Today, with the help of Mr Rob and Mr Katy, we will be testing two top end portable electrical sources, the Powermonkey and Powermonkey Extreme. We know the Powermonkey is good at charging electronic devices, we can read that on the side of the box, but how does it fare as a multi-purpose adventuring tool?
It's all well and good to have a bit of kit that performs one basic function and nothing more but todays adventurer is a bit more demanding. To ensure we travel as lightly as possible we want tools that are good for more than one thing. That's why we don't take Rob's sister with us on expeditions.
To test the breadth of the Powermonkey's versatility we've drawn up a 5-part test where we will be pitting the device against the adventuring staple: Harris Tweed. Mr Rob as our resident tech guru will be championing the Powermonkey, I [Mr Joolz] will be putting the Tweed through its paces. Mr Katy will be an impartial adjudicator to ensure there is no foul play.
Test #1 - Style
Mr Joolz: The Harris Tweed comes in a variety of colours and patterns with a cut to suit the frame of any modern chap, this one is in a rather fetching houndstooth pattern. It's single breasted, fully lined and has a raisable collar, depending on how you accessorise it looks equally stylish in a billiard hall, at a society dinner or out in the wilderness.
Mr Rob: The Powermonkey isn't massively stylish, unless you're a fan of rubber, which as it happens I am. It does have the ability to charge electronic cigarettes though, so you've got all the sophistication of smoking without the stigma of lung cancer.
Adjudicator Willings: So the tweed takes an early lead; the immediately recognisable style icon delivers impact from a distance and continues to make an impression up close. The Powermonkey has a really nice box, but if you're seen out and about with one you look a bit of a geek.
Power Traveller 6/10
Test #2 - Charging Capability
Mr Joolz: Trying to charge the e-cig with the tweed is a bit disappointing, at first it looks like there is some charge, but it might take a while to get a full charge.
Mr Rob: The Powermonkey is great for mobile phones, sat navs, digital cameras, even bigger kit like i-pads. The high quality solar panels mean even in fairly overcast conditions you get 4 bars of power. They come with a bag chock full of adaptors and outputs. The Extreme version also comes with this great battery which not only means you can charge at night, but also gives you the option to charge multiple items at once.
Adjudicator Willings: The tweed was frankly rubbish. To begin with there was a glimmer of charge but it must've been a static charge or something. The Powermonkey was a good little charger; it gives a full charge in a surprisingly short period of time. I would say there is a bit of a drawback not being able to charge an i-phone on the adventurer model, but the battery on the Extreme negates this problem.
Power Traveller 10/10
Test #3 - Ruggedness
Mr Joolz: The tweed has a long pedigree of reliability under duress. It's 100% wool, hand woven and it boasts a good 24 threads per inch and still manages to be soft to the touch.
Mr Rob: I took this out on the Mongolian Steppe and was impressed by how durable it is. I clipped it onto my bag so I could get charging capability on the move, it took a few knocks and scuffs but suffered no ill effects. It comes in a tidy foam neoprene type casing which also protects the device when you're not using it.
Adjudicator Willings: I concur with Mr Rob, the Powermonkey is a resilient little beast, I wanted to see how one would cope with the rigours of the Mongol Derby and it really could cope with everything I could chuck at it. After I used it Rob had a go and I'm happy to say it's seemingly Rob-proof. I'm confident in time it will gain a reputation for reliability as good as the Tweed.
Power Traveller 8/10
Test #4 - Fending off a wild beast
Mr Joolz: The tweed strikes fear into the heart of any threatening parties and with it I felt confident dispatching the most savage of animal attacks. Mr Rob with his Power Gibbon was sadly not so lucky and perished in the fray.
Adjudicator Willings: Yes, the Powermonkey did slow the beast somewhat, but to no avail. The tweed on the other hand totally disarmed the brute leaving the wearer able to run away, or in fact kill the creature for his supper.
Power Monkey 2/10
Test #5 - Providing warmth
Mr Joolz: The tweed does a great job of keeping me warm. These nifty buttons keep the chill out and the raisable collar affords one a warm neck too. I'm pretty sure Mallory wore one mountaineering; so they're good up to about 8000 metres. The Power Baboon is nowhere near as good; it gives off as much warmth as a fart in an avalanche.
Adjudicator Willings: I'm pretty sure Mallory died in the Himalayas in 1924, so I'd be inclined to say the tweed is more Exmoor than Everest, but it certainly provides more warmth than the Powermonkey.
Power Monkey 3/10
Adjudicator Willings: I'm flabbergasted that the tweed has beaten the Powermonkey hands down. It performed admirably in its charging capability and durability, but the numbers don't lie and it had obvious failings in keeping you warm or fending off wild beasts so the tweed is justifiably victorious after our rigourous testing.
Mr Joolz: So there you have it. The Powermonkey. We would recommend against getting one unless you were only interested in charging your personal electronic devices.
Power Monkey 29/50
Find out more 'accurate' information about the Powermonkey or get your grubby mitts on one here.
The Adventurist Department of Kit Abuse and Product Testing: Adjudicator Willings (left), Mr Rob (middle) & Mr Joolz (right).