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

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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.