A More Rugged Backup Battery

Credit: Courtesy of Braven

Traveling and a low smartphone battery often go hand in hand. And, depending on your location, charging your devices can be tough unless you have an external battery in your bag for some extra juice at a moment's notice. Unfortunately, not all of them are rugged enough for the outdoors. Enter Braven's BRV-Bank, a backup pack you can take anywhere without worrying too much about it getting ruined.

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The Bank does everything you expect and then some. Fully charged, it powered an iPhone, a 7-inch Android tablet, and a Bluetooth speaker — as should any quality 6000mAh external battery, especially one that costs this much. But it's worth it. Compared to other external batteries that charge mobile devices, the Bank offered something more: an integrated Bluetooth receiver and a free iOS app. With the app, you can see how much juice the battery has left, and what's better, you can control which of its two USB ports charge connected devices. This can come in handy when you’ve connected a smartphone to the 5V/1A USB port and a tablet to the 5V/2.4A port, but you want to stop the tablet from sucking power while you finish charging the phone first.

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Putting the tech aside, the Bank is fairly rugged, too. Braven wrapped it in a tough shell to protect it from the elements. In our tests, we dropped it from waist-high, and the Bank showed no signs of damage. The company claims it can withstand a good spray of water, but you should avoid completely submerging it in a lake. Need another reason to take it camping? Its flashlight attachment plugs into one of the USB ports when you need extra illumination. The iOS app enables features such as an S.O.S. mode, which will cause the flashlight to emit Morse code, and a “Bear Mode,” which sounds an alarm if the unit is shaken. 
[$130; braven.com