DanM Member Posts: 7
edited July 2022 in THE GEAR LAB

In our device dependent travels, how are you balancing power and weight?

As I head out for a trip I wince as I pack my Anker Powercore 20100mAh battery pack. It weighs 12.5oz and it’s dead weight when out of charge. But I’m thinking of 3 main devices for several weeks - my inReach Mini, iPhone and DSLR. What ratio of power : weight are people using and how do solar panels help?


  • bugglife
    bugglife Member Posts: 98

    I have one of these, I've brought it on a few trips, and I agree it's heavy, even considering your power needs. Here are a few thoughts.

    * My inReach takes very little power. I only use it for messaging, and once for weather. I do not use it for tracking, but I have never come close to needing to recharge it on trips of up to a week. All of my tracking is done on my phone - see below.

    * Similarly, my DSLR has only needed extra battery when I have used it for timelapses. Are you using yours for timelapses? Video? Is it a true DSLR and not a mirrorless camera (which requires additional battery to power the electronic viewfinder)? I don't doubt you, just trying to make sure I understand the parameters you are working under. It could possibly be lighter to bring an extra camera battery, or even two, instead of the larger powerbank.

    * However, my phone does take up quite a bit of battery. I use it to make tracks in the Gaia app, and even when I'm in airplane mode, I usually can only get 1.5 - 2 days out of it before I need a recharge. Most of my trips are shorter (2-5 days), so I can work with a 10,000 mAh battery pack (if I'm not making timelapses) to keep my phone charged for GPS purposes.

    * I've never used a solar panel, so I can't comment on that, but I would be interested to hear what other people have to say. Comments on other similar devices that charge a phone via hydroelectric or stove power would also be appreciated.

    Attached is a still from a timelapse in Zion a few years ago.

  • katethewild
    katethewild Member, Moderator Posts: 23

    I currently use the Nitecore NB10000 at 5.29 oz- it's not cheap but has held up longer than the Anker battery packs I've owned (20,000 and 15,000). It really depends on how much you are using your devices. Are you taking lots of photo/video? In my case, electronics that need charged are my camera and 2 batteries (3 if I'm doing video), phone and headlamp. I take tons of photo and video and find the Nitecore NB10000 will last for 4/5 days with moderate use. If I was going for longer stretches and using lots of power, I'd consider getting an additional Nitecore NB10000. This way when you need to charge you can charge both at the same time quicker vs a larger pack and if one dies you have another as backup. Also, the Garmin can be turned off when you get to camp, saving power.

    I would not get solar panels. I have tried one and it's just another thing to carry/worry about. Lots of variables go into play, for example- will it be sunny enough to charge, or be cloudy every day? Will you be hiking in the right direction for the sun to hit the panel? And if you set it up at break/camp, will you remember to grab it or leave it in the wild (may or may not have happened to me)?

  • Riff
    Riff Member Posts: 8

    I have relatively small battery banks, but also have an older folding Goal Zero solar panel with a zipper pocket on the back. You connect the battery, zip it in, and clip the panel to your pack while you walk. Works great, reduces the need for heavy batteries on longer trips. It was sort an epiphany the first time I used it, freedom to listen to music, check maps, and read at night in camp. My Nitecore Headlamp is rechargeable too, so I don’t carry spare batteries for anything.

  • Naomibro
    Naomibro Member Posts: 92


    Not. Depending on any electronic devise contrary to hiking. Nothing works. Everything needs electrons.

    wean yourself. Learn analogue skills; ditch digital. Too heavy to carry.