Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Antigravity Batteries' jump-starter can save a wildland trip ... but with one note of caution

Our small yet powerful Antigravity Batteries XP-3 personal power pack proved to be worth many times its $100 price tag deep in a remote corner of Utah's Canyonlands National Park.

The battery in our Toyota 4Runner had died twice in the driveway. It wasn't an old battery, and the cause remained a mystery. So before leaving on a three-day, early November 4x4 journey deep into Canyonland's remote Maze District, I purchased a tiny XP-3 lithium battery pack from Utah's Rocky Mountain ATV/MC.

Remote campsite where battery died.
An arduous 5.5-hour low-range grind brought us to the Doll House's remote and undeveloped cluster of rock pinnacles. There, the National Park Service provides only three primitive, reservations-only campsites high above the Colorado River.

For three days and nights alone, we charged and recharged our phones and camera batteries from the truck's battery (there was data service, for better or worse; and nightfall by about 5:30 p.m. left us with little to do). While the XP-3 comes with a web of USB-type charging connectors and ports, fortunately they and the XP-3 went unused.

Foolishly, we didn't run the engine to recharge the 4Runner's battery. So on the morning of our departure, after dismantling camp and packing the truck, its battery was dead. We had good jumper cables, but there was no other vehicle from which to get a jump. So I reached for the XP-3, connected it to the dead battery and, as advertised, the truck fired up.

The XP-3's diminutive 10.5-ounce, 6″ x 3″ x 1″ size (larger models are available) makes it easily stowable. And while its triple-figure price seemed high at first, the device spared us the need for a four-figure call for help ... or a long wait till help came along.

NOTE: There have been reports of these power packs heating up excessively when being used.

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