It can be the bane of a backpacker’s existence: you’re out on a multi-night backpack and your cell phone’s battery dies. Depending on the situation and weather condition, this could be either an inconvenience or a real emergency. PowerPot V uses thermometric technology in an innovative way to harness the power of your stove or campfire, providing campers with the ability to charge their electrical devices simply by boiling water. While compact solar panels can be an option for charging electrical devices, the PowerPot can create energy rain or shine, night or day, making it a reliable power source for anything from a camera to an emergency beacon.

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The PowerPot V is the brainchild of two material science engineers— camping buffs who were interested in finding a reliable and effective way to charge their devices in the field. The 1-quart cooking pot uses thermoelectric technology at the base of the pot that acts as a 5W generator, actually producing electricity when water is heating. The PowerPot V includes a detachable waterproof regulator cord with a USB output (no need to worry about overpowering your device), and three additional charging adapters (a micro- and mini-USB adapter, and an adapter compatible with the traditional Apple products. The set also includes a multi-purpose lid/bowl that can be used as a small cooking pot and a mesh bag to easily store all contents. The pot and lid are made from durable anodized aluminum and the PowerPot boasts flame-resistant silicon handles, designed to withstand the heat of a stove or fire.

With a 5W output, the PowerPot V can charge electrical devices at the same rate as a regular wall outlet. However, this comes with a caveat. The greater the difference in temperature between the heat source and the water, the more electricity is produced. This means that, in order to efficiently charge a device, boiling water should be cooled down with cold water or snow. Leave your Jetboil at home. Because power is generated because of the temperature difference between the heat source and water, the PowerPot V should be used over a slow-heating stove like a Whisperlite or over a campfire (away from flames) for optimal charging power. Along with a lower-heat stove, the best way to rapidly charge a device is to repeatedly cool the water in the pot with fresh water or snow.

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During several testing sessions, I brought my trusty iPhone out into the bush. At first I was skeptical about the pot’s ability to charge my phone, but found the company’s claims to be very accurate: at peak times I was able to generate 1% battery every 1.5-2 minutes. However, I found it very meticulous to keep my device charging at this rate, as I had to repeatedly add cooler water—carefully, as failure to have sufficient water in the 1-quart PowerPot during/shortly after heating will destroy the pot’s generator. Despite the high maintenance, I was doing the seemingly impossible: charging my phone in the middle of the woods. The only limitation to the PowerPot V: the large pot can only be used for boiling water, cooking noodles or soup, etc, to prevent damage to the generator. The makers compensate for this with the voluminous anodized aluminum lid/bowl that is recommended for cooking and sautéing. Ultimately, this is a relatively small trade-off for the luxury of electricity in the woods.

 

Pros:

  • Adaptor cable accommodates a variety of electrical devices
  • Pot can generate electricity when used over any kind of stove or fires
  • Flame-resistant charging cable/flame-resistant handles
  • Long charging cord, providing a safe distance between heat source and electrical devices
  • Built-in regulator for safe charging

Cons:

  • Relatively heavy, weighing approximately 14 ounces
  • Upkeep needed to maintain optimal charging capacity
  • 1-quart Power Pot can only be used to boil water or liquids
  • Failure to keep the pot sufficiently full during/after heating will ruin the thermodynamic generator

Final Thoughts:

While the PowerPot V can appear to some backpackers as a heavy, superfluous cooking pot, I believe that it harnesses thermoelectric technology in an innovative way, combining convenience with luxury. I highly recommend the PowerPot V for winter backpacking, as it can generate the electricity needed for an emergency call, at temperatures where batteries are often unreliable. While it is by no means an ultralight pot, the PowerPot V is a great choice for backpackers who are eager to keep their electrical devices running throughout their trip.

Included:

  • 1-Quart PowerPot V Anodized Aluminum Generating Pot
  • Anodized Aluminum Lid/Bowl
  • USB Charging Cord with Power Meter
  • Device Adaptors
  • Mesh Storage Bag

Website: http://www.powerpractical.com/powerpot-v
Electrical Output: 5W
MSRP: $149

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