Sci Fi for Campers and Hikers: Hydrogen Fuel Cell USB Charger

December 9, 2013

I thought it would be a few years before we saw hydrogen fuel cells used in camping… but here they are…

One of the award winners at this year’s Outdoor Trade Show was the Hydrogen Fuel Cell USB charger from Brunton.

This phone charger takes lightweight hydrogen fuel cells that releases hydrogen into a reactor to generate power, and only releases water vapour, not fumes.

They estimate that a single hydrogen fuel cell, which just looks like a metal cylinder, is equivalent to 15AA batteries and should be enough for 6 mobile phone charges.

The reactor comes with two hydrogen fuel cells, and more can be purchased (believed to be around £4 each).

Now for most of us family campers, we usually camp with our car, and so a 12V adaptor that fits in the car usually does the trick. Solar powered chargers have also improved recently, and the Coleman CPX Lanterns also come with a USB charging solution. However, the use of hydrogen fuel cells and their promise of ‘clean’ energy has really been only in university research departments. Until now.

We had a play with the Brunton hydrogen reactor at the show. It’s really lightweight and small – ideal to fit in a back pack.

So whilst this is not something high on the list for family camping, it’s a useful bit of kit if you are going to be away from a power source for a while, and it is an interesting piece of high-tech gadgetry aimed at campers and hikers.


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Gav Grayston Contributor

Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

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