Charging your phone while hiking

In this day and age, your phone goes with you everywhere. Looking up maps, taking photos or video’s and listening to music. Keeping them charged is the challenge.

But is it still a challenge? Not really. With the latest technology that keeps getting better and better. You do not really have to worry about it so much. And the battery life of your mobile phone will surprise you when hiking. Not constantly checking email or watching the latest news will really save your battery.

Lets go over the ways to charge your electronics and phone while on trail.

Conserving battery power

This is of course not a solution to the problem but a precaution, when saving battery power on your phone you have to charge it less often. In day-to-day life, your phone will last plus-minus a day.

Constantly checking email, connecting to WIFI networks and cellular data. Screwing around on social media and watching your favorite cat video. If you want to conserve your battery power then none of that is helping.

Turn off your phone

Turning off your phone is only necessary when not using your phone for an extended period of time. Rebooting costs more power than on standby on most phones. So do not do this every time you do not use your phone for a few hours.

Turn off data and constantly roaming for WIFI

Turning off your data is easy to do on Android, just swipe down from the menu and tap the signal for it. WIFI is the same but with an extra step. You have to turn off the constant roaming for available WIFI networks.

This is in WIFI -> Settings -> turn off roaming with location.

Brightness and use

This is quite obvious but use your phone more and waste more power. It’s not rocket science. Steps you can take to lessen the power you use is to make as many apps that you use often in a dark or black theme. And turning down the brightness from your phone.

I suggest also turning off vibrations and noisy alerts on your phone. This also helps a little bit.

Keeping it at body heat

Always keep your phone close to your body to warm it up, and the same thing goes for the battery pack. When in colder temperatures this can result in power loss.

Solar charging your devices

Solar charging is the most exciting way for me to charge my devices, but the reality is that it can be quite unreliable for out on trail. And you do need quite a bit of surface area from your panels to stand a chance of charging your phone.

I have seen a couple of people have quite decent success with this system. They always have multiple panels and therefore a larger surface area than a simple little panel. It also very much depends on what kind of area you’re going to go to. While out in thick forest cover you can forget about it.

So is solar charging an option? Yes. But with some skepticism. Most hikers abandon the solar panels after the first couple of weeks.

Battery pack for charging your devices – The best way

Carrying a battery pack is my preferred way of carrying around power. It’s a no-fuss way and can be used everywhere you like. My ultimate setup would be a solar panel system that is lightweight and can charge my 20.000 battery pack in record time. But I’m afraid we are not there yet.

You can however charge your battery pack overnight in campsites your stay in, hostels, or charging points in restaurants. If you ask nicely and buy a coffee you can get a lot done. Even if you normally have to pay for electricity at a campsite, in my experience if you ask nicely and bring the powerbank they will not mind.

anker-powerbank

I have carried my Anker 20.000 amp battery pack now for longer than a year and really liked it. The only thing I hate is that it still has the micro USB port which fortunately is dying out nowadays. The newer ones from Anker have a USB C connection which is far more durable and reliable.

anker-charging-ports

Charging my phone goes quickly and I can do it 4 to 5 times depending on a few factors. If your like me and still check your phone a bit too much or like to watch a movie in your tent then it’s great to have.

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If you want to save a bit more weight then you can with the 10.000 AMP battery pack or the even smaller versions. I suggest you stay with the Anker battery packs, however. They have been tried and tested by many hikers and tech guys and girls and are the real deal.

Experimental ways

There are a few ways that are a bit unusual that you can use to charge your phone while out on trail. I have seen these in action at expos and by people out on trail. But have not personally used them yet.

Biolite wood stove

With the Biolite wood stove, you can have all the benefits of a wood stove burner. Not having to carry around fuel is a big one at that. But it is recommended that you take some tinder with you to make the lighting up process easier for you.

What sets this wood burner stove apart is that it works with a fan, and has an inbuilt power supply. That puts the heat output from your fire to juice for the fan and your phone.

The big downside of this system is the weight and maybe too much screwing around with twigs and lighting a fire after a long day of hiking. But for more of a base camp style of camping and hiking, this could be for you.

Brunton Hydrogen Reactor

This is more of a joke, to be honest, but it still an interesting idea, that does not work in practice. This is a charger that works with Hydrogen to charge your phone for out hiking. The YouTube Tech channel Linus Tech Tips has a great video about this charger and I suggest you check it out. Search for Brunton Hydrogen Reactor on YouTube and you will find it.

Conclusion on charging your phone while hiking

A powerbank is the best way to charge your phone while on trail. With the big 20.000 AMP battery pack that I carry I really do not have to worry that much about it. I just stay at a campsite or get to town every week to charge it up again.

I hope you found this article helpful.

Happy hiking and Hike for Purpose!

