2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

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;

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -


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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

Jan 27, 2011

Low battery life.


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Ebola breakout
Posted On: Aug 30, 2014
Submitted By: dayhiker9
Trailhead Register
Who's Working this weekend...?
Posted On: Aug 30, 2014
Submitted By: swimswithtrout

View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions