Rating: 8.6 / 10
Value for Money 1.7
Ease of use 1.7
Battery Life 1.8
As someone who podcasts and blogs on the trail I have a need to recharge a number of different pieces of electronics on any given trip and quite often it is two weeks between power points. I rely on having a robust battery power pack that will keep my technology operating. My current choice of battery charger is the Powermonkey Explorer 2 from Powertraveller.
Typically my charging requirements on a given trip include:
In reviewing this mobile charger let’s start with the negatives. Really the only negative is the weight. At 286 grams this is approximately 75% heavier than comparable units. If we just look at the weight and nothing else, you would probably rule this unit out however there is a reason for the additional 100+ grams over the lighter units.
This is where I start discussing the positives which more than justify the additional weight. As shown in one of the images below this unit is almost indestructible and Powertravller use a 4WD vehicle rolling over the top of an Explorer 2 as an example of how tough they are. While not recommended to do this, they will take an awful amount of abuse and still keep on working. I haven’t attempted Powertravller’s other destruction test but they claim the Explorer 2 will survive submerging in 1 metre of water for 30 minutes and again I don’t think that any other mobile recharger would cope with this sort of abuse. The sheer durability of this unit saw it become the official power product of the Red Bull X-Alps 2015 – the world’s toughest adventure race. Powertraveller claim that this is the toughest unit on the market and I don’t think that this is an idle claim. I try to minimise the pieces of equipment on a trip I need to buy however as someone trying to become an ultralight hiker, I am happy to compromise on this bit of kit. I have been using this unit for over 12 months now on trips ranging from just a few days to two weeks and have been impressed on a number of fronts, beyond the durability.
The unit houses a powerful, dual-core, 6000 mAh lithium-ion battery, capable of recharging an iPhone 5 up to three times. If you are charging an iPhone you will need to carry a lighting port adaptor or a lightening cable with you as this is not a standard part of the unit.
We don’t leave our mobile phones on for a trip and only turn them on to check emails and update news when we think we are likely to have a signal. On our 2016, 14 day Larapinta Trail trip we carried one Explorer 2 unit each and found that this was one too many. The second unit we carried went to charging another hiker’s equipment!
Charging is through a mini USB port and from dead flat takes about two hours to full charge (i.e. 99 minutes). Depending on the trip, I will always carry a lightening cable and mini USB cable as part of my standard kit. If I know that I will have access to a powerpoint I will carry a charger as well.
The casing of this unit is made of a lightweight ridged, anodised cylindrical metal (another reason for the weight) and for those into cycling there is an optional bike mount accessory available which attaches to the bike frame and allows users to charge their GPS systems or phones whilst riding. This unit also has the capacity to be paired with a solar charger which may be a consideration when there is plenty of sunlight available.
While not the lightest unit on the market, this is the toughest and will take pretty much whatever you throw at it so think about this as an option for your next power supply purchase.
For those hikers who want a compact, extremely robust battery charger. Ideal for those longer trips of a week or two where you have a number of devices to charge and weather exposure can be an issue
You can purchase the Powermonkey Explorer 2 Mobile Recharger online from Amazon UK
If you have used the Powermonkey Explorer 2 Mobile Recharger or if you have questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post your comment or question below
Powertraveller produces a range of rechargers both solar and non solar
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by the reviewer
Out of the box with the top screwed off
Charging an iPhone. The white lightening port adaptor can be seen plugged into the phone
Powerscreen backlight showing 37 minutes of charge remaining. This is enough to fully charge an iPhone 5
This would have to be the most bulletproof charging source on the market