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Truck camping & charging phones
I know this seems as it is a ridiculous thing to ask but my current vehicle's 12V ports only have power when the vehicle is running. I hate this as if you are camping and your truck is sitting for a week you will need to start your vehicle and let your truck idle to charge your phone. What do you guys do? My vehicle is a 2017 Titan FWIW. In my older vehicles I could charge my phone every night and then maybe start it every few days and let it run for a few minutes just to make sure what little bit of juice I used didn't kill my battery.
The simplest solution is to get a battery pack that will allow you to charge your phone a couple of times. The better batter packs have a "charge through" feature, which means that while you are charging the battery (while driving to go hunting/camping) that you can also charge your phone. Zendure is a good brand that can hold a charge during big temperature swings.
Some wire, a fuse, and a 12 volt cigarette outlet. When you get to were you are going hook it up to the battery.
I would buy another 12v accessory plug and wire it in direct to the battery or hot wire in the dash. Easy peasy
Here's one with the fuse already built into it.
There is a couple of things you could do...without re- inventing the wheel, if it's apparent where the 12v plug is wired within the fuse box, you could change the location to a fuse that's hot all the time. I wouldn't get crazy trying to figure that out. and especially don't use a test light to probe wires unless you are 100% certain you know which ones are the airbags, last thing you want to do is ground the airbag. I would just run another wire from either the battery or an empty spot on the fuse block and put the appropriate connection inside the truck. If you want to make a nice finished look you can create a panel mount for the plug someplace on the dash where it will fit, if not just zip tie it underneath the dash so you can access when the truck is stopped.
Something to consider: I think some of those jump starters have USB charging ports. You might be able to kill two birds with one stone and have emergency power for starting your vehicle and a cell battery charger.
Anker. I have a tiny one that'll charge my phone 7 times. Run on airplane and I'll only use it 3-4 times in 20 days. They sell a big one that you could watch movies every night and still have a full charge every day for several weeks
On our last elk hunt one of the guys brought a small Honda generator. It was only big enough to run the microwave and before the hunt everyone was responsible for a couple days meals. We had frozen meals including breakfasts. When he started the generator it was so quiet you couldn't even hear it in the tents and you could stand over it and talk in a whisper. This would be an excellent phone charger at night and wouldn't bother anyone while sitting around the campfire and much better than running the truck. I know it's going along on our next hunt, made meals extremely easy and fast.
Yep, I bought two small portable chargers from Ultimate Predator and those charged will handle a month worth of remote use. Very easy peasy these days!
I have 1 of those small batteries to jump start your truck. Its only like 8" x 5" x 2" and fits in the glove box. Cost around $80. It has USB plugs and you can charge your phone multiple times with it over 2 weeks. When you do end up starting your truck plug it into the lighter and recharge it. I am surprised your Titan doesn't have at least 1 USB for charging when the truck is off. Pretty sure my Tundra has 1 in the console just for phones that is on all the time. Would have to leave it plugged in probably a long time with the truck off to run the battery down.
Am I missing something here>?? Why are you guys talking about generator and trucks,,etc.. when you can pick up a handful of these and keep your phone charged up for weeks at a time.. ??
I took a battery box and installed some USB ports on the side. I take an extra battery out of my bass boat and have plenty of power for phones. There is a YouTube video on how to build a portable power pack like this. Works great.
Even just a couple of the small goal zero chargers will work. I think I get about 3 charges out of the small one. Its about as big as a lighter. Cost $15 on camofire every now and then. Pick up a couple of those and you should be set for a week or more.
"Am I missing something here>?? Why are you guys talking about generator and trucks,,etc.."
Maybe because Bowfreak asked about what we do in our trucks?? Just a guess tho
Put an Anker on the windshield during the day charging power banks and have a power bank I carry with me. Could go for years.
Buy this portable battery pack and be done with it!!
kentucky - "I take an extra battery out of my bass boat and have plenty of power for phones."
