Tag: gear review

Battery Pack for Charging a Phone

One thing I rely on for my expeditions is a battery pack for charging my phone. My model of choice at the moment is a Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Battery Pack. It’s got plenty of juice for charging my phone a few times. It’s light and compact too.

Charging the Goal Zero battery pack
Charging the Goal Zero battery pack

On my recent trip to Alpamayo I took my Guide 10 battery pack and my Nomad 7 solar charger. About half of the days were sunny so I didn’t really have to worry about keeping the battery pack juiced up. Another climber on the trip brought his along too, for his phone. Sometimes on these trips I’m the only one with Goal Zero gear, so I’m the one that ends up charging everyone else’s toys. He was using his phone primarily as a camera. I used mine for music as well.

Guide 10 Battery Pack

With the battery pack to store the solar energy from the panels, it’s easy to charge your gear at night when you’re not using it. In fact, one trick is to keep it in your sleeping bag with you. I think the warmer temps inside the bag improve charging efficiency.

Charging droid with the Guide 10 battery pack
Charging droid with the Guide 10 battery pack

I’ve experimented a bit with the Guide 10 over the years. I’ve replaced the batteries with AAA using the handy adapter. This is great for keeping headlamp batteries charged, though I think the new USB charging headlamps might be a better more efficient option for charging with the battery pack. I’ve also experimented with different types and capacities of AA batteries. I keep three cables in an Eagle Creek zipper storage bag with the Guide 10 battery pack. The three I use most on an expedition:

  1. Micro USB
  2. Sony Camera Cable
  3. Mini USB

Those three cables serve my needs and weigh very little. In the zipper bag, about the size of a grade school pencil pouch, they take up no room and are easy to manage. Over the years I’ve learned quite a bit about organizing my pack and making it easy to do stuff, even in the dark.

Battery Pack and USB Charging Cables in zipper pouch
Battery Pack and USB Charging Cables in zipper pouch

I actually carry this battery pack zippered case in my carry-on bag when flying and use it to charge my phone for long flights when there isn’t a USB socket in the in-flight entertainment console. I fly economy. If you have any other suggestions or tips, please, go to my Facebook Page and share some pics and tips there, or comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Disclaimer: I am a Goal Zero Athlete and am provided equipment to test

Safe Water in Mexico with Purificup

Before I left for Orizaba I was concerned about getting safe water in Mexico. I’ve been sick on a few mountains before. I didn’t want to risk this summit on bad water. I went to Orizaba in 2008 and was too weak and inexperienced to finish. I felt ready this time. I have been using the Purificup Water Purifier. It’s small convenient and easy to use.

Safe water in Mexico packing my filter
The Purificup in place with my gear before I left for Orizaba

To ensure safe water in Mexico I packed my Purificup with my other gear before I left. I usually pack it in a neoprene bicycle bottle cover. It’s the right size, and can help prevent bangs, scratches, and freezing. Here I wrote about how to prepare and how to use the Purificup. I was very impressed with the way it provided safe water in Argentina when I attempted Aconcagua.

Purificup in Neoprene Sleeve for Safe water in Mexico
Purificup Upper Left in Blue Neoprene Sleeve

Safe water in Tlachichuca Mexico

My friend Todd and I used Servimont, an Orizaba logistics company in Tlachichuca. We stayed in their bunkhouse. Across the courtyard from the lodge is a bath house with sinks. I went to make safe water in Tlachichuca with my Purificup. I set my Nalgene on the nearly level window sill and removed the caps from the Purificup. The filter unit fits over the wide mouth bottle. I filled the dirty water cup from the faucet and set it atop the filter, then walked away to do other stuff while gravity did its thing.

Safe water in Tlachicuca at Servimont
Purificup in the window sill at the Servimont Bath house

In the meanwhile, Todd used his pump filter unit. He filled an empty one quart poly sports drink bottle with dirty water. He stuck the hose from the filter into that bottle, and the other end of the hose into his Nalgene. He started pumping.

Safe water in Tlachichuca with a pump filter
Todd pumping water through his filter unit

I went back and forth sorting my gear and filling the cup at the top of the Purificup. Three nearly-full cups is a liter of water in the Nalgene. It takes only a few minutes per cup, and the best part is it can be done without any intervention or attention. In no time I had two full Nalgenes.

safe water in Mexico with gravity fed Purificup
Filling the Nalgene with purified water via gravity and Purificup

Todd on the other hand was still pumping away. And getting warm in the sun from his efforts. After he was done he still had to catch up on the gear sorting I’d been able to do in between fills of the Purificup.

Safe water in Mexico with water filtration
Still pumping at the filter in the Servimont facility in Tlachichuca

Long story short I was able to get four liters of water ready for our first day on the mountain. Sadly, or happily as the case may be, we managed to hit the summit within 30 hours of arriving at base camp. Otherwise I was going to test the Purificup with the surface and irrigation water. Probably a lot like the water on Aconcagua I expect. A normal trip to Piedra Grande base camp at 14,000′ on the route to the 18,500′ summit of Orizaba spends about 3-4 days acclimatizing before the summit.

Orizaba highest mountain in Mexico
Todd and I on the Summit of Orizaba at 18,500′ highest mountain in Mexico

After we returned home, Todd said he needs to check out the Purificup for his future climbing trips.