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Live Event Info: How to Manage Electronics and Batteries in the Backcountry (Member Q&A) – December 12, 2021 10:00 AM US Mountain Standard Time (MST)

Backpacking Light Q&A Sessions are Hour-Long Members-Only Live Events – they are recorded and the recorded session will be made available below after the live event has ended.

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Event Agenda


More and more electronic devices are becoming useful for backpackers: cellular phones (smartphones) that can be used for GPS and mapping, journaling, photography, and more; digital cameras; flashlights and headlamps; GPS devices and satellite messaging communicators, fitness and GPS watches, and more. Managing their (sometimes rechargeable and sometimes not) batteries can be challenging. Add portable battery packs (battery banks, a.k.a., portable battery banks) to the mix and you can really start to add a lot of pack weight and wonder why and how to manage it all. In this Member Q&A, you’ll learn about portable power battery pack planning, battery management, and more so you can minimize weight and maximize the performance of your backcountry electronics.

1. Keynote: AN OVERVIEW OF BACKCOUNTRY ELECTRONICS (~30 minutes, by Ryan Jordan)

    • an introduction to backcountry electronic devices and why they are useful
    • calculating power requirements on a multi-day backcountry trip
    • selecting a portable battery pack
    • managing backcountry electronics to maximize battery life and longevity

2. Backcountry Electronics Q&A (~30 minutes)

  • How to calculate how much battery capacity (portable battery charger) I need?
  • How much is the actual (deliverable) capacity of a portable battery charger relative to what its manufacturer specifies?
  • What about wasted energy in cables, connectors, circuits … does the environment play a role? What about device battery aging?
  • Why take electronics backpacking? What’s the benefit over analog?
  • Are solar panels worth the weight for backpacking?
  • Is it more efficient to use a portable battery pack to charge a device from 25% to 75% twice, or from 0% to 100% once?
  • How effective are walkie-talkies in the backcountry (mountains, canyons, etc.)?
  • What’s an easy-to-use and learn starter package for GPS navigation?
  • Why won’t my phone hold a charge when hiking in the cold?
  • What about solar charging for small devices like watches?
  • How do you track your mileage and routes?
  • What’s the best handheld GPS?
  • What should I consider when shopping for the best portable battery charger?
  • Is it more battery (energy) efficient to take photos/videos with my phone or a dedicated camera?
  • What settings do I need to change on my phone to preserve its battery?
  • What if my phone won’t keep an all-day charge and I need it for navigating?
  • How do I keep devices and batteries warm in extreme cold?
  • Should I turn my devices on/off or leave them on? Doesn’t power-up and power-down drain the battery?
  • Do I need to bring redundant charging cables and batteries, or are these pretty reliable nowadays?

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