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Charging electronics
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Graham Morfitt
(MoeIsMe) - F

Locale: Canada's west coast
Charging electronics on 02/23/2012 01:59:49 MST Print View

I'm wanting to update an article I wrote a couple of years ago regarding portable solar for backpacking, and I'm looking for information on what equipment the 'lightweight' trekkers are taking into the wild. What are your essential bits of tech that you need to keep charged?
The most common answers I have from clients & expedition outfitters are cameras, sat phones, GPS receivers, AA batteries for headlamps, etc. But I'm looking to cross-reference this list with what gear you pack (if any).
Thanks for any and all feedback.

Jay Lash
(jjlash) - F

Locale: Eastern Iowa
Electronics on 02/23/2012 11:03:26 MST Print View

I was just looking at solar chargers last night...For my trek this summer (11 trail days) Im only taking two things that will not last the whole trip: eTrex Legend GPS and Playsport video camera.

The Legend will run around 8 hours on a set of AAs. The Playsport will go about 60-75 minutes of recording on one battery. The Playsport battery recharges via USB but it is the older model with removable battery so Ill carry a couple even if I can recharge them.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
What electronic device needs recharging? on 02/23/2012 11:53:18 MST Print View

Smartphone is pretty much the only thing for me to consider in this regard. It's typically my camera and GPS and book reader and ...

I did carry a separate GPS last year, but lithium AA backup batteries for this were quite light. Ditto headlamp, a lithium spare isn't heavy. Ditto an MP3 player, I've carried one, but a single AAA battery backup is light, and if I run out of battery power on that temporarily it's not a big deal.

For my primary device, it's not difficult to find a smartphone with replaceable batteries and just carry spare batteries and a wall charger. I used and sort of liked a solar charger in California on the PCT (for my smartphone), but wouldn't go that route again. For the latter part of the trail and for more recent long trips I've since become convinced that I can do almost any trip better just with one or more spare batteries, and a wall charger if the trip is one where I resupply in towns or the like along the way.

Bottom line for me is that the cost, inconsistency, time required to mess with it on trail, "fiddle factor", all make me disinclined to attempt to recharge with solar on a backpacking trip. I'm sure there are situations where it makes great sense, but not so much for my style of hiking.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Charging electronics on 02/23/2012 18:59:17 MST Print View

waterproof point & shoot camera
steripen freedom
zebra light headlamp
sometimes my friend wears a GPS watch

All but the headlamp charge by USB. Contemplating picking up one of the Black Diamond headlamps that has a USB rechargeable battery too, which would make all my devices USB chargeable. Simplicity rules

My charger of choice on the trail is a lithium backup battery brick. can be had in all different capacities. easy to recharge. easy to use it to recharge my toys in the field. adapters that weigh next to nothing can be had to make all of these charge using a single micro USB cord.

I don't use a ton of power on trail. the freedom is probably the biggest hog. lithium battery pack is lighter and easier than solar for me and works for all devices (except headlamp currently).

I would love to hear someone critique my methodology though. I haven't looked into alternatives methods for backup power as this seems to work for me. always great to hear what others are doing and how to make improvements.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
charging electronics on 02/24/2012 06:39:28 MST Print View

This is my solution for travel, would take it backpacking too if needed, at least on a through hike. I don't carry a smart-phone or a GPS yet, so my charging needs are for my Kindle and camera--luxuries, not necessities, so I would have to be going a long distance to bother packing it.

Phillip Colelli

Locale: AT, follow@
new trent battery on 02/24/2012 08:21:41 MST Print View

There's this battery pack I just bought on amazon. The brand is "New Trent", yeah I know sounds questionable but all the reviews are solid. So I got one. It weighed in about 6oz and it will charge my droidx about 2.5 times plus I have the charge that the phone already has. It's kinda heavy but it should allow me to use my phone for as much reading/writing/photo/video/calls/internet(where available) as I want.

I also have used one of those energizer phone chargers that run on 2 AA batteries before. They work well and are lighter but doesn't charge up much.

Aside from my phone, the only other electronics I have are my steripen and zebralight which both take CR123's.

EDIT: Just checked the link above my post. That's the exact model I have.

Edited by pdcolelli42 on 02/24/2012 08:22:28 MST.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Re: Charging electronics on 02/24/2012 11:13:09 MST Print View

Just in case anyone was curious, I just contacted (and got a response within an hour) SteriPEN to ask what the capacity of the internal rechargeable lithium polymer battery was. It is a 1000 mAh battery. You can purify 20 liters on a single charge.

The newest iPhones have 1420 mAh batteries

Sony DSC-TX10 battery is 600-630 mAh

Petzl Core LiPo battery capacity is 900mAh

Edited by 7sport on 02/24/2012 11:16:30 MST.

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Re: Charging electronics on 02/27/2012 10:29:41 MST Print View

Zagg Sparq. It charges multiple devices over USB multiple times. Charge it up when you're in town.

Zach Bradford
(Spiranthes) - F

Locale: WV
iPhone on 02/27/2012 10:55:32 MST Print View

This is probably a bit too specialized, but I carry one of these for my iPhone:

I can usually get about two full charges out of it before it needs to be recharged.

(Disclaimer: no affiliation with the above site)