Imagine one of the following scenarios:
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You are on an extended bow-hunting trip with your family. This trip is long overdue and a great opportunity to participate in a sport you are passionate about, reconnect with family, and enjoy nature. You are all staying in a wall tent in a remote location deep in the mountains. After the evening hunt one day, you are supposed to meet your father at the truck, as you go to different locations to spot game. You’re at the truck and begin to wait. After a bit and Dad is a no-show, you start to worry and pull out the radio everybody in your hunting party carries for
Your Dad owns a business and has a GMRS license and the family is allowed (legally) to use GMRS radios to talk with each other. As soon as you turn on the radio you get a hold of your father. He tells you he has fallen and he may have broken his leg. After a bit, he can guide you to his location. Thirty minutes later you are with him, It takes you two hours to get him back to the truck, but you both make it.
Driving out, you think how lucky you are you had radios and that they were able to be charged with batteries charged with a power station supported by a solar panel at camp. Things could have turned out much worse.
You have decided to pursue your passion and jump into social media. All your platforms deal with nature, camping, and hiking. You frequently go to remote locations and film, get footage with cameras and drones, and write articles. After running out of juice on several occasions and getting tired of putting gobs of disposable batteries in the landfill, you decide on a lightweight power station that can be recharged with a solar panel. Finding a setup that weighs less than 15 pounds total, you never run out of power on one of your adventures again.
Your neighborhood survived a near miss from a hurricane. No major structural damage to your house, but power is out and there are about a million trees down on the road, so nobody is going anywhere other than on foot for a while. It’s been three days but the area affected is huge and it is going to take a bit to get to everybody.
Both you and your wife would like to get the word out to loved ones that you are both fine, but cell towers are down and there is no internet. You remember one of your retired friends in the neighborhood has a radio hobby. When you go over to his house, you find a couple of people already talking to him.
When it’s your turn and you ask him to help you he doesn’t even flinch. He pulls out a notepad, takes down both family’s names and phone numbers, and tells you he’ll get ahold of his HAM buddies and have them call their loved ones and tell them you are ok. When you ask how he can do that, he takes you into his radio room. He shows you a range of large and small power stations and a bunch of radios. He tells you he recharges them from solar panels. With a grin, he also asks you if you want a Klondike ice cream bar.
Our world runs on energy. In many parts of the world, the grid is vulnerable. The world is crazy and getting crazier every day. Many are looking for solutions for emergencies, big and small, that may arise. This may scare some but it shouldn’t. Gear, not fear, (And of course the knowledge of how to use it.) is part of the answer. The ability to produce and store electrical power is something many are interested in.
Many people’s work and recreation take them away from civilization. If you’re one of the millions who venture into the wild to hike, camp, fish, hunt, or just enjoy the great outdoors, you may need a solution on how to power lights, cameras, phones, drones, and laptops to record your adventures and make them more enjoyable. I became interested in solar generators or power stations about 10 years ago. Basically, they are rechargeable batteries, usually able to be powered by a solar panel and other means with an inverter that is able to supply both AC and DC power. I was excited by my first purchase, but my experience was definitely “meh”. The unit I purchased was heavy and the customer service by the manufacturer was poor. Still, it worked after a fashion. Times change however and technology improves. Material science technology has led to the introduction and use of Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, which feature longer battery lifespan, faster charging, better safety, lower maintenance, and improved safety.
I was offered the chance to evaluate a number of products manufactured by Bluetti. Bluetti offers a wide range of power stations, from small and portable to whole house systems. I was very straightforward in my agreement with Bluetti that they would get an honest review of their products and if I thought they were junk, I would say so.
In a previous article, I reviewed the AC 60 power station, which has an approximate 400-watt hour capability combined with a 600-watt capable inverter. For more details, you can read the article but in a nutshell, I was impressed with it.
LIGHTWEIGHT AND POWERFUL
The AC2A is a power station that features 204.8 watt-hour capacity paired with a 300-watt inverter that can surge up to 600 watts. The chief benefit of the AC2A is its lightweight and compact. While providing about half the capacity as the AC 60, it weighs about a third, coming in at approximately seven pounds. This is light enough that it can fit in a rucksack or be carefully waterproofed and taken on a canoe trip and not act as a boat anchor. Paired with a solar panel, it is a very portable renewable power. The AC2A can be charged via solar panel, AC wall socket, generator, and vehicle cigarette lighter jack. It should be noted that Bluetti does not provide the cord for use with the vehicle cigarette lighter.
If you’re a prepper looking for more standby power for the home, this may not be you. If you are looking for something highly portable that can be taken to a “bug out” location or simply a weekend warrior who needs power while enjoying the great outdoors, this may be your cup of tea.
The AC2A has just been introduced. I have been impressed with the ergonomics and ruggedness of Bluetti products thus far and the AC2A is no exception. I plan on doing follow-up articles after I have had a chance to use it more in the field.
Although it’s important to remember our past and have an eye on the future, it’s important to enjoy today. I make plans on how to handle things when life goes sideways, but I also plan on enjoying today and adventures outdoors. So should you. Good luck out there.