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I love power stations. They're the off-grid adventurer's answer to the power bank. They're a huge box of batteries that can be used to charge USB devices and run gadgets that need AC power.
But power stations can be big, weighty things. That's fine if you have a vehicle to haul your gear to your destination, but if you're going on foot, most power stations are just too heavy to lug about.
I've previously tested the River 2 Max's smaller sibling, the River 2. Weighing in at 7.7 pounds, a power capacity of 256Wh, and capable of a sustained AC output of 300W (600W max), this smaller power station is perfect for times when you want to take power outdoors, but you don't need too much of it.
The River 2 Max takes things to the next level. The capacity is doubled to 512Wh, the weight bumped up to 13.4 pounds, and it is capable of a sustained AC output of 500W (1,000W max). While 13.4 pounds is hefty, it's some 22% lighter than the previous generation EcoFlow units of comparable specs.
You can recharge the River 2 Max using one of four methods -- AC, solar, 12V in-car, and USB-C. If you choose AC, the unit can go from zero to 100% in an hour, which means you can leave charging to the last minute.
If you want to go totally off-grid, EcoFlow offers a 160W solar panel that can recharge the River 2 Max in about four hours. The panel is durable and waterproof to IP68, so it's the perfect adventure companion for the River 2 Max.
The solar panel adds weight and bulk, but it transforms the River 2 Max into a totally off-grid solution.
A built-in fan kicks in and keeps the batteries cool when charging and discharging at high wattages. The fan generates a maximum of 62db of noise, which is the sort of sound level you'd get from a household dishwasher. I've had this power station running next to my head and I didn't find the noise all that noticeable.
If you don't want to spend your time jabbing buttons then the River 2 Max can be controlled remotely using the EcoFlow App. Keep an eye on charging levels, tweak settings, and adjust charging speeds, all from your iPhone or Android smartphone.
The River 2 Max can also be used as a backup device for when the power goes out. It can detect the mains power is down and switch over to the battery in 30ms, which means that connected devices will keep on running as though nothing has happened.
Some context: a typical Wi-Fi router draws about 10W, which means this unit can keep the router going for about 16 hours.
The unit is rugged and well built and shrugs off the knocks and bumps that it will inevitably get when being used.
Currently available for $419 (using the $50 off coupon at Amazon), the EcoFlow River 2 Max is competitively priced and is highly recommended for those looking for a truly portable power solution. I plan on taking this on more adventures real soon.