Gear Scout: ArkPak Smart Charger

There’s no denying it, power packs are now an integral part of the overlanding experience. Our navigational devices, cameras, phones, and other modern essentials are power-hungry little things that need constant feeding. This has prompted a rapid evolution of charging systems, some small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. Other systems, like the ArkPak from the Australian overlanding experts at ARK, are far more powerful and sophisticated. Unlike many power packs which are built around a sealed, proprietary battery, the ArkPak draws its juice from any 12V battery. Regardless of the battery you choose, the ArkPak is engineered to maximize the efficiency of that power source.

Central to the design of the ArkPak is a built-in 6 amp, 7 stage smart charger that charges and conditions the battery for maximum lifespan. A 150 watt inverter distributes that power providing up to 3 days of 120V power, or up to 7 days of 12V power. Unlike many systems, the ArkPak has a multitude of charging ports including twin 12V sockets, a 50 amp Anderson plug, 5V USB port, and a 120V socket.

We’ve tested similar systems over the last few years and one woefully inadequate feature is usually the LCD display, that is to say if they have one at all. The ArkPak’s Time Tracker LCD displays far more than just how much power is left on tap. The interactive and easy to read display shows the percentage of power remaining, the number of hours until fully charged, the condition of the battery, and much more.

In an effort to give users a quantifiable and real-world assessment as to how much power can be squeezed out of a standard 130 ah deep cycle battery, they have approximated the number of charges common devices can draw from the ArkPak. They say the ArkPak can charge a mobile phone 130 times, a laptop 20 times, and can power a 40 liter refrigerator for up to 168 hours. For many of us, the complexity and expense of installing a dual battery system in our vehicles is a deal breaker. With it’s compact size and supreme utility, the ArkPak is a great alternative to a dual battery system. The quality of construction gives confidence it will endure years of rugged use, and it even comes with a 30 day money back guarantee and free shipping. Having reviewed what seems like dozens of power packs in the last few years, the ArkPak is one of the better options on the market. Now, if we could just get this level of energy efficiency out of our trucks.

Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.