We go out into the wilderness to find ourselves. To lose ourselves. To get away from it all. In these modern times, though, equipment of some sort that uses electricity is a fact of life on the trail, either for comfort or piece of mind. Purists will venture out with nothing that needs to be powered, foregoing phones, cameras, and headlamps for a truly off-grid experience, but there is usually at least a light source and probably a camera/phone/gps, and backup battery of some sort in most hikers’ gear kit.
These days the phone is a multi-tool, acting as emergency beacon, GPS and navigation tool, camera, flashlight, and communication device, if you want. To keep that phone powered, it’s a good idea to bring a power bank. If you will be out long enough for that power bank to become depleted through charging other devices, you will need a wall block to recharge your power bank. There are combination battery/wall blocks out there and though they will save weight and space, they are usually lacking in the technology department, offering slower charging speeds and less ports. Most light sources use replaceable batteries, but some are rechargeable, and can use the power bank for power too. I’ve included in my reviews the most light weight and compact wall blocks and power banks on the market, as long as they employing the current top fast charge capabilities as of spring 2018 (Qualcom Quick Charge 2.0 – 3.0, USB-C, PD, and any proprietary equivalent).
I find solar chargers to be inefficient, even in optimal conditions. This, plus the typical size and weight of a decent solar set-up being on the high end of my tolerance, made me give up on them for fast and light expeditions. Obviously, they serve a great purpose at base camp and might even be worth it for a short multi-day trip in sun exposure. Sustainable energy is a good thing and I have included the few solar setups that I think work in certain situations.
Finally, I’ve thrown in some headlamps that fall into several categories: ultralight, rechargeable, and high-lumen/technical.
Check out the Batteries and Chargers I like here.
Check out the Lighting options I like here.
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