easy to use and does what it promises. In general, power stations or portable solar generator also offer a certain amount of flexibility in the RV and can also be useful in addition to the fixed electrical installation in the RV, for example as an “electric reserve canister”. Away from the RV, a portable lithium battery is not only practical when camping in a tent, but generally wherever you need outdoor power.