Everyone knows it’s good to carry your cell phone in case of an emergency. But what happens when the battery is down to it’s last 10 percent and you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere? With an abundance of battery rechargers available, it doesn’t seem like this type of scenario can occur, but why carry portable solar panels, battery chargers and a bunch of USB cords when you’re trying to minimize what’s in your pack?
One solution is Coghlan’s Portable Power Pack. It can charge your mobile device using solar or a dynamo power and features an LED flashlight. The power pack is one compact unit that is about the size of a standard LED flashlight, and fits in the palm of your hand. The solar panel and dynamo handle tuck into the power pack’s body to give it a streamlined appearance. The power pack features a USB and Micro USB ports, so it can charge most types of mobile devices from phones to tablets.
LED indicators on the Coghlans Power Pack tell you the percentage of battery power in the unit, and when it is fully charged. Weighing in a 9.5 ounces, the Power Pack isn’t super lightweight, but it is great to keep as emergency power for camping and backpacking trips.
We liked that it was portable and could be easily carried in a backpack, or left in your vehicle for emergencies. With the solar panel on the unit flipped up, it can provide about one minute of talk time for every minute it is in the sun. When you crank the dynamo, one minute of cranking can provide about 10 minutes of talk time on an average phone. If you fully charge up the unit with the USB port by plugging into an AC outlet, the unit can fully charge a standard smartphone up to three times (based on a 2000 mAh battery).
While the unit is compact, it’s best used when fully charged prior to leaving on an outdoor excursion. We were able to charge up three smartphones before we tried using the solar unit and dynamo. The solar panel is small, so it takes a long time for it to sit in the sun for it to get a charge, but it can give you enough “juice” for an emergency call when you need it. Using the dynamo can get tiring after a while, but it can provide much more power in a shorter amount of time if you don’t mind cranking it over and over to get the power you need.
The unit comes with a wrist strap and at night, the built-in LED light is powerful, but can use up your battery power. The Power Pack is not waterproof so it’s also important to keep it dry and away from moisture. For more information on the Coghlans Portable Power Pack, visit www.coghlans.com.
Check out the video below from the 2014 Outdoor Retailer Show, in which Brittani Hensel demonstrates the features of Coghland’s Portable Power Pack.
By Sam Perez and Dan Sanchez