Electronics: power bank or extra batteries?

2:52 p.m. on June 22, 2016 (EDT)
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doing four nights planning on bringing handheld GPS (Garmin Oregon 650t) and camera (Sony RX-100 IV). And maybe my GoPro with Feiyu G4 (steadicam) I already have at least one extra battery for each device but debating if it's better to bring more batteries or a massive capacity power bank 26,000 mAh (which would mean bringing adapters and cables). Granted it's ONLY four nights and I've slept with my devices/batteries before. Just at a toss up and would love to hear pros and cons from any of your experiences. 

11:27 a.m. on June 23, 2016 (EDT)
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Brunton makes some great solar panels. I used one of their folding panels as I cycled across Alaska in 2006. It weighed about a pound, unfolded to 3x4 feet and powered my laptop,Canon DSLR batteries. Course in summer in Alaska with 24 hours of sunlight I was never far from power.

I had this one which is on sale now: http://www.brunton.com/products/solaris-12 

4:04 p.m. on June 23, 2016 (EDT)
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I want to leave a reply for you fishy...but I bring a lot less electronics...so this might not be very helpful.

For most of my trips my phone and a headlamp are the only electronics I bring...GPS/flashlight/camera/FM radio/entertainment are all available through various apps...I don't need any of it...but it provides a lot of convenience and the FM radio is nice at night in a storm when you cannot get radar images for lack of service. On a few trips with large lake-systems I brought my Garmin 64 GPS because the GPS on the phone is really not well suited for heavy use (but excellent for "remembering" where the put-in is or finding a remote trail-head).

As the nights get longer...or I plan a lot of time in camp I bring a small lantern...it + headlamp + Garmin GPS all use AA batteries...and I bring a cheap plastic charger ($5.00) that uses AA batteries to charge my phone from my supply of batteries. 99% of the time I bring 3-4 rechargeable batteries from home and rarely deplete them on a summer weekend trip (unless I forget to put my phone in airplane mode).

If I expected to use my electronics more intensively I would either bring 1-2 more rechargeable batteries...or plan to buy some alkaline batteries along the way somewhere (they're everywhere...on one trip I could've bought batteries every other day of travel). As I said though...I have never used electronics as intensively as you...and I imagine if I was planning to film my adventures I might have a completely different approach.

4:50 p.m. on June 23, 2016 (EDT)
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I'm testing a solar charger for Trailspace currently and it's quite intriguing.

Can't spoil the review now, but it does indeed work and that type of device is something else to consider.

I will say that it isn't a speedy option and is of course dependent on solar energy being available ; though the model I'm testing has built-in rechargeable batteries so you can store up energy while sunlight is available and discharge during the night or any non-sunlight times.

I'm not sure a four day trip would justify the weight for me (it's certainly heavier than a few spare batteries) but I have a device with a non-user replaceable battery (Delorme Inreach) so I can't bring a spare battery as I can for my Samsung Galaxy.

Just food for thought.....

5:14 p.m. on June 23, 2016 (EDT)
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The new Anker PowerCore is 10,000 mAh and weighs 6.5 oz with a cable. It would need to be a long trip before the weight of a solar system would justify over an external charger for me.

3:29 p.m. on June 24, 2016 (EDT)
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i tend to bring spare batteries for headlamps (AAA) and GPS (AA).  the batteries in my cameras generally won't run out over the course of a weeklong trip, so i don't bother.  same with the phone, i generally keep it turned off.  i have an amazon powerbank, 5,600 mAh, twenty dollars, that can charge my phone twice, weighs about 4 ounces, but i tend to use it on work trips in my briefcase, not on the trail.  

no experience with solar but that seems intriguing.  

5:36 p.m. on June 24, 2016 (EDT)
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  • Extra batteries for headlamp
  • Total of 3 batteries for camera (Canon S120)
  • Fully charged phone which lives in airplane mode
  • New batteries in GPS unit, which I will rarely turn on (topo user)

Everybody's got they're own style; as long as your not overloading your pack, and burdening your back... Have fun out there!

8:51 a.m. on July 9, 2016 (EDT)
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My question is what is it your doing with your devices to require so much extra power for a 4 day trip?

Your camera should be good for probably 2-300 pictures easy if not more on 1 battery unless your using the flash for every single one. My DSLR canon rebel can take about 1,000 pictures during normal use without needing a battery replaced.

Your GPS should not use hardly any power at all. If you are truly using it to aid in navigation then I suggest you do the following if you insist on using it: Turn it on, take a fix, mark it on a paper map, take a compass bearing to next desired point, turn off gps and walk on that bearing to next point, at the next point turn on gps and take another fix. etc etc Ilike to do this when I am in an area I have never been before and under other special circumswtances. But I usually go between 1-2 hours at least before turning it on again.

Not sure about the gopro battery use as I have never used one.

I carry normally just an iphone and use it for a little bit of everything along with a rechargeable headlamp. However, if I am carrying a real camera or gps then those are a canon rebel dslr and a garmin rhino gps. With one 11,000 mah battery pack I can recharge my ihpone about 5 times, or headlamp 5 times. Or my gps 4 times, or my dslr 4 times. So pretty much I can charge each of my devices at least once If needed. If I am going on a very lengthy trip I will bring a powerpot to recharge the battery pack. Otherwise this setup will last me a week trip without blinking an eye.

11:56 a.m. on July 9, 2016 (EDT)
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I like not to carry so much, i put my phone into Extreme power saving mode, and turn it off at night.  It has a camera which is 13mp and has a flashlight mode.  I do carry extra batteries for my head lamp, but if I'm going out more than 2 days I will put new batteries before my trip.  The lamp I use at night, but I'm a chump for staying up late, so I turn it off and enjoy the out doors and the batteries last for a long time...  The best thing for me is no bars on the phone.  If I had to choose, I would use battery pack for charging.

12:15 p.m. on August 19, 2016 (EDT)
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Awesome thanks everyone for the responses!!!

my friend ended up buying me an early bday gift (Ankor 26,800maH) so now I'm definitely going to try and make this work.

i plan to use my GoPro for a nightlapse/time lapse (and a single battery wouldn't last. You'd need to hook it up to a Powerbank). For time lapses (for those not familiar) to get a 5-6 second video, you need to record for at least 2-3 hours. Plus I plan to use the GoPro on a steadycam during our day hikes.

Im used to dragging my Canon 6d with two lenses but since discovering the Sony RX it will take a significant amount of weight off in my pack (but because it's a powerful camera, with smaller battery capacity (vs Canon DSLR battery) it now makes sense to bring an extra backup battery). But an extra point and shoot battery is mere ounces vs a dslr's lens weight.

my GPS will be recording the entire trip (45 mile loop). My other issue is learning to use my GPS unit (attempted to take a class at REI but their employees weren't familiar with my brand - you'd think if they offered a class, even sold the unit at their stores,  they'd be familiar with all units. Waste of $30). BTW if anyone's familiar with the Garmin Oregon 650t (if you have any recommendations on apps I could turn off to save battery, would be greatly appreciated).

I know it seems a lot of people are minimalists, but I'm a gadget girl and love documenting EVERYTHING. Plus I'm Asian and my people seem to be born with cameras in our hands straight out of the womb...

Anyway, thanks again everyone for your responses!! It really helped!!

January 29, 2020
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