Seems like everyone makes a backup battery these days. Toss together some lithium cells and a couple of USB ports and you have yourself something to sell on Amazon. So, to grab our attention, a company has to differentiate – have a purpose, folks! ToughTested does just that. They started designing products for the jobsite. Now, they’re branching into the outdoor gear space. I checked out the ToughTested LED Power Bank and their Pro Armor Weave Lightning cable to see if they are really tested tough.
Review: ToughTested LED Power Bank
After spending some time with the ToughTested LED Power Bank, I’m a bit infatuated. Batteries are boring. They’re these (usually) black blocks with some USB ports on them and they seem like they’re just missing something. It’s like they haven’t evolved yet. If alkalines are Lucy, most backup batteries are Java Man. We need some homo sapiens sapiens up in here.
ToughTested’s LED Power Bank is moving in the right direction. It has a slim form factor surrounding 6000 mAh of juice – enough for three iPhone 7 charges. But, where it splits from other battery packs is the bank of LEDs on the face. Eighteen small LEDs provide plenty of light to perform campsite tasks. Three settings provide high, low, and strobe. High is good for tasks that require plenty of light while low is good enough for reading or midnight trips to the pee tree. The strobe setting? That’s for campsite dance parties.
Orange, silicone handles nest on the ends of the Power Bank and cover both the input and output USB ports, giving the battery an IPX54 rating. It will take dust, shock, and rain, but it’s not waterproof. The handles can also act as hang loops, so you can clip the Power Bank to gear loops in your tent.
I’ve dropped the ToughTested LED Power Bank from six feet on concrete without incident. I tried scraping the back on a tree – no damage. It seems to live up to its name.
I like that the LED Power Bank serves double duty as both a battery and a light. I also like that it can charge off most backpacking solar panels, though you probably wouldn’t need to for any trip under three days. At 6.9oz (196g) and about the size of an iPhone 7 in a case – maybe a bit thicker – ToughTested’s LED Power Bank is a no-brainer to bring along for anyone other than UL backpackers. At $40, it’s a bit more expensive than vanilla battery packs, but you also get a bit more function. It’s a tossup value at full price. Maybe wait for it to go on sale at $30. Check Amazon for current price.
ToughTested Pro Armor Weave Lightning Cable Review
The Armor Weave name comes from the PET polymer woven jacket that surrounds the cable. How tough can it possible be, you ask? Yeah – asked myself the same thing. So, I went at it with a knife. I really did try to saw through the jacket. Not hard, but I put some pressure on the blade and ran it back and forth. Not a bit of damage. For comparison, I tried the same thing with a random micro-USB cable I had laying around – maybe my knife was dull? Well, it left a mark.
The business end of the Pro Armor Weave cable is low profile enough to fit most phone cases. In fact, it’s a bit smaller than the Lightning connector on Anker’s Powerline II. ToughTested also molds in some serious stress-relief at the ends of the cable, meaning it’s unlikely to fray any time soon. At eight feet long, the ToughTested cable is a bit more than a lot of people will need. But, it’s better to have more cable than less and, at $28, it’s still cheaper than the 2-meter Apple cable.
It’d be a rare person who would need this over an Anker Powerline II, though. You can get a 10′ Anker cable for $15 that will likely survive anything you can toss at it. Or, you can get TWO 6′ cables for less than the price of one ToughTested cable. As much as I like a cable that can survive a knife fight, you should probably go with the Anker.