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My favorite power bank for traveling is waterproof and surprisingly lightweight

Whether you're caught in the rain or simply need a reliable power source for your adventures, the Klarus K5 has you covered.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Klarus K5

The Klarus K5 easily withstanding the elements.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Klarus K5 waterproof power bank is available on Amazon for $70.
  • This is a rugged, water- and dust-resistant power bank that's wrapped in genuine carbon fiber, making it about 30% lighter than other equivalent units.
  • No covers for the USB ports allow dirt and water to collect, and there's no bigger option available.

I've tested and owned countless power banks—I easily test over a hundred new ones each year—and they often come packed with various bells and whistles. However, in a world where most smartphones can withstand a good soaking, it's rare to find power banks that offer comparable durability.

So, whenever I encounter a power bank that's rated for water and dust resistance, it immediately captures my interest. This kind of resilience in a power bank is not only impressive but incredibly practical for anyone leading an active, outdoor lifestyle.

Also: My favorite USB-C accessory of all time has a magnetic superpower

The Klarus K5 did just that, a carbon fiber clad power bank that has it all – it's ultralight, ultrathin, and waterproof to IP68. 

View at Amazon

Klarus K5 tech specs

  • Capacity: 10000 mAh
  • Input USB-C: 5V⎓3A / 9V⎓2A / 12V⎓1.5A
  • Output USB-A/USB-C: 5V⎓3.1A / 9V⎓2.5A / 12V⎓1.68A
  • Trickle-charging: Yes, down to 20 mA
  • Water/dust-resistance: IP68
  • Dimensions: 105.7 x 63.4 x 13.6 mm
  • Weight: 157 g 

Let's delve into the IP68 rating. "IP" stands for "Ingress Protection," as defined by the international standard IEC 60529. An IP rating includes two digits; the first indicates the level of protection against solid particles (ranging from rocks to dust), and the second digit denotes liquid protection. The IP68 rating signifies that the device is completely dust-resistant (that's the "6") and waterproof beyond 1 meter (that's the "8"), in this case, the K5 is waterproof down to 10 meters.

I've thoroughly tested the dust and water resistance of this power bank, and it impressively shrugs off both elements. However, I do wish it had port covers for the USB ports to prevent dirt, dust, and water from getting inside. While a quick shake is enough to remove water, extracting dust and sand can be more challenging. 

Giving the Klarus K5 a good soaking!

Giving the Klarus K5 a good soaking!

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The next standout feature of the K5 is its sleek design. It's both ultrathin and ultralight, making it extremely portable. The carbon fiber exterior not only enhances its durability but also adds a stylistic flair. It features a USB-C port that serves both as an input and an output, and a USB-A port to accommodate legacy devices. 

Additionally, the power bank is equipped with a small on/off button, alongside a tiny but clear LCD display that shows the remaining battery capacity. These thoughtful features combine functionality with a modern, rugged look, making the K5 both practical and attractive.

The LCD display is small, but easy to read.

The LCD display is small, but easy to read.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

While there are certainly larger power banks available, the 157-gram Klarus K5 is ideal for lightweight adventures. The 10,000 mAh capacity offers enough power for multiple recharges of my iPhone 15 Pro Max or can keep my GoPro running overnight for timelapse photography. I'm really pleased with its small and lightweight design.

Also: The best power banks you can buy: Expert tested

In fact, it is approximately 30 percent lighter than other power banks with comparable capacity, a claim by the manufacturers that I find to be accurate. This makes it an excellent choice for those who prioritize portability without sacrificing performance.

The carbon fiber surface is durable and looks good.

The carbon fiber surface is durable and looks good.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

As with all my reviews, I rigorously tested the K5 power bank against the claims made on its spec sheet regarding capacity and power outputs over a number of charge and discharge cycles. I'm pleased to report that it passed with flying colors. This is a really well-made power bank, both inside and out. Its performance matches its impressive design, making it a reliable and stylish choice for keeping your devices powered up.

Testing the output on the Klarus K5

Testing the output on the Klarus K5.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's buying advice

The Klarus K5 power bank is a fantastic little device. It's compact and lightweight enough to easily slip into a pocket or bag, yet it packs enough power to keep you charged throughout the day. Its sleek design and carbon fiber outer is not only visually appealing but also rugged enough to withstand the rigors of hikes or off-grid adventures. 

I'm cautious about dirt—particularly sand—getting into the ports, so I keep it in a ziploc bag when heading into particularly harsh environments to avoid the hassle of cleaning the ports later. Apart from this minor precaution, the Klarus K5 is about as close to perfect as a power bank can get and has earned a place in my hiking kit

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