One of the items I felt was sorely lacking in our emergency kits was the ability to recharge our phones during a power interuption. Sure we have a generator, but if we’re on the move I’m not carrying the genny.
As a stopgap (at about $2.00 each) I threw two of these into our kits. Testing them, however, showed that the unit would kill two AA batteries in about an hour, restoring only 20% capacity to my smartphone. I’d need a bundle of AAs to charge my phone properly, and that’s not happening.
Leading up to our vacation I went out looking for some sort of portable external battery to extend the life of my smartphone (notorious for lasting a max of 12 hours or so), and happened across the Boost Turbine 2000. At about $50 the unit has a 2000mAh battery and a crank so it can be recharged when no outlets are readily available. Perfect, both for our vacation and to be added to the emergency kit on our return.
Initial impressions are favorable, the unit charged my phone from 14% up to 95% in just over an hour, in the process draining the Boost Turbine to almost zero. Plugging the unit into a USB port recharged it in just over two hours (I experimented with the hand crank but have no real sense of what I was accomplishing and will have to give it another run when the internal battery is depleted.)
Edited to add: 07 Sep, 2013
Tested this during our recent vacation. The internal battery will recharge my cell phone once. Using the hand crank on the unit is a tedious process that quickly becomes tiring, but that does allow recharge the phone. The unit was useful when we were on a plane or sitting in an airport.
It has now been added to our emergency kit.