Ten... smartphone survival accessories
Protect and deploy
Product round-up As the weather starts to improve and the knobbly knees of British sun seekers start gracing the public eye, weekends away untangling guy-ropes and blowing up inflatable mattresses draws close. But the organic world of planet Earth is no safe place for a man of modern comfort, and taking a survival kit with you specifically for your gadgets isn't such a bad idea.
There's a plethora of suitable accessories and we couldn't include them all. Of course, you might want to mull over a pair of in-ear headphones, in-car accessories or even touchscreen gloves. Those who enjoy cycling trips away might look towards fitting a dynamo for charging devices on the fly. Rugged memory cards and other small toolkit inclusions are also ten a penny. The list goes on.
Either way, our smartphones need nurturing and shouldn't be forgotten when packing bags. Here's ten add-ons to contemplate.
If you've left home without a battery boost and plan to hit the campsite with nothing more than a stove and a penknife, then perhaps you should consider upgrading your cookery apparatus to something more 21st Century.
The BioLite CampStove burns sticks, pine cones and other biomass fuels, converting the heat generated into usable electricity. So while you commingle various canned cuisines over your campfire, you can plug in your phone for a much needed juice boost too.
As they haven't quite hit the shelves yet, we've not had the opportunity to give one a go, but they're certainly a valuable camping accessory. Biolite isn't the only company pitching such a stove, either. The PowerPot Kickstarter project seeks funds for a similar saucepan-based version. Doesn't quite look as good, though.
More info Biolite
Joby GorillaPod Mobile
Heavy nights on the campsite lead to shaky hands in the morning, which can be a problem when trying to get a steady shot of the wild animals grazing nearby. Packing a tripod for your mobile would have been laughed at a decade ago, but with Nokia touting resolutions of 41Mp and Facebook's acquisition of Instagram for $1bn, smartphone photography has become a serious matter.
The Joby GorillaPod has been holding it up for a number of years now, the company launching a version for smartphones after the success it achieved with its digital camera tripods. Attaching to a phone or portable player though either adhesive strips or suction cups, as well as to small cameras through a standard quarter-inch adaptor screw, it can hold your device steady from practically any awkward position.
Bend it, shape it, anyway you want it. Just make sure you pack it first.
More info Joby
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Re: big battery
I do actually carry lead acid batteries for backup power, but they have wheels attached. I've added 5v supply USB sockets to both my car and motorcycle.
If you're planning on sticking lead acid in your pocket, may I suggest you go for slightly smaller 6v instead, it makes the regulation down to a useful 5v somewhat easier and less wasteful. Oh, and make sure you get a sealed one, not vented (unless you don't like your jacket, trousers, rucksack or skin).
As for life expectancy, standard lead acid, as used in a car/motorcycle, are designed to be continually topped up and don't like full charge/discharge cycles. For that you need a variation known as a leisure battery.
It won't charge the phone in 5 minutes - it will give it 5 minutes'-worth of charge.
Re: Femto cells??
Ah, the Vodafone Femto, their way of getting you to pay for a fancy box, plug it into the broadband you pay for, and then deduct minutes/bill you for the time you spend using the connection you have provided yourself.
Re: I want the biolite stove thingy
I think you've highlighted the biggest issue with that biolite thing. If it's so big that you need to carry it around in a car then you're basically carrying a cute but inefficient electricity generator inside a box that's already fitted with its own far more efficient electricity generator.
Re: Femto cells??
The suresignal cells from vodafone are tied to a postcode and will only work in that postcode.
Even if you could just plug it in anywhere and have it work, if there's a 1Mb broadband connection that you can use and no mobile reception then I'm guessing there's also going to be a phone line.
This has got to be the worst survival accessory going.