Companion Rover Lithium 40Ah Power Station: Tested
Reliable power is an essential for any family camping trip, and a portable power pack is a great option for those who don’t want the expense of fitting an auxiliary battery to their vehicle. These units are ideal for powering your portable fridge/freezer and charging your campsite gadgets while you’re in the outdoors.
On a recent Aus Geo assignment in the Simpson Desert, I needed to source a portable power pack as I was borrowing a vehicle for the trip, and it wasn’t fitted with an auxiliary battery. Aus Geo Adventure has previously tested a Companion Rover Lithium 70Ah Power Station, so I opted to bring its ‘little brother’, the Rover Lithium 40Ah Power Station, on this expedition. In short, by the end of the seven-day traverse of the northern Simpson Desert, I was seriously impressed: this ‘small’ power pack punched well above its weight in terms of overall performance.
As its name suggests, this power pack uses a 40AH Lithium LiFePO4 battery (Lithium Ion Phosphate), producing a claimed 512Wh per charge. This battery type ensures the power pack uses close to 95 per cent of its capacity for 2000 charge/recharge cycles, and then continues to offer 80 per cent of its capacity for cycles after that amount. Charge time is a claimed eight to 10 hours. Yep, impressive.
The unit is light, at only 6.3kg, and compact, measuring 270mm x 154mm x 242mm. That light weight and small size makes it ideal for pretty much any vehicle in terms of storage and it is easy to move around camp, if need be, as well.
There are numerous outputs on the unit, including an Anderson-plug output (with a maximum 10Amp output), two USB, one USB-C, three different DC outputs (12V cig, 12V two-pin, and two DC5521 adaptors for LED strip lighting), a single input for charging via a DC, AC, or a solar power source (the unit’s MPPT management system means it can be charged via Companion’s excellent range of portable solar panels), and there’s even a 3W LED light, with three light output options (solid, fast strobe and slow strobe). The outputs can all be used at the same time. The LCD display shows the user how much power/time is left and is intuitive in operation. The Power Station has all the usual battery protection as well, including over- and undervoltage, over- and undertemperature, short-circuit and incorrect polarity.
In the field
The Rover Lithium 40Ah was used each day once we reached camp. During the day, the fridge/freezer was powered by the vehicle’s battery, but once we stopped for the night, we switched over to the Power Station immediately, plugging the fridge 12V cable into the Power Station that we located under the vehicle.
Initially, I was concerned the ‘small’ (in comparison to its larger 70Ah stablemate) Lithium 40Ah would not have enough grunt for more than a night or two, due to the cold desert nights, and even allowing for my fridge/freezer having a nice low power-draw rate. Lithium batteries do not like cold conditions and lose charge quickly in these conditions. However, to my very pleasant surprise, the Rover Lithium 40Ah did not need a recharge until after night four, and once recharged (this did take a while, via the vehicle’s 12V outlet; we got to 40 per cent power after seven hours of driving) it completed its fridge-powering duties until the end of the traverse. Overall, its performance was excellent, especially considering the cold conditions.
The final word on the Rover Lithium 40Ah Power Station
Companion’s portable power pack offers great value, with straightforward operation, a robust build, and excellent performance, at a reasonable price for this market segment. The Rover Lithium 40Ah Power Station’s diminutive size belies its literal power and for those looking for a portable charging solution for their camping adventures, this unit is well worth a look. For those after more camp-side grunt, Companion’s Rover 70Ah Power Station is another option, albeit with a seriously hefty jump in asking price.
RRP: $870 See Companion Outdoor for more info on the entire Rover Power Station range.