Review: Powertraveller Falcon 40 & Powergorilla Tactical
Master survivalist Gordon Dedman takes charge in the outback with PowerTraveller's Falcon 40 & Powergorilla.
When spending significant periods of time outdoors either hiking, camping, fishing, 4 wheel driving or away working in a remote area with no access to an AC power source, keeping your devices charged and ready to use can be a problem! Portable power banks only last for a certain period of time before they in themselves need re-charging and carrying a number of them can be inconvenient and heavy.
I regularly spend considerable amounts of time out bush, either on patrol or survival instructing in remote areas with NORFORCE (an Australian Army Regional Force Surveillance Unit), tour guiding and taking clients on hiking expeditions into Kakadu National Park, filming for my YouTube channel or running my own Bushcraft Survival Courses from an expedition type base camp.
In order to ensure my client's safety and indeed my own, I need to have a light, portable and reliable way of charging my equipment and emergency signalling devices.
"The Powergorilla when fully charged will charge a laptop once,
a tablet 2-3 times, a smartphone 10 times, a satphone 3-5x
and other devices like headlamps or GoPros several times over."
Recently I discovered the Powertraveller Falcon 40 foldable solar panel and Powergorilla (Tactical Version) combination and I must say I have been more than impressed with their versatility, lightweight, and ease of re-charging.
The Falcon 40 multi-voltage, foldable solar panel allows you to charge your laptop, tablet, phone, camera, SAT phone and other 5V or 20V devices such as camp lights, GoPro and emergency signalling devices without needing an AC power source. It consists of three, 29cm x 29cm rugged and durable high-efficiency monocrystalline solar panels that produce a total of 40 watts and weighs only 910g. It also comes with metal eyelets and carabiners for attaching the panel to backpacks, tents or vehicles, however placing it on the windscreen of your vehicle when facing the sun works a treat.
There are 3 ports on the Falcon 40 that you can charge simultaneously from: 2 x USB 5V outputs and 1 x DC 20V output. All you need is a good amount of uninterrupted sunlight and you’re set. In good consistent sunlight I have charged my iPhone in under two hours, my iPad in 3-4 and my old Macbook in 6-7 hours (MacBooks need a special connector sold separately). You will have to adjust the angle of the solar panel to capture the sun as it moves across the sky at 15 degrees an hour. In northern Australia where the temperatures are higher and the strength of the sun stronger, you will need to shield your devices from the direct sun (not the solar panel) otherwise they can overheat.
"In good consistent sunlight I havecharged my iPhone
in under two hours, my iPad in 3-4 and my old Macbook in 6-7 hours."
5V-24V Charger (Tactical Version), which can also charge directly from the Falcon 40 through the DC 20V port. This is my preferred method of charging my devices as the robust Powergorilla is build to endure higher temperatures, so charging your devices from it will save them from being in the heat of the hot Australian sun. I still like to cover the Powergorilla itself when charging it from the Falcon 40 to shield it from direct sunlight. For the “techies”, the Powergorilla multi-voltage charger has a 24000mAh high density lithium polymer battery with 1 x 5V USB output for charging smartphones, tablets, headlamps and other 5V devices and 1 x multi-voltage (12V, 16V, 19V, 24V) DC output for charging laptops, netbooks and SLR cameras (you will need to purchase a Magsafe 1 or 2 connector to charge a MacBook). This multi-voltage DC port is also the 15-25V input when charging from the Falcon 40 or an AC power source.
The Powergorilla when fully charged will charge a laptop once, a tablet 2-3 times, a smartphone 10 times, a satphone 3-5 x and other devices like headlamps or GoPros several times over. It comes with a selection of cables, including AC mains charger, connectors and an assortment of bits and pieces to suit various devices, as does the Falcon 40.
The Powergorilla is approximately 13cm x 21cm, 1cm thick and weighs only 700g so it is small and easy to pack. The tactical version is extra tough and also comes in Coyote Brown, so it blends into the natural environment which is great for military use with NORFORCE and in my base camp when I’m running Bushcraft Survival Australia courses.
Even though the underlying principal of bushcraft is to carry into the wilderness only what you “need” and create everything else from what you find around you, thereby minimising your reliance on equipment and maximising your knowledge and skills, in order to stay out bush for extended periods and still be able to take care of modern business/work needs, filming, client safety and emergency communications, it is essential to have a fully portable, reliable and effective means of keeping your modern devices charged and ready for use, which is something I can easily do with the Powertraveller Falcon 40 and Powergorilla.
Falcon 40 Solar
The Falcon 40 is a lightweight, foldable solar panel designed to charge electronic devices with the power of the sun.
The powergorilla keeps laptops and other devices up to 24V powered in some of the world's most remote locations.