Frank

I’m Frank, the main guy and owner of this website. Loves hiking, gear and bushcraft. And can get quite nerdy about them. In the woods several times a week preparing for my next hike. Always searching for another hill, which is quite difficult in the Netherlands. That’s why I search around several countries. More about me on the about page.

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How To Keep Your Phone Charged While Hiking

Many of us hit the trail as a way to unplug and escape the modern world for a while. Having said that, I don’t know many hikers who leave their phones behind. Phones have become that one piece of gear which has multiple uses and are a pack essential.

They are often your camera, a backup flashlight, a GPS, clock, stereo, book and of course a communications device. So, keeping your phone charged while hiking becomes important.

MAKE SURE YOUR DEVICES ARE FULLY CHARGED WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR DESTINATION.

Before you leave home make sure your phone is already fully charged and so are your battery banks. I’m guilty of forgetting to charge my battery bank before a trip then trying to get enough juice into it while in the car, hoping it will last the whole trip.

There are a few ways you can conserve the battery life and to keep your phone charged while hiking.

CONSERVE BATTERY LIFE

FLIGHT MODE
The first thing is to put your phone in flight mode. By doing this, it stops your phone from constantly looking for service and trying to establish connection to your network, which can quickly drain your battery. When you stop for a rest or at the top of a mountain, you can switch off flight mode and check for messages or make phone calls rather than having your phone chewing up battery all the time. This mode does not automatically disable WI-FI or Bluetooth connectivity.

POWER SAVE or LOW BATTERY MODE
Second is to switch to power save or low battery mode. This way you can still use your phone as a camera to capture images quickly and have it always ready to go.

DIM YOUR BRIGHTNESS
Dim the screen brightness all the way down to the lowest level to help the battery even further. Screen brightness is one of the biggest drains of power for your phone.

TURN LOCATION SERVICES OFF
Download the maps of the area on your app which will allow you to use all the functionality of the map even in remote locations and without reception.

TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS
Our phone constantly want to remind us of things or notify us if people have posted on FB or IG. If you turn off flight mode to use your phone, it will start looking for notification you have missed

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SHUT DOWN APPS
Some apps on your phone keep track of your location without you even realising it and these are constantly looking to update and refresh the content in the background. Before you leave home update all your apps before setting off and force close the apps you don’t need. When you get home you can reset everything back to normal.

DOWNLOAD
Before you hit the trails, download your music or books you plan on reading and use it in offline mode.

TEXT INSTEAD OF CALL
If you need to contact someone, send off a text rather than making a battery-draining phone call.

SWITCH OFF AT NIGHT
At night turn your phone off completely, that way it’s not using power in the middle of the night when you are definitely not going to be using it.

TEMPERATURE
Finally, you want to avoid temperature. Batteries are sensitive to extremes and perform best when they are kept at room temperature. Leaving your phone out baking in the sun can damage the battery and if you have it in extreme cold you will find you the battery will die a lot faster. In cold weather, using your body heat can help keep the phone warm. Tuck your phone down in your coat or a pocket close to your body during the day and then in your sleeping bag at night to keep it warm. You’ll find your battery will last a lot longer.

iPhone flight mode for hiking

CHARGING YOUR PHONE

There are 2 main ways to charge your phone while hiking. These are battery banks and solar panel chargers.

BATTERY BANK

The most common of the two is backup battery banks. You charge them at home before you go out on the trail. When you’re on trail and your phone or other electronics need charging, you just connect using h a USB cable.

The benefits of using this source of backup power is that they are reliable as long as you get a good quality brand. They range in size, weight, price and battery capacity. Battery banks are an ideal solution for hikers as they are small and easily packable.

They normally have little dots which let you know how much power is stored in the bank. When charging your gear on trail you can see by the light indicators how much power you have left. This way you can start rationing power if needed.

anker 10000mah battery

SOLAR PANEL CHARGERS

The biggest question you need to ask yourself before relying on a solar panel charger is where will you be hiking? If you plan on hiking open plains where you will be in direct sunlight for the majority of the day, then a solar panel charger may be a good idea. But if your trail is a green tunnel with little sunlight then it might not be the best solution for you.

Solar panels need the sun to charge and are a great option at camp. Connect the panel to your power bank in a bright sunny area, while you have a nap or take a swim and let the sun do all the work for you. If you’re hiking and won’t be at camp until sundown, hang your panel off your backpack while hiking.

Solar chargers come in various sizes. Some are compact, folding down to the size of a smartphone, while others cover your whole backpack to collect energy all day.

anker solar charger for backpackinghiking solar charger for backpack

Either way I hope some of this information was helpful to give you a major boost to the amount of battery life you get out of your phone on your next hiking trip.

