Are AA and AAA batteries a thing of the past?

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by Forestree, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. Forestree

    Forestree Treeforest Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    After asking a question in the UL group about headlamps, I’ve contemplated whether it’s even worth it to continue using AA and AAA batteries anymore. I carry a cell phone and it’s a great tool for communication and survival (Help!....if in service) and utility and entertainment.....and I carry a means to charge it (a guide 10).

    If you can charge/power everything in your pack (cell phone, gps, flashlight, fan :11:, etc) with one portable lithium battery, does that make more sense to carry than stuff that operates on AA and AAA batteries?
     
  2. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    Maybe but my flashlights, headlamps, and SPOT run on old timey batteries for now; so I carry extras.
     
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  3. MAD Punty

    MAD Punty Supporter Supporter

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    Yes.

    Lithium has other advantages, also...like handles the cold better. All my stuff is rechargeable, and I have a folding portable solar panel, and battery bank...good to go forever, pretty much.
     
  4. Dustin R.

    Dustin R. Tinder Gatherer

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    I think about that every time I go out latley. I have a solar panel and a rechargeable battery. But I haven't had the desire to make a full change over to rechargeable yet. I DO try to stick with AAA only but I think the tech has come leaps and bounds in rechargeable so I may end up changing out some gear and leaving traditional batteries behind.
     
  5. Mikewood

    Mikewood Supporter Supporter

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    Lipo batteries are cool until they quit. Then you throw the object in the trash. Flashlight? I like a lipo headlamp backed up with a 1 AA Cree lamp and a dozen batteries.
     
  6. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Still good here. Have a large flock of both sizes in Eneloops and they get used all the time.
     
  7. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker LNR LB 42 Supporter

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    And....
    You can find AA and AAA just about anywhere in an emergency....
     
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  8. ezra45

    ezra45 Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Got a fridge full of AA and AAA. I use them in camera flash, headlamps, flashlights,remotes for tv, garage door,one stereo amplifier.

    Regards,

    ezra
     
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  9. rhino on INGO

    rhino on INGO Supporter Supporter

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    I sure hope AA isn't a thing of the past! I use a batch of AA rechargeables for most things around the house. I'm also liking some flashlights that use a AA-sized battery that produce obscenely huge amounts of light with a 14500 rechargeable. In a pinch, all of those lights can also use a AA, but will not be as bright.
     
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  10. 11C1P

    11C1P Scout

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  11. RocketBoy

    RocketBoy Supporter Supporter

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    As as I'm concerned, as long as I have devices powered by AA & AAA, I'll continue to use them until the stop working.

    b/r

    RB
     
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  12. EternalLove

    EternalLove Guide

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  13. Ron

    Ron Guide

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    No. I don't think so. At least not in the foreseeable future.
     
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  14. reppans

    reppans Scout

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    I consolidated my all my gadgets around AA Eneloops many years ago, but after they perfected the smartphone, I just consolidated my all my gadgets period. Smartphones are all lithium-ion based and are most efficiently field recharged by lithium-ions under most measures: weight, volume, speed, capacity monitoring, solar, AC, 12vDC, etc.

    As an outdoors enthusiast, the only two functions a smartphone does not suffice for me are: off-grid comms (eg, Inreach Satcom/PLB), and LED lighting.... and the former is only Li-ion based while the latter could go either way. So it's an easy decision for me.

    That said, I do understand the importance/ubiquity of alkalines/NiMh and, with a little jury-rigging can still use them (and other chemistries) with my lithium-based system to run my light, powerbank my phone, and even recharge NiMh ~halfway.
     
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  15. Wasp

    Wasp DOWN IN DIXIE Supporter

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    No way, batteries aren't going anywhere. I have a rechargeable flashlight, guess what happens if I need more light after I've burned through the charge? It has to be turned off and put on the charger. Often for a long time. With a battery you can change it out right now.
    Same for solar, its great but if you don't have a second solar light waiting and it runs out, well whatever you're doing will have to wait until tomorrow night.

    You can get enloops which are shelf and equipment stable, discharge, and can be recharged 500-2000+ times each. But a couple battery carriers from storeacell and you're set. If those run out you can substitute with batteries you can get anywhere.

