When I am out and about on one of my multi-day canoe wilderness trips, I generally leave my cell phone at home. I leave a float plan with my wife, and she knows that she probably won't be hearing from me again until the end of the trip. Therefore, I have never bothered to find a way to keep my smart phone batteries charged.
Looking forward to 2013, I am planning a trip that will involve a lot of communication needs and public interaction, as well as a need for the ability to post to a trip-specific facebook page from my smart phone. Service won't be a problem because I won't be in the wilderness, but this will be a week long trip using a phone who's battery life is measured in hours. So, I've been looking for options to charge my phone while living off the grid, and am looking to hear what others' experiences have been.
The best options I have come across are:
1) A charger that uses standard batteries to charge the phone. This, of course, eats up standard batteries, and that doesn't sit well with me.
2) Solar charger: Good reviews, when the sun is out, but charge time is a long time, and...the sun needs to be out. And I don't relish leaving my phone out with the charger while paddling...one capsize and its all over.
3) Just buy multiple batteries for my phone. Expensive option, and not worthwilfe for a trip or two that I might need them.
4) ...and the option I will probably go with: A hand-crank dynamo charger, such as may be found on those emergency radios. They are being made now with USB outputs that one can use with most phone charger cords. Wind away and charge the phone. And, I get a radio and weather reports...and even a flashlight.
So...any experience out there with any of these? Other ideas?
Kayak & Canoe Covers
The Kayak Wing
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Posted by: mintjulep on Dec-20-12 10:13 AM (EST)
Posted by: sapien on Dec-24-12 12:39 PM (EST)
the Biolite has poor real-world reviews -- it's a heavy, slow and inefficient way to charge an electronic device.
Put rechargeable batteries in your |
Posted by: castoff on Dec-20-12 10:32 AM (EST)
Number one option.
Solio worked for me|
Posted by: gstamer on Dec-20-12 11:19 AM (EST)
I used a Solio charger for my Newfoundland circumnavigation. It kept my radio and my phone charged and happy, even in the not-so-strong Newfoundland sun: http://www.rei.com/product/826629/solio-classic-2-solar-charger. That said it doesn't seem to work with my newer Blackberry...
SPOT...leave phone home|
Posted by: willi_h2o on Dec-20-12 12:11 PM (EST)
probably need multiple options|
Posted by: Peter-CA on Dec-20-12 12:21 PM (EST)
You will probably need multiple options.
check your phone for compatibility|
Posted by: nickjc on Dec-20-12 1:35 PM (EST)
Some phones, like iphones are very finicky when it comes to what's on the other end of the USB cable.
wonder if it would be possible .........|
Posted by: pilotwingz on Dec-23-12 8:10 PM (EST)
Posted by: michaelcrouse on Dec-23-12 8:16 PM (EST)
There was a thread on west coast paddler about this. The best solution seemed to be a solar charger (with batteries) in a waterproof bag on deck.
turn the phone off|
Posted by: NateHanson on Dec-24-12 7:37 AM (EST)
You'll drastically extend the life of your battery by powering the phone down when it's not in use. I get a week out of my iphone by carrying an external battery pack, which is the size of the phone. (You plug it into a usb port at home to charge the pack, and then it can re-charge the phone once. It also has a solar panel, but I don't generally need to use that.)
I get about a week by using|
Posted by: nchill on Dec-24-12 9:03 AM (EST)
a couple of Motorola portable chargers for my Droid. I have 2 P790 chargers (they are rechargeable and I make sure they each have a full charge before I leave home). Each charger gives my phone a full charge. By leaving the phone in airport mode, and not running apps I don't need, I get about a week (or more) with this setup. Here's what I have:
cell phone roaming constantly ....|
Posted by: pilotwingz on Dec-24-12 10:30 AM (EST)
keep it simple|
Posted by: rusty125 on Dec-24-12 12:49 PM (EST)
I have had good luck buying replacement batteries for my cell phone off e-bay for a very small percentage of what they cost from retailers. When on a trip, I leave my phone off unless I am using it. If I keep my call times short, I have no problem making the battery last 3 weeks or more.
Li-ion battery pack|
Posted by: joewildlife on Dec-29-12 9:11 PM (EST)
On some phones, at least iphones, the batteries are not easily changed, if at all. But that is a great option on some phones, as a previous poster said.
Posted by: manitou14 on Dec-30-12 11:31 PM (EST)
Posted by: radiomix on Dec-31-12 9:26 AM (EST)
With the battery packs appear to be the best thing going. If you have your phone off except when using it or just at night, you will get two days out if it. Then the battery pack will give you a few charges, and the panel can keep it topped off. A few brands have options. Good luck.
Thank you all!|
Posted by: riverstrider on Jan-02-13 1:09 PM (EST)
I was shying away from solar chargers due to price, but the solar charge/battery pack combo sounds appealing. Nevertheless, since I do not anticipate that this is is a situation I will find myself in often, and since I can significantly save battery by simply keeping the phone off except when I am using it, I think I am going to try the radio/dynamo combination to just top off the battery every night (I don't think relying on a dynamo to recharge a completely discharged battery is practicable), and then report back later this summer as to how it went. If anything, even if it doesn't work that well, I at least have a useful am/fm/wb/sw radio and flashlight gizmo, which is more than a solar batter charger can say.
Posted by: windwalker on Jan-03-13 9:55 PM (EST)
Cake and eat it too -
that's not a "wilderness trip"|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Jan-03-13 3:00 PM (EST)
Posted by: rb56 on Jan-03-13 10:58 PM (EST)
i use an iphone and there are numerous case/chargers and external charge packs that increase cell life. right now i have an external unit i charge on the usb of my pc and connect to my phone and it adds about 6-8 hours of use. i've also had charger cases that has a battery in the case that boosts usage to about twice the norm.
Posted by: rb56 on Jan-03-13 11:02 PM (EST)
sorry i used the wrong link
Posted by: Jeffers on Jan-07-13 2:41 PM (EST)
when i go on multi day trips with friends i take a cooler radio that is 4 6.5 speakers, 250 watt amp, led lights, 300 laser projector ( for those foggy nights).