Most of the time I can get internet service via my cell carrier. The only real controlling issue is coverage. Which is getting better, slowly, but it is getting better.

Last fall we lost power to the house when some idiot took out the power lines just down the street. While the house was without power we still had internet to our phones. We didn’t lose outside communications and if there was an issue I could have used my phone as a modem to get my main computer back on the net to do work by just using the genset.

I could also use my laptop (Chromebook running Linux) and not needed the genset.

When the entire town is without power everybody is attempting to get online via the cell carriers and there just isn’t enough capacity for that. This means that while my phone would get push notifications attempting to do anything else while the town was awake wasn’t really happening.

Regardless, because my business is support I needed to be available. Even with no power. Even with no internet. So my phone was on the entire time. If I had gotten an emergency alert from a client or server I would have been able to move to a place where I did have internet in order to do my work. No big deal.

But having my phone on and actively attempting to do things means that I was burning power. Which brings me to these gizmos.

This is a battery with two type-A USB ports for charging other devices, like your phone. It has a third port to allow you to charge from other power sources, like a car or house. The added extra is those solar panels. It is just a little larger than my cell phone in its otterbox and about 3 times as thick. There are four solar panels when it unfolds and in our Northern Climate it takes about 8 hours of direct sun to charge.

I get three charges for my phone from this. If you need to be able to charge your devices this might be useful to you.

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By awa

5 thoughts on “Prep Gizmos that work and are worth it”
  1. I have one of these and another with one solar panel. If the sun is out they are in the window at least once a week. It gives some peace of mind not to have to worry about hard line power for communications tech.

  2. I love mine. I camp a lot over the summer, and spend many days in places that have no power grid at all. While I don’t need my phone for its phone capabilities, I do use it as a clock, alarm, and camera. In an emergency, I can use it as a compass along with its internal GPS, to find my way out of wherever I happen to be. It makes the world so much less stressful.

    I used mine to charge up both my cell and my emergency pop up lantern during this latest snow emergency. Normally I’d just toss the lantern and charger in the dash of the car or on top of my tent to get enough light, but with the storm ongoing, I had to be judicious in its use. It served well. It’s now recharged and put back into its spot.

  3. Thanks AWA – what brand is yours and do you consider it pretty rugged? I tend to be pretty rough on gear…. and I don’t like buying stuff twice, so my expectations are generally pretty high, and I’ve been burned a lot buying cheap chinese crap out of convenience or necessity…. but I’m always disappointed with it.

    1. When it is closed it seems to have a good outer case. About as strong as my phone in its otter case. When I went looking for mine I had already purchased one for my Lady. They all look exactly the same to me outside of the branding. I’m not recommending this brand but this device.

  4. Got my god-daughter and her boyfriend a pair of these type things a Christmas or two back and they love having the battery bank and not just a direct to charge like some had. Like you Hagar they’re outdoorsy and hang them off their packs if they’re moving or find a good spot to set them once they stop.

    They often come up on random amazon day sales so check there to expand the power pool.

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