    Now I think the rechargeables are great actually. You can charge from a car, out, laptop, or small power bank which is great. I have been carrying the streamlight microstream and carry a backup olight i3e eos on my keyring with an enloop in traditional AAA. Also have a spare light in AA and AAA in my pack, as well as a spare battery for each one. Two lights on me, two in my bag, weighs about as much as a couple small pocket knives, gives me lots of options.

    Batteries aren't going anywhere. If for no other reason than older gear and products that use them. I say embrace both (and solar) if you can.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
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  16. MAD Punty

    MAD Punty Supporter Supporter

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    All my stuff is 18650, and CR2032.

    Not all lithium batteries are integrated. Lithium batteries can be changed just like Alkaline, except they're rechargeable. I have a couple of things that the batteries are integrated, an emergency radio, a rechargeable puck light that doubles as a battery bank...but my headlamp, my vape gear, and my flashlight are all 18650.
     
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  17. RiceOnSuede

    RiceOnSuede Banned Member Banned

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    Pretty sure he talking in regards to hiking. And yes they are slowly becoming a thing of the past. The new quick charge portable chargers are so light and portable. People have had the same one on multiple thru hikes. They charge everything till you get to town where you simply recharge for free.
    I can top off my headlamp at breakfast everymorning amd mever worry
     
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  18. tabasco_joe

    tabasco_joe Supporter Supporter

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    About 10 years ago I bought a set of every type of AA rechargeable battery Amazon carried and ran them through tests. The Eneloops might not have had the largest capacity but excelled in storage, number of cycles, and performance to published capacity. (I was running 10 game cameras on my woodland back then so needed close to 100 batteries.)
     
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  19. outkastblast

    outkastblast Scout

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    I was going to say, maybe the old NiCad and whatever the non-rechargable stuff should. But lithium rechargeable in both sizes will be around for a long time. My kids use them in their game consoles, we have several remotes, I have dozens of AA and AAA flash lights as well. I prefer rechargeable types like Eneloop and the Amazon basics (which is very likely just rebadged Eneloop) over the throw away stuff.
     
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  20. xrayit

    xrayit Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    AA and AAA Eneloop works for me, I bought a couple kits that have D and C adaptors so I can run Eneloops if needed. I still use AA and AAA energizers for non critical things like remotes and such. Have a few flashlights that run on 18650 and CR123 and have the ability to charge them with solar if needed. I try not to buy any critical need item that has a sealed case and no way to replace the battery without cracking open the device.
     
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  21. Forestree

    Forestree Treeforest Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Thanks for the replies everyone. I should have been more clear that the question is mainly for backpack camping. I do use eneloop batteries in my AA and AAA stuff and haven’t had any problem with them. But in an attempt to be multipurpose, I use the goal zero guide 10 (which uses the eneloops) as a battery pack to charge my phone. That way in an emergency I would be able to charge my phone with batteries out of my headlamp.

    As I’m looking at getting a new headlamp, I was just thinking about maybe ditching the AA/AAA batteries for a lighter rechargeable headlamp and just carry a lithium ion battery pack to do it all with more power and less weight and bulk. I agree with the concerns about built in battery packs but like mad punty mentioned the 18650 batteries are a possibility. My gps unit (garmin) would be the only thing that really requires AA batteries but I almost exclusively use my cell phone gps nowadays anyway.

    I don’t know, gonna think on it some more....the only electronic things that I really want to power are my headlamp, small pocket flashlight, cell phone and sometimes a USB tent fan :11::D ( though now I’m in a cooler climate). Also a small am/fm radio at times. Thanks again for the thoughts
     
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  22. chndlr04

    chndlr04 roughian #2 Supporter

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    Really?
     
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  23. LogCabin

    LogCabin Guide

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    A good solar charger can recharge the battery pack or the Eneloops. I have an Anker 21W solar charger. I use the Eneloops all the time. Great batteries.
     
  24. Forestree

    Forestree Treeforest Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Yeah I’ve been using them for several years now but was just looking at the eneloop pro batteries which provide more power.....my older ones are AA with 1900 mAh and the AAA are 750 mAh. The pros are AA 255o mAh and the AAA 950 mAh. That’s a lot of power and almost maybe more inline with what lithium ion batteries can provide at the same weight/bulk.

