Interview by Jaymie Shearer
When asked if I would test out the BattStation Optimus from ibattz, I was very excited. There have been so many times I’ve been camping far away from any outlet and unable to charge my favorite on-the-trail camera, aka my iPhone. With this in mind, I wanted to test this equipment hardcore, so I passed the baton over to my dear friend, Madison White, who was setting off for a week long hike on the John Muir Trail, hiking from Kearsarge Pass to Mt. Whitney. What better way to test this puppy’s limits than to send it to the top of Mt. Whitney? Here are her thoughts! – Jaymie
Where did you go and how long were you on the trail?
Two friends and I spent 6 days backpacking from the Onion Valley Trailhead over Kearsarge Pass, then Forester Pass to Mt. Whitney, and then exited at Whitney Portal. Initially, I wanted to do this stretch because I could not get John Muir Trail (JMT) permits for this year and this section was still available—I wanted to go backpacking and also climb Mt. Whitney (lifelong dream) and after looking at week long stretches of the JMT that included Whitney this trip seemed perfect.
What I did not know until we met people on the trail was that it just so happened to be “the most beautiful stretch of the JMT”. After learning this was my first time backpacking, one Pacific Crest Trail hiker told me to lower my expectations for all other backpacking trips because nothing will be as beautiful. Ha, dang.
Gear wise, what were some of your essentials for this trip?
The essentials for my trip included my tent, sleeping pad & bag, sunscreen, trekking poles, water purification system and camelback, and camera (which included my iphone). The iphone and GoPro needed a charge, so the ibattz BattStation and our solar charger became very necessary.
What did you think about the ibattz Mojo BattStation?
I thought the Mojo BattStation did a fantastic job at providing all of our phones and cameras and GoPros with a full charge multiple times. It was nice to be able to plug it in and still have plenty of juice for many more charges without the worry or hassle of trying to get an adequate solar charge. We also had a solar powered charger which came in handy when more than two of us needed a charge at the same time. The downside is that it was a bit heavy (we nicknamed it the brick) and it was a little too bulky for my fanny pack. However the bulkiness and weight were worth all the pictures we took on the trip.
By the time we made it to Whitney Portal on Day 6 and got back into town we ran out of juice on “the brick” and were able to charge it up again. I would say it worked really well between three people with phones and we needed at least one charge on it every day or every other day. However we were also using the solar charger and if we did not have that alternative power source we probably would have run out of juice a lot faster on “the brick”. That said, I would absolutely use this again – it was a great product and the positives definitely outweighed the negatives.
[Editor’s note: the ibattz BattStation is rated for 8 full iphone charges per one battery charge.]
What is one of your favorite memories from this past week?
One of my favorite memories from the trip was on our first night on the trip. We camped at the only spot that allowed a campfire in our section at Vidette Meadow. Our campsite was too perfect, it was a flat spot circled by trees with a clear view of the meadow and the creek flowing through.
When we were all refreshed and settled and making dinner as the sun was starting to go down around 8pm a group of deer, one young buck and 5 fawns, strolled through the meadow and started playing with each other. They were running and jumping and prancing and chasing each other. It was absolutely amazing. We all quietly watched from the edge of the meadow on a boulder for at least an hour. Occasionally one would stop and look at us only to go back to frolicking with her deer friends. This all happened about 30-50 yards in front of us. They eventually all galloped off and we were awestruck.
We were also so caught in the moment that none of us took a picture or video and were just fine with that. It is those very special moments when we forget to capture them in a little camera that sink the deepest in our souls.
I will never forget that.
Photos (C) 2015 Madison White
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