Having a powerbank handy to charge up electonic stuff whilst in the outdoors has, for me, become an essential bit of kit. When guiding clients in the mountains I use my iPhone6 for photographs, navigation apps and as an emergency telephone. Some of the apps I like to use are:
- Mapping software like Memory Map ;
- OS Locate, which tells you your grid reference; and,
- A new avalanche awareness app made by the Scottish Avalanche Information Service.
Also, when supervisiong Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions, which can be up to four days long, I use Nokia 105 mobile phones as emergency phones. These phones form part of our ‘Grab Bags’: emergency kit that each expedition group has with them; containing a Garmin etrex 10 gps, emergency phone, whistle, note pad and pencil, spare batteries and emergency procedures.
I have also started to use a rechargable Olight HR2 Nova headtorch which benefits from having a back up power supply should it loose charge.
Through prolonged use or cold temperatures all of these important electronic devices can loose power so a powerbank and cable are items of kit I always have with me in my rucksack.
There are many sizes of powerbank available on the market, the main choice being what capacity to go for: something small like 5,000mAh which would give maybe 2x charges to an iPhone6 or something big like 20,000 mAh which might give you 7x charges. Other considerations are recharging time, it’s size and weight and its durability.
A company called OUTXE recently sent me a powerbank product specifically designed for the outdoors: OUTXE Savage 20,000 mAh Rugged Power Bank. Having used it for the last few months here’s a review, summing up what I think of it.
Here are the main features and benefits of the product:
Large Capacity: it’s 20,000 mAh which is pretty massive, suited to multi-day treks or circumstances where you need to charge lots of devices. 20,000 mAh will give you about 7x charges of an iPhone 6.
Water-resistant and Durable: the powerbank is encased in silicone rubber with rubber caps covering the USB and charging ports making it water resistant, shock proof, dustproof and generally a really strong robust bit of kit, well suited to the outdoors.
Torch: the product has a 200 lumin flashlight built into it. A double click of the power button turns on this very bright torch.
Two USB ports: should you need to this powerbank can charge up two electronic devices at the same time.
Fast Charging: the product can charge up your devices quickly, you can get 80% charge on your smart phone in 35 minutes.
Fast Re-charging: the product has a micro USB input – DC 5V/2A (max) – which will charge up the powerbank in 13 hours and a Type C input – DC 5V/3A(max) – which will charge it in 10-11 hours (a Type C charging cable is provided). For a fast charing time of 6-7 hours, you can use both inputs at the same time.
Safe re-charging: the product has surge and short-circuit protection to prevent the powerbank overheating when it is being re-charged.
The product comes with some small carabiners and lanyards, it measures 170 x 86 x 30 mm and weighs 525g.
So what do I think of it…..?
The features I really value and like are its huge capacity, being able to charge more that one device at once and the fast charging and re-charging capability. The torch came in quite handy too.
On the down side is the product’s weight – 525g is alot to carry.
In summing up this product was most useful to me when on multi-day expeditions and hiking trips. It was expecially useful on four day Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions when I needed to charge up multiple devices over a prolonged period of time. On single day hikes I would say it’s too big and heavy and my preference would be to opt for a lighter, less bulky powerbank. Nevertheless it’s something I have liked having with me in the car or in my travel luggage, knowing that it will reliably have loads of capacity to charge my electronic devices.
OUTXE offer a lighter product with a cool built in solar charger which may be a good compromise between weight and capacity: OUTXE Savage Solar Charger 10,000mAh.