    That’s the tough thing with battery technology....you sleep and you’re left behind. Course if it works then it works and that’s what really matters....heck, I’ll bet there’s some members still carrying an old school 8 d cell eveready flashlight :D
     
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  25. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    I have a bunch of LiOn and Eneloops; rechargeables certainly make sense for a variety of reasons.

    I'm just hesitant to be dependent in the field on a single set of batteries and a charger. Charging takes time and I don't want to be caught in a pinch where I don't have the time or right conditions for it. A backup battery set, whether rechargeable or disposable, allows a quick swapout and immediate continued use. Then, using common form factors like AA and AAA make that easier and interchangeable between multiple devices.

    Standard AA and AAA are 1.5V while the LiOn size equivalents, the 14500 and 10440, are 3.7V. Few devices are rated to use either, so make sure you use the right ones for the device. And certainly don't mix them together in the same device. Sorry if I'm posting the obvious.
     
  26. tabasco_joe

    tabasco_joe Supporter Supporter

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    I have solar panels that have USB ports, power packs, and battery chargers all with USB interfaces. This includes chargers for camera batteries. How much and what combinations I take depend on the trek. If weight is less of an issue and I'm going to be set up at a fixed location I take more. Mobile on long hikes, less. I'm judicious with use of most devices with the exception of the camera. I take the camera to take pictures and record the trip. Other than the camera batteries it's easy to top off my batteries with the solar panel. It's rare that I can completely recharge a fully discharged battery in the field. But it does extend the amount of time I can use devices. And gives me a backup just in case.
     
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  27. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I do think AA batteries are still fairly ubiquitous. AAA maybe not as much but still super easy to find.

    I am a fan of being able to swap batteries to keep gear running or load into something like a Guide 10 like @Forestree said. Reducing to a single battery pack charger is also reducing to a single point of failure.

    Then again for me at least it's largely a moot point because I don't carry much electronics when I'm out. I carry a cell phone but keep it turned off. I usually have an LED light (Fenix E01 or Quark Tactical 2AA) loaded with Energizer lithium cells but it is a backup to my candle lantern. I don't carry a solar panel or a charge pack and for that matter don't bother with extra batteries. I go to sleep when it gets dark, wake up when it is light out, etc.

    OTOH if I were super ultralight maybe gear with embedded, rechargeables would be the way to go, and a battery pack on longer outings.
     
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  28. John from Alberta

    John from Alberta Supporter Supporter

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  29. LogCabin

    LogCabin Guide

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    I wonder if they can use to original charger. Or, if you need a new charger, too.
     
  30. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    I've charged both regular eneloop and eneloop pro on the same charger. Mine's an Xtar charger but that shouldn't matter, any charger that works for one should work for the other.
     
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  31. LogCabin

    LogCabin Guide

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    I ordered an 8 pack of the Eneloop Pro.
    I use them regularly around the cabin, and find it easy to switchout.
    I have had them for so many years I do not know how many recharge cycles I must have done.
    Time to switch them.
     
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  32. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    The thing with the eneloop pros is they have nowhere near as many recharge cycles as the regular eneloops. For example, in AAA size, regular have 2100 recharge cycles while pro have only 500 cycles. A significant difference in life for just another 150 mAh of capacity per charge. And I realized that most of my devices do just fine on regular eneloops.
     
  33. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    La Crosse chargers used to be the thing to get for AA / AAA charging. In particular the BC500 because it supports 12vdc or 110VAC charging so you can charge easily from your car, boat, RV etc. For home use the BC700 or BC1000. These are good for tech minded folks who want to always know what is going on with their batteries. They can measure actual battery capacity, do a full discharge/recharge "recovery" cycle, bring borderline cells back into use, and probably more stuff. Probably there are some better ones out there (Tenergy, Opus come to mind but no real knowledge of them) but the La Crosse ones are still available and IMO a known good.


    Eneloop Pro can be found with a "quick" 3 hour or 4 hour charger. Good if you are in a hurry, I suppose. Slower chargers (7-8 hours) push less current (usually ~200-300mAH) and that is easier on the batteries. Some quick chargers, you can feel the cells heating up. Too much current into a weak cell can make it pop ("explode" is too strong a term).

