A break in the English weather meant a perfect opportunity for a camping trip and what better chance for the Memory-Map team to test some new Bushnell products from our equipment section.
Sun was on the forecast so to harvest what we could the new Bushnell Solarwrap Mini-Max along with the Bushnell Powersync Battery Bar were packed. I really like the concept here of what Bushnell describes as ‘owning your own personal, portable powerplant’. Although a bit of a mouthful sentence, I can certainly relate to it! Running out of battery on your Camera or GPS is very annoying, especially when you’re following a route or finding lots of nice things to take pictures of.
Fortunately for us, both these products can be charged at home via a standard USB charger, so that I did and I also made sure to pack my GoPro, Smart phone and IPad, all at varying states of charge. I wouldn’t normally pack so many gadgets to go camping with though the plan was to carry a mix of devices to test the claimed charging times of the chargers. So with the car packed it was pointed south in the direction of Cornwall and we were off.
Once camp had been set I began playing with the chargers and first impressions were promising. The battery bar felt really solid and being rubber coated it was surprisingly lightweight. It has two rubber flexi-caps at either end which cover the USB ports offering a decent degree of protection against the elements. There are two USB slots on one side for charging up to two devices at once which was handy as there were two of us with phones in the red. The other end has a mini USB port for charging itself along with a battery monitor button and four LEDs to show you how much charge is left. The first thing I did was press this and thankfully all four were glowing strong, which was a good start!
To collect solar energy the Mini-Max needs to be laid facing the sun so just imagine it’s sunbathing and in this case I attached it to the sun-facing side of our tent by threading a guy rope through the riveted holes on its Velcro cover.
Right, now to the bit you’ve been waiting for, did they actually work? First up was the battery bar, we got two and a half full smartphone charges out of it. This was from the red right up to full. I was also using my phone while it charged and unplugged from it with one of the LED’s still glowing as it was no longer needed. Bushnell claim two full Smart phone charges though if you switched your phone off I think you’d get closer to three. What’s also nice is it charges at the same speed as being plugged into the wall – it is fast!
On to the Mini Max this one was also pre-charged at home so it’s quite difficult to gauge the direct solar input. What I do know is the device gave me almost a full charge on the GoPro and it still had four LEDs glowing as it got dark, which I was more than happy with. Bushnell says it can charge three action cameras from a single charge so I potentially squeezed a fourth out with the help from the glorious Cornish sunshine.
There you have it, only a brief overnight camping trip but enough evidence for me to be confident in adding these Bushnell devices to my kit bag. With modern devices now more powerful and feature packed this can often put a strain on battery lives so we certainly recommend carrying a backup, and these two get the Memory-Map stamp of approval.