How to Charge Your Phone in an Emergency

You can’t beat a smartphone as an emergency tool – whether you need a flashlight, a compass, or a GPS—you’ve got it right there. But all of these functions rely on the phone’s battery, and the features that tend to be the most useful are also those that use the most juice.

When your battery is empty in the great outdoors, the phone might as well be a brick – that is unless you have an emergency charger with you. If you haven’t got a power outlet, there are other ways to change your phone. Here are just a few:

Car Charger

So long as there is a vehicle nearby, then you can use car chargers, a generic one will do, and they are available for all sorts of devices, but tend to work in similar way – although iPhones of course need a specific adapter.

Backup Battery

If there’s no vehicle around, or you don’t want to waste precious gas charging your phone, then you can use a backup battery – also known as a power bank. These power banks are just large batteries for connecting phones with other USB devices,

They are also usually pretty small, and cheap to purchase – so chuck one or two in your backpack and forget about them – although remember that left too long it will lose charge over time, and an be damaged by extreme temperatures, Also cheap ones are particularly weak.

Solar Charger

solar charger on rock

So long as you’re not out in the middle of north norwegian winter, you will probably find some sun – which will enable you to use a solar charger to solve your energy problem.

So long as you’ve got sunlight, you can theoretically use your charger until the sun explodes, even on an overcast day.

Size can be an issue with these, and the bigger ones can usually squeece more sunny juice into your phone.

Hand-Crank Charger

crank charger on beach

Everyone has heard of hand crank flashlights, but a hand crank phone charger? Yes! These little gadgets give you a way to convert the energy of your crank into electricity, which is then transferred either to your phone or an internal battery.

So long as you keep crankin’, the phone will keep chargin’.

But yeah, don’t expect it to happen to quickly – modern smartphones use a lot of energy and this can take several minutes of cranking away. Still, these are a great emergency option for those heading out into the wilderness. The Crank Monkey claims to allow for emergency calls after just two minutes of winding.


These four little options  cover a range of different situations, and if you can have just one – I recommend picking a hand crank charger, and a power bank too for good measure.

Of course, if you’re heading off in a vehicle, then you will want to also take your car charger.

How about some more?

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