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Jan 13

Winter is a great time to travel to exotic locales or plan a few adventures for the New Year. During this holiday season, I tested a few products that will keep professional adventurers charged up, able to chronicle the fun and be prepared for almost any occasion.

One fact that you can count on, while traveling during the winter, are flight delays. Airlines like Delta have installed charging outlets in gate seating areas across its network to help travelers. However, eight outlets per changing stand for 140 or more passengers aren’t enough.

TYLT Energi Backpack
TYLT Energi+ Backpack
Enter TYLT’s Energi+ Backpack for $199 complete with protective pockets for smartphones, seven compartments in varying sizes, multiple charging cable pass-thrus and a 4.1 Amp 10,400 mAh triple USB port battery. During a recent flight across the country, the backpack charged my tablet, smartphone and a camera simultaneously. All were topped off when I arrived at my destination.

Incase Premium Backpack

Incase Backpack

Travelers today require more than just a utilitarian bag. One such deluxe case is simply the Backpack $99.99 from Incase. It has a faux-fur lined laptop section, an easy slip pocket for tablets and multiple pockets for organizing everything else. It was used on a long haul 16,500 mile+ multiple day trip and several shorter trips. The breathable mesh padded back panels and easy to adjust shoulder straps worked above expectations all-day.

GoalZero Solar Kit Guide 10 Plus
GoalZero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit
The Backpack worked well to strap the Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit $119.98 Nomad 7 solar panel from GoalZero on its flat front. The solar panel has flexible hook points and a charge cable that connects to the Guide 10 Plus Recharger NiMH 2,300 mAh 1A single USB port battery pack. With ideal sunlight, the kit was able to charge the batteries in about four hours. The recharger case comes with four individual NiMH batteries. Keep the power flowing to smartphones and other 1A max devices by charging multiple sets of batteries and swap them out while on the go.
Otterbox Defender With iON Intelligence iPhone 4S Case
Otterbox Defender iPhone 4/4S Case with iON Intelligence
Chronicling a trip beyond a collection of selfies involve cases that can handle a few bumps and drops. The iPhone 4/4S Defender Series with iON Intelligence from Otterbox for $64.97 has been attached to my iPhone for a while. It offers rugged protection, 2x the amount of power via its 1,450 mAh battery and a free app that learns how energy is used on the iPhone. Battery cases add a little bulk to smartphones, but the Defender provides dependable all-day power. Otterbox also produces several Defender Series Cases for nearly every iPad, too.
Mophie Outride iPhone 4S Case
Mophie Outride iPhone 4/4S Case
Mountable cameras for helmets, surfboards and bikes are seemingly everywhere, but most frequent travelers want to keep tech bulk down to a minimum. Mophie created the OutRide iPhone 4/4S case for $99.95. It’s an action sports case that comes with easy to swap interchangeable backs for wet and dry situations, a 3-element wide-angle 170-degree lens and the OUTRIDE social networking app. The app allows you to record video in 1080p HD, edit just the right scenes and upload your awesome moves to the “only action sports community of its kind.” The combined OUTRIDE app, social network and case keep the bulk down while allowing you to take your iPhone 4S to the extreme.
Mophie Powerstation Pro
Mophie Powerstation PRO
Recording video of the perfect move takes more juice than what the iPhone provides. Mophie has you covered with their rugged IP 65 rated powerstation PRO at $99.95. The battery is splash resistant and dust-proof when the ports are closed. This is the type of battery that you can toss in a bag and not worry about. 6,000 mAh of power can recharge an iPhone 4S up to 4x or any number of smartphones and tablets. Its rubberized case is light and molded to protect itself on extreme adventures.
TYLT Ruggd iPad Air Case
TYLT Ruggd iPad Air Case
Now that your awesome video is online, you will want to show friends and family on that new iPad Air. Instead of holding it for hours, slip it into TYLT’s Ruggd tablet case with integrated kickstand for $49.99. The shockproof premium vulcanized spacecraft grade copolymer keeps the thin iPad Air safe, via its triple reinforced corners. It protects and looks cool doing it.
Biolite Campstove
Biolite Campstove
Traveling into the backcountry or just being prepared for power outages and your choices to keep your tech charged becomes somewhat limited. BioLite’s CampStove at $129.95 is a truly amazingly product. Weighing only 33 oz, it’s smaller than fossil fueled stoves, is carbon neutral by using renewable fuel like twigs and pinecones, doesn’t require sun or a long exposure, can boil 1 liter of water in four and a half minutes while simultaneously producing on-demand electricity.

Biolite Campstove Overview
This is the only portable stove I’ve ever seen with a USB port. A strong fire in the stove can generate 4W at 5V or a continuous 2W at 5V and grill some burgers with the attachable BioLite Grill accessory. According to the BioLite website, “half the planet cooks on smoky open fires, causing over 4 million premature deaths each year and contributing to climate change.” They want to go a step further by taking its technology abroad to help developing areas of the world.
Voltaic Systems Generator Solar Laptop Charger
Voltaic Systems Generator Solar Laptop Charger
Voltaic Systems Generator Solar Laptop Charger Inside
Voltaic Systems Generator Solar Inside View
The Generator Solar Laptop Charger at $399 from Voltaic Systems was the best overall case, battery and charging combo product tested. The embedded 16.8 Watt solar panel with a waterproof hard exterior shell, only needed about an hour of sun to power a laptop for around 40 minutes. Its best-in-class 16,000 mAh battery has a multitude of output voltages and amperages such as 5V 2A for USB and 12V 4A, 16V 3.5A and 19V 3A. With ideal sunlight, the solar panel charged the V60 battery up in seven and three quarter hours. The case itself is made from recycled materials that are waterproof and UV-resistant, has a padded sleeve for up to a 17″ laptop and a middle pocket for tablets. This briefcase is the ultimate charging adventure travel companion that even works while away from the grid for extended periods of time.

Voltaic Systems Generator Solar Laptop Charger
Voltaic Systems v60 Battery
Voltaic Systems V60 Battery
Be ready wherever and whenever with these bags, batteries, chargers and innovative cases. Go to the extreme, they’ll be right there with you and help to chronicle the adventure of a lifetime.Disclosure: I have received review units from the above companies. All photos and videos are courtesy of their respective companies. Opinions expressed here are my own.

2 Responses to “Review: Pro Adventurers Stay Connected With On-The-Go Rugged Technology”

  1. Massive Review Roundup: Batteries, Chargers & Wireless Power - Oh Wow! | MacTrast Says:

    […] TYLT recognizes this and is now offering a nearly identical battery as what they include in their Energi+ Backpack. It has 4.1A of total charging current for up to three devices and can recharge an iPhone up to […]

  2. Latest Tech Buzz At Verizon Destination Store In The Mall of America » The Macintosh Wizard And PC Tech Blog Says:

    […] smartphones with wireless technology is one of the newest trends that I saw at the store. TYLT, a power backup accessory I’ve reviewed in the past, had several of their products on display that can charge phones […]