Alert: Lots of Amazon links ahead!
Couple of weeks ago I blogged about jump starters. The ones I’d been looking at were big and clunky — basically lead-acid batteries to kickstart your lead-acid battery.
Until S. placed a comment, I didn’t know about elegant lithium-ion alternatives, some not much bigger than smartphones.
The reason for my interest was that I knew I was soon going to run Old Blue’s battery down. It was inevitable. Around the time we broke down last month, the headlight-alert bell quit. My mechanic thought he fixed it but if so it didn’t stay fixed (he didn’t charge for that, so no complaint). And of course Old Blue hasn’t got an automatic headlight turner-offer. So — while I like to think I’m better, smarter, more diligent, and more on-the-ball than that, I knew it was only a matter of time (what with all this winter daylight driving-with-headlights business) before I left the lights on and conked the battery.
Which I did early last week.
Fortunately I did it at home. Where I have an elderly Schumacher battery charger. Mine’s a lot more … um, vintage than any of these (the usual garage-sale purchase) but Schumacher makes good stuff and mine seems likely to go on forever. So the battery rundown was no more than a minor inconvenience.
But with all the time I spend in the woods beyond AAA’s dim comprehension, and the fact that I’ll soon be making a few Big City trips, having a portable jump starter in my car kit suddenly felt urgent.
I ended up with this Uxcell 600 peak amp model, which had the best features for the price and a larger-than-usual battery capacity.
I really wanted this one — same brand, same peak amps, but with an even bigger battery capacity and more features. But it was going to take a few days longer to get and at that moment the delay didn’t seem bearable. Now I see it’s in stock earlier than expected. Oh well.
Now that I have both a Slime Safety Spair kit and a jump starter in Old Blue’s trunk, I feel more confident. I should be able to handle the two most common car problems without anybody’s help wherever I am. And that’s a good feeling. The jump starter can also, in a power outage or other emergency, charge cellphones, laptops (so they say), and various USB devices without the need to crank up my blessed new inverter-generator.
Of course, for use in the car there’s always that “two is one and one is none” factor. I have a backup compressor (sans Slime) for tire inflating. No backup for the jump starter and no good way of testing it* before some moment of need. Still, one step at a time. It’s how preps get built when you don’t have the resources to plan all at once for the TEOTWAWKI-Carrington-Event-nuclear-winter-asteroid-impact-civil-war-where’s-my-bunker apocalypse.
Like anybody else, I can still get caught flat-footed sometimes. But when I think back to my youth in “civilized” California — sans any form of emergency equipment (no gun, no jumper cables, no water-meter key, no food stores, and certainly no mini-tire-inflator or jump starter (which weren’t even available then)), I feel a hell of a lot more competent and more satisfied with life.
* Wrong! As two Commentariat members quickly informed me (below).