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  1. #1
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    Default Finding outlets to charge along the trail

    How does one go about finding a place along the trail for charging your power cell and phone? Are the only places just when you head into town or are there places along the trail that are regularly passed? Are businesses pretty cool about letting you use their power? Lastly what do you do for the 6 hours it takes to charge a power cell? I need power through out the hike but it seem like a real pain.

    Edit: I do realize the shelters and trees don't have outlets to charge nor is there poles with outlets along the trail just for hikers. Im interested in how often there are places like ranger stations, maintenance buildings or shops at trail crossings that i might be able to use without going into town. I don't have a screen addiction I'm just running a business I'm gone, so need to stay in contact.
    Last edited by krshome; 04-06-2019 at 07:46.

  2. #2
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    Find a place to charge? Think about where the outlets are. Hostels, hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, businesses, public amenities, etc. Anywhere that has electricity has an outlet.

    Whether or not your should just plug into someone's electricity is another story. Most places are cool and actually have a charging station for hikers. But... if in doubt, it never hurts to ask.

    Yes, waiting for your stuff to charge is a PITA... make it a priority to get charging right away.

    People who use a lot of power take more zeros and neros than those who don't.

    Some places you might feel comfortably leaving your battery bank charging with you do chores.

    I wouldn't leave my cell phone anywhere on the AT unless with a trusted friend.

    If you need more juice and don't have the ability to hang out.. you might be better served with a bigger battery bank. Whenever you take a nero or zero then give it a full charge.

    Why do you need so much power?

  3. #3
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    It gets real interesting starting in Glencliff NH to BSP. A major point of confusion for thru hikers is that the AMC "huts" do not have power available for visitor use meaning no charging. The AMC Highland Center and the Pinkham Notch visitor center do have power. The AMC huts do have minimal solar panels ac couple or microwind turbines (and one microhydro) reserved for their radio and few other hut support functions.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by krshome View Post
    How does one go about finding a place along the trail for charging your power cell and phone? Are the only places just when you head into town or are there places along the trail that are regularly passed? Are businesses pretty cool about letting you use their power? Lastly what do you do for the 6 hours it takes to charge a power cell? I need power through out the hike but it seem like a real pain.
    Well, if you manage yourself so you only need to recharge once per week, at a town stay overnight in about 8 hrs you will have no problems.

  5. #5
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    All shelters now have outlets for phone charging. You will be fine.

  6. #6
    Registered User Nolan "Guido" Jordan's Avatar
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    I keep my phone turned off the entire time. I may turn it on just a few times to take pictures during the day, and sometimes check scores and check my email during the night.

    If you plan on using your phone more, bring a portable charger. That'll help

  7. #7
    Registered User Nolan "Guido" Jordan's Avatar
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    Did you see? They have TVs now too.

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=Why do you need so much power?=[/QUOTE]

    I don't, I just want to make sure I can charge when I need to. I would be using my phone for work calls, emails, texts (Check once a day when possible. I have my own business) Guthook, Gaia and also music occasionally. Same power everyone else is using most likely. I have a 10000 Anker but ill probably only need my 6700 Anker if i charge once a week or so. I'm more concerned with when I'm not going into town and just staying on the trail. How often do you come upon a place along the trail? Is it something other hikes would talk about?
    Last edited by krshome; 04-05-2019 at 17:52.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by steady123 View Post
    All shelters now have outlets for phone charging. You will be fine.
    LOL! Thats great to hear maybe ill drop my canister stove and just get a hot plate. That would save so much money on fuel.

  10. #10
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    BSP has convenient outlets in some of their backcountry shelters. They are not hooked up to anything but its thought that counts

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    No worries
    These are everywhere

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  12. #12
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    Backpacking solar panels are the energy bomb on the AT

  13. #13

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    That was unnecessarily mean.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  14. #14

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    Needing to recharge more frequently than showering or doing laundry? You may have a screen addiction. The answer is to carry a battery big enough to get you to the next hotel or hostel. Pretty simple. 12000 milliamp hours should be plenty, but choose the battery based on your personal screen time.

