When off-grid — either for work or when I’m camping or exploring — I generally have a few different methods I use to keep my gear charged up. Primary among these is a vehicle, when I have one, but there are times when I have to rely on Mother Nature’s kindness.
Despite living in the UK, which is known the world over for its clouds and rain, and spending most of my time in Wales, which is a place that has more than its fair share of clouds and rain, my primary off-grid method of charging is solar panels. I have a number of them, ranging from the small to the not so small. Solar doesn’t feel compatible with clouds, but I’ve found that even on relatively overcast days, larger panels, such as the Jackery SolarSaga 100W panels, do a pretty good job of capturing whatever sunlight there is and turn it into power.
But sometimes, I find that I have to give the sun a break and turn to another source of power — wind. And the tool I’ve been using to capture that wind energy is the Tex Energy Infinite Air wind turbine.
Right from the start I need to say that wind doesn’t give me the same performance as solar, but in winds as low as 15MPH, I can get 7 to 10 watts of power. That’s not a massive amount, but the turbine can output that at 5V at 1.5-2 amps (note that this does not support PD Power Delivery), which is enough to charge things lime smartphones, action cameras, and even drone batteries.
In the kit there’s the turbine itself, a set of plastic blades (which are durable, and can hurt if they hit you — yes, I tested that), a small tripod, and the cabling. Setup is pretty easy (you can’t attach the fan blades the wrong way) and can be up and running and collecting power in minutes.
A couple of things I’ve learned by trial and error using this kit. The first is, try to assemble it out of the wind, otherwise you’re contending with whirring blades that are just begging to introduce themselves to your eyeballs. Also, while the tripod is pretty good, be prepared to use something to weigh it down, maybe a battery pack or a rock or something.
Finally, rather than charge up devices using the turbine, I use it to charge up battery packs which I can then, in turn, use to charge up other things. Yes, I know there are losses in doing it this way, but it means that with two battery packs the turbine can be working 24/7 while I rotate the packs.
In an emergency, I could still use the turbine to charge up a phone or flashlight directly.
The Tex Energy Infinite Air wind turbine is a pretty solid bit of kit and lives up to its IP65 rating (I left it out in the wind, rain, and snow and it kept working fine). The whole kit is lightweight — 626g — and packs into a small carry case.
Priced at $135, it’s perfect for those who spend time outdoors, but still need the convenience of modern gadgets.