Technology is great, but it’s nothing without electricity to power it. Having lived in a van and traveled for a few years, I learned power management is one of the most important issues you’ll face on the road.
It still sticks with me, and I constantly find myself looking for ways to stay charged up. Many times they fail, but I do have a few favorites for keeping things up and running.
These are products I actually use (mostly because they were given to me, but also because I enjoy them and find them useful) to keep my gadgets working under any conditions, and you’ll have good luck with them too.
K-Tor Power Box and Pocket Socket (K-Tor.com)
Emergency preparation is something many people take seriously and a few people go way overboard on. I’ve used hand-crank radios before, but these innovative products from K-Tor are everything you need to keep power running for at least a smartphone or tablet while you get things back on track.
The Power Box uses your feet to pedal much like a bike (even using standard bike pedals) to power a 12v socket that you can plug any standard device into. Now you’re limited to a maximum of 20W (though you’re unlikely to keep that pace going steady for the hour it would take to get a great charge), but there’s a lot you can do with that.
The Pocket Socket is 10W of USB power using your hand, and you can do both at once to turn your calories into usable energy for your devices.
Enerplex Packr (GoEnerplex.com)
Solar panels are everywhere, but I love Enerplex for being the first people I saw at Outdoor Retailer a few years back integrating the solar panel into a backpack. While 14W is my recommendation to get a decent charge on most battery banks, the 3W panel on this backpack does provide something.
The backpack itself is small and not very durable, so I can’t recommend this for your every day pack. Still, the Enerplex Packr is great to have around when camping, hiking, and exploring nature to keep everything running.
Cheero Power Plus 3 (Cheero.net)
Cheero is known for its Danboard line of portable chargers that pair premium Panasonic battery cells with emoji-like characters for a branded charging experience. I’ve gone through a ton of USB battery banks, and the Power Plus 3 is great for fast charges without being too bulky.
Although small, this charger automatically detects the device that’s connected to it and adjusts the current accordingly and can even do two at once. Best of all, safety precautions ensure you need not fret about it exploding like a Galaxy Note.
Zus Smart Car Charger (nonda.co)
There’s no shortage of car chargers on the market, but Zus is special – and not just because it’s more than just an ordinary charger. Lighted USB ports on either side can be used from either direction and provide a solid 2 amp charge to each device.
Also, it’s a car tracker that monitors your battery and can track where you parked your car using the companion amp. Overall, Zus is the smartest car charger on the market so far.
Lazer Volt (12voltpowerbox.com)
When your power goes out, the K-Tor products will help you get a few things going, but Lazer Volt goes a step further, giving you light and the ability to keep devices charged. It can also be charged via solar panel, which makes it a handy tool to have.
The Lazer Volt bundle gives you the accessories necessary to string lights and charge via solar input, though it’s also possible to charge from a normal wall outlet. Whether at home or base camp, Lazer Volt keeps things running.
APC Back-UPS Pro 1500 (Apc.com)
There’s nothing worse than your computer shutting down when the power goes out, losing unsaved work and possibly even corrupting the hard drive. Thankfully APC has a solution to keep even the most powerful desktops, workstations, and servers running for up to an hour after a power outage.
The APC Back-UPS Pro 1500 has an LCD screen that lets you know the power load and battery stored. It helps regulate and save power while giving peace of mind while working that you won’t lose it all.
APC Back-UPS Connect 50 (Apc.com)
At-home battery backup isn’t the only trick up APC’s sleeve. The Back-UPS Connect 50 is a brilliant multi-purpose device that keeps your modem running on backup power while also giving you a removable, 11400 mAH lithium-ion battery.
When combined with the Pro 1500, you’ll have both power and connectivity in the event of an outage, and portable power to take with you if you need to find help.
Tripp-Lite Eco-UPS (Tripplite.com)
Of course, not every battery backup has to be a large, heavy tower. Tripp-Lite’s Eco-UPS has a small-form factor and looks like a bulky surge protector, but it’s also a battery backup that helps you save power.
Keeping your home entertainment equipment, lamps, and other devices protected from surges or loss in power saves money in the long run while protecting your valuable equipment from electrical malfunction.
Eaton 5S 1000 LCD (Eaton.com)
Another great UPS solution is Eaton’s 5S 1000 LCD. I’ll have a comparison of Eaton, Tripp-Lite, and APC’s UPS solutions up soon, but it’s important to know they all do a solid job and are better than nothing.
Using this UPS, you’ll maximize the protection of your computer and other electronics while being able to monitor energy usage and more.