  15. #15

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    Having seen some particularly brazen power theft from businesses over the past few years, the best advice is to always ask to charge, especially long duration charges. Staying the night in a hotel or hostel typically comes with that privilege, however buying a coke at a general store does not. Most places have little issue with it, though some do. Asking first eliminates any mistakes.

  16. #16

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    if the recharge is more important than the money but you don't want to stay in town overnight, you may just offer a business $5 to be able to leave your phone charging and maybe do other "town chores" while charging.

    Also, you could try spending a week using your phone the way you would while on trail and see how long it lasts on the built in battery and the backup charger you have. I did that before a trip and found I could go just about a week with a 4K AH charger. And A 4K charger takes less time to fully recharge than a 10K, it's smaller and lighter.
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  17. #17
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steady123 View Post
    All shelters now have outlets for phone charging. You will be fine.
    I once saw an outlet in a shelter with electrical wire running from it. Still, it was obvious it was a prank, but some hikers tried to plug into it.

    To the OP, be sure to keep your phone in airplane mode. That will extend the battery life. You don't need cell coverage to use Guthook if you download the maps and images. It uses the phone's GPS.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by krshome View Post
    I don't, I just want to make sure I can charge when I need to. I would be using my phone for work calls, emails, texts (Check once a day when possible. I have my own business) Guthook, Gaia and also music occasionally. Same power everyone else is using most likely. I have a 10000 Anker but ill probably only need my 6700 Anker if i charge once a week or so. I'm more concerned with when I'm not going into town and just staying on the trail. How often do you come upon a place along the trail? Is it something other hikes would talk about?

    Your expecting always available high usage. Not everyone's energy consumption is equal. This is a misassumption, "same power everyone else is using most likely."

    As a cautionary tip you may have to adjust your energy consumption or how you use it, conducting your affairs in accordance with the environment. This may mean you have to curtail usage habits. You're going to find out fast life on the AT is not everything in unlimited amounts. A hike can enlighten those accustomed to unbridled consumption, with an expectation of goods and services eternally available, how consumptive their mindsets.

    I've worked during LD hikes as a Landscape Designer and Property Mngr and have known others that worked from trail as day traders, journalists, accountants, etc. I've known LD backpackers that built large homes while daily conversing with Architects, Gov't Officials, a litany of subcontractors, etc or playing attorney tag daily during nasty divorces while on LD hikes. I've spent wks on trails with CEO's some of large companies. It was NOT a vacation hike as some always define hiking.

    I went into town more often rather than trying to carry and support daily all my professional work and energy needs. Even with a solar array or multiple power banks CAD drawing software and the complicated designs I was hired to provide would have demanded excessive energy usage, wt, dollar hardware costs, and complication for me as an UL styled backpacker. As Fox said I took more Neros and Zeros. Sometimes it was two days in town in front of a large computer. I did have two power cells that worked on a Colorado Trail Thru hike, Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe NP, and Big Bend NP almost three month trip acting as a Property Mngr/Reno Site Supervisor for renovations on a 40 unit apartment complex located in NJ. I spent work time in towns though too that I normally would not have included if I wasn't working. On that CT mid west trip I spent three days in Buena Vista CO just for work. It also was helpful brothers assisted me filling in the in person relationship gaps required who also owned the complex. I organized my hike and biz duties by doing as much as I could when in town. On trail time I never spent glued to a device. Maybe, it was in some ways easier for me since I wasn't married or had children. Nevertheless, serious timely responses and responsibilities existed.


