Charging phones, cameras, GPS and any other fancy gadgets you bring on an adventure can be a pain. Our devices batteries are seemingly lasting less and less time so the need to charge on the go is even more of a challenge than ever. Here are a few methods you can use to have power on the road.
- Try to take just one charger. A standard USB, high-speed charger works best for me.
- Ensure you have the correct travel plug if you are going overseas.
- If taking a GoPro, take a few batteries. They are fairly cheap and light. It will save you running out of power.
- When possible try to buy devices with the same USB connection. This isn’t always possible but if you can do this it will save the number of different cables you will require.
- Pack light. Batteries, cables, socket chargers, cases, hard drives, cameras, GPS. The list goes on. The weight starts to increase if you get carried away.
- Turn your phone off if you are not using it. This also applies to most other electrical devices. At the least, ensure your wifi and Bluetooth are not activated or connect to flight mode to save power.
- If you need a phone for emergencies, consider getting a cheap phone with limited features. A £30 phone battery will almost always last much longer than a smartphone.
It is now common for people to carry these nifty little gadgets around not just on adventures but in everyday life. For an adventure, you want a power bank with a high capacity and one that is durable. The capacity of a battery pack is measured in milliamp hours (mAh). Generally speaking, the bigger this number the more charges you will get from the bank. These higher capacity banks are usually more expensive.
Some come with torches or LCD screens. Personally, I don’t see the need for these features. I would recommend that simplicity and power are key.
When selecting a power bank you should look for the following features:
- Multiple USB ports – allows you to charge more than one device at a time.
- By a rugged and durable one. It should be able to take a bit of a beating if you throw it in your rucksack. An IP65, IP66 or IP67 rating are recommended.
- A mAh rating closer to the 10,000 mark.
- Fairly cheap. There is no need to spend a lot.
Here are some recommendations from other blogs:
Solar panels have improved vastly over the past few years. They are now lighter and can charge small gadgets much more effectively. Having clear, direct sunlight is vital so your location and time of year are important factors to consider when deciding whether to use a solar panel.
I personally haven’t used a solar panel for any of my adventures yet. I plan on taking one on my upcoming expedition to the Himalayas.
Here are other posts with reviews of solar backpacks, solar power banks and good old fashioned standard solar panels.
If you are on an adventure and you are anywhere near civilisation using a standard plug socket is a simple and cheap answer to charge your gear. In the past, I have charged my electronics in pubs, restaurants, supermarkets and cafes. It gives you an opportunity to rest, refuel and fill your gadgets with electricity.
The simplest solution can often be the most effective.
Wind Up Battery
Using kinetic energy to power devices has been around for decades. From watermills to dynamo lights on bicycles, kinetic energy is one of the most environmentally friendly ways of charging on the move.
If anybody has any experience using this type of charger, I would love to hear from you. In theory, it sounds like a great idea but I am dubious that this would provide enough charge to keep all of your devices powered.
Leave the tech at home
So this isn’t really advice on how to charge your gear but more general advice for a budding adventure. Why not leave your phone, camera and GPS at home and get off the grid completely. It’s a bold move and one that I would struggle to do myself. I will do it one day for sure.