Tips For Keeping Devices and Batteries Warm…
Related: Chemical Warmers
Why is it important to get longer battery life from electronic snowmobiling devices? It seems every time I turn around, I’ve acquired some new gadget to carry while snowmobiling. I resisted for as long as possible. But with no success. So now I have a smart phone. A sat phone. A DSLR camera. Heated FXR Recon gloves. With inevitably more to come. Things like Thermacell Foot Warmers or heated socks…
And all have one thing in common. They run on battery power. Which in theory, or in some inventor’s lab, or in summer, works very well. But in the frigid cold of a Canadian winter? Not so much. So, far too much of my time and attention is now spent trying to maintain and prolong multiple battery lives.
Longer Battery Life Starts Here
Built In Batteries
This nightly chore falls into two hassle-filled categories. One is devices with built in batteries. These require plugging the whole apparatus into an electrical or 12-volt outlet for re-juicing. There have no spare external batteries.
The other category is devices with removable batteries. This requires re-charging batteries separately. But this equipment does offer the option of carrying spare pre-charged batteries. As if my pockets aren’t full enough already. And assuming I can find a warm one to stow the spares in.
Batteries Charging Hassles
The paraphernalia required for charging batteries borders on overwhelming. Charging stations. Special power cords for each different device. Extension cords. Power bars. And even those gizmos that convert a single outlet into a multi one.
And now I need more electrical outlets in my hotel rooms than the Taj Mahal. Woe be to any lodging that has any of their own stuff already plugged into to their already scarce outlets. Too many of these are hidden away behind beds or dressers for easy access anyways.
Besides, I’m always worried about plugging in that one apparatus too many. You know, the one that blows all the room circuits. Or blacks out the entire motel. Or maybe even knocks the entire town off-grid. Yup, that was only me, just trying to recharge a stupid battery!
Battery Charging Trial & Error
I’ve had only limited and unpredictable success with maintaining battery power all day on a cold trail. Sure, I start with everything fully charged. But there are only a few relatively protected inside pockets available in my snowmobile suit. So a frigid Mother Nature sucks out the juice like a hungry baby on a formula bottle. Then I’m left with a percentage of power lower than my under performing stock portfolio. And no, I’m not reduced (yet) to warming any device in my jockey shorts.
I’ve tried carrying various kinds of portable power rechargers and battery life extenders. Just more stuff I don’t have room to transport on my sled.
I’ve experimented with several different (supposedly) heat retaining smart phone cases. Maybe they worked in California. But not here in the Great White North.
I’ve re-plugged devices in at lunch stops, assuming I can find an unused outlet. But it’s rarely long enough to make much difference. And it’s a sure recipe for leaving one behind, making it one step more useless than just being battery-dead.
I’ve even tried going cold turkey (so to speak) by leaving the devices at home. That had about as much chance of working as me going back to bogie wheels!
Longer Battery Life Solutions
After much trial & tribulation, I’ve come up with only two comparatively sure-fire solutions for spreading digital warmth. One is a heated handle bar bag that remains toasty with an electrical plate plugged into my sled’s battery. So far its only downsides are that, like handlebar warmers, the heat only flows while the machine’s operating. And the other is forgetting to bring my device(s) inside with me at lunch. Or worse, at day’s end!
My other sure-fire solution is chemical warmers. You know, those little packets sold for warming fingers and toes while outdoors.
The brands with adhesive backing stick to the back of my smart phone and camera. I stick others inside pockets where I carry spare batteries. And I even affix one inside each small compartment in my heated gloves. This extends their battery life by several more comfortable hours. Just be sure to check the best before date on the warmers. The fresher the better!
Of course, now in addition to carting around a hydro truck full of powering gadgetry, I also carry the world’s largest supply of chemical warmers. But they do provide a certain new peace of mind.
Now if search & rescue is ever looking for a stranded me in the middle of nowhere, my chemical warmer induced heat signature will lit up their screens like a forest fire! And that will be me chatting away with them and taking rescue photos with my well-warmed digital devices.
The tips and advice in this blog are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.