I’ve always liked toys, and with a background in IT many of my toys are electronic.
In Sardinia I had brought a mobile phone, a Nokia N800 tablet computer, a GPS receiver and a camera, and all required power, which regularly proved to be a problem. Even though I had brought solar panels as well, solar power is not always available, and we often had to rely on bars and restaurants for charging.
At times we had no opportunities for charging and as a consequence were without a usable mobile phone for periods, which is bad as the mobile phone is an essential security item.
Recently, while shopping for other stuff, I stumbled over two unrelated gadgets that can also be used as emergency chargers for other things.
I bought a hand crank flash light (for the exorbitant price of €8) which has the obvious use of providing battery independent light whenever you need it. It also happens to have a plug on the side for charging mobile phones which worked without problems with my Nokia phone. I guess it will work with most mobile phones with the appropriate adapter.
They claim that three minutes of charging will give you at least 20 minutes stand-by time or 2-8 minutes of call time, but I haven’t tested it with a completely dead phone. It seems to be a noname product, but other similar flash lights exist. I find it a bit chunky, and it weighs some 170g.
Its not a very glamorous object but it means you’ll never be without light and you’ll always be able to make a phone call. That’s not bad.
I also bought a couple of USB powered loudspeakers so I can listen to music in the shower 🙂 The loudspeakers can also be battery powered through a separate battery pack which sports both an USB outlet and the little round one used for Nokia mobile phones. By using the battery pack alone, any gadget which can be charged by USB can be charged by 4 AAA batteries. It works with my phone and with my Nokia tablet. The battery pack is only slightly larger than a matchbox, just large enough to hold the four batteries.
Again, by bringing just the battery pack you’ll be able to keep a mobile phone, a PDA or a GPS receiver alive as long as you have a set of spare batteries with you.