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#189568 - 03/07/15 06:18 PM Re: Battery Charger discussion on Candlepower Forums [Re: OregonMouse]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
"That being said, I notice we haven't had anything posted about charging batteries in the backcountry for the past couple of years."

My sense about the post on this topic from yesterday was that the poster was talking about camping, and not backpacking. Not sure.

In terms of stuff carried on your back, I think this is going to vary a lot depending on what you're doing in "the backcountry". If you're packing heavy, perhaps base camping, a solar charger could make great sense, particularly in sunnier and more southern areas.

I carried a solar charger for part of my PCT hike, and as a backpacker who walks all day, I no longer think that's a very good idea, even in sunny areas. For my use, I can carry a spare battery for extended periods between recharge opportunities. Long distance hikers get pretty good at finding opportunities to charge whenever near civilization. With care and a spare battery (or even two), I can't see myself using power so intensively that I would run low on power before I ran low on food.

For the majority of phones and small tablets today without removeable batteries, there are of course battery recharge units. Those seem a bit heavier to me, and there's bound to be power loss in the transfer. Sadly, Samsung announced that the latest in their Galaxy line of phones will not have a removable battery. Samsung has, in turn, lost me as a dedicated customer in future, but hopefully my current phone will last me a number of years! In any event, it seems that the removeable battery is on it's way towards extinction in phones and tablets and similar devices.

I'm not too familiar with other options --- heat-over-the-fire, or fuel cell. My very limited experience with hand-cranked devices and with AA or AAA batteries to charge a phone didn't leave me optimistic about either approach, but my experience base (and interest) is pretty low.

Bottom line though, I think that the best solution(s) depend(s) on the specific use and need. Car camping is quite different than base camping, which in turn is quite different from short- or long-distance backpacking.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#189570 - 03/07/15 07:00 PM Re: Battery Charger discussion on Candlepower Forums [Re: BrianLe]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6400
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Brian, thanks! I'm going to move this to a new thread!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#189571 - 03/07/15 07:04 PM Battery Charging for Backpackers
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6400
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Rather than continue to post this on the "sticky thread," I'm starting a new thread for this topic. It hasn't been oovered for a couple of years. I know there are increasing numbers of people interested in this issue, and i know very little about it (as a Luddite I avoid batteries as much as I can, taking them only for my camera and headlamp).

So have at it, folks! I'm transferring a post from BrianLe, our resident Triple Crown thru-hiker, to this thread--you'll see it above.


Edited by OregonMouse (03/07/15 07:13 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#189574 - 03/08/15 12:25 PM Re: Battery Charging for Backpackers [Re: OregonMouse]
dylansdad77 Offline
member

Registered: 03/12/14
Posts: 158
Loc: New Jersey
I recently purchased a battery recharging unit that weighs in around 7oz. It has the capacity to fully recharge my Samsung 5S at least 3 times. In its current condition, I can make my phone battery last 3-4 days with limited use so the combination of phone and recharger offer me the maximum possibility of 16 days between the need for electricity. Considering my trips are shorter in time (max 3-4 days), I seldom need to use the recharger but I bring it along as a precaution anyway.

When my trips become longer, I will definitely have my recharger with me.
_________________________
Did you know that 83.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

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#189582 - 03/08/15 11:39 PM Re: Battery Charging for Backpackers [Re: dylansdad77]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 653
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
The s5 has a removable battery. It'd be more efficient to bring a couple spare batteries than to recharge them (and the spares are cheap). I just got an s5, myself, and the fact that it has a removable battery was a big part of why I chose it.

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#189637 - 03/12/15 05:39 PM Re: Battery Charging for Backpackers [Re: 4evrplan]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
For a week or shorter, I see no need for a recharger. My camera takes a LONG time for it to run out of charge, longer than a week of photos and video. Maybe I need to take more video smile . The same goes for my headlamp. I would only use the GPS if I got lost, or wanted to win a bet. I generally only go on weeklong trips as the longest. I have never had to break out the spare batteries that I carry. I do take out the battery on my phone. It lasts longer this way. I only use the phone when I need a pickup that I prescheduled. I usually have to climb a peak for reception. I can also use it for emergencies (with the peak climbing trick).
For long distance hiking....lithium primaries and spares last a LONG time.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#189750 - 03/19/15 03:24 PM Re: Battery Charger discussion on Candlepower Forums [Re: BrianLe]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Personally, I'm more interested in longer lasting batteries, or more efficient devices, than ways to charge or change them on the trail.

