View Full Version : Keeping this charged

01-09-2012, 01:19
Does anyone have any recommendations on good ways to keep the ipod and camera charged while on the trail. I have been looking into solar chargers but i don't feel like i will get enough sunlight to give them a good enough charge. Are there any other solutions?

Thank you!

01-09-2012, 01:21
*keeping things charged*

Seen how i can no longer spell i should probably get off WhiteBlaze and go to bed haha :)

01-09-2012, 01:57
My own opinion of solutions, from better to worse...

1. recharge in town, carry spares if neccessary, or use bigger batteries if possible
2. replace non-rechargeables in town
3. hand powered generator
4. solar powered generator
5. wood powered generator (micro steam engine, peltier, whatever)

This is all theory, because I use very little electronics and have only done #1 and #2.
Just digital camera, and cell phone for emergencies only. Both use the batteries they came with, no spares.

01-09-2012, 11:53
Looking at hand crank charger myself. Not had much luck with solar chargers they work, just not as efficently as I would like. I have a charger that takes two AA batts. It will bring my phone up to half charge and still have some power in batts. for a light If I try to charge my phone on partialy charged batts It will actually drain batts. I know a couple of thru hikers that made it all the way with Iphones or Droids managing to catch a charge whenever they stopped even if it meant finding the booth at MickeyD's with the outlet. I am not that dilagent. Check out Amazon they have a lot of options and you can read reviews

01-09-2012, 13:35
My camera took 2 AA batteries and that was really nice because I didn't have to worry about recharging it and carrying a charger for it. If you haven't already bought a camera look into a battery operated one like this: http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/digital_cameras/powershot_a1200?selectedName=Features&fileName=0901e02480258e9e_feature5.html That's what I used and it took really good pictures. On average you'll be hitting a town every 3 days so recharging your cell phone and ipod won't be a challenge at all. On longer resupply distances you would just have to ration the use of your ipod. Keep your cell phone turned off while hiking because if you lose signal and it starts searching for service that will run your battery down quick. You'll be in the shade for the most part so I don't think a solar charger would be that helpful on the AT.

01-09-2012, 13:47
1. find an electrical outlet when in town.
2. don't use stuff with rechargable batteries, use stuff with runs on AA's or AAA's instead.
3. get a charger which runs on two AA batteries for emergency charges if you run out before getting to town.

01-09-2012, 14:01
Also, if there's something you know you won't be using for a while, remove the battery completely so it doesn't slowly discharge. Like, a step up from turning off a cell phone... remove the battery, stow them separately.

01-09-2012, 15:20
phone will roam for service if left on which will slowly run down your battery, if you can not live without your iphone, you will have to learn how too if you are hiking for more than 3 days, it is nice to have but will go dead when you need it most.

01-09-2012, 16:07
In most cases a spare battery or two is much more convenient, lighter, and more compact than a solar or crank charger.

Keep your phone off except when making a call.

Single use electronics are much more battery frugal than all-in-one. Plus if a battery goes dead, you only loose one item, not the whole shebang.

Charge in town.

01-09-2012, 16:22
Spare batteries make alot more sense that recharging batteries from batteries. The losses in recharging batteries from batteries can be pretty high. I know its hard with the prevalence of usb port charging, and the cost of some replacement batteries that are not standard AAA, AA, C, or D, but you really want to avoid solutions that involve charging batteries from batteries.

01-09-2012, 16:24
2. don't use stuff with rechargable batteries, use stuff with runs on AA's or AAA's instead.

I wish this option was easier to do. I can find mp3 players and cameras that use AA's or AAA's, but not phones or e-ink ebook readers. What would be great is a high resolution 4" e-ink smart phone that uses AA's and has a decent camera that can quickly take pictures after turning the phone on.

01-09-2012, 16:34
A fun DIY project would be to find a digital camera, headlamp, cell phone, and whatever else that all use the same voltage, and then make lightweight plugs that take the place of their batteries that are really just connections that can be wired back to a single battery pack using rechargeable NiMH C cells or D cells. Whether you are recharging in the field, or in town, or simply replacing with non-rechargeables, this could provide the best performance, reliability, and weight. One cable would be enough if you don't have to use more than one item at a time, and you will get much better discharge efficiency and end-use watts per gram with the larger consolidated battery pack.

