NC10000 vs NB10000: Which Nitecore UL Battery Pack is Best for You? 

Scott Nechemias
NB10000 vs NC10000 Highland Best Ultralight Power Bank Battery Pack by Nitecore

This is partly a review of the NC10000 Highland Power Bank by Nitecore, and partly an explanation of why a backpacker might choose a slightly heavier battery pack (a whopping 0.5 ounces heavier) instead of the NB10000 Nitecore offers, which is already a favorite among ultralight backpackers. 

Conditions of testing: I backpacked a total of 40 nights with the Nitecore NC10000 battery pack, including in the Cascades, Oregon high desert, the Grand Enchantment and Arizona Trails. 


A selling point of the NC10000 is the durability of its construction. The guts of the NC10000 are two 5000 lithium ion cells. This is a simpler, more reliable construction than its polymer ion cousin, the NB10000. It is also designed to be more resistant to cold and high altitude. I had it out in temperatures down to the high teens; the highest I had it was 9000 feet. There were no issues in either of these environments, but more extreme conditions were not available to me due to the hiking season. The NC10000 is lab tested to simulate altitude pressure at 26,000 feet! If you’ve got a Peru or Everest Base Camp trip in mind the NC10000 is your choice. 

NB10000 vs NC10000 Highland Best Ultralight Power Bank Battery Pack by Nitecore

The NC10000 waiting to charge up my GoPro. Taking pictures of power banks is weird, right?


It’s important to understand that battery naming conventions use the energy that the battery can charge up to, not what it can actually dispense, which is what you are most likely to care about. 

The NC10000 lists a rated energy density of 6000mah, though I have read of testers doing better, up to 6400mah. By way of comparison, my older Anker Powercore 10000 was commonly known to deliver about 5200mah, all while being a couple ounces heavier than the NC10000. The newest Anker Slim 10000 seems to deliver similar power to the NC10000 … but it’s still heavier and doesn’t have a …


I used it, and not just because I was reviewing the battery. I found that in my tent at night if I was just reaching for one thing it was easier and more immediately directional light than fishing my headlamp out of a tent pocket, and a powerbank is usually sitting right by my head at night. The button to turn it on is a long press, so there is no worry of accidentally draining your battery with the lamp. As an emergency light it will do in a pinch, but the 50 lumens output will not replace your headlamp for night hiking.

NB10000 vs NC10000 Highland Best Ultralight Power Bank Battery Pack by Nitecore GGG Garage Grown Gear
Tent vestibule lit up with the Nitecore NC10000’s lamp at night


The NC10000 has a single USB C connection for both charging the battery and output. This will make hikers who have made the transition to exclusively USB C devices happy. A couple of extra cords and connectors are more things to lose, forget to pack and carry (that's your half ounce in weight penalty with the NC10000 right there!).

I can see this being a less appealing choice to a thru-hiker though, as a single port means no ability to pass through charge or charge multiple devices at the same time. The battery features the latest QC and PD standards, meaning it will take advantage of quick charging devices and will not fry your lower charging devices, like a GPS watch.

The single push button adds simplicity, showing the remaining power when pushed once, or turning on the lamp with a long press. Four LEDs show the remaining power in the battery, which was somewhat of a relief to me, as for some reason my brain likes quarters better than the NB10000s indicators that show power in thirds.

NB10000 vs NC10000 Highland Best Ultralight Power Bank Battery Pack by Nitecore

An important consideration, one that some hikers will find a benefit and others a drawback, is that the Nitecore NC10000 Power Bank has a single USB C connection for both charging the battery and output.



I’ve taken the NC10000 as long as 6 days in between having a chance to recharge it with the following electronics in tow: 

I typically use about 30 percent of my phone’s charge in a day when I’m taking a lot of pictures and reading at night before sleep. I’ll recharge my Suunto once, and my NU25 once (only necessary because of doing some night hiking), and the Garmin won’t need any charging during that time. That looks like:

Day 1 — Everything starts fully charged

Night 1 — No Charging

Night 2  — 1700 mah to phone (taking it from 50 percent to 80 percent)

Night 3  — 1700 mah to phone, (taking it from 50 percent to 80 percent) 240 mah to watch

Total used at this point — 3740mah

Night 4 — 1700 mah to phone (taking it from 50 percent to 80 percent) 300 mah to headlamp

Total used at this point — 5740

Night 5 — No charging, day 6 is a town day.

The above is estimated discharge of real world use based on the device’s capacities and charge indicators. Most phones have a smaller battery than mine, and I do have mine out for navigation and pictures a fair amount, so many hikers will do better than this example usage.

NB10000 vs NC10000 Highland Best Ultralight Power Bank Battery Pack by Nitecore GGG Garage Grown Gear


  • Durability
  • Near best in class weight to deliverable power ratio
  • Form factor (rounded edges)
  • Flashlight mode
  • Simplicity


  • No pass through charging
  • Very small weight penalty versus the NB10000


I think the best UL use case for the NC10000 is trips to demanding environments where the added durability and simplicity will come into play; as opposed to a thru-hiker trying to get everything charged up before getting booted out of the coffee shop, in which case the NB10000 might be the better choice.



NB10000 vs NC10000 Highland Best Ultralight Power Bank Battery Pack by Nitecore
Nitecore Power Banks



Gear reviews




I was an early adopter of the nb10000 and used it for a few backpacking trips. It eventually caught fire at the usb port while charging at home. I contacted Nitecore in both my home country and China and they couldn’t have been less helpful. Love the innovation but won’t buy from them again due to appalling customer service.

Scott Nechemias

Scott Nechemias

@lvm, sorry I missed your comment! Most modern day smartphones don’t get any benefit from stopping a charge early anymore, it used to be suggested because fully charging a battery could harm it. I do it simply out of strategy of maybe I’m going to be low on capacity later in the trip, and it turns out I need more in my headlamp, or my inreach, or whatever. Let’s say I’ve got 25 percent of the battery capacity left going into the second to last day of the trip… I still have the flexibilty of what to use it on. My particular phone has such an enormous battery that if I topped it off every time it would use up all my battery fast!



I thru hiked AT in 2021 and started with the 10000 unit and it failed pretty early on. Because I knew it was highly recommended in the UL community I bought another which also failed shortly after. I bought a 20k anker unit from Walgreens because I was desperate and in rural Virginia I think. Yes it was heavy, but it worked the rest of the way. Just my experience.

Scott Nechemias

Scott Nechemias

Both the NB and NC should charge in about 2.5 hours



Thank you for your comprehensive review. I noticed in your ‘charging log’ section that you only charge your phone to 80% nightly. Is that what I should be doing out on trail?

Stacy Arnold

Stacy Arnold

Customer ID 119121 for the 20000 and 118613 for the 10000 should Nitecore want to reach out and fix this issue.

Stacy Arnold

Stacy Arnold

I want to leave a comment regarding nitecore. I bought the NB 10000 AND the NB 20000 from the nitecore website last Summer. Both products failed similarly after minimal usage, the 20000 one failing in the middle of a backpacking trip. I left a review on the nitecore website that I had purchased the products from and said review was removed, no replacement product was offered or sent. Maybe there have been improvements since then, maybe I got a bad batch (although the products were purchased separately). But sharing that experience. No weight is saved with a non functional product.



How fast do these batteries charge? I usually have limited time available to charge my battery but plenty of time to charge my devices from my battery.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published