From all I've read we should start seeing some new tech on this soon. Until we do see a leap in this technology I'm happiest with using AA or AAA batteries that I can replace and recharge.

If I forget and leave my phone on in my backpack (or it turns itself on when getting jumbled around) it won't last a day and I can't replace the battery. There is no recharger that's worth the cost, weight, or wait, to me right now, so the phone becomes dead weight. If that doesn't happen the recharger would be dead weight because I don't use my phone for more than a few minutes a day at most.

For me, a phone that shut down entirely, using no juice at all, and had a power on button that could not be activated with pressure inside my pack, would be the best they could provide for me right now.

_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#189764 - 03/20/15 12:54 PM Re: Battery Charging for Backpackers [Re: OregonMouse]
dylansdad77 Offline
member

Registered: 03/12/14
Posts: 158
Loc: New Jersey
So part of my reasoning for taking superfluous "communal" items is that I am guilty of worrying about the comfort of the other hikers in my group. I am almost always the group leader and equally as often the trip planner. Because of this, I have an inherent feeling of responsibility for everyone in the group - as though it would be my fault if they did not enjoy themselves.

Perfect example: 3 years ago, Memorial Day weekend - 4 of us set out on AT in central PA for a long weekend. We dropped a car at the take-out and then all crammed in for the drive to the TH. As we reached the ridge to park the car at the take-out, it died. 200,000+ miles on a Saturn: I'd say he got his money's worth out of that car. We still went on to have a great time, but I couldn't help but feel somewhat responsible for his misfortune - like I could have planned better so he didn't have to drive his clunker up a huge hill.

I need to convince myself while packing that these communal niceties can stay at home and worry more about my own needs (and those of my back and legs!). If the group decided to bring something like a phone charger, I need to include it in the communal weight so everyone gets a piece of the fun.

Side note: the 5 or so minutes it's taken me to type out this response has been rather therapeutic. I almost feel like I don't even need to post this anymore...but alas...


Edited by dylansdad77 (03/20/15 12:55 PM)
_________________________
Did you know that 83.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

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#189770 - 03/20/15 02:40 PM Re: Battery Charger discussion on Candlepower Forums [Re: billstephenson]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By billstephenson

For me, a phone that shut down entirely, using no juice at all, and had a power on button that could not be activated with pressure inside my pack, would be the best they could provide for me right now.


I take the battery out of my Samsung. Just another reason to never buy anything that starts with a small "i".
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#189926 - 03/31/15 12:07 AM Re: Battery Charger discussion on Candlepower Forums [Re: finallyME]
makofoto Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/30/15
Posts: 3
So I guess you won't be buying the new Galaxy. grin

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#189979 - 04/03/15 10:10 PM Re: Battery Charger discussion on Candlepower Forums [Re: BrianLe]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2752
Loc: California
Or you could do as I do; simply go without all those electronic gadgets. Often I do not even take a head lamp. My camera is my only electronic device that I regularly use, and that is really optional. I take a very small spare battery. If I take the I-pod for music, I simply use it until it runs out of power, then do without. I do not use a GPS. I do a lot of longer trips, up to 14 days, and have never felt the need to recharge anything. (perhaps, as I get older I'll need to recharge myself!) I backpack to get away from all the trappings of civilization, NOT to be tied to them. I feel no need to contact my family every day to let them know where I am, and they accept that. A few times a GPS would have been handy, but not necessary. Just being in the wilderness is enough entertainment for me. I write trail notes on the back of my paper maps.

To put it in perspective, the pioneers spent over a year in wagons going to the west and families may get a letter 6 months later. I remember when using the telephone was a special event. You would not think of talking more than 5 minutes long distance- too costly!

Yes, it would be nice to get current weather forecasts, but not a necessity. I think we have forgotten the difference between a "need" and "want".

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