Lighten my electronics load

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  • #3597304
    BPL Member


    I have an iPhone 6, and cord, an Anker 10000 and cord, and an inReach mini, and cord. All the cords are different so no swapping. The Anker is mini usb so needs an adapter to the USB port on my Apple wall plug. All told, my electronics are 20.4 ounces. Gawd! If I switch out the phone wall plug for my iPad mini wall plug, it adds 1.5 ounces, but I think it might be faster. Anyone know if it would actually be faster? I know, I can test all my devices but I’m lazy and figured y’all are a smart bunch. The iPad plug is 10w, output 5.1v 2.1 A. The phone plug output is 5V 1A. Is the iPad plug appreciably better to warrant an extra 1.5 ounces?

    I don’t see any way to lighten this load other than to forgo one or the other device. Am I missing anything I should consider? I’m down to cutting ounces at this point.

    Bruce Tolley
    BPL Member


    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    Buy an Android phone? Buy the very, very short cords from Anker?

    You can read the chart here on charging Apple devices with USB.

    You might gain a shorter charge time but is the extra weight worth it?

    To think it was not that long ago when I left my phone in the car because I had no use for it in the back country and carried absolutely no electronics. :-))



    BPL Member


    The only comfort I take is that my old 35mm film camera weighed more than all of the current stuff combined, and was less functional.

    BPL Member


    Locale: The Cascades

    For how long of a trip without electricity? I assume this is for your JMT trip, but don’t know how many days on that trail you plan to go without a place to actually charge your devices.

    Diane “Piper” Soini
    BPL Member


    Locale: Santa Barbara

    For my phone I bring the phone, a tiny key-chain USB charger for the phone (it was some kind of swag from a conference but you can buy similar things at gas stations), a wall socket to usb port for charging the brick and the charging cord for the brick. If I’m not going to be out long enough to need to charge the brick, I can leave the wall socket to usb port charger and the brick’s charging cord home. That saves a tiny bit of weight and a tiny bit of bulk.

    I don’t use an inreach.

    On my last trip I figured out a few places where I would probably have cell service and used those places to make calls and send texts. I also worked out a sort of “poor man’s SPOT” by putting waypoints into my GaiaGPS periodically with a message, then when I had service I could upload them to the GaiaGPS website. I shared my GaiaGPS website username/password with my boyfriend so he could go look at my waypoints and get a better sense of where I was. It did not work out very well though. I could only successfully upload my waypoints one time. I had an easier time just sending texts when I had service.

    J R
    BPL Member


    Get a mini cord and adapters so that one plug can have more than one connection type. This is what I did:

    William Chilton
    BPL Member


    Locale: Antakya

    +1 to J R. Anker make this, for example.

    David Thomas
    BPL Member


    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    First off, get a USB voltmeter/ammeter so you can gauge which cables and chargers are charging your devices near their maximum rate.  Here’s one for $1.42:
    There’s no point in bringing a sub-standard charger or cable and when I tested a bunch of mine there such a range just from one cable to another (0.18 amps versus 0.92) with the same device and charger, that I threw the under-performing ones away.  Then compare your chargers against each other, etc.  Leave the meter itself at home – just use it to assess your chargers and cables.

    Then look for a 3-way charging cable that charges the 2 or 3 devices you have. There are 3-foot ones but there are also 9-inch ones which I always travel with on planes and for business.  Search on “3-way charging cable” or include the particular “firewire”, “micro-USB”, “iPad”, designations for your particular devices.  $6-12.

    If no two of devices charge at a high rate (iPad and battery bank, say), I can charge two or 3 things at once (like an iPhone, Bindi headlamp and SteriPen all at once).

    I bring a thick rubber band like the ones that come around a bunch of broccoli (available at no cost at any grocery store when you let the individual stalks loose to be free-range broccoli).  I use the rubber band to hold my phone to the battery bank and maybe to tuck the cables in so I can still use it as a camera, GPS, etc, while it is charging.

    Paul Wagner
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wine Country

    Listen to David.  I recently bought a new phone from T mobile.  Plugged it into our cheapo charger as we drove to our first night’s campsite only to discover that after two hours, it was actually LESS charged than when we plugged it in.  Luckily, we had to drive through Las Vegas on our way to our next desert stop, and found a T-Mobile store there that had a better charger.  Problem solved.  But it made for a restless night to think that we were going to spend almost a month in the desert, and the only charger we had wound not work for my phone…

    Paul Wagner
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wine Country

    On the other hand, my little Canon Powershot Camera lasted a full three weeks on its battery.  Yeah, I had the display turned off and used the viewfinder (some of you may not know that that is…grin) but three weeks!  And the back-up battery for that is about the size of a 1/8 thick block of postage stamps and weighs about an ounce.  On backpacking trip, I never bring a phone, just the camera.

    Richie S
    BPL Member


    You can get chargers the same as an iPhone one that deliver much more power to charge more quickly. With that and the cord then you’ll save a bit, but not much overall. The only other option is a smaller battery of lighter phone, which you probably don’t want to do.

    Chris H
    BPL Member


    Locale: Somewhere on the Virginia A.T.

    One of the better, albeit slightly expensive, multi tip cable solutions from Nomad.  I carry one of these everywhere.

    And if you go to the macrumors link inside that link that Bruce Tolley posted you’ll find while the 10-12w iPad charger might be faster, it may not be “faster enough” to matter if you are charging everything during an evening, overnight, morning while re-supplying to really make all that much difference.  But like you said, only +1.5 oz, so make that call accordingly.  IMO you only really benefit significantly once you have a phone that supports usb-c PD (power delivery) fast charging.  And even then you are really only getting that on phones and a range headphone models currently.  Nothing on micro-usb is going to charge appreciably faster on anything above that 5w charger.


    Eric B
    BPL Member


    I carry an Inreach and a Panasonic LF1.  Total weight is 12 ounces; battery life easily 2 weeks.  I avoid phones in everday life and don’t see the need to carry one while hiking.

    Brad W
    BPL Member


    Even if you swap out the cables you won’t save much. I wouldn’t sacrifice 1oz over inferior cables. Nothing worse than having a cable not work out in the field. Quality 6″ cables are available from Anker which have been good for me.

    Tom K
    BPL Member


    “I don’t see any way to lighten this load other than to forgo one or the other device. Am I missing anything I should consider? I’m down to cutting ounces at this point.”

    Just say no?  To all of it?  And focus on the incomparable wilderness experience that is your back yard?

    Five Star
    BPL Member


    Locale: NE AL

    If it’s for a JMT trip (or other reasonably trafficked trail) I’d drop the InReach, and I’d swap your cords for that nifty Nomad 3 in 1 cord, which I happen to have and have found to be dependable.

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