Staying Charged in the Backcountry

Staying Charged in the Backcountry

Posted In: Prepare, The Hunt

Posted By: Jordan Ongstad (September 26, 2016)

As smart phone hardware evolves and the era of the handheld GPS fizzles, being a backcountry hunter without access to a power outlet, you can find yourself still lugging around the old GPS. The fear of your phone dying is just too large an obstacle to overcome. Meanwhile the rest of the world has sold their GPS and now hunt completely from their phone.

If you weren’t aware, your phone’s GPS works whether you have cell service or not.  This means if you have an App like ours, ‘The Digital Hunting Guide’ for iOS or Android, you can pre-download your hunting areas and do everything your GPS does on your phone. Not only is the display quality better, but you have the added benefits of typing on the keyboard you’re used to, always having a phone nearby for quick photos or videos, syncing your waypoints to our cloud, and best of all, you don’t have to carry both a Smart Phone and GPS.

I will admit, it’s a bit unnerving the first time you venture out with just a phone, but just coming back from a 10 day back-country elk hunt in Northern Colorado, I can assure you that keeping your phone charged is simple with the correct equipment. I now hunt with full confidence in my phone and our App.

The Equipment

We all have done it. The night before the hunt, we go to Walmart and get the 16 pack of AA batteries. Into our ultra-light packs goes an ultra-heavy, full packaged, pack of batteries. Every morning starts with checking that we have at least an extra set of batteries in case the GPS dies during the day. Not only is this expensive, but it’s wasteful.  

With your phone, not only are you saving yourself the $400 purchase of the GPS, but you can tap into nature’s power, the sun, and say good bye to a pack full of AA batteries. We can’t say enough good things about GoalZero. We use their products exclusively on our hunts, and the reason can be summed up in one word. Reliability. We use their Packable Solar Panels and their Portable Power devices to make sure we never have a dead phone. This is what we need for a 2 man set-up:

Keeping your phone charged while hunting

Click on Item to get more information or buy from

1 - Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit

2 - Flip 10 Recharger

1 - Light-A-Life Mini USB Light (Optional)

How to Use It

We say it’s a two man set-up, because we hunt and sleep in pairs. Once you get the general idea you can tweak the hardware to your needs. This is what we do daily while in the backcountry:

Every Morning

Keeping your phone charged while hunting

When you wake up in the morning, place the Venture 30 Solar Kit in a place it’s going to get maximum sun for the day. The Solar Panel charges the Venture 30 Power Pack.

The key is to keep your main power source (Venture 30) as fully charged as possible.

During the Day

Keeping your phone charged while hunting

Each hunter throws their Flip 10 into their day pack.

This is ‘Extra Batteries’ for the day. If you start to get low on power in your phone, the Flip 10 will top ya off. Just plug in your phone.

At Night

All Night Power in your Tent

When you get back to camp, grab your Venture 30 and panel and throw it into your tent. The Venture 30 is now your power source for night. It can charge a phone up to 3 times or be used for any device that runs off USB. Here is what we do with it.

  • Charge up to 2 phones at once (the Venture 30 has two USB ports)
  • Charge your Flip 10 if you used it during the day
  • Use the Venture 30 and USB Light to keep your tent or other areas well lit

You’ll wake up in the morning with all your devices charged and all you have to do is put it back out to collect sun for the day. Usually you’ll come back to a fully charged Power Pack at the end of the day to charge all your devices for another night.

To give you an idea of the size and ease of using the GoalZero Products, we put together a quick 30 second clip for you.

Watch the Video:


It’s really never been as easy as now to keep your phone alive no matter where you are. Just outfit yourself with the right charging equipment and you’ll be ready to ditch the GPS and switch completely to your Smart Phone. It’ll save you money in the long run, and better protect the environment by using a Green Energy Source.

If you don’t have a Digital Hunting Guide Subscription – Click Here to Sign Up

After you sign-up go and download the app below.

Get it on Google Play

Additional Tips

  • You want to start a trip with full power in all chargers and devices. The last thing you want to do is play catchup.
  • Make sure your phone is airplane mode if you’re not going to have good reception. Searching for signal drains the battery very quickly.
  • Make sure there aren’t any excess background apps running on the phone that could drain your battery
  • Make sure your display brightness is set low or on Auto to help conserve power.
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