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Mobile Device Battery Charging Goes Off the Grid

Have you ever run out of power when you least expected it? Maybe you were calling to be picked up from a week of backpacking in the wilderness and realized you forgot to turn your smartphone off before heading out? In the recent past, such problems may have sent you asking strangers for use of their precious mobile minutes or even on a hunt for the rare pay phone still in service. Innovative companies have come to your rescue now with outdoor gadgets able to charge cell phones with the heat from a campfire or even integrated into a camp stove. With these four charging inventions, as long as you have fire, you can surf the web and make those important calls.

The BioLite camp stove comes with a small internal generator that not only makes lighting a fire easy, but also produces enough power to charge any device that connects via USB. Small and compact enough to fit in with any backpackers gear, this stove doesn’t even need liquid fuel. Any dry wood or tinder is enough to cook you a meal and allow you to post that beautiful mountaintop sunset photo to Instagram.

Our next heat-based battery charger is still in the process of launching after a successful Kickstarter funding campaign. The FlameStower utilizes the differential in temperature between an open flame and a cup of water to charge your preferred device with a thermoelectric generator. The hotter the flame, the faster your phone will charge though it still won’t compare to what comes from the standards outlets in your home. Folding flat to make it (again) perfect for backpackers, this handy gadget will run you around $80 for all your outdoor charging needs.

The VOTO functions a bit differently from our other devices. It runs on a fire-activated fuel cell to charge an internal battery that may then be used to charge your smartphone or run a built-in LED flashlight. Able to fully charge itself in two cooking sessions, the makers of the VOTO have two very different markets in mind. Of course one is the outdoorsman looking for a little extra juice to live-Tweet his campfire ghost story, but the other is developing countries – which may lack consistent access to electricity, but have cooking fires in abundance.

Our last outdoor phone charger is another Kickstarter success story. The PowerPot is a bit bulkier than other options but has the added benefit of being able to boil water. This 12-ounce vessel produces 5 Watts of power for all your USB charging needs – about what an iPhone draws from the wall at peak consumption. Using thermoelectric properties to draw energy from the difference in heat between the heat source and whatever you are cooking, this charging gadget is great for campers and hunters as it works with any stove you may already own.

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