Tiny Battery Pack Recharges Gadgets in the Backcountry

It’s the size of a roll of quarters. It recharges small devices via a USB plug. The Switch 8 from Goal Zero is a lightweight power supply that you can use to revive dying gadgets on the go, outdoors or anywhere.

I’ve been testing it this month. To use, charge the Switch 8 by plugging it in to any USB-powered device (like a laptop) or a wall outlet. Four tiny blue LEDs light up to indicate when it is fully charged.

The brand cites the process takes about four hours if using a USB port (or up to 10 hours if charging with a solar panel like the Goal Zero Nomad 3.5). In my test this was about right.

Once charged, you can take the Switch 8 with you anywhere. It plugs into a phone, camera, or GPS device to give a boost of battery life.

I tested it on an iPhone on a recent trip. With zero battery left on my phone, one “refill” from the Switch 8 got the phone back to 90% in about an hour.

The unit weighs 3 ounces and fits in your hand. Because of its small size, the Switch 8 doesn’t quite pack the power to charge devices fully but it works great with small devices in a time of need.

It costs just $40. You can keep one in a backpack “just in case” and always know that your phone or other gadget can be revived anywhere if the batteries go dead.

—Amy Oberbroeckling

By

Amy Oberbroeckling, an Iowa native, joined GearJunkie out of college and brought a passion for endurance sports as well as a flawless record in arm wrestling matches against famous rock climbers. Find her biking, trail running, cross-country skiing, camping, or tipping back a cold IPA.