When was the last time you didn’t touch your phone for an entire day? It’s probably been a while. Even while hiking, kayaking, or backcountry skiing, we’re using phones to navigate, satellite messengers to communicate, and cameras to document the trip.
So how do we keep everything charged on adventures? If the camera batteries die, it might not be such a big deal. But when you can’t use a map on your phone to find the trail or call search and rescue in an emergency, the situation gets a lot worse.
You need a portable charger. Some claim to charge your phone in 5 minutes or even clean your house and babysit your children. We sifted through the randoms and the claims and found some of the best ways to charge your devices when you’re on the go.
Fuse Chicken Universal All-in-One Travel Charger
The Universal All-in-One Travel Charger from Fuse Chicken keeps things simple with only the required features. The device charges quickly from the wall with its built-in plug and, in turn, the fast 18W USB-A and USB-C ports charge devices quickly. The 6,700mAh capacity will charge a phone two or more times. If you have a phone or headphones that can charge wirelessly, just set it on top of the brick and you’re good to go. As an extra bonus, it includes different power adapters for other countries that just slide on like an Apple laptop power adapter.
Most chargers have juice for just a couple of charges. The Sherpa 100 AC from Goal Zero holds 25,600mAh (94 watt-hours), or enough for 10 charges of your phone. The 60-watt USB-C ports and 100-watt AC plug can easily power laptops. At 2 pounds, it’s a bit bigger than the standard charger, but it’s still just under the 100 watt-hours allowed on a plane. Two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, an AC outlet, and a Wireless Qi (pronounced “chee”) charging pad on top can all run at the same time. Four buttons and a small LED screen let you change settings and see power draw for each of the ports. It comes with four burly charging cables for iPhones, Android phones, and USB-C devices. To charge that actual device, plug into the nearest car, wall outlet, or solar panel.
Waterlily USB Turbine
Your options to recharge a battery pack usually include car, solar panel, or a wall outlet. Now you can use water to charge your devices with the Waterlily USB Turbine. The Waterlily Turbine works like a mini hydro-electric dam. Water flows through the unit, spinning a propeller, generating electricity. The power is sent to dry land through a power cable to your phone or another battery pack. The Turbine is easy to set up; just tie the rope to a branch and let the propeller sit in the water downstream. The four attachment points can also be strung across a creek. Because the technology was developed for slow-moving deep-sea currents, Waterlily can capture power in even the slowest currents. You can even hang it in trees to capture wind power.
ToughTested Bigfoot Solar Power Bank
Another method to charge up your battery packs is a solar panel. Some panels are large and heavy to carry around. While you do get more of a charge with a larger panel, there’s a limit to how much you can hang off a backpack if your traveling or backpacking. The Bigfoot Solar Power Bank from ToughTested has a solar panel built right in. At 1.65 pounds and about 8.5 inches by 5.5 inches, it’s easy to stick the Bigfoot in a backpack or on the dash of your car. With the efficient 400mAh solar panel on the top, it takes about 2.5 hours to accumulate 1,000mAh which is one-third to one-half of most phone batteries. If you need a quick charge, just plug it into the wall. At 100% you’ll get about 12 phone charges. A burly outer casing protects the whole thing from drops and IP67 waterproofing means it can sit in a meter of water for 30 minutes.
Elecjet Apollo Traveller Graphene Battery Pack
Battery packs are getting larger and larger to supply our power-hungry devices but they typically aren’t getting much faster. The Elecjet Apollo Traveller Graphene Battery Pack flips that assumption on its head. The Manual has discussed previously how graphene is the new, light, strong wonder material in the outdoor industry. Elecjet is using graphene’s conductive properties to charge the Apollo ridiculously fast. While the Apollo is only 5,000mAh (enough for two charges for most phones) the device itself can fully recharge in 18 minutes with a 60-watt wall charger. Another added benefit of graphene is lifespan; most battery packs can charge 300-500 times, but the Apollo can charge 1,500 times at high speed or 8,000 times at regular speeds.
Mophie Charge Stream Powerstation Wireless XL
With wireless power poised to take over the phone market, many battery pack manufacturers are heading that way as well. Mophie’s Charge Stream Powerstation Wireless XL has 10,000mAh to charge your tablet once or your phone more than three times. With its wireless charging pad, just set your enabled phone on the Powerstation, turn it on, and you’re done. While plugged into the wall, it will charge your phone first then the battery pack. It’s really two devices: a charging pad and battery pack all in one.
The following devices are not strictly portables chargers, however, they can still charge up your phone. When you’re trying pack light, combining this functionality into a different product can be extremely handy.
JBL Charge 4
If there’s a chance of campfire or beach time on an adventure, there had better be tunes. A small Bluetooth speaker is one of the main ingredients for having a good time. The Charge 4 from JBL is a durable, waterproof speaker with plenty of bass. The 7,500mAh battery gets you 20 hours of play time, probably enough for a party. One problem: Phones rarely last that long these days. Solution: there’s a USB port on the back of the speaker that can charge your phone.
Wicked Audio Arq True Wireless Earbuds
If you make the switch to wireless headphones, you have yet another thing to keep charged. Luckily, wireless headphones have cases that charge the earbuds while they’re stored. Wicked Audio pushes this idea to the limit with the new Arq headphones. The earbuds are small, lightweight, and comfortable. They can be used by themselves or together, as a mic for phone calls, and get about three hours of battery life. The case is much larger than something like an AirPods case, but instead of one or two more charges for the headphones, it holds another 60 hours of power. That 60 hours is powered by a 2,600mAh battery which can be used to charge your phone. If your phone is getting low while traveling or because you’re using GPS all day, plug it into the USB Type-A port on the case and get up to one full charge on the go.