We all love to get away. We pack our backpacks for the weekend, ratio off freeze dried food, and lace up our shoes. There are some of us that stop packing there and hit the trail. For a majority of us we are there to experience the outdoors and then share it with those who weren't able to join us. Personal action cameras, DSLRs, GPS devices and multi-sport watches often make the cut for what to bring on a trip. Aside from investing in a solar panel there is a ongoing need to provide power for all these devices. Amid the may options available in the outdoor industry I stumbled upon the Photive Bolt. Amazon happened to be having a sale and I pulled the trigger. For the last year this device has been tossed in packs for the backcountry; brought on long runs to recharge media devices and even flown across the country providing power while hopping planes.
Initial Thoughts- The Photive BOLT is a rugged designed 9000mAh battery pack. I am not going to pretend to explain the technical aspects of that capacity. I will say that I have used the battery pack to charge my Motorola Droid twice, my Sunto Ambit Peak twice, my girlfriend Sunto ambit Peak once and still managed to have power left over when I got home. The phone was at 20% both times and the watches were completely drained. The BOLT stands out by coming with a IP-65 rating, meaning it is dust proof and water resistant. Not waterproof! The exterior of the device has a dust cover over the dual USB ports; one easy to operate button; and a location to tether the BOLT. The single button has a duel purpose of turning the device on to begin charging and also operating the integrated flashlight. When turning the device on there are a series of blue lights that indicate how much charge remains. The device weights in at 5.9oz on my scale and is 4.5"x2.7"x1" in size.
Actual Use- As mentioned previously I have taken this battery pack everywhere. Any trip lasting more then one evening I toss it in my backpack to recharge my Sunto watch and cellphone when using it as a map. The BOLT gets tossed around in the pack and has been dropped numerous times. The exterior rubber coating has protected the battery pack when dropping it. It has yet to see any water exposure outside of minor rain. The ability to charge two USB devices at the same time is a huge time saver. Although I have only charged smaller devices at the same time (watches) it seems to have no effect on the charging speed. Outside of backcountry experience I have used in on long drives when there are not extra charging outlets available or when traveling by plane. In both instances the device's small size and reliability have really shinned. The ability to charge the battery pack fully in just a few hours allowed me to recharge on layovers. Although I haven't tested it yet, I suspect that the pack could be charged via a portable solar panel if using on a longer adventure.
Conclusion- When searching for a resolution to your backcountry or travel power dilemma, the Photive BOLT may fit the bill. The rugged design combined with the generous battery capacity create a useful device no matter the environment. The BOLT is best used for charging Kindles or smaller devices while traveling, but most likely could be combined with a solar panel for extended excursions. The simplicity and reliability have made it one of my most popular choices when packing for an adventure. If you would like to find out more about the BOLT or Photive's other solutions, check out their website.
*This product was used, beaten, dropped and purchased by the author.