I’m always afraid to use my smartphone to take pictures, video, or track when I’m without electricity for days. Maybe because I’ve never had a reliable battery pack to recharge (I’ve previously used Goal Zero Flip 20). These days, I find it hard to leave my smartphone at home, especially when I nerd out with maps and track my trail stats.
My most recent 6-day trip to Ymir Backcountry Lodge in Canada could have been challenging without electricity access. I had the luxury of staying in a hut with a wood stove, hot tub, and bed with a real mattress. Electricity has been limited in years past, and I wanted to guarantee I could make day-of plans using my smartphone offline for backcountry skiing based on the overnight conditions and forecasts.
Disclosure: This is a “sponsored post.” Outxe provided a product and raffle item in exchange for writing a review. All opinions and observations are 100% my own.
Charge the power bank before going
As I prepare for a trip, I charge all my electronics, which included my new OUTXE Waterproof Solar Portable Charger Outdoor Dual USB. Fortunately, most of my batteries last for many days as I don’t use them as much as my smartphone, like my iPad used for reading Kindle books, my DSLR camera batteries, and even my avalanche airbag.
I didn’t rely on the solar to recharge the battery pack. Outxe estimates it take 35-hours to recharge by solar power only. During the day, I left the power bank on a south-facing window sill to maximize access to solar energy for three of the days. Snow was on the forecast for most of the days, which meant overcast skies and little direct sunlight.
Outxe advises against using the product in extreme heat and humidity to preserve the solar panel’s functionality.
Other features worth mentioning
Outputs – I can charge two phones or devices at the same time with two USB ports to plug into. Bring your own cables to match the devices you need charged.
LED light – Without reading the directions, I tried to turn on the light. It wasn’t too intuitive, but I pressed the power button twice and the light illuminated. I did not use the light during my hut trip as I didn’t want to carry the battery pack with me everywhere. I opted for my headlamp when the sun went down. The light also dims if you press the power button in succession. It comes in handy around bedtime as a spare light in the room.
Durability – The Outxe Rugged Power Bank has rubber corners to protect it if dropped and is waterproof as long as the waterproof lid over the outputs is closed with a tight seal.
Outxe Tested by the numbers
Fortunately, I wasn’t carrying everything I needed up the mountain to the lodge thanks to a helicopter ride. I could pack my bags with cushy items, like battery packs, beer, whiskey, slippers, and a wool blanket. The size of the Outxe power bank is larger than I would normally carry, but the amount of charges is useful on a multi-day trip.
Size: 5.9 x 3.2 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 10.6 ounces
Offline GPS tracking hours
- Day 1: 1 hour 42 minutes, 3 hours 38 minutes
- Day 2: 6 hours 9 minutes
- Day 3: 5 hours 36 minutes
- Day 4: 1 hour 52 minutes, 2 hours 57 minutes
- Day 5: 2 hours 12 minutes
I can’t tell you the exact time I spent on my phone while at the hut. I did spend a total of 24 hours and 6 minutes of tracking on airplane mode using Gaia GPS and taking pictures while out on the field, along with reviewing offline maps and my pictures and using my phone throughout the evening hours.
Charging Google Pixel using Outxe battery pack
- 85% to 100%
- 72% to 84% and 84% to 100%
- 65% to 93% and 93% to 100%
- 86% to 94%
- 73% to 100%
My Google Pixel phone (with Project Fi) is less than a year old, and its battery life has been decent compared to other Android phones I’ve used in the past requiring less charge time at the end of the day. Most of the charges happened overnight. I found that my phone got a full charge and then lost battery when the power bank switched off to prevent excess battery usage due to trickle charging. I topped off the last charge during breakfast before heading out in the morning.
After all the charging, I only used half the battery pack juice with three out of six power dots remaining.
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