Carp Angler’s Guide to Power on the Bank

Carp angling differs from other forms of angling in more ways than one. The main way it stands out, which was a shock to me when I first really started researching the sport, was the fact that many carp anglers fish for long periods of time and even throughout the night.

I commonly hear of anglers spending 24 – 36 hours on the bank. I myself have now experienced many overnight sessions. The Canada Carp Cup, which I participated in, was a 4-day event that was spent on the shores of the St. Lawrence River.

One main question was burning in my mind as I prepared for the 4-day trip. How do I charge my cell phone, camera batteries, lights and other electronic gear on the bank? This is the moment I quickly discovered the world of Carp Fishing Power Banks.

What is a Power Bank for Carp Fishing?

A power bank is an electronic device, it is used to recharge your electrical devices while you are in remote areas. They come in a variety of types and can provide portable power in various different forms. From AC, DC, USB or C-Smart, different models have options to cater to every situation.

There are many different power banks on the market and it can be quite a daunting task to figure out which type will best suit your situation. This guide will cover the ins and outs of power banks, simplifying the technicalities to make choosing the proper power bank to suit your needs easier.

These days we have all sorts of gadgets and technology to help us out on the bank. Cell phones, tablets, drones, underwater cameras, laptops, coolers, sonar, lights, headlamps, action cams, bivvy lights, bite alarms, deeper sonar, etc. The list of gear carp anglers use these days which requires recharging seems to be growing larger and larger every year. With extended periods of time spent fishing it is a necessity to have at least one backup power source available for the most important devices.

The topics covered below will aid you in your search for the perfect power bank to suit your needs.

What Features Should You Look for When Choosing a Power Bank?

There are many different manufacturers of Power Banks or Power Packs. Some provide many different features. When choosing the proper power bank to suit your needs you must first decide what your needs are. You will need to take a look at your devices and the duration you intend to spend without power to determine the features and amount of power you actually need.

What Type of Cables or Connectors Does the Power Bank Support?

  • USB – The most common type of charging connection. USB ports on power banks normally charge at a rate of 0.5 to 1.5 Amps. These are perfect for charging cell phones and smaller electrical devices. If you wish to charge a tablet or larger device while still using it you will most likely need a port to charge it at 2.0 Amps or greater.
  • USB-C – Now becoming the mainstream charging option USB-C Ports can practically double the charging Amps of regular USB Ports. Power Banks with these ports are newer and will most likely carry a bigger price tag. In my opinion, it is well worth it as they can charge larger devices and at a quicker rate than the older USB Ports.
  • 9v D/C Port – The main charging port for some of the bigger power banks on the market. These ports charge the power bank itself when not in use. Smaller power banks recharge themselves through a USB Port.
  • 12v D/C Port – Much like the cigarette lighter port in vehicles. Many devices that we use on the bank come with 12v D/C Power Adaptors.
  • 120v A/C Port – The larger power banks come equipped with 120v A/C Ports which are just like outlets you will find in your home. These can power small appliances. I have one main power bank which is perfect for running my Aqua Vu HD 10i Underwater Camera all day.

How Big of a Power Bank Do I Need?

Power Banks come in a variety of different sizes. The size of the power bank that you need depends on the device you will be charging.

Power banks are classified by a term called milliampere hours (mAh). This can confuse people that are new to power banks but it is a fairly simple term to understand. To simplify things some power banks are rated in ampere-hours (Ah), which means that a power bank rated for 1 Ah will theoretically last for one hour.

Ah can be converted into mAh by simply multiplying the Ah by 1000. Therefore a 1 Ah unit is the same as a 1000 mAh unit, which both will last approximately 1 hour.

I use the term “approximately” due to the fact that certain conditions can affect the output of power banks. Temperature, hot or cold, can drain power faster from a power bank. A 1000 mAh unit may only be able to charge 750 mAh of power and the rest may be lost due to colder temperatures.

  • Most cell phones = approx. 1500 – 2000 mAh.
  • iPhones = approx. 2500 – 3000 mAh.
  • iPads = approx. 8500 mAh.
  • iPad Pro = approx. 10,000 mAh.
  • MacBook Pro = approx. 12,000 mAh – 15,000 mAh.

When choosing a unit always shoot for one that is 20% larger than what your device is rated for. This will ensure you can get the longest life out of your unit.

  • Small, cheap, 1000 – 2000 mAh Power Banks are only good for charging a small cell phone partially or once before needing to be recharged again. These are mostly freebie power banks you receive from events or impulse buys at the checkout of your local convenience store.
  • Small Sized 5000 – 8000 mAh Power Banks can charge the majority of cell phones up to 3 times or a tablet about 2 times.
  • Medium 10,000 – 12,000 mAh Power Banks can charge cell phones up to 4 or 5 times before needing to be recharged and larger tablets up to 2.5 times.
  • Mid-range 20,000 mAh Power Banks. These units will be used by most anglers on the bank. They will provide enough power for tablet or phone recharging while on the bank for the average angler.
  • Even Larger 33,000 mAh Power Banks for the technological angler on the bank. I use one of these units for my everyday angling as I can use it for back up power on my boat. It can power my underwater camera, trolling motor, navigation lights and digital recording device all day long. The only downside is its size and weight.
  • 50,000 + mAh Power Banks are the ultimate units. You will be hard pressed to use all the power from one of these units on any session. These units can even go multiple sessions before being recharged.