01-09-2012, 17:41
I just found a cell phone that uses an AA battery.

It's dirt cheap too at $50. For those that insist on carrying electronics, and want disposable batteries, there's still a way to save grams.

Get the phone above. For a headlight, use a single AA headlamp like the Zebralights H51. There are a couple choices for the mp3 player, but I use an old Sandisk Sansa. Use a lithium AAA instead of an AA, and use a AAA to AA adapter. Now the same battery can be used in all devices.

This doesn't take care of a camera though.

01-09-2012, 18:53
I intend to use my droid for journaling, and other functions that will pretty much assure I'll run my battery down a couple of times before the next town visit. I'm also taking a camera that can suck down batteries if I shoot a lot - Which I hope to do. I opted for a New Trent ACD66 which is essentially a rechargeable battery that I can use to recharge my electronics. The ACD66 did not come with a charger, so I use Apple USB chargers for it and for my cell phone, along with a pair of 18" USB cables. The ACD66 is relatively big and heavy, and they make smaller, lighter ones. Highly recommended if you need the extra capacity. http://www.newtrent.com/

01-09-2012, 19:39
I'm bringing extra batteries for both my phone and camera, especially the camera (you can tell my priorities). They have different chargers, so I have to bring both. I plan to charge all the batteries in town, or at least one during short stops where I have the opportunity. The camera batteries are expensive, but still probably cheaper than buying a decent solar or other kind of charger and worth it to not run out. I'll keep the phone off while hiking to save batteries and use it to journal and to download maps (beforehand) and if the camera dies I can use the phone camera as backup.

Ask me in May how that's working for me. :)

01-09-2012, 22:34
Thank you for the advice everyone! Im more worried about my camera which is a reuseable battery pack sort of thing. My phone ill just charge in town haha.

01-10-2012, 11:48
I just got a Brunton Solar Charge to use on the AT, Backpacker Mag is doing a review of this charger in April.

01-10-2012, 13:57
I hear good things about the Brunton's ability to charge in subdued light. Looking forward to hearing how out works out for you.

Sent from my ADR6350 using Tapatalk

Odd Man Out
01-10-2012, 14:49
Thank you for the advice everyone! Im more worried about my camera which is a reuseable battery pack sort of thing. My phone ill just charge in town haha.

I got a Canon S95 last June with rechargeable Li-ion batteries. On my Yosemite vacation last summer, I took a boat load of pictures every day for at least a couple of days without draining the battery. I bought a spare battery (off brand for just a few $ on Amazon) just in case, but never really needed it. Both the battery and charger are very compact and lightweight. So check your camera. Depending the model and how many picture you take, you may be able to get by with charging in town, and maybe just one spare.

The Mighty Tiberious
01-10-2012, 16:12
This is a big topic for my upcoming Hike. I want to have a charged iPhone ever day on the trail for photos, iBook reading and journal. Powering back up on town days.
Looking at Super Power Bank by Richard Solo. http://richardsolo.com/superpowerbank.aspx
About 8 ounces and guessing it will charge my iPhone 3 + times? 6000mAh
I will put up my review next month after I make my final power choice.

I use their 1800 that came out a couple of years ago. Really works great. Gives me more then one full charge and has a built in led light.

01-10-2012, 23:15
That Richard Solo looks just like my New Trent
T (http://www.newtrent.com/IMP70D-dual-USB-7000mAh-iphone-battery-p/imp70d.htm)hey must use the same overseas manufacturers ...

The Mighty Tiberious
01-15-2012, 00:43
They do look a lot a like. That price is nice too. Says it is on back order. Nice job if you already ordered it.

Seems like a good middle ground between weight and the number of times it will refill your device.

If my old Richard Solo 1800 can recharge the iPhone 4S one + times.

Then this device should recharge 3 - 4 times. Maybe even 5 times before going back into town to power up. Not bad for most weeks on the AT.

01-15-2012, 09:31
I ordered this "Universal" camera battery charger which has both an AC plug, and a USB port.


The pins on the charger can be moved to fit most batteries with contacts on the end. The USB port can either be used as an input or an output. If the charger's plugged into the wall, you can charge a cell phone, ipod, etc. But you can also plug a power source into it to charge your camera battery. It comes with a USB cable and 12V cigarette lighter adapter, but I also charged my camera battery from my New Trent ACD66.


