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Outdoor Retailer 2013: Charge!

More people are bringing electronics into the backcountry, and those devices need POWER. Dave Harding checks out some fun new ways to recharge.


  1. More and more people are taking personal electronics out on the trail with them these days. Whether it's bringing a camera to capture the moments, or cell phones to keep in contact, gadgets are becoming more and more prevalant on outdoor adventures. Thanks to advances in waterproof casing from LifeProof, Otter Box, and others, that smartphone can now go everywhere with you (if it doesn’t already). That makes power even more important, so I spent my time today checking out some fun new ways to recharge all your gizmos.

    One form of power that has been around for a while--but continues to progress--is solar, so I stopped by Power Traveller to look at their glow-in-the-dark version of the Power Monkey Explorer ($100). Even with the lights still on it looks like it's glowing!
  2. Fun new glow in the dark version of #powertraveller Power Monkey Explorer #ORShow
    Fun new glow in the dark version of #powertraveller Power Monkey Explorer #ORShow
  3. The Power Monkey Explorer is a simple solar charger that is not only lightweight and compact, but also water resistant. What's beautiful about it, besides its shocking neon color, is that there are multiple ways to charge your device. You have the option to charge the Power Monkey's internal battery with a wall charger, via USB, or with the included solar panel, and the unit has an LCD screen to show just how much power you actually have. Once charged you can plug your electronic device directly to the Power Monkey, meaning you don't have to leave your phone sitting around hooked up to a solar panel all day. A fully charged power monkey will recharge up to three standard mobile phones and up to 1.5 iPhones. 

    If solar isn't what you are looking for, or maybe you are looking for a device with a few more features, check out the Arka USB Charger + Lantern + Flashlight from UCO.
  4. Just like our smartphones that allow us to combine a our wallet, camera, calendar, and dozens of apps in one little device, the new Arka USB Charger + Lantern + Flashlight from UCO ($70) combines multiple products in a sleek and simple design. It is designed around a rechargeable 4AH Lithium Ion battery capable of recharging a phone, camera, or other USB devices. Additionally, it can be used as a flashlight or a lantern, and has five different lighting modes (including high and low settings, and three red LEDs to help preserve your night vision). On the low setting this baby will burn up to 100 hours and on high it will burn 6-8 hours while putting out 180 lumens. Coming in at only 7.5 oz, and only 5.25” when closed, you can easily justify throwing this in your pack on your next overnight adventure. 

    My last find of the day is by far my favorite of the bunch. There are not many bells a whistles with this product, just a simple way to create power. With the Powerpot all you need is FIRE + WATER = POWER. 
  5. fire + water = power! Principles behind #powerpot  at the #ORShow. #BRRteam
    fire + water = power! Principles behind #powerpot at the #ORShow. #BRRteam
  6. The Powerpot uses thermodynamics to generate electricity as you cook over your camp fire, or any heat source. As long as you have something hot, (ie. fire, camp stove, hot spring, engine block of your car, etc) and make sure the pot has water in it, you can power your portable speakers or another USB device. The pot will put out 5 watts of power, and you can start charging almost immediately after heating the pot. Because this product is so versatile it would be a great addition to anyone's gear collection, including using it as your cooking setup while backpacking or even adding it to your emergency supplies to prepare for the next power outage or natural disaster. Check out this great video fellow BRR Team Member Katy took of the Powerpot at the All Mountain Demo yesterday.   
  7. Whether you are looking for a flashy solar charger, a feature-packed USB power supply, or a pot that produces electricity, there is something fun and exciting for you here at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2013.