So, you had to buy a bass boat in order to charge your phone? 8^)
I have used 12v ice fishing batteries with an attachment that has some cigarette lighter chargers.
Buy a quality booster pack with usb outlets. They will charge ALL your gear and you won't have to freak if you ever need a boost in the middle of nowhere. Many also have good flash/flood lights which can be pretty handy.
I can't believe no one has posted the real answer yet. Get a new truck!!! Duh!
A $30 lawnmower battery and a clip on accessory plug makes a sweet addition in the tent. Each night we plug in our phones, tablets, whatever and a charged mower battery easily handles 10 days charging several things each night. Started doing this several years ago and can't believe I didn't think of it sooner. As for trucks not having a hot all the time plug, its stupid but they are all that way now. But yes, its easy to add a hot all the time plug to your truck as well, but the one in the tent is much more convenient.
I second the Anker. Works great and you can bring it with on backpack trips as well.
RAV Power or Anker battery packs. Don't overthink this one. A couple of them and you can go for weeks. I charged my phone every night for 8 days in the backcountry last fall off my RAVPower and still had juice left when I got back to the truck.
I'm not overthinking this....I'm trying to charge my phone without spending more money on more batteries. It seems absurd to do so when I have a truck sitting there that in reality should be able to charge my phone while I am sleeping. Why they don't have at least one port that is wired to the battery seems ridiculous to me.
I have a good battery pack that will charge my phone 3-4 times but it won't last a week. I like the idea of the simple wired in 12v charger with a fuse, a lawnmower battery or even a solar panel.
Greg had the best answer though....the way to solve a first world problem is with a first world response.....just get another truck! LOL!!
This is the way I will go....pretty simple and safe.
If it is any consolation I looked at a 2019 Titan and they added a bunch of USB ports this year.
Looks like you got plenty of good ideas.
Make sure you close the hood all the way, otherwise the compartment light will be draining your battery too.
Bowfeak I have a 2011 Titan and I can't believe your 2017 doesn't charge when the truck is off..the driver side outlet on my truck always will charge while the passenger side only charges while the trucks running. When I'm at my camp with no power, I have an invertor I got at advanced auto for $50 and I hook it right up to my truck battery. I will run the truck every other day or so to charge it up.
I turn the key to "on" without starting the the truck. Let phone charge for a while, turn off. But, I'm a simple guy.
I used an Anker on a backcountry elk hunt. Got quite a few charges out of it. Worked great
Bought a new Anker last year and that thing was amazing. My son and I charged up our phones so many times it was crazy. I think we went a week and a half before I charged it back up in the truck
Fwiw, on a 17 Titan the 12v ports should work in the "on" or the "acc" position. The 120vac only has power with the engine running.
I let my truck idol until it’s charged during mid day.
Just get one of these. They're invaluable for truck camping.
Mark....I have equipment that I use for my work, that have batteries that I have to charge regularly. I trade for a new van each year and the very first thing that gets done on each new vehicle is direct wiring one of the 12v ports so I can recharge my equipment batteries overnight. Might be an option for you to consider.
I used to spend my entire 10 day vacation back in the Selway/Bitterroot with NO phone! Who needs a damned phone on a hunting trip? I don't even own one!
The cigee lighter with the clips would work just fine. Simplest and cheapest route.
Personally I like the portable booster pack with a usb or cigee outlet. That much more piece of mind when back in there. Good gear to have.
We have to fly with everything. I use a power bank that uses 4 18650 lion batteries. Been replacing everything I can with those batteries, much more power and if left in equipment they don't leak or swell up and destroy it. In a pinch I can take batteries from it for my lights and stuff too. The one I have is a Tomo but there are others similar. We charge/charge though when driving and have several phone charges right from the bank. Can toss it in the pack for in the field too. Charge most anything with a usb plug.
"Who needs a damned phone on a hunting trip?"
My phone is my gps, my camera, my video camera, and synced with my InReach.
Just stay in truck and road hunt?Popular as hell here in SoDak.
I bought a Titan the first year they made them and it was the same way. All the ports require the key to be in the on position on my 2017 though.