01-18-2012, 15:07
I started the AT with a 5v 1amp solar panel which on paper should have been at least twice what I needed. Early in the trip it was difficult to use as it would only provide a consistent charge to my electronics if I was sitting still. Trying to hike with it often caused me to loose more power going through the charging animation on my phone than I took in. Once it got a little later in the year and everything turned green the solar panel became useless.

I've heard mixed reviews about those solio chargers with the internal battery, I got the impression that whether people liked it or not depended on how much power they were trying to get from it. As in if they didn't need much power it worked ok.

Another interesting option is a kinetic battery charger http://www.npowerpeg.com/ The motion you make hiking causes this device to charge it's internal battery.

Personally I resupplied every few days and like a lot of people just took to recharging my stuff in town. I got this http://www.tekkeon.com/products-tekcharge1550.html so that I could use my spare set of AA's to charge my mp3 player or book reader if I ran low. I also ended up getting a 15min AA charger. It was a brick but that way I could top my electronics off as much as possible with AA's and then finish getting everything charged over lunch at McDonalds instead of having to wait overnight while the really slow lithium-ion batteries charged.

01-18-2012, 16:27
My son just acquired one of these for his thru. http://www.seidioonline.com/charging-vault-usb-wall-charger-portable-battery-p/bd2-pbpt22-bb.htm

How it will work in practice remains to be seen, but it is fairly light and will charge itself and up to 2 other devices when you have an outlet available. They are available via amazon also.

bamboo bob
01-18-2012, 16:52
I used a camera with spare batteries and never had an issue. I don't really understand the concern about cell phones. Just leave it off unless you are actually using it. It will easily last until town. Is there a situation where you would be using it for hours at a time? I turn it on maybe once a day and call my wife for a few minutes and maybe reserve a room sometimes. Does anyone leave it on to take calls?

01-18-2012, 20:19
I might use it to make a journal entry, take a picture, update my blog, check a pdf of the Companion, use the GPS, check the wx radar, read a book at night ... Other than that, I'd probably leave it off.

The Mighty Tiberious
01-25-2012, 22:11
Plan on leaving my iPhone on with Air Plane Mode turned on.

Like Chilly I am going to use my phone for Pictures, Video, Journal (Momento App) off line AT Map and hoping David Miller gets his AT Guide 2012 published digitally for iPhone Kindle App or iBooks soon?

I know he is working hard on it. (It can be a lot of work).

Looking for detailed digital Maps of the Appalachian Trail that would cover ever shelter, stream and road crossing to use off line.

01-25-2012, 22:26
try www.charge2go-sales.com (http://www.charge2go-sales.com) it is a really nifty little single AA battery portable charger for cell phones. I have used it when I am away from electrical outlets for a week or 2 at a time.

01-26-2012, 00:38
I just ordered a 15W thermal-electric generator (TEG). Says it can produce 15 V @ 1 A with sufficent delta T. It's kinda expensive ($80 plus shipping) and can't be used right out of the box. Will need a voltage regulator and a heat sink of some kind on the "cold" side. But I have high hopes for this method, as heat from a dying camp fire lasts all night, unlike the sun...

01-26-2012, 14:27
This is just my opinion. Some of the effort you guys are going through to be able to charge your phones on trail so you can use it as an everything device sometimes adds up to more weight then carrying seperate devices. Don't get too fixated on using a particular piece of electronics or it can blind you to other ways of doing the same thing. Whatever you do, do a comparison of alternative ways of doing the same thing and see how the weight compares.

Carrying a compact camera that takes video and powers up almost immediately and keeping the iPhone turned off most of the time for many would seem to be a more optimal solution. And the photos will be better (no matter how good a cell camera you have, its small sensor size crammed with way too many megapixels is going to suffer in lower light conditions compared to a larger sensor camera).

01-26-2012, 18:38
I just ordered a 15W thermal-electric generator (TEG). Says it can produce 15 V @ 1 A with sufficent delta T. It's kinda expensive ($80 plus shipping) and can't be used right out of the box. Will need a voltage regulator and a heat sink of some kind on the "cold" side. But I have high hopes for this method, as heat from a dying camp fire lasts all night, unlike the sun...

Very cool. Can't wait to read how it all comes together!