    Eneloop chargers, like the La Crosse and most "better" chargers, feature individual chargers i.e. each charge bay has its own control and display. You can charge any mix of 1-4 AA or AAA cells.

    This video is a couple years old but as it agrees with me it must be good:

    The AmazonBasics line includes a less expensive charger and batteries. In that one batteries must be charged in pairs, and the pairs have to be the same type. Not typically a big deal but maybe a problem for ppl with a single cell (e.g. AAA keychain light) or one that uses three cells as is the case for quite a few LED headlamps. The new one also has a USB port to use like a power bank, which is cool... but still has to charge via AC.

    Guide 10 is a neat gadget and I'd like one... but it has a similar limitation to the AmazonBasics charger. You have to put 4 cells in for it to charge or supply power. Not 1 not 2 not 3 but 4 cells. Furthermore it is either 4 AA or 4 AAA since AAA functionality is by means of an AAA adapter that fills all four slots. Rated capacity is 2300mAH at 4.8V with makes it far bulkier than a device with built-in Li Ion. In fact here is an Anker charger that is about the same size and weight but with four times the capacity (10000mAH). And it supports 2.4A USB devices. They have another that is slightly heavier (9 ounces) that supports USB-C and which can power a Macbook.

    That is pretty powerful motivation for carrying lightweight stuff and forgetting about AA and AAA.

    Looking at Goal Zero's website they seem to be in alignment with just carrying a battery pack. It used to be the Guide 10 was the only smaller charger but now they have a whole series of small chargers that do not feature replaceable batteries. Guide 10 is still on their website but I wonder for how long. I hope it sticks around because there aren't many other options for something that charges AA or AAA cells from USB (meaning AC, DC or USB device) or solar. Maybe I should grab one while I can, along with one of their solar panels.
     
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  34. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    True story. Eneloop Pro cells also have higher discharge rate in storage. My take is they are good for "hot rod" use like for an expensive tactical light or professional photography lighting but for mundane or "long haul" the regular Eneloops are actually better.
     
  35. LogCabin

    LogCabin Guide

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    Yeah, I saw the "85% after 1 year" vs "70% after 5 years"
    That and the 500 cycles ... I canceled my order.
    Thanks all.
     
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  36. bikerector

    bikerector Tracker

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    I like rechargeable AA and AAA with standard batteries as backup. I have a few rechargeable lights but there is still a convenience of being able to swap batteries when the light dies instead of being without light for hours while the battery recharges if you run over the time limit of the rechargeable battery. Most lithium battery packs are cost prohibitive to have several of to swap out like you can with AA and AAA.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  37. tabasco_joe

    tabasco_joe Supporter Supporter

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    Do you really ever charge a battery 500 times?
     
  38. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    Well, that's a good point. You'd have to be a pretty heavy user to fully deplete then recharge any one particular battery 500 times. Not inconceivable but less likely.

    But, you don't always wait until full depletion to recharge, right? For example, I have a pair of Sennheiser wireless headphones, I use them in the evenings after the kids are in bed. They use two AAA rechargeables and I'd say I use them long enough to deplete at least 50% charge every night, maybe. Then, their base station is also a charging station, so they get recharged every day while not in use. With a usage cycle like that, it takes less than a year and a half to hit 500 recharges. Compared to 5 years, 9 months to hit 2100.
     
  39. Tdr

    Tdr Scout

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    I'm a little late to this discussion, but the way I would look at is ,it if your main goal is to keep a cell phone happy ( nothing wrong with that) then I probably would want my flashlights and headlamps to be rechargeable from the same source.
    With aa and aaa you'd also have a charger or carry disposables.
    If the cell phone is not top priority I would say aa and aaa are not obsolete.
     
  40. Wasp

    Wasp DOWN IN DIXIE Supporter

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    YUP!
    [​IMG]
     
  41. chndlr04

    chndlr04 roughian #2 Supporter

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    Lucky. Shelves are bare during emergencies
     
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  42. Wasp

    Wasp DOWN IN DIXIE Supporter

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    Thats why you prepare. Or if you're home you start robbing batteries if necessary.
     
  43. LogCabin

    LogCabin Guide

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    I saw a AA phone charger made by Rayovac a few years ago. I saw it at Lowes near the check out. I put it in the truck emergency box.
    Truck stopped, batteries dead, portable batteries no good, solar not working, then .... AA will do 1 charge.
     
