So I was thinking, if I'm gonna be hitting up Shenandoah National Park... I better buy some stuff to get ready. I plan on doing the 101 miles of Appalachian Trail that runs through it, that's about 10 days... knowing me it'll be more like 12.
Some quick thoughts - I'm going there to get away from the cities and cars and general city/suburb stuff. But, I still want to be somewhat connected if need be. Seems like the internet and Social Media is an unavoidable part of our lives. So, in light of that knowledge I've bought myself some stuff to tide me over on my LG Spectrum and my ASUS Transformer Prime tablet. I'm bringing both because well... I'm an idiot.
We all know that these new Smart Phones suck battery juice faster than the old 440 6 packs from the muscle car era. I know I can't go a day without charging mine if I use it throughout the day. Since I love taking pictures with my smartphone and posting to Facebook I'll definitely be using it plenty on the trail.
About 2 or 3 weeks ago I started looking for a way to get power for my devices. I originally was shopping for solar chargers, bought on Samsonite solar window charger with the thought that I would strap it to my pack and have my phone charging as I was walking. Let me skim right over that piece of garbage... worst thing I ever bought. I tried it out over a weekend by using it exactly as it was intended, by putting it in my window and letting it charge my phone. Long story short, it didn't work at all. The phone didn't even show that it was getting ANY power. I returned it and got a quick refund.
|Anker Astro and Astro2 battery packs.|
I ordered both the Astro(5600 mAh) and Astro 2(8400 mAh) batteries. There was a sale promotion going on so I got both for about $70 instead of $80 +.
Once I saw that brown Amazon.com box I couldn't wait to dig into it. I checked out the map first because, I was eager to see what I'm getting myself in to.
The map was very detailed, it listed the waterfall areas, height of the waterfalls, the mile marker and hiking distance from Skyline Drive. A brief look to the legend, a scan of the southern end of the map and I found what I was looking for - The A.T. I marveled at its winding path through the park and also notice that it was never more than a couple miles from Skyline Drive. Kind of a bummer but, it also makes me feel a little bit more at ease to know if anything ever did happen all I'd have to do is walk a short distance and civilization would be near by.
I then went on to tear into the battery packs. Both were very light which was a big plus considering every oz. is going to count after a few days of hiking.
This particular model (Astro2) comes with a padded pouch(not a cheap looking/feeling one either) and usb adapters. I had it for about a week and pretty much used this exclusively (I only used the phones wall charger a few times) to charge my phone, before writing this review so I think I can give the honest experience and facts.
Here's the good stuff-
1) Easy - Has a "Power In" and 2 "Power Out", ONE multifunction button, A LED flashlight and led power indicators.
Power input is Micro USB
Power out is Standard USB(use provided adapters)
The LED flashlight is fairly bright, good for lighting immediate area 2-3 ft. in front of you but, not much further.
Led's indicate charge.
2) Durable - It fell out while hiking and tumbled 20 or so feet down a hill then hit a rock. Nothing wrong except a few scratches.
3) Stylish - C'mon it's black and silver... what's not stylish 'bout that?
Here's the not so good stuff-
1) The power indicators only show battery capacity when it's not charging a phone/device. While charging, only the first light blinks :(
2) It does not charge my ASUS Transformer Prime tablet :( the tablet came with a USB charger which can plug into either the wall(with adapter of course) or a computer to charge, transfer data or do both at the same time. So why it won't accept a charge from the Astro2 ? I don't know...
3) The USB adapters provided by Anker were not very durable... the micro USB adapter(from both Items I bought) was very fidgety and if I so much as moved the connection it would stop charging :( I have the USB - Micro USB cord that came with the phone so, no big deal but, it'd still have been nice if their cord worked.
All in all, I'm pretty happy with this item. It charges my phone, is pretty darn durable, and holds a pretty decent amount of charges, I think I used it 4 times to charge my phone from 15% to 100% power before I needed to recharge the Battery Pack itself.
I'm glad I bought these Gadgets, they've both worked pretty well since I've had them and, the map is something I look at almost everyday.
Here are some Links:
Anker Astro 2
Trails Illustrated map