Tylt battery packs. Charge from a usb port. Comes with 2 packs and each one charges a phone at least 5 times.
Another vote for the Anker products.
I use a small solar power pack. Works great for charging phones, lights etc.
Inexpensive and weights next to nothing.
a lot of imports don't provide juice unless the key is on. It's just the way they are. Don't over think this.....you can keep your phone charged for a week with 2-3 of the power packs mentioned easy......maybe even just one of the expensive ones. I travel a lot and use them constantly. Don't cheapskate on them......the better ones do cost more.
I get a kick out of the "Get off my lawn! I don't need no damn phone!" guys. What they don't understand is that it's a handheld super-computer/satellite and topo GPS and mapping source, camera, emergency locator device, weather forecaster, flashlight, music and podcast player that also happens to have a phone app on it.
I have a dual battery system with battery isolator. My second battery runs thing like fridges and freezer has extra ports for charging things etc. when the second battery becomes too low on power the isolator kicks in so that it doesn't drain my starting battery. When I run the truck it charges my second battery or I plug in my solar panel and it charges the second battery and I'm good for months.
I use my phone for my GPS....but I like to stay in contact with my family while I am gone. It gives them peace of mind and I like to keep up with them. The worst part about elk hunting is I miss about 3-4 basketball games for each of my girls and they only have so many basketball games ever.
The vast majority of places where I hunt have no cell signal so a phone doesn't do me much good on a hunt.
I even have internet at my camp on this hunt. :)
"The vast majority of places where I hunt have no cell signal so a phone doesn't do me much good on a hunt."
It's my GPS though too, run in airplane mode. Have 2 power banks/person. Charge one during the day while out hunting and using the other one. I think I could go months and those are cheap power banks.
None of the items listed above by a few folks are requirements for me to hunt, so I usually just leave my phone at my truck when hunting out west. Just thought I would throw that out there, since the thread deviated from the original purpose. ;^) If I had good signal in the hunting area, I would probably take my phone for the convenience of contact with the rest of the world.
Most of my spots don't have cell signal either. So when hunting new areas I pre-download all the satellite and topo maps for the region onto my handheld mapping device and camera, which also happens to have a phone app loaded onto it.
I guess nobody goes camping to get away from that bleeping phone bleep any more. Phones are worse than crack cocaine imo.
I bought the Garmin Mini a year ago after using a Spot for many years. Paired with a phone, it's convenient and reliable. Without the phone, it takes longer to send messages and read incoming. Since I use my phone for mapping (Gaia) and large screen GPS anyway, it's not an issue carrying both, plus one backs up the other. Can't see a downside to the Mini at all. But being old school, I carry a good compass too :-) And you don't need cell service for the phone mapping or communication to work. And Garmin also has weather for the closest station.
On a multi day hunt, I use one of the small battery packs that keeps my phone charged and the Mini if it was needed. That's one of the downsides of dedicated batteries, cheaper in the long run, but somewhat inconvenient. If it's a remote camp or quad in, then I take the booster pack as well. Great for charging everything, including the little battery pack and if a boost is ever needed, it's there too. Most quads now don't have a pull start now.
As far as being "out of touch", I think most of us are not checking facebook or engaging in idle chatter when we go remote. But I have a wife, kids and grandkids and I'd sure hate to think I am really, really needed at home but nobody can contact me. Some things in my life are far more important than "my time" and hunting.
I'm a dinosaur guys; still using paper maps. I guess I just like the nostalgia of it, and being able to use them. If I can't find the exact spot I want because I didn't have it marked on a gps, then I guess my quarry wins. I also have a helmet with a candle in it. Okay, that might be a joke. Different strokes I guess.
I'd still take my cell if my areas had good service, but I've never hunted spots in the West that had more than extremely spotty service at a couple high locations. I always take my cell in the whitetail woods.
How life has changed. Haven't been able to afford a "hunt" for a few years now, but when I did i'd be out of touch for the whole week. Seems like needing to stay "connected" is just one more thing to worry about now.
