Most of the time when a vehicle will not start, it is due to a dead battery. This can happen at any time and it seems that the newer the car, the more likely this can happen. I know this from experience. We have a fairly new Subaru and unbeknownst to us, the battery stayed “hot” with the key in the ignition while turned to the off position. Until we figured this out, we had a vehicle that would not start at the most inopportune times.
As annoying as this situation can be, it is even more so in the winter months, when being stranded in a cold vehicle while waiting for help to arrive can be miserable. Today I present a solution, the Archeer Car Jump Starter & External Battery Emergency Kit. The compact device will not only jump start your battery but will also serve as a battery pack to charge your phone or tablet while on the go.
This great little unit is compact and portable and I have one up for grabs in the latest Backdoor Survival giveaway. More about that in a moment.
Highlights of the Archeer Jump Starter and Battery Pack
The brains of this jump starter are encased in a slim, compact power block. On the working end you will find a USB output port as well as a Micro USB input port and a 12V input port, often referred to as a cigarette lighter port. Both the micro USB cable and cigarette light cable are included as part of the kit.
There is more. The red button toggles an integrated three-way flashlight. With a push of the switch, it goes from standard white LED beam to a red and blue flashing warning light, to SOS in Morse code.
At the other end of the power block is a rubberized panel that opens to reveal the input for your jumper cables and a Micro USB output cable. I have an iPhone so I need to use my own cable to charge my phone, but this built-in cable does a very nice job of keeping my Kindle charged up.
The power block, as well as the included charging cables, are enclosed in a zipper pouch that tucks neatly in behind your vehicle seat pocket or in the trunk. Some of you may have room in a glove box for the kit but my glove box is so full that I went to Plan B, the seat pocket. It shares that space with a Goal Zero Torch 250 Solar Flashlight.
Using the Archeer Jump Starter
To use the jump starter, you attach the included cables to your battery, red for positive, black for negative. Here is the neat thing: if connected correctly the red light on the cable assembly will light up. You can then go ahead and use your ignition key to start the engine.
Archeer Jump Starter at Work. Note the red light indicates we are plugged in correctly.
A few things to keep in mind. If the red light does not appear, you have reversed polarity or the battery is completely dead with not a bit of juice left. In both cases, the jump starter will be disabled.
The specs indicate that a battery can be jumped 10 times on a single charge. As a practical matter, if your vehicle battery is in that poor of a condition, wouldn’t it be wise to get a new battery? Also, since the pack is so easily charged, why not keep it topped off at all times? That is what I do.
Speaking of charging, there is a four-position LED indicator that indicates the charge state. I drew the starter pack down to a single bar by charging up an almost-dead iPad to 100%. It took overnight to recharge the portable jump starter to 100% using the micro USB input port. The specs indicate that topping off time is half that using the 12V charging port but I did not test it.
The integrated flashlight would be handy to use while you are connecting the cables. With the light it emits, you will not need a third hand to juggle a more beefy flashlight. That said, this is a nice feature but not the best choice as the only emergency flashlight on board in your vehicle.
I have worked with Archeer in the past. You might recall their Archeer Folding Solar Panel from a few months back. (You can read the solar panel review here.) I was, therefore, thrilled that Archeer was back to sponsor another giveaway!
Although comments are not necessary to win, you do get five “entries” for answering the giveaway question. Just remember that you must select the “I Commented” entry in the Rafflecopter to have your comment recorded in the random drawing. This week’s question is:
“What common or uncommon device or tool do you keep in your vehicle at all times?”
The deadline is 6:00 PM MST next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winner must claim their prize within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
Note: Due to Customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to those with a mailing address in the United States.
The Final Word
It is my belief that being prepared for everyday emergencies is just as important as preparing for the long term. Common mishaps have a way of turning our life upside down, albeit on a temporary basis. It simply makes sense to have a contingency plan for these non-catastrophic annoyances.
Having a device, or gizmo, as I like to call it, to jump start your car battery without depending on the assistance of a stranger or lugging around a huge, heavy, battery station is a great way to go. The added benefit of serving as a power source for a run down phone or tablet adds to the value of having a portable jump starter onboard, as does having an integrated flashlight with an SOS mode.
One way or another, I suggest you tuck a jump starting device into a corner of your vehicle, right along side the duct tape. With luck, you just might win one for free!
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Below you will find the items that I have stashed away in our Subaru.
Archeer Car Jump Starter & External Battery Emergency Kit: This compact vehicle jump start kit comes enclosed in a zippered pouch with all of the cables necessary not only to jump start your car but to renew the charge on the device itself. It does what is supposed to do and comes with a 40-day money back guarantee plus and 18-month warranty.
Archeer Portable Solar Charger: With so many important documents and eBooks stored on electronic devices, having the ability to recharge them when the grid is down is a personal priority. I have reviewed many over the years and with each new unit, the form factor, efficiency, and the price gets better. My current favorite is the Archeer 21W Foldable Solar Panel.
RediTape Pocket Duct Tape 2-Pack: RediTape is available in 2 packs. I love this stuff and am stashing packs in all of my kits. In many cases it will replace a big bulky roll of the 3M stuff, giving me room for additional preps. For the big roll style of duct tape, I prefer this heavy duty 3M Utility Duct Tape.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultralight personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2 oz. making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.
Cyalume SnapLight Green Light Sticks: These are fantastic. Each lightweight stick glows for 12 hours. They are well priced and hold up well, even when packed around in a pocket or handbag. For more information about glow sticks and chemical lighting, read 10 Reasons to Add Glow Sticks to Your Survival Kit.
Paracord Planet Mil-Spec Commercial Grade 550lb Type III Nylon Paracord: An ideal all-around utility cord in the field, paracord is tough and long lasting. It is made from 550-pound test nylon and features a seven strand core for maximum strength. Also, it is manufactured in the United States. Note that some colors may be more expensive than others. Need ideas? See 44 Really Cool Uses of Paracord for Survival.
A frequent question I get on Backdoor Survival has to do with healthcare matters when there is no doctor around. This is the definite source of survival medical information for all Prepper’s and is my go-to bible for survival medicine.