by Hollis Easter
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed more and more outdoorsy people using electronics while they’re enjoying time outside. Whether it’s a GPS unit, an iPod, a digital camera, or a cell phone, there are lots of ways we use electricity these days. While I would never advocate talking on a cell phone while hiking (I dislike noise pollution when I’m in the “wild”), I always carry one, just in case it would be helpful in an emergency. I carry a tiny MP3 player on backpacking trips, since listening to a bit of music helps me to relax into sleep at the end of the day. And now, of course, I’m carrying an ever-increasing array of gadgets, from digital cameras to digital video cameras to weather meters.
That’s fine on a short trip, but what about on a longer one?
It’s certainly neat to be able to “re-supply” on power. The Powermonkey-eXplorer is a paired kit made by Powertraveller Ltd., and it includes two main parts: the Powermonkey-eXplorer, which is a computer-controlled battery unit; and the solar-slave, which is a ruggedized solar panel that’s capable of charging the Powermonkey or supplying power independently. It retails for about $100 depending on the exchange rate, and includes interchangeable tips for charging a whole host of different personal electronics.
Since there are lots of pieces, I thought I’d show them to you in a video review. Before I do, though, I want to say that the Powermonkey (or eXplorer) is light, durable, and versatile–and it actually works well for charging my gear. More in future reviews; for now, on to the video!