Monday, April 30, 2018

Rechargeable AA & AAA Batteries for Preppers

Preppers need a lot of batteries, because all sorts of everyday tools and emergency devices use them.

There are some devices (like cell phones, tablets, watches or similar) that typically have built-in batteries, and recharging them during an emergency is difficult if not impossible. However, there are many other devices (such as flashlights, certain portable cell phone chargers, many handheld radios, etc) that run off of AA or AAA batteries and will almost certainly be used up during the course of a disaster and will need recharging. Fortunately, those kinds of batteries are easy to acquire, inexpensive, and are relatively power dense.

Rechargeable vs. Traditional
There are a lot of arguments to be made for rechargeable batteries, such as costing less per use than traditional batteries or the ecological difficulty in disposal of toxic alkalines, but for a prepper their largest advantage is that they can be potentially be recharged in the field. If you can recharge a battery, you don’t have to carry as many spares, saving weight and volume. Battery chargers are cheap these days, and don’t take a lot of space, which means a lot of space and weight saving if you're out in the field for an extended period of time.

An average AA alkaline battery weighs 23 grams, which doesn’t sound like much until you realize that it can take four or more of them for a single cell phone or tablet charge, and that weight adds up quickly when toting around a bunch of them.

Power density is also an important factor. Even if you are expecting to use these batteries only once, modern rechargeable batteries are actually slightly more dense than modern alkaline on a per-battery basis.

Disposable batteries do have one advantage, though: if you have to hand one to someone, you don’t have to worry about getting it back. If you are likely to need to loan batteries out, disposables make more sense in that situation.

How to Recharge Them
I recommend the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit with Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel. At 544 grams (1.2 pounds), it's a lightweight and portable way to keep the lights on and your tools running. The solar panels allow you to recharge AA or AAA batteries in the field, or you can just plug the charger into a USB port at home for rapid charging. What's more, you can also recharge devices with built-in batteries (like cell phones and tablets) by plugging the Guide 10 into them.

Good luck, and don’t forget to practice.

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