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We’re all fairly reliant on mains power these days – while 12V USB sockets can suffice for many of our gadgets, laptops, low-wattage kettles and camera battery chargers still depend on access to a mains supply. 

That’s fine if you’re on a site with hook-up, but what if you stay at a site or festival with no hook-up, or it’s unavailable for some other reason?

You could fit an inverter, but a more straightforward solution is to carry a portable power station.

Many generators have a bit of a reputation for being noisy, but not those from Jackery. The firm, founded in California in 2012, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of outdoor solar power utilities.

Powering up

In the UK, Jackery offers a trio of battery-powered, rechargeable portable generators. There’s a range of capacities to choose from, and they can easily be paired with solar panels for simple recharging when you are pitched up on site. 

We’re testing the Jackery Solar Generator 1000 (Explorer 1000 plus two SolarSaga 100W panels); a 500W generator plus one solar panel package is also available, priced at £787.99.

Two pure sine wave AC outlets are available on the front of the unit
Two pure sine wave AC outlets are available on the front of the unit

Setting up the generator to recharge by solar power is easy: simply unfold the panels and connect them to the unit. 

The clear panel at the front shows the power input and on a sunny day, it will take from eight hours to charge this way. 

Alternatively, you can charge it via the supplied AC adaptor before you go away, and it will be ready for you to use when you arrive on site.

Jackery Explorer 1000 provides a simple, easy-to-use interface
Jackery Explorer 1000 provides a simple, easy-to-use interface

The generator has two AC outlets – when the battery is full, it should charge a laptop about eight times, or run a 550W coffeemaker for 88 minutes. 

You’ll also find a number of USB ports on the generator and the solar panels, allowing you to charge a range of gadgets with ease – ideal if you’re away from electric hook-up and want to preserve your 12V supply. 

The solar panels are also fitted with a USB-A and a USB-C port
The solar panels are also fitted with a USB-A and a USB-C port

The generator has a handy torch, and because it is Li-ion NMC battery operated, is very quiet to run. The unit is heavy – the generator weighs 10kg and the panels 4.1kg each – but it does represent a handy piece of kit to keep in your vehicle (payload allowing). A carry case is available for £52.99.

Practical Motorhome says

It may be weighty, but this is a clever piece of kit that is sure to prove useful, whether you’re away on a campsite that doesn’t have electric hook-up, or simply want to make use of it in your garden at home. 

Take a look at our guide to motorhome solar panels to find out more about solar power on tour.

Things we like:

  • Easy to use
  • Very quiet
  • Plenty of charging options

Things we don’t like:

  • Heavy to transport

Key info

  • Price: £1637.99
  • Includes: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000 generator and two SolarSaga 100W panels
  • Generator capacity/output: 1002Wh; 1000W running wattage; 2000W surge wattage
  • Generator features: Two pure sine wave 230V AC outlets, two USB-C, two USB, and one DC car port
  • SolarSaga: 100W panel features One USB-A and one USB-C port
  • Generator recharge: 7.5 hours (via AC adaptor), from eight hours (two SolarSaga 100W panels), 14 hours (12V car adaptor)
  • Generator weight: 10kg
  • Solar panel weight 4.1kg each
  • Warranty: 24 months

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