T-Tech by Tumi International Travel Adapter
It may be obvious to pack an adaptor for charging your device abroad, but with an abundance of these on the market, the right choice is crucial, particularly if you're always hopping between regions.
Those with the cash might like to look forward to this T-Tech by Tumi, released next month, which features slide out power plugs for Europe, the US, Australia and Asia. There's an AC socket, as well as two USB 2.0 ports, which deliver enough power for tablet devices.
OK, so you'll still need to bring a USB cable or power lead, for which you might want to chew over a tangle-saving retractable setup such as the aforementioned OneCable, however the T-Tech looks unrivalled when it comes to AC adaptors, winning an innovation award at CES 2012.
Of course, there are plenty of more inexpensive options available too, such as these adaptors from ReTrak. It all depends on how much you're willing to splash and the destination of your holiday, really.
More info Jasco
Vodafone Sure Signal
If you know you'll be in a remote area without a decent 3G signal, a Femtocell can utilise a nearby broadband hub to produce the connection you need.
Vodafone offers such hardware with its Sure Signal service, which utilises a box built by Alcatel-Lucent and lets you route incoming and outgoing calls through t'internet. Some 32 numbers can be registered to use the device, with four handsets able to connect simultaneously. As long as the network connection is 1Mb/s or faster, the femtocell will run smoothly, apparently.
With 3G connectivity so vastly spread, Femtocell tech is rather niche. Still, it's nice to see Vodafone stick with it, Three's version has just rolled out, and O2 is following suit after trials with the tech late last year. You can read Bill Ray's assessment of Vodafone's first Sure Signal box here on Reg Hardware.
More info Vodafone
Next page: Waterproofing
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.