There are really only two obvious solutions for backpackers to keep electronics charged out in the boonies.
There’s the more conventional route of using a solar-powered battery, like the Joos Orange, or Solio’s line of chargers. Or there’s the less common alternative of using one of an increasing number of stoves that can charge gadgets while heating dinner or water for coffee.
The upcoming newest member of the latter group, the PowerPot X (that “X” is a 10, btw), can even charge an iPad.
The holy grail of mobile devices like the iPad mini, in my opinion, is a bulk-free, cable-less charging system that can position Apple’s diminutive tablet in various ways.
iPad mini Charge Case and Stand by iPort Category: iPad stands Works With: iPad mini Price: $99.95
The iPort Charge Case tries to make this dream come true, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark. While the iPort stand can indeed hold my iPad mini in both portrait and landscape orientation at a wide range of viewing angles, the need to place my gorgeously designed device into a bulky plastic case sort of kills the whole idea of “mini.”
The iPort Charge Case and Stand does indeed have some very valid uses in and around the home, but ultimately, due to the way it changes the use experience of the iPad mini, it isn’t quite the world-changer it hopes to be.
I just found out that Aviiq’s sweet portable charging station comes in a mini version, and it’s made of felt. As someone who loves felted wool so much that I have both iPad bags and slippers in the magical material, I’m stoked about this tiny portable power package.
If you have a router (no, not that kind of router), a chunk of plywood and some mad craft skillz, then you could make your own Undulating Contours charging station. If you are missing any one of those, then, it’d be better to spend the $24 on the real thing, hand-hewn in Louisiana.
That’s right, $50 nabs you the Anker Astro 3, an external battery with three USB ports and 12,000 mAh, which is — in theory — enough juice to completely charge any iPad.
Why the in theory disclaimer? Because although the Astro 3’s 12,000 mAh capacity exceeds the 11,560 mAh capacity of the battery in the two latest iPads (the iPad 2’s battery is about half that of its successors), there’s always some energy loss when transferring energy from one battery to another.
Why does Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild” buzz through my head when I look at the Griffin PowerDock 5? Because the five-port docking station reminds me of one of those old roadside gas stations out on the desert highway.
Cables: I love what they do – keeping my beloved gadgets juiced and full of delicious data – but — unlike a playful kitten — I hate their tangled mess. Perhaps the perfect charger cable is here at last though: It’s the curly phone-style Lightning cable from Japanese company Sanwa.