Outbound Reviewed: The RIVER Power Station from EcoFlowTech

A sleek, consumer-friendly form factor hides the most versatile and powerful battery system in its class.

I just wrapped up a four month vanlife stint, doing two large loops through the American West and British Columbia. Maintaining a regular working schedule in addition to powering the various tools I need to do my job (laptop, camera batteries, and lighting) meant that I needed a regular, reliable, and powerful battery system that was lightweight and minimal in size, as space is at a premium, and one that could perform in below-freezing and high desert temperatures. 

I tried several of the new portable, mid-sized batteries and to say that the new (relatively) lithium-ion RIVER from EcoFlowTech met my requirements is an understatement. Its 412Wh of power, 10 charging ports, in an 11 lb form factor (half that of a car battery), and the ability to work in -4 F to 140 F set it apart from all other competitors. Nothing on the market matches those specs near its price point of $600.


To get technical: the RIVER has two DC power ports providing up to 96 watts of power (12V at 8A) and the DC cable and three adaptors meaning (most likely) that you can leave yours at home and plug in directly. The RIVER's two AC power ports on the rear provides up to 300 watts of continuous, pure sine wave power (600 watts peak) at 110 volts AC. It has two "regular" USB charge ports, two "quick charge" USB-A ports, and two of the new(er) USB-C ports. 

What this adds up to is depending on your gear: 9 laptop charges, 30 or so cell phone charges, and 10 mini-fridge charges for you vanlife and marine folks. In practice I found that with max-power usage on my Macbook Pro while photo editing I got around 5 or so laptop charges i.e. not enough to cover a full 12-16 hour day of continuous use on those cloudy days when it was not supplemented by being hooked into my 200 watts of solar power, but I am certainly an edge case. From a pure watt-hour-to-weight standpoint no other product comes close. On occasion I would even grab it and take it into the coffee shop instead of worrying about running my power cord across the room to a faraway jack.


The only downside to the RIVER is that its rounded edges and ergonomic handle mean it is not stackable with additional RIVERs. My power usage is such that I want to account for the 10% of instances where I need a *lot* of sustained power in low-to-no-light situations, and given my space constraints (and OCD tendency to demand that everything *fit* together nicely) a second battery is a great-to-have.

So if you are looking for a mid-sized, versatile, and mobile power station, right now the RIVER is the best on the market. For those of us in the vanlife world, get two.

Published: August 14, 2018

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