    In 06 on an AT NOBO, during typical NOBO timeframes, hiked on and off with a day trader/biz article writer for a well known financial newspaper. He, daily, to every other day, had to submit progress reports as a writer and multiple times daily manage trades. He carried a collapsable sat dish, foldable keyboard, two batteries total one battery integrated into his foldable laptop, several cords/charger cords, and solar panels attached to back of his pack. Old school perhaps with todays tech advancements but made it work daily. I was surprised all that electronic stuff weighed just over 4 lbs or under depending on his next resupply pts. He would push ahead the extra battery and most of the cords during shorter distances between resupply pts. He also charged his stuff while resupplying. He was snippety snap organized. And, he worked fast. Astonishingly, he was still going UL by balancing out the rest of his wt and bulk. He actually had a small pack! His electronic gear was very compact!

    Two yrs later in 08 PCT NOBOed on and off with a day trader who went with his hand held, extra battery, and for some time, a solar charger. He didn't go into town as much for work because he was avg high 20's from the get go. I don't ever remember him having to go into town specifically for work. He spent a lot of time in total daily on his device. He checked his trades I'd have to say every 2-3 hrs. I remember him walking while on his device not even watching the trail. After he got off he'd say something like,"nailed that Mofo, in the bag, another $22k" like he was Gordon Gekko. We were mostly a bunch of dirt bag hikers with him, jaw dropped. He'd see us and say "OK next in town stop I buy dinner and the room for all of you. We didn't know if he was simply shart talking. BUT, he delivered in town ...twice when I was on board. We loved that guy. We were rooting for positive trades. He got several other hikers involved in his trades. One hiker made two trades he advised and paid for his entire GF's and his entire PCT NOBO. I kid you not!

    I learned from these others how to manage my work and other responsibilities from trail.

  19. #19
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    You don't need 100%, going to 80% is plenty good enough if time is short. Going from 80%>100% can take longer then going from 20%>80%. Forget 6 hours unless you are staying over night. You can get a good amount of charge in 20 minutes if you are in the sweet spot (20%-80%). Try to keep your phone in this sweet spot as well. Also don't let your device go below 20% if you can help it. It takes longer to go from 0%-20% also. It also shortens the life of the battery.

    Leave the power pack unattended while you do town chores (dump the power into the phone on the way to town first), or get both devices in the sweet spot and recharge both together if you are sticking nearby.

  20. #20
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Having seen some particularly brazen power theft from businesses over the past few years, the best advice is to always ask to charge, especially long duration charges. Staying the night in a hotel or hostel typically comes with that privilege, however buying a coke at a general store does not. Most places have little issue with it, though some do. Asking first eliminates any mistakes.
    While one should always have permission to charge a phone or other device (people should definitely not assume it's okay without asking), if I were a store owner, I would gladly let everyone charge their phone if they made even the purchase of a single Coke (with about a 50 cent profit). In fact, if I had a trail business that catered to hikers, I'd set up charging stations to entice them to stay and shop/consume. The cost of electricity to fully charge a 3000 mAh phone battery assuming an 80% charger efficiency and electric rates of .12/kWh would typically be about 2/100th of a cent. Maybe 1/10th of a cent for a big Anker backup battery. If they bought just a few things while waiting, I'd be way ahead.

    EDIT:
    For those interested, here's the math for an approximately 3000mAh phone battery (a newer Android or iPhone) assuming a 5 volt, 80% efficiency charger (most are in the 80-90% range).
    Volts (V) x Amps (A) = Power (Watts). [Calculations assume unity power factor for the electrical types among us].

    5V x 3000mAh = 15000mWh [this is the theoretical power storage capacity of the battery - it's actually less as battery voltage at full charge is more in the 3.7 to 4.2 volt range, but 5 makes for easier math]
    15000 mWh / .80 = 18750mWh [80% efficiency - the power needed to charge the battery is greater due to losses in the charger and battery circuit - mostly as heat]
    18750mWh / 1000 = 18.75Wh [convert milliwatt hours to watt hours]
    18.75Wh / 1000 = .01875 kWh [convert watt hours to kilowatt hours]
    .01875 kWh x $0.12/kWh = $0.00225 [the electric bill at U.S. average of $0.12 per kWh]
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 04-06-2019 at 22:52.

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