Power Bank Physical Size and Portability.

The actual size of a power bank is another feature to take into consideration when choosing the proper unit. Most of the time when I target carp I am usually fishing from a stationary point onshore or from my boat. This allows me to use a larger heavier power bank to power all my accessories.

On occasion, as many carp anglers can relate to, the carp don’t always cooperate with your best-laid plans. In situations when the carp are showing in a different location it can be convenient to have a smaller handheld power bank that can fit in your pocket or bag. Heavier units can prevent you from moving to where the fish are most active and hinder your abilities to make the most of your time on the bank.

With technology advancing at a rapid rate there are some units available now that are small yet pack a large amount of power. These units come with a hefty price tag but are useful in any situation you are faced with.

How Does a Power Bank Work?

A power bank is simply a unit with a battery inside of it. You charge the unit (battery) up at home by plugging it into an outlet, then simply take the device with you fishing, camping, hiking, etc. It will provide a certain amount of power to charge and use devices while you are in remote locations.

As stated above different power banks have different ports and connections. Be sure to purchase a unit that has the proper ports for the devices you use. Another thing to consider is that power banks are usually sold without cables to connect to your devices. Be sure you have the proper cable with your device that will plug into the power bank. All units will come with a cable to plug the power bank into a household outlet in order to charge it for use.

What Type of Batteries do Power Banks Use?

The majority of power banks come with one of either two main types of rechargeable batteries. Lithium-Ion or Lithium-Polymer.

  • Lithium-Ion Batteries.
    • Larger than Lithium-Polymer batteries due to the manufacturing process and the materials found inside.
    • Cheaper than Lithium-Polymer Batteries.
    • More volatile than Lithium-Polymer Batteries due to the materials used inside. (Combustible Liquid.) Internal electrical switches and monitors are made inside the device to enhance safety.
  • Lithium-Polymer Batteries.
    • Smaller and thinner due to the material used inside.
    • More costly due to the manufacturing process.
    • Made with gel or powder inside increases the stability and form factor of lithium-polymer batteries.

How Do You Charge a Power Bank?

There are basically two ways to charge a power bank. One is at home through a household plug which is the quickest and most efficient. Secondly, a power bank can also be charged via a solar panel. For those extra-long sessions on the bank, it can be worthwhile to invest in a solar panel to top up the power bank while not in use.

Charging times can vary depending on a few factors.

  • Charging Speed – Different Cables and Ports can charge at different speeds. The same factors apply when recharging the power bank unit itself as with using it to charge devices. A regular USB cable will usually charge at a rate of 1A to 1.5A whereas a newer USB-C cable and port will double that to 2A to 3A thus cutting the charging time in half.
  • Good Quality Cables – Not all charging cables are built the same, it will be worth the effort and time to dig around and find a shorter high quality charging cable other than using the cheapest one available.
  • Size of Power Bank – is another factor to consider obviously, it will take longer to charge a 20,000 mAh Power Bank than a 10,000 mAh Unit.
  • Charging Devices while in Use – Power banks that have an output of 2A or greater can charge a device while it is in use. Although it will slow the charging process greatly.

There is a certain method used to extend the power output of your power banks. It is referred to as the 20/80 method. You will notice when recharging a device such as your cell phone that it rapidly charges from 20% to 80%. It takes a power bank more energy to charge a completely dead battery from 0-20% and to top up a unit from 80-100%. To maximize the lifespan of your power banks and other electronics it is recommended to recharge them before they drop below 20% power.

What is the Lifespan of a Power Bank?

Once again a few factors can affect the lifespan of your power banks.

  • Extreme Temperatures – Very hot or cold temperatures will drain the power out of a unit quickly. This will cause you to recharge the unit more frequently thus reducing the power banks lifespan.
  • Ventilation – This applies to the first factor of temperature. When units are charging or recharging a device they can become quite warm, be sure to have them in a well-ventilated area while in use.
  • Keep Power Banks Topped Up – It is a wise practice to top up your power banks during the offseason when they are not in use. Common practice is to top up the unit once every 2 – 3 months.

Power Banks are much similar to batteries found in boats and cars. They only have a certain amount of cycles before they become depleted and need to be replaced. A unit that is not used very often can last many years if kept topped up and stored in an ideal location.

As mentioned briefly above the 20/80 method should be applied not only to your devices but to power banks themselves. Although you should charge power banks to 100% after being in use it is wise to not let them drop below 20% or run them completely out of power. It takes a lot of time and energy to get the charge of the unit back up from below 10% and is hard on the unit.

Can a Power Bank Charge Devices while They’re in Use?

Yes, some of the more powerful power banks on the market can charge a device while it is in use. It takes a unit with a greater output charge, usually 2A or greater to be able to charge a device while it is in use. Beware though that it also drains your power bank quicker to charge a unit that is in use.

What are Other Names for a Power Bank?

I’ve noticed that power banks are often referred to with different names in different parts of the world. Listed below are other names for power banks to aid in your google search to find the perfect fit for you.

Power Bank, Power Pack, Portable Charging Unit, Battery Charger or Re-charger, Power Supply, Power Vault, etc.

I hope this article helps you to understand the ins and outs of power banks and helps you to find the perfect unit to suit your needs. If you would like to see our personal recommendations for the best power bank for carp anglers please visit our Resource Page that lists our Top 3 Power Banks.