We hadn’t seen snow for a while in the Canadian Whistler backcountry and I had been sitting on some smoking new technology for too many lazy days now. So the lady and I took to the trails with the dogs to see how this thing would actually hold up.
What we’re working with
POWERTREKK is the portable electronics charger from myFC , a Swedish fuel cell technology company. What is particularly inviting about this charger is that it can be used anywhere, utilizing water and hydrogen as its catalyst. The POWERTREKK itself uses myFC’s patented “pucks” in conjunction with a small amount of water, roughly a tablespoon, to charge an internal Lithium Ion battery within the top portion of the unit.
The device certainly looks the part with its sleek packaging and simple, straightforward design. It is meant to be an “open and go” type of unit. Inside you’ll also find an instruction booklet, Micro-USB adaptor, iPhone 30-pin adaptor, and iPhone lighting adaptor.
What we liked
It’s simple! There is literally nothing to it and the instructions are not from Swedish counterparts, IKEA; they are simple to understand and actually contain words and no mystery screws. The basic three LED light/two button control panel is easy enough to understand upon firing in your first puck and is totally user friendly.
The POWERTREKK is lightweight at only 240g (the puck is an additional 30g), which is key for anyone taking it into the backcountry or packing it with them around the globe. It is also quite small, so it can be handily stored anywhere in the house or on the boat for when you need it.
It is a quick charge that gets you back using your device in short order, which could be increasingly more important in an emergency situation. It also can be plugged directly into wall to charge up the internal battery before heading out or to charge your device once you reach your destination.
What we didn’t like
The battery fully charged provides 1500mAh and each puck provides up to 1200mAh. This is one and a half and one full charge respectively, for most smart phones. After the puck is just tossed. While the puck is said to soon be recyclable, at this time it is just waste, albeit no more harmful than your everyday trash.
The POWERTREKK also has some functionality issues in regards to how it can be used. While it may be simple, it needs to be upright and not jostled while in use, because the chemical reaction requires flowing oxygen.
So while it can be used everywhere, if you’re charging the internal battery or charging directly from the puck, you should probably be stopped for lunch.
A bit more specifically, there was also an issue with the iPhone adaptors for anyone with the latest software updates from Apple. You might not actually be able to use the POWERTREKK, as it is apparently not licensed. This may be an easy work around, but does detract from the feeling of being able to use it straight out of the box.
What Do We Say?
It certainly has its place, but that place is likely in your home or car for emergencies. Not too many people have their wind up radios handy anymore and I can’t remember the last time someone used something other than a flashlight app when asked, “do you have a flashlight?” So when the lights go out, it would be nice to know I can still connect using my POWERTREKK.
However, for my money, whether in the backcountry or just wandering abroad, a more reliable Sat Phone or 10,000+ mAh battery that is a fraction of the cost, with equal or less of a waste factor is most likely where I’m leaning.
The POWERTREKK portable charger and replacement pucks are available for purchase online through North American distributor, Industrial Revolution. And available in Europe through the myFC website, as well as retailer listings worldwide.