Between smartphones, GPS devices, tablets, mp3 players, GoPro cameras, and a variety of other high tech toys, today’s outdoor enthusiasts travels with more electronic gadgets than ever before. These lightweight – yet very powerful – devices can provide a host of tools and functionality that can come in handy during our outdoor pursuits. But just like anything else that relies on a battery for power, they become useless when their charge runs out. With that in mind, here are some suggestions on how to keep your gadgets functioning while in the backcountry.
Perhaps the simplest, and most convenient, way to keep your electronics working while traveling in a remote place is by carrying an extra battery pack. These devices feature built in lithium-ion batteries that can be fully charged at home prior to departure. That charge can later be transferred to a smartphone, camera, or other gadget as needed via built in USB ports on the battery pack itself. Generally lightweight, and durable, battery packs come in a variety of storage capacities.
Outdoor Tech’s very own Kodiak Powerbank is an excellent example of a battery pack designed specifically for use in the outdoors.
Over the past few years there have been some impressive advances made in the area of solar panel technology, and as a result, powering your gadgets from the sun is now a viable option. In fact, many expeditions to places like Everest and the Antarctic rely on solar technology to keep their devices working properly for days, or even weeks, on end. Modern solar panels are thin, lightweight, durable, and efficient, allowing you to charge your devices directly, or store the power they collect in a battery pack to be used later. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, a good solar panel just might be the best solution for powering electronics for extended periods of time off the grid.
Goal Zero makes some of the best solar power solutions in the industry today, including power packs that are capable of keeping a laptop charged.
While not as common as a battery pack or a solar panel, a hydrogen fuel cell system can be an efficient, environmentally friendly, way to charge your devices as well. This relatively new method of generating power uses a reaction created by combing hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity that can then be transferred to any electronic device. The benefits of this type of system is that they work much like a battery pack, but allow you to carry extra fuel cells that can keep generating power over a longer period of time.
Brunton’s Hydrogen Reactor is an example of this type of unique charging system.
Conserve Your Power
The final method for keeping your devices powered for longer periods of time in the backcountry is by intelligently conserving your power. For example, switching your device to “airplane mode” will shut down its WiFi and cellular radios, greatly reducing the amount of power it uses. You can also turn down the brightness on your screen, and turn the device off completely at night. Rechargeable batteries are also highly susceptible to cold temperatures, so keep the your gadgets warm at all times. This can help to greatly increase their lifespan.
With a little common sense, and attention to detail, your gadgets will continue to function for longer than you might expect, even when you’re miles away from the nearest outlet.