Please accept my application for testing the ICP Exponent & BattPak.
46 year old male, 6'4" (193 cm) tall, 225 pounds (102 kg)
wjj2001 AT yahoo DOT com
San Diego County, California
August 31, 2004
Backpacker over 30 years, Scout leader and backpack instructor for 12
I have over 30 years backpacking experience, starting with Scouting
as a youth. I am currently the High Adventure Leader for a Scout
Troop. I try to get out once or twice a month, plus at least one week-
long trek each year. My trips are of two types. First, I am hiking
the Pacific Crest Trail in sections, and generally use a lightweight
approach on these typically solo trips. Other trips involving family
involve more traditional backpacking equipment. Terrain varies from
sea level to 14,000 feet (4,300 m), desert to mountain, and trail to
cross country, occasionally including snow travel.
While I try to keep my pack weight low, I do carry a few electronic
gadgets with me. Besides the basic digital camera and cell phone, I
am a ham radio operator. I carry a handheld two-way radio with me on
all my hikes. Evidence of my obsession can be found on my Repeater
Guide to the Pacific Crest Trail at www.qsl.net/aa6j/pct . In
addition, I am a member of a volunteer organization that works with
our local sheriff department to provide mutual aid communications
between different law enforcement, fire, and public assistance
agencies. All these devices require batteries, and lots of them. I
welcome the opportunity to test a way to recharge these batteries out
in the backcountry.
While I do hold an Extra class amateur radio license, I should point
out that I am not technical when it comes to electronics. Rather, I
get frustrated if things do not work just right when I simply plug
During the course of the test I will follow the weather on my
outings. Initial outings will be in the mountains of Southern
California, while later trips this winter will take me to the remote
Anza-Borrego Desert. Elevation will range from sea level to 10,000
feet (3,000 meters). The weather could be anything from a warm and
dry 85 degrees F (30 C) to a "balmy" 15 F (-10 C), with wind very
likely, rain probably, and possibly a bit of snow.
General plan: I will be testing the product components in two ways.
First, as a way to charge batteries while on the trail. Second, as a
way to directly power equipment while hiking, to save my batteries
for use at night. Radio transmission requires more power than cell
phones, radios, and GPS receivers.
Ease of use: Is it easy to set up and use? Is it easy to install
batteries for charging? Are the instructions clear and easy to
understand? Does the cigarette lighter outlet hold my charging cord
securely, or does it work its way loose and cause me to lose power?
Portability: While it may "strap to any backpack," how well does it
strap to small soft pack? Does such an installation reduce the
efficiency of the solar charger? What does the system weigh, after
including the charging cords from my own equipment as well (which
apparently are needed to connect the system)?
Battery charging time: Wide ranges of time to charge batteries for
various devices are noted on the website. How long does it take to
charge a cell phone or a pair of AA batteries for a camera?
Power: According to the website, "the FLEX 5 can produce enough
power...to run portable electronics, such as cellular phones..." Can
it produce enough power to run a small FRS or 2-meter ham radio, and
at what power output through the radio antenna?
Sunshine, or the lack thereof: While Southern California is known for
its sunshine, we do get a cloudy day or two! How does power output
drop during overcast or cloudy conditions, both for battery charging
and for direct power to equipment? Does use during cloudy conditions
cause my batteries to lose their charge?
Durability: Does the material deteriorate over time from exposure to
sunlight? Just how "fully weatherproof" is it? Is it damaged from
flexing while carried in a pack or from folding and unfolding for
storage? How does it withstand an impact if the pack is dropped? Is
it easily cleaned from exposure to desert dust storms?
PREVIOUS BGT TESTS
I am currently involved in the following tests, which do not conflict
with my ability to complete this test:
(Long Term Report due November 30)
My other previous test reports:
* Black Diamond Zenix headlamp
* Six Moon Designs Europa II tent
* Seychelle In-Line Eliminator filter
* Hilleberg Akto Tent
* Wilderness Press Pacific Crest Trail - Southern California
* Integral Designs Sil Shelter
* Black Diamond Ion headlamp
* Black Diamond Moonlight
* Seychelle Gravity Filter (2000)
(The first BGT test - under different report standards)
I've also submitted the following owner reviews:
New Balance 803 shoes
GVP G4 Pack backpack
Red Ledge Thunderlight rain gear
Marmot Arroyo sleeping bag
I also monitored the following tests:
Imlay Canyon Gear Canyon Dry Kegs (in process - LTR due November 30)
Six Moon Designs Starlite pack (in process - LTR due September 14)
Brasslite Duo Stove
National Geographic Topo! Software
Lowe Ophir pack
Of course, I HAVE RE-READ THE REQUIREMENTS IN THE BGT SURVIVAL GUIDE
(v. 1202) AND WILL COMPLY WITH THE REPORT REQUIREMENTS.
Thank you for this opportunity,