Hiking,  Tech

Keeping Your Electronics Charged

How to keep your Electronics Charged while Camping and Hiking is often a question that hikers and campers have when starting out. With these helpful tips and tricks learned after many years of hiking camping and traveling, you can skip the beginner phase.

Hiking without your phone is not an option for many hikers, your phone makes sure you can take photos and videos of your journey. Is your navigation tool and can make sure that you can contact help when needed. Even out in the backcountry, you can sometimes get a signal in the mountains. And when not enough for a phone call, a text can get through in more locations than you would think. There are of course more devices and electronics that are invaluable on your hiking trips. Let’s go over the basics in this article.

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Make an inventory of all your devices and what they need

A helpful tip is to make an inventory of all your electronics that will need to be charged when going on hiking trips. Often you would have a phone, which will be the biggest power draw, a headlight either on batteries or on an internal battery. Perhaps an E-reader, Bluetooth headphones, separate camera, and many more. The best trick to this is to make sure you do not have as many devices to charge. Do you really need your Bluetooth headphones? Perhaps just a simpler and cheaper option like wired in-ear headphones are a better option for hiking trips. And that question needs to be asked for every single electronic device that you take out with you. Does it need to be in your backpack?

Get that in order and make priorities for the stuff that you really need.

Try to use the same cables for every device

This is sometimes a challenge, but making sure that for nearly all your devices you can use the same cable is not just convenient. But is also a weight saver. Carrying around multiple charging cables can be a pain in the butt and add, not much, but still weight and unnecessary clutter to your backpack loadout. Most devices nowadays use either a micro USB connection, USB C, or the Apple lighting connection. Having conversion cables and adapters is not recommended. I would personally opt for when you have to have multiple connectors to use their own dedicated cable for it.

Assortment of cables for various devices, great in ear headphones from Blukar.

Power saving methods for your Phone

Having a phone with you on hiking and camping trips is a must for pretty much any hiker, you can read a book on your phone, watch a movie that you downloaded before heading out, make sure you are on the right track with GPS, and stay in contact with family or look up the nearest hostel or campsite. The trick to extending your phone’s battery life is to use it less and make sure it is not roaming or always looking for a signal. For example when you have an email account set up on your phone that will check every 15 minutes for new emails. The same goes for Facebook and other social media. All the background apps make it so that your phone is always busy in the background to try to get the latest information or like. These can be deleted from a phone before your trip. Or making sure that they do not do that unless asked.

Further tips are to stay in Airplane mode, lowering your screen brightness and making sure that it is protected against heat and cold. For more tips for your phone, you can take a look at my earlier article on the subject. Charging your phone while hiking.

Power saving methods for your Headlight

Your headlight is next to your phone the most used Electronic item that you use on backpacking trips. This is in most cases the only source of light that you have on you. And is, therefore, an integral part of many hikers’ gadget plans. Of course here too is the number one trick to not actually use it as often as you would need. But that is hard to do when you are not covered in full moonlight. Most good headlamps have therefore a low power consumption mode, and often with the better models even a red light function. And not just for the district in Amsterdam. Red and also Greenlight makes it easier for your eyes to adjust to the dark again. And are often one of the lowest brightness settings. So that you can still for example cook food, rummage around in your backpack, or read while not needing to make a disco show out of your tent. Check out the Petzl Actik Core for a solid headlamp for your hiking trips.

How to charge your devices while hiking and camping

Charging your devices on hiking trips can be done a few ways, the way that all hikers often circle back to is a powerbank. Since this is the most reliable way of charging your devices and should provide up to 3 to 4 days of power, depending on the use of course. Enough in most cases to get to a hostel or campsite where you can charge again. Solar panels are a nice way of charging your devices but are in my opinion not suited for most hiking trips. The amount of hours that they require to charge your Electronics and the amount of weight or bulk that they eat up is in my opinion not the best way to go about it.

Options also further include experimental ways like hydrogen or wood-burning stoves, these are however also not suited for most hikers and should be avoided. Feel free to disagree of course down in the comments.

The best way and best powerbank that I found are the options that Anker provides. They are reliable and trusted by many thru-hikers, section hikers, and more. And are a solid way to charge your Electronic devices.

Read my previous article that reviews their powerbank for more information. Anker Powercore review

Campsite charging options

On a campsite in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and many other European or ex European countries, you can easily charge your devices in the Laundry/toilet facilities. Just ask beforehand the campsite warden politely if it’s no problem. I have never encountered one that makes a thing out of it. Charging your powerbank can then be done during a shower and washup, which can take a bit of time when you were in the woods for a few days. And can also be done during the night.

It is always a risk that it gets stolen, of course, however, so far mine never got stolen. It is also vital that your phone has a quick charge function and that you take the power brick that supplies that. With my phone, I can quickly charge it to 100% in about an hour. So I do that when I take a shower and wash up. Or just hang out in the lounge or laundry room for that time. Most often they have a few magazines and books you can read. So no need to get bored.

That’s all for this article, Happy Hiking, and Hike for Purpose!

I'm Frank, the main guy and owner of this website. Loves hiking, gear and bushcraft. And can get quite nerdy about them. In the woods several times a week preparing for my next hike. Always searching for another hill, which is quite difficult in the Netherlands. That's why I search around several countries. More about me on the about page.

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