Brunton Inspire Portable Power Device

From time to time, I’ll repost field reports from other hikers. I met Rockdawg ( AKA Porter Morgan) while in the Smokies on my 2007 AT Thru hike.  We’ve kept in touch since then.  He’s savvy on all sorts of backpacking -related skills and supports.

I use a Solio solar charger right now, but the solar function is really fruitless  in the heavily forested east coast trails where I usually hike.  I mostly use the Solio as a storage battery.  It plugs into the wall , charges up, hen stores that charge for use with iPod, etc. when on the trail. I hope Rockdawg can secure a wall charger for the Brunton.  I would probably replace the Solio with the Brunton is that is the case, as it is lighter and more powerful.

Here’s Rockdawg  :

Had a chance to use the Brunton battery to recharge my cell phone.

Took 2 hours to bring the phone to full charge from a 15% battery condition.  Used about 25% of the battery packs storage according to the LEDs on the pack.  I think I could get 2 more recharges but will have to wait and see. My phone is  a 3G slide by HTC.
Specs for the pack are: 5V output voltage; 1000mA output current; 11.8 Wh capacity; standard and mini USB ports; comes with a micro USB adaptor and car charger.  110V to 12V charger is a separate purchase.  Weight is 4.8 oz.
I tried the Brunton website for a wall cable and could not find one there.  I plan to call them this week and see what their tech folks say.  I suspect at least one commonly used charger with a USB connector might do the trick.  The battery pack can be charged by tapping a computer USB port, but it takes about 2 to 2.5 hours to reach full charge.  About the same with the 12V car charger.
As far as charging my phone, I got 1.5 charges out of the first try.  Not what I expected from the reviews I read.   I’m starting the 2nd testing sequence today to see if I can get 2 full charges.  Was thinking it would carry 3 charges from the reviews, but it just may be the phone I have sucks a lot of juice.
If it will not give at least 2 full charges, I don’t think it would work for really long distance hiking.  It might for me since I don’t run Internet connections while I’m hiking (this current phone really eats juice big time when tied to the internet).  Typically, I usually only turn on my phone once a day when hiking to see if there are messages from home.  That allows me several days of phone charge, generally letting me get to the next town to re-supply, etc.
Will let you know the results of testing next weekend and anything I find out from Brunton:

1)  Brunton is sending me a wall charging unit at no cost.  They said just about any small charger from a cell phone would work, or anything that puts out about 5V and has the proper USB 2 connector.  I have a charger from an older Motorola cell phone that will work.

2) Completed the 2nd phone re-charging test last night and it was same as the first.  Starting at a 10% battery on first attempt, I got a full charge with the Inspire pack showing 3 of the 4 LEDS  still lit after the charging.  On the 2nd re-charge, I started at a 15% battery level in the phone and got to a 60% recharge before the Inspire quit charging.  It still showed 1 LED but did not put out any additional juice to the phone.  My conclusion is that you might get an additional 3 to 5 days usage on the phone by using this Brunton unit, with the phone being on continuously during the daytime – but not being used continuously, if that makes any sense.  This will be somewhat dependent on the particular phone you are using, could be more, could be less.  I also weighed the unit and got 6.0 ozs vs. the 4.8 Brunton advertises.

Brunton sent the wall charging unit for the Inspire, which I received yesterday.  It has a standard USB connection at the charger end, therefore a double-ended USB wire will work with the Inspire for re-charge.  Highly compact, 1.5 x 2.0 inches and about 2 or 3 ozs.  Output is 5V DC.  Has a fold-away wall plug.   I think any unit with this DC voltage will be okay for use.  I’ve used my Motorola phone wall charger (5V DC) to re-charge the Inspire twice and that unit works just fine also.
I think I can use the Inspire similar to what I said earlier – adding 3 to 5 days to my trip time without stopping to find a wall outlet somewhere.  IF I don’t operate in any other manner than to check messages once per day and the occasional call home, this should give me about 8 to 10 days travel time before hitting town for re-supply and re-charging.  Possibly more if I am in areas with no signal.

About Tom Jamrog

I'm sixty-seven and live in the Maine woods. I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2007, the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010, Vermont's Long Trail in 2011, the Continental Divide Trail in 2013, the Camino Portugese (2016), and Newfoundland's East Coast Trail (2017) . I am outdoors every day. I offer guided backpacking trips and classes in Maine, through "Uncle Tom's Guided Adventures".
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