Anybody use battery packs?

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Archbishop

Make ready. Go forward!
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
202
Anybody use battery packs whilst out backpacking? I'm not ashamed to admit I'm pretty top heavy when it comes to taking electronics into the back country. If I take just about everything I'm traveling with the following battery items. A camera either ps or dlsr. A GPS unit that takes 2 AAs. A Steripen that takes 4 AAs. A headlamp that takes 3 AAAs. (I'd like to change this out to one that runs on AAs though.) A cell phone. A flash unit 4 AAs. This is a lot of power items.
I was recently thinking about taking a larger battery pack, and a fold-up solar panel.
I haven't yet calculated my real needs but I was thinking around 4000 to 5000 mwh battery with a 7 or 13 watt solar sell. I could charge the battery pack while backpacking or at camp and then use the main battery to charge all the rest of the batteries.
My other thought was to charge the small batteries right off the solar, but then I think I'd be constantly stopping to swap batteries, charging batteries that really didn't need charged etc. If I charge one battery pack I could charge for the whole day while hiking and then use it charge batteries at camp as needed. That way if I didn't use it that much at camp I could choose to pack my solar panels the next day and not charge anything.
This seems good on paper, but the question I'm looking to answer is how does it actually work in the real world? Anyone have any first-hand knowledge? (I'll even accept "my buddy earl says,")
Thanks.
 

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Archbishop

Make ready. Go forward!
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
202
Or of course the other idea is just to take plenty of every battery I need and not charge anything. This could be the simplest......
 

Nick

Spiral out.
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Aug 9, 2007
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12,810
I take a lot of electronics but I don't find this to be much of a problem.

I've never messed with packing a charger or solar panel system. But one of my backpacking buddies, lostlandscapes has. In short, it didn't work. It was a bright sunny day in the Uintas and he couldn't charge his iPhone to save his life. We weren't moving, just laying out on the shore of the lake all day in ideal conditions. He was using his iPhone as GPS so I see why he needed some way to charge it.

For everything else, not so sure if it would be worthwhile even if it worked. One of the biggest reasons is that most devices don't take the same battery so you'd not only have to take the solar charger but also a battery charger for each device.

Here's my breakdown.

For a 3-4 day trip I bring:

Garmin Oregon 450 GPS with 2 AA rechargeable NiMH's inside and 2 spares.

Canon 60D with one battery inside and one spare.
Canon S95 compact camera with one battery inside, no spare.

SteriPen Adventurer Opti with two CR123 lithium batteries inside and two spares.

Spot GPS Satellite Messenger with 3 AAA Lithium Batteries inside, no spares.

Petzl Tikka XP headlamp with 3 AAA batteries, no spares.

So for all of those electronics, I only bring 2 extra AA NiMH's, 1 SLR battery and two CR123's. I guarantee that is about 10x lighter than packing a solar charger and the respective charger for each device. Not to mention the hassle of trying to charge something out there.

That's my two cents.
 

Archbishop

Make ready. Go forward!
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
202
I take a lot of electronics but I don't find this to be much of a problem.

I've never messed with packing a charger or solar panel system. But one of my backpacking buddies, lostlandscapes has. In short, it didn't work. It was a bright sunny day in the Uintas and he couldn't charge his iPhone to save his life. We weren't moving, just laying out on the shore of the lake all day in ideal conditions. He was using his iPhone as GPS so I see why he needed some way to charge it.

For everything else, not so sure if it would be worthwhile even if it worked. One of the biggest reasons is that most devices don't take the same battery so you'd not only have to take the solar charger but also a battery charger for each device.

Here's my breakdown.

For a 3-4 day trip I bring:

Garmin Oregon 450 GPS with 2 AA rechargeable NiMH's inside and 2 spares.

Canon 60D with one battery inside and one spare.
Canon S95 compact camera with one battery inside, no spare.

SteriPen Adventurer Opti with two CR123 lithium batteries inside and two spares.

Spot GPS Satellite Messenger with 3 AAA Lithium Batteries inside, no spares.

Petzl Tikka XP headlamp with 3 AAA batteries, no spares.

So for all of those electronics, I only bring 2 extra AA NiMH's, 1 SLR battery and two CR123's. I guarantee that is about 10x lighter than packing a solar charger and the respective charger for each device. Not to mention the hassle of trying to charge something out there.

That's my two cents.
I think in the end I'm right there with you. I just figure why make it simple when it can be complicated? Then after awhile of hashing all out I come back to what works and go simple. But occasionally I'm rewarded with some good ideas for running all the way around and back.
 

Deadeye008

Hambone
Joined
Jan 18, 2012
Messages
742
I have a PowerFilm 5w solar panel with a femal cigarette lighter adapter on it.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001QKWTCK/?tag=backcountrypo-20

It works very well. In full sun it will charge my cell phone battery (1300 mAh) in 2 hrs. I usually don't take it on short backpacking excursions. I just take extra batteries. I have about 7 extra batteries for my phone. I use my phone as my GPS when in the backcountry so I go through about 1.5 batteries a day. If I am going for a long trip in the backcountry I will take the solar panel and I have a small universal cell phone battery charger ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000QV5ZQ2/?tag=backcountrypo-20) that I take so I can charge the batteries without having them in the phone. This has worked very well for me as long as there is sun. One time while I was in Cedar Mesa I even tied the solar panel onto by backpack and hooked it up to my phone to charge while we were hiking. We were hiking in a Northernly direction and on top of the mesa so there were very few trees to get in the way. The charger worked great. It managed to maintain the battery level at 90% meanwhile I was running my GPS app. In other words it was charging the battery as fast as the phone was using it. The conditions were very ideal though. I have tried doing this in the Uintas among the trees and it did not work as well.

I keep this charger in my vehicle with alligator clips because it is also capable of slowly charging a car battery in the case of an emergency.
 

Archbishop

Make ready. Go forward!
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
202
Found another post that says it's 9000mah. charges with either car adapter or wall outlet or in a pinch from your usb on computer. Only downside I see is the output is strictly 5v. Nice for most things, but I'd love to have the option 12vdc use. (Even if my mah were cut in half.)
 

DOSS

out
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
292
I take a battery pack, a little solar charge thing that will charge my phone 1X and then recharge itself in about 8 hours on the top of my pack.. I don't have all the electronics that you guys are taking so I am sure it wouldn't help... I do take my Nikon D80 but one battery is more than enough for a week for me.
 

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