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Solar power or not in backcountry?
Starting to use OnX and have always suffered with cell phone battery life on trips. Just curious what others are using. Considering a Goal Zero setup, but don't know if I even want to mess with solar charging or just get a power pack. Just curious what others experience is.
I've tried Goal Zero Nomad 7+ and honestly wasn't all that impressed even in sunny NM.
I packed a 20000mah battery I bought off amazon for $20. Worked well for an 8 day hunt with battery left over.
Bring a battery pack. So cheap and work so well. Solar is inefficient and not dependable. I rented a solar charger for our moose hunt along with our sat phone (only cost me $10) but we had like 6 hrs of sun in 11 days. Wouldn't have helped squat. Thankful we had battery banks which worked awesome.
Yeah, battery pack for me too. These are more weight and size efficient in the backcountry over solar panels....unless you are talking something longer than about 15 days.
The solar was a huge disappointment [not a very good sales pitch when I go to sell my Goal zero- grin]
On recent hunts my iPhone 7 plus on airplane mode avg'd between 10-20% battery loss per day. I didn't need my big backup battery at all....just used my small one.
I looked at solar as a way to charge electric mountain bikes in the field. You'd need a decent size array plus good sun. Both are problems... As others said, battery packs are good for small devices, and you might combine that with a smaller solar array to try to keep the batteries topped off so they are full charge for poor weather days. I carry a small battery pack with me in my daypack now to keep my cell phone going longer.
My NWT Dall sheep guide used a folding solar charger for his phone. Worked great with 16 hrs of sun in the early days of August. He'd strap it to the pack and run the cord to the phone in a pocket. Doubt it would work as well during short days of fall or sustained cloudy periods though. It was about 14 ounces so not light.
There is always the BioLite.
Seems a small battery pack to carry and a larger battery pack for base camp is the way to go.
Ace: the reviews on that BioLite thing were not good.
I bought some Duracell power packs at Costco one time. It was like $23cdn for 3 and each one is smaller than a granola bar and charges a phone at least twice. If you're worried about your phone or small electronics, pretty hard to go wrong.
I also have a lithium battery booster that can boost my truck or boat motor that I bought for $120cdn that has USB outlets that could charge a phone I don't know how many hundred times lol. It fits in a case much like a CD wallet and will boost a full size truck. Boosted my buddies quad 4 times ice fishing and still showed full charge.
Greg S, This may be the obvious......download the maps you need to your phone. You can then run map off line in airplane mode. If you don't need tracks then turn that off.
I use a gps for that reason so don't have to rely on a phone. Phone batteries don't last too long
With today's battery packs, solar panels are useless for backpacking or backcountry trips unless you are gone for literally weeks on end. I keep one bank for base camp and one smaller one for backpacking. I've made it up to two weeks on trips without needing more power
What brand do you use TEmbry? Thanks
I have used both goalzero solar chargers and battery packs.
With the minimal cost of battery packs, I don't see any reason for solar chargers unless you are out for 2 weeks or more. A 20,000mah battery pack is about $20-25 online. I have a Leadtry and at about 8-10 ounces, I can changed an iPhone 7+ completely about 5 times.
Solar chargers are nice for certain applications, but not for your average backcountry trip.
I have an Anker Powercore 26,800 that I love. I've never actually tested it to see just how many charges I get. I've had it for a week or two trips but never drained it to know for sure.
For carrying in the pack, I have a smaller water/shock/dust proof one (basically a Dark Energy knock of). I can get 3.5 charges for an iPhone 6S out of it, then I recharge this one at base camp from the bigger Anker as needed.
My wife bought me one of the bio lite chargers,,heading to Illinois for 10 days of tent camp hunting,,on wed.ill give my opinion after use after I try it..
Battery bank and get the battery pack that fits on the back of your I Phone...doubles the phones battery life.
The real keys that I have found is managing your applications (keep them shut down), keep your brightness on the lowest setting possible, keep your phone OFF as much as possible and keep your phone warm (sleeping bag with you at night).
You still need a battery pack with solar, recharge it during the day and use it to charge your phone at night, I bought a solar panel, haven't used it yet in three seasons, just use the battery pack that came with it and an extra battery with my phone. Gets me through the four to five day hunts I usually do.
I used a portable charger pack on my 5 day hunt, and it worked great.
Wow, I’m surprised to see all the negative opinions because I feel completely the opposite.
I’ve done 3 hunts now with solar and all my stuff is rechargeable: phone for GPS, headlight, and InReach.
Especially for August sheep hunts above the arctic circle, there’s more sun than you need.
I prefer a low-wattage battery pack with a solar panel because the battery pack can only charge your device so much when it’s low on power so better to have it full. Mine is an 8K pack with solar on one side. I also have the foldout one, but haven’t used it yet.
I’ve done a 14 day and a 15 day sheep hunt in August and a 6 day moose hunt in late September and never dropped below 75% battery except for maybe 2 days.
The key is to have the solar pointed in the right direction so it gets the most rays.
Also battery preservation is key. I like to use the alarm on my phone, but it costs me about 10% to leave it on overnight.
Shut down all the unnecessary stuff on your phone and keep it on airplane mode.
Leave the InReach off except to check and send a daily text. Phone ends up losing only 30ish% per 24 hours and the InReach doesn’t even need to be recharged unless you forget to turn it off.
On the moose hunt, I recharged my phone and headlight daily and never was below 75%. And it rained every day so sun was minimal.
Lots of good tips IdyllwildArcher.
Some more tips for phone battery life that I have been doing. 1. Turn on the battery saver mode any time not plugged in to charge. It disables many activities that apps try to do in the background without your knowledge. 2. Use airplane mode any time you know you don't need or want data/voice/text features. 3. Disable notifications on most of your apps. It is buried in the Android settings... 4. Set your background to black, no picture, it seems to help for me. 5. Set your phone to "dark mode". The new Android Q version adds this as a native feature, and some apps will also do this.