JusPassin, I don’t “worry” about it any more than I worry about having enough socks for the hunt or how many arrows to bring.
A couple battery packs, and I pair with a solar charger that I leave on the top rack of my truck. I charge my spare batties while I am out hunting
James, what solar chatger do you use?
Ahhh, I remember back when we didn't even have maps or compasses. Used the stars, the sun, and moss on the trees to navigate. No damn computers either. We read and wrote our stories on cave walls and the sides of rock cliffs. We communicated with smoke signals and stacks of rocks alongside the trail. Yep, that was good enough for us back then, and sure as hell good enough for us now!
My '99 charges any time, Anker is in the pack.
Only a couple payments left on that Ford don't ya, Bob? ;-)
Just gettin lasts years $1200 loose battery cables payed off. Lol
Hit 419,000 last week.
I have a dark energy battery pack and the solar charger which will charge either the phone or the battery pack
I put my phone in airplane mode to conserve power and then have one or two of the cheap usb chargers... Depends how much I use my phone for gps stuff but i can probably get by 2 weeks without worrying about charging stuff in the vehicle...
Not a worry "Ambush", just marveling at how people feel they need "connection" all the time. I remember well leaving my wife and children behind when I was sent to Vietnam, and not even hearing their voices till I came home over a year later. I find it hard to believe anyone "needs" anybody so badly they can't be incommunicado for a week. I simply see it as an addiction.
Addiction. Yea I am addicted to keeping in touch with my wife and children when I don’t have to be unnecessarily out of touch. I am also addicted to keeping tabs on my work, the same work that allowed me to bow hunt away from home 34 days last year while still providing for my family, saving for two children’s college, going on family vacations, saving for retirement, ect ect ....sounds like good reasons to be be addicted to staying touch. This place is chock full of guys that are overly judgmental on almost everything brought up. We have no idea what conditions, constraints and responsibilities guys have at home so maybe with that in mind advise might be worth more then judgment.
JusPassin, were you happy about not hearing your family’s voices for a year? If you could have, would you have?
Before it was available, I didn’t use it either. Then I got a Spot and every evening I’d send a simple “Ok” message. My family appreciated that. Last year I bought an Inreach. Every evening I sent an “Ok , love you” message to my wife. She really appreciates that and the fact that she can get in touch with me if needed. Until the day comes that I need urgent medical attention, it is for the ones at home much, much more than me. But knowing they have peace of mind gives me peace of mind and I can relax, enjoy and hunt hard.
I’ve went over a week without making a call or sending a text on several occasions so for me it’s not about making phone calls, sending txts or emails it more about the apps I have on my phone... OnX maps and other various hunting apps I want access to. I also like keeping my phone handy to snap pictures and videos to remember the hunt... I even like to take pictures of maps on my smart phone - makes it easy to whip out my phone and zoom in and take a look without having to take out my maps from the pack and maybe even allows me to leave a few maps back at camp...
When I was young and had few responsibilities I backpacked and hunted all over the West with no connections or concerns.
Couple examples of how things changed for me: I have no cell service where I elk hunt so my handheld is simply a mapping tool. But like Ambush, I used a SPOT to let my wife know I was ok every night (I hunt solo) and where I am. A good friend had a heart attack and died. My wife found me in a place she'd never been before from the SPOT coordinates I sent. I was able to come home and pay my respects to him and his family, which was important to me.
A little over a year ago my wife suddenly and unexpectedly fell ill just as I was leaving for an extended solo hunt. I went in the bedroom where she was napping to tell her goodbye and she was unconscious. She died two days later. She was the only person who knew where I was hunting. Had I left a half hour earlier with no means of communication, she would have died before I could say goodbye, kiss her and hold her in the hospital and thank her for our life together, and I wouldn't have known for days until someone, somehow tracked me down.
Dadgum Lou that had to hurt I remember her passing but had no idea it was that abrupt.Sorry to interrupt the thread could not help it.Lewis