Rechargeable batteries

1:33 p.m. on January 10, 2020 (EST)
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Hey folks

Considering using more rechargeable batteries in my outdoor pursuits - primarily for the weekend trips.  I would be interested in any opinions on the good, the bad, and the ugly on these.  Especially usage in colder weather (say above 0 deg F).


2:29 p.m. on January 10, 2020 (EST)
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That’s all we use. Been using the li-ion that Canon used for their DSLRs and when it got cold I kept them next to my body with no problem. We use the Enlope AA or AAA for other things and same methods, keep them warm in cold temps. They don’t like freezing temps. We do take spares at times.

3:39 a.m. on January 11, 2020 (EST)
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I tried using rechargeable AAs and AAAs exclusively for years, and still have dozens of them. They are fine for low-demand, non-critical uses but can be unreliable, especially in the cold. Always good to have 1-2 extra sets as backup. It's hard to know when they are getting too old to hold a charge. In the end I have to conclude that responsibly recycled lithiums are they way to a long life, especially below freezing, at least for multiday outings. I use lithiums in my handheld GPS on multiday hike and ski tours because I really don't like it quitting on me when I'm recording a track. It's otherwise awfully easy just to pop in a fresh set of alkalines before heading out knowing that they will last. Having said that, I use rechargeables in bicycle lights, which I'm only using for 10-30 minutes at a time on my commute, clocks, weather station, etc. They can last for months in low demand devices. Probably OK for a tent/camp headlamp.

6:35 a.m. on January 11, 2020 (EST)
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All batteries are going to hate the cold. Keep them warm if you can. Warm them up before use if you can't.

Most all of my electronics have built in, rechargeable power packs except for a couple headlamps. That means no batteries to throw away, but also means keeping entire devices warm to keep their batteries warm. They ride close to the body in the day and in my bed at night :)

1:49 a.m. on January 12, 2020 (EST)
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My experiences were similar to Rick's, so I stick to the alkalines.


4:59 p.m. on January 13, 2020 (EST)
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Rechargeables are great, though for anything critical - like an emergency flashlight, some battery operated device stored in the kit and generally ignored till you need it - rechargeables are not a good choice, as they don't tend to hold a charge. The Alkaline type have an extended shelf life, usually measured in years. If it absolutely has to work when you need it, Lithium may be the best choice of all. A big problem with Alkaline batteries though, apparently regardless of brand or price, are leakage of the electrolyte. Without periodic inspection one may find the device battery compartment full of crud.

2:50 p.m. on January 14, 2020 (EST)
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in my experience, lithium batteries work better in cold weather than alkaline and rechargeable NiMH batteries.  at a certain point, extreme cold limits or eliminates battery life, period, so store an important device inside your parka if needed.  

wise tip above - if you don't often use headlamps, dedicated GPS, Steripen, remove the batteries before you store them.  battery acid can ruin internal parts.  

in good weather, rechargeable batteries are fine, frankly better because you can recharge with a solar panel. 

11:57 a.m. on January 15, 2020 (EST)
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My experience is the same...lithium work the best when it gets a bit nippy outside (I tend to hike in the 0 to 20 degree F low range).  I keep a water filter, small fuel bottle (when I dabble in alcohol stoves in the winter), and a battery in the chest pocket, then migrate them to my sleeping bag at night.

I try to keep things simple (battery for the flashlight/headlamp is all I really need). Based on the responses I think I'll stick with my lithiums for now.  I probably go through two good batteries a year for backpacking so not a major issue. 

The idea of using rechargeable items seems nice, but piling my pockets full of gear to keep warm keeps me from lugging more of them around.  My InReach never seems to have much issue with the cold, surprisingly (it's been encrusted with ice and snow and still works well), but it rides close to me all day on the shoulder strap and in the tent at night. Same with my camera (one click weatherproof kind).

April 2, 2020
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