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Backpacker Magazine – January 2011

Gear Review: USBCell AAs Rechargable Batteries

Able to recharge off of any USB port

by: Merrill McCauley

USBCell AAs (Courtesy Photo)
USBCell AAs (Courtesy Photo)

>>See other Tech Gear Reviews.
>>See all Reader Reviews.
Gadget guys like me burn through a lot of batteries. That’s why I loved the USBCells, which work like standard AAs, but recharge off of any USB port. I used the same two sets of batteries all summer long in my headlamp and GPS. In between trips, when I didn’t have access to an outlet, I was able to pull power from my laptop (left in my car at the trailhead) or use a USB-compatible solar charger (see left) to juice up.

It typically takes seven hours to get a full charge, and while the batteries only last about half as long as alkalines or other rechargables, the convenience of charging off of the grid more than made up for that. $18 for two; usbcell.com.


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READERS COMMENTS

sean o
Feb 15, 2011

I purchased two two-packs of rechargeable AA cells (same as the ones pictured above), and they really didn't hold much of a charge at all: good for maybe two hours in a head lamp. I sent them back immediately. I would be very leery of relying on these in the wilderness especially if my well being depended on them.
I was taught to try everything out before leaving home, even new socks and such.

Wolf
Feb 15, 2011

@ soleful2001... I can tell you've never been to any third world country, after living that true insecurity, I can leave a pot of gold in my trunk worries-free honestly, especially at the trailhead. Not like most people are looking to jack cars for laptops anyway.

canoefoot
Feb 14, 2011

To cachehiker, I don't understand what you said. Are your new NiMH (?) not worth the money? Have your new cells doubled in price? What does 1300mAH stand for?

soleful2001
Feb 08, 2011

You leave your laptop in the car at the trail head? Very brave of you. I don't think I could do that without obsessing about it the whole time I am hiking, but that is just me.

cachehiker
Feb 08, 2011

Yeah. 1300mAh. My 10 year old, generic NiMH cells still do better than that. My newer cells have more than double that. Not worth it. Last thing I want is a headlamp going dim after less than two hours or a GPS that can't make through an entire day.

John
Jan 27, 2011

Low battery life.

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