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Seven off-the-grid chargers for your portable devices

Marco Tabini | March 6, 2014
When the power grid is close at hand, most smartphones and tablets have no problem lasting through a full day. But take that plentiful electricity away, and keeping our gadgets going becomes more difficult--despite many recent advancements, battery technology hasn't kept up with our constant need for more power. And given that these days we're taking our gear to more--and more-remote--places than ever before, having enough durable power is even more of a challenge.

If you're a camper, the PowerPot is a no-brainer, particularly if you combine it with a biomass stove such as the BioLite CampStove (4.5 of 5 rating) that I reviewed at the end of 2012 (and that's become a faithful companion on practically every backpacking trip since). The PowerPot works with just about any kind of heat source — including a campfire — and costs only marginally more than a high-quality traditional camping pot of comparable size and weight. It's also handy as an emergency-preparedness tool, at least as long as you have clean water and a gas cooktop, or some other heat source that doesn't require electricity to run.

Bottom line

I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of practically every one of the devices here. As someone who camps (and, recently, loses electricity) frequently, I come across all sorts of gimmicky products that at best offer questionable benefits, and at worst tend to be completely useless. But every one of the gadgets here is built with an eye towards helping you out when power is unavailable. And you don't need to be an outdoors enthusiast to enjoy their benefits: When you combine the extreme weather we've been experiencing more and more frequently with the ubiquitous nature of mobile technology, each one of these products is worth some serious consideration even if it will never (we hope) leave the confines of your emergency kit.

 

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