How To Keep Your Phone Charged While Hiking

Many of us hit the trail as a way to unplug and escape the modern world for a while. Having said that, I don’t know many hikers who leave their phones behind. Phones have become that one piece of gear which has multiple uses and are a pack essential.

They are often your camera, a backup flashlight, a GPS, clock, stereo, book and of course a communications device. So, keeping your phone charged while hiking becomes important.

MAKE SURE YOUR DEVICES ARE FULLY CHARGED WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR DESTINATION.

Before you leave home make sure your phone is already fully charged and so are your battery banks. I’m guilty of forgetting to charge my battery bank before a trip then trying to get enough juice into it while in the car, hoping it will last the whole trip.

There are a few ways you can conserve the battery life and to keep your phone charged while hiking.

CONSERVE BATTERY LIFE

FLIGHT MODE
The first thing is to put your phone in flight mode. By doing this, it stops your phone from constantly looking for service and trying to establish connection to your network, which can quickly drain your battery. When you stop for a rest or at the top of a mountain, you can switch off flight mode and check for messages or make phone calls rather than having your phone chewing up battery all the time. This mode does not automatically disable WI-FI or Bluetooth connectivity.

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POWER SAVE or LOW BATTERY MODE
Second is to switch to power save or low battery mode. This way you can still use your phone as a camera to capture images quickly and have it always ready to go.

DIM YOUR BRIGHTNESS
Dim the screen brightness all the way down to the lowest level to help the battery even further. Screen brightness is one of the biggest drains of power for your phone.

TURN LOCATION SERVICES OFF
Download the maps of the area on your app which will allow you to use all the functionality of the map even in remote locations and without reception.

TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS
Our phone constantly want to remind us of things or notify us if people have posted on FB or IG. If you turn off flight mode to use your phone, it will start looking for notification you have missed

SHUT DOWN APPS
Some apps on your phone keep track of your location without you even realising it and these are constantly looking to update and refresh the content in the background. Before you leave home update all your apps before setting off and force close the apps you don’t need. When you get home you can reset everything back to normal.

DOWNLOAD
Before you hit the trails, download your music or books you plan on reading and use it in offline mode.

TEXT INSTEAD OF CALL
If you need to contact someone, send off a text rather than making a battery-draining phone call.

SWITCH OFF AT NIGHT
At night turn your phone off completely, that way it’s not using power in the middle of the night when you are definitely not going to be using it.

TEMPERATURE
Finally, you want to avoid temperature. Batteries are sensitive to extremes and perform best when they are kept at room temperature. Leaving your phone out baking in the sun can damage the battery and if you have it in extreme cold you will find you the battery will die a lot faster. In cold weather, using your body heat can help keep the phone warm. Tuck your phone down in your coat or a pocket close to your body during the day and then in your sleeping bag at night to keep it warm. You’ll find your battery will last a lot longer.

iPhone flight mode for hiking

CHARGING YOUR PHONE

There are 2 main ways to charge your phone while hiking. These are battery banks and solar panel chargers.

BATTERY BANK

The most common of the two is backup battery banks. You charge them at home before you go out on the trail. When you’re on trail and your phone or other electronics need charging, you just connect using h a USB cable.

The benefits of using this source of backup power is that they are reliable as long as you get a good quality brand. They range in size, weight, price and battery capacity. Battery banks are an ideal solution for hikers as they are small and easily packable.

They normally have little dots which let you know how much power is stored in the bank. When charging your gear on trail you can see by the light indicators how much power you have left. This way you can start rationing power if needed.

anker 10000mah battery

SOLAR PANEL CHARGERS

The biggest question you need to ask yourself before relying on a solar panel charger is where will you be hiking? If you plan on hiking open plains where you will be in direct sunlight for the majority of the day, then a solar panel charger may be a good idea. But if your trail is a green tunnel with little sunlight then it might not be the best solution for you.

Solar panels need the sun to charge and are a great option at camp. Connect the panel to your power bank in a bright sunny area, while you have a nap or take a swim and let the sun do all the work for you. If you’re hiking and won’t be at camp until sundown, hang your panel off your backpack while hiking.

Solar chargers come in various sizes. Some are compact, folding down to the size of a smartphone, while others cover your whole backpack to collect energy all day.

anker solar charger for backpackinghiking solar charger for backpack

Either way I hope some of this information was helpful to give you a major boost to the amount of battery life you get out of your phone on your next hiking trip.

Source https://www.hikeforpurpose.com/charging-your-phone-while-hiking/

Source https://ultralighthiker.com.au/blogs/all/how-to-keep-your-phone-charged-while-hiking-1#:~:text=There%20are%202%20main%20ways%20to%20charge%20your,These%20are%20battery%20banks%20and%20solar%20panel%20chargers.

Source https://ultralighthiker.com.au/blogs/all/how-to-keep-your-phone-charged-while-hiking-1

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