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How to keep your batteries alive on a winter expedition.

Have you ever experienced on a very cold day that the battery in your phone drains quickly?

On a winter expedition it is always a question how to look after your batteries, power bank and other electronics. I will share my experience with you how I took care of my electronics and batteries on my expedition over Lake Baikal this year.


When it comes to batteries, Lithium batteries are the one to go with in both cold and extremely warm conditions. They are working a lot better than Alkaline batteries and they are much lighter.

I always take the batteries I will need in the evening and keep them inside my jacket during the day so they will stay warm. The rest of the batteries I keep cold. Once you heat them up they will work. In the evening and in the tent I have them in my sleeping bag.

Solar panel and power bank:

I used an Nomad 14 plus solar panel from Goal Zero & 2, Venture 70 power banks with 17,700 mAh on each power bank.

The power banks works the same as the batteries. I always have one inside my jacket to let it stay warm and in the tent it goes straight to my sleeping bag next to a warm water bottle.

When I charge my power bank, I attache my solar panel on my backpack and drag the cord over my shoulder or underneath my arm and into my pocket at my jacket so the power bank stay warm while charging. I haven’t tried to charge it cold, some people say it will work.

It will still charge a bit slower even in the jacket as the temperature is not super warm.

On Arctic expeditions as the South pole or North pole people charge during the night as they have 24/7 of sunlight. They will then make a little hole in the tent and drag the cord through there and into the sleeping bag.

In the photo the Venture 70 power bank .

Camera batteries:

They will get the same treatment as other batteries. I let my camera stay in the sled cold and the batteries I will use I keep in my jacket and during the night in my sleeping bag. Sometimes when you are using the camera it will show that you don’t have any power left, but when you reheat the batteries they will work again. After I have used my camera I take the batteries out and put them back into my jacket.


I used a lantern from Goal Zero called Crush light chroma. Super light weight, you can choose between different colors on the light and it charge through solar energy. This product charge in cold temperatures and worked in temperatures down to minus 35. I never kept it warm.

(On the photo at the top you can see the lantern attached on my backpack)

Mobile phone:

I have my phone in a “sleeping bag”, It’s a little down bag for the phone and of course inside my jacket and in the sleeping bag during the night. I also like to use flight mode when I’m not using the phone to save power.

The first thing I do when I get in the tent is to boil water and fill up one bottle with hot water that I keep in my sleeping bag. I will put all my batteries, phone, GPS and power bank around the bottle.

This bottle is also great to warm your hands on.

// Gina Johansen

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