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  44. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    My Xtar VC2 plus goes both ways - it's primarily a charger, plugged into another power source and charging batteries (Li-On, Ni-MH, Ni-CD), but it can also be used standalone to charge other devices. Put a charged battery in the left slot and it outputs via a USB port, 5V 1A.

    And it's far from the fanciest charger in their lineup.
     
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  45. Forestree

    Forestree Treeforest Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I probably didn’t word the title of this thread appropriately as I was specifically talking about backpack camping....might should have just stuck with my original thread in the UL group, but here we are anyway. After doing some more thinking/research on this, going with rechargeable flashlights (and radio) with one li ion battery pack would not only be lighter but also provide more power at the same time. If the headlamp runs out, it can be charged while using at the same time, so no worries there....and I also carry 2 sources of light (streamlight micro stream).

    The problem with the guide10 charger w/AA or AAA batteries, is that it won’t even fully charge my cell phone. Which is fine for an overnight, but not much longer if I still want to use the gps, camera and/or listen to music. Or using the internet if service is available. And then that would burn up my flashlight batteries if I were to need them. It’s just confusing and hard to keep up with how much power things have. And I don’t really want to tote a box of batteries.

    So here is what I carried on my last trip....4AAA headlamp, 1AAA microstream light, am/fm radio(no batteries, use 2AA from the ones in the charger), guide 10 charger w/ 4AA, and 4 AAA w/ tray (to go in charger).
    Total weight: 18.1 oz
    CB570A11-7F99-4F11-AD8A-E5E8D3EF72AE.jpeg

    The rechargeable items I’m looking at replacing these with are: Anker 13000 mAh charger, Nitecore NU25 headlamp, streamlight microstream usb rechargeable, and a retekess am/fm radio
    Total weight: 13.1 oz

    Less weight, bulk and confusion. And probably 5 times more power capacity. No brainer to me at this point.

    Now just gotta find an extra Uncle Ben laying around and see if I truly made the right decision :33:
     
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  46. Herman30

    Herman30 Tracker

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    That is why you buy and store them at home before any emergency.
     
  47. rustystove2017

    rustystove2017 Guide

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    Eneloops and sleeves to adapt them to C and D devices. Never heard of NiMh venting with flame....Lithium fires are some nasty stuff....... LiPO might be slightly less volitile than LiIo..maybe?
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
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  48. chndlr04

    chndlr04 roughian #2 Supporter

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    I don’t have that issue since I use only c123 but I work for tgt and people flip shit when we run out during emergencies
     
  49. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    For strictly backpacking I agree, @Forestree. What trips me up is when I extend "backpacking" to include "bug out" or "get home" gear or in any way start thinking like a prepper. If you have AA and AAA devices, you can carry a Guide 10 or the equivalent Energizer setup and can also find or carry extra batteries or rob them from another device as needed. Frankly -- the likelihood of needing that redundancy on a backpacking trip is vanishingly small and if it is an issue it will be an inconvenience rather than a major problem.

    Looking at your shopping list -- if shaving weight is your priority you could consider one of the really small flashlights such as the Olight I1R or Fenix UC02 and a slightly smaller (8000 - 10000 mAh) recharge pack. In fact some of them have a two way pocket clip and can stand in for a headlamp if you have a ball cap with you.

    Not sure it is worth doing unless you are really trying to save weight though. Lights smaller than a typical AAA LED light aren't as easy to operate (and certainly don't have a tail switch like a microstream). Overall I like your choices. Good balance of features and weight savings.

    Just curious, for the radio are you looking for one with a speaker, or one of the micro radios with earbuds?
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
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  50. danpass

    danpass Tracker

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    For everything that takes a replaceable battery I like to stick to the AA format, so I can use the Energizer lithiums and get good run time over tripe-A batteries**.

    20 year shelf life
    Minimally affected by cold (or heat)
    Never had one leak in a unit (regular Energizer and Duracells ... yes. Of the several C MagLights I ever had a regular Energizer C cell ruined the ONE unit that had a proper spot/focus to the head lol)


    ** Also because who the heck designs for THREE cells?? A pox on that criteria. I hate that AAA units have become popular (also a pox on round bottles having become popular lol)
     
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