Michael Z. Williamson
Brunton Restore USB Charger and Portable Powerpack- Review

  • Brunton Restore USB Charger and Portable Powerpack

    Website
    Brunton Outdoor
    Review Date
    December 2011
    Review

    USB power is rapidly becoming standard for portable electronic devices, and makes it easy to charge them from either computers, 12v car sockets or 120 v electrical outlets. However, what do you do when traveling away from such conveniences?

    The Brunton Restore and its relatives provide a variety of recharging options for the traveler or outdoorsman.

    Fully charged, the unit can dispense at least two full recharges to phones, cameras, GPS or similar devices, from its 2200 mAh battery. This was doing full recharges of a drained device from a fully charged Restore. I wasn't able to test Bluetooth units, but they are claimed at 7-8 recharges, and portable game consoles at 1-2 charges.

    A full Restore charge on a sunny day takes about 10 hours. From a computer, it takes about 4 hours. From the car adapter or wall, it takes about 2 hours. My tests concurred closely with their claims. The unit holds charge for a long time. I was only able to test for a week, but I'm quite sure it will last much longer than that.

    It comes with USB and Mini USB terminals and cords, a Mini to Micro USB adapter, and a combination adapter for car or wall. It has a small but bright LED light for locating accessories in the dark, which would also make a useful emergency foot light. It shuts off automatically after 5 minutes. It has LEDs to show charge level, and an indicator to show solar charging is taking place. The power button has a red indicator to confirm operation that shuts off after a few moments, while the unit continues to operate.

    The unit is solidly built with rubber bumpers all around, a strong hinge and a sturdy case. While I didn't deliberately throw the device around, I was not gentle with it. I left it out in rain and high wind over two nights, temperatures slightly above freezing. I bumped it off tables and coolers. I consider this normal usage for outdoor conditions, and the Restore had no trouble with it at all. I put it wet in the freezer for a day, then thawed it. No issues. It provided power while still below freezing.

    I did find the directions a bit unclear until I had a chance to work with the unit, but Brunton promptly responded to all my inquiries. The instruction booklet is in English, German, French and Spanish.

    For backpackers or preppers needing to travel off grid while still having access to modern communication devices, the Restore is a reliable and useful piece of equipment. It retails at $120 MSRP, but is frequently available at significant discounts.

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