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Reviews > Electronic Devices > Chargers > Brunton Revolt 4000 USB > Test Report by Kurt Papke

Brunton Revolt 4000

Test Series by Kurt Papke

Initial Report - March 26, 2015

Field Report - June 02, 2015

Long Term Report - July 28, 2015

Tester Information

Name: Kurt Papke
Age: 61
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight: 220 lbs (99 kg)
Email address: kwpapke at gmail dot com
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona USA

My backpacking venues have been a combination of Minnesota, where I have lived most of my adult life, and Arizona where I moved to take a new job about five years ago.  I have always been a "comfort-weight" backpacker, never counting grams, but still keeping my pack as light as easily attained.  I normally carry several pieces of electronic gear into the back country: an iPod, Kindle, and my iPhone.

Initial Report

Product Information

The Brunton Revolt 4000 is a ruggedized portable power supply/charger for mobile electronic devices.  The "4000" in the name refers to its charge capacity of 4000mAh, a measure of how much current the device can supply for a given period of time.  The following photo shows the details of the charger in close-up:

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Close-up of the Brunton Revolt 4000

The rugged silicone case is apparent in the above photo.  The button with the "B" on it in the center of the photo is the only control for the device: pressing the button illuminates the 5 LED's around it to show how much charge is left.  If the charger is connected to a device for charging, pressing the same button initiates the process.

Manufacturer: Brunton, Inc.
Manufacturer website: http://www.brunton.com
Model:
Revolt 4000
Year of manufacture: 2014-2015
MSRP:
$49.99 USD
Color tested:
Black
Also available: yellow, orange, mint green, olive green
Materials:
Silicone shell for shock protection
Vibram base for non-skid on surfaces
Battery is a lithium polymer
Size:
7.6 x 7.6 x 3.3 cm (manufacturer)
7.6 x 7.6 x 2.7 cm (measured)
3 x 3 x 1 in (measured)
Weight:
139 g (manufacturer)
166  g (measured)
5.9 oz (measured)

Note the rather large discrepancies in thickness (thinner than the manufacturer's specification) and weight (heavier than the manufacturer's specification).  Both of these differences are far greater than expected measurement error.

The features listed by the manufacturer include:
  • 2.5 smartphone charges, though the make and model of the smartphone is not specified.
  • Shockproof and weatherproof (IPX5-Rated debris and waterproofing).
  • Includes 3-in-1 Adapter Cable (Micro USB, Lightning, 30-Pin to USB)

Features not called out on the manufacturer's website but obvious by observation:

  • Battery charge level LED indicators
  • Hinged cover to protect USB sockets

Initial Inspection

This device feels rugged as advertised. The silicone shell has a nice "give" to it, the corners are trimmed making an octagon shape.  The non-skid bottom works well on my desk - it does not slide around.  The hinged cover over the USB sockets seems pretty sturdy, like it will not break off immediately:
br02

On investigation of the documentation, the full-size USB socket is to plug in the 3-in-1 cable for charging devices, the micro-USB socket is used to charge the battery by reversing the 3-in-1 cable: the micro plug goes into the Revolt, the full-size USB goes into the computer or wall charger.

Trying It Out

The charger comes with a full page of instructions for use.  The instructions were clear and easy to follow, and I appreciated the illustration pointing out the features for clarity.

I pressed the "B" button on the front, and all the LED's lit up indicating that the battery was fully charged.  It is impossible to tell when it was last charged, but at least it kept its charge during shipping.  I then plugged in the three devices that I typically take on backpacking trips, and it just so happens each of them has one of the unique connectors:

br03

My iPhone, Kindle and iPod all indicated they were plugged into a charger, all though the latter two were fully charged.  I unplugged those two leaving the iPod connected.  After a few minutes the charge LED's went out, and the iPod indicated it was no longer being charged.  I tried pressing the "B" button a few times to re-initiate charging, and each time the behavior was the same: it charged for a few minutes, then shut down.  This is a bit worrisome.

Next I tried plugging the charger into my laptop to make sure its charge was topped off:
br04

Note that the cable is reversed for this operation, the micro-USB plugs into the charger, the full-sized USB into the computer.

Summary

I am looking forward to getting the Brunton Revolt 4000 into the field and seeing how it performs under trying conditions.  This piece of gear is in theory a perfect fit for my needs, as I am increasingly dependent on my iPhone as a camera, etc. in the back country.

Things I Like So Far:

  • I like the capacity, flexibility and rugged design.  I was pleasantly surprised that the 3-in-1 cable connects to all of the chargeable electronics I take into the field.
  • Simple and clear to use.

Things That Concern Me Upfront:

  • I'm a little worried with my initial encounter not fully charging my iPod.  I'll find out through further use whether this is an aberration, or symptomatic of a larger issue.
  • I carry an iPhone 6, which has a battery capacity of 1810 mAh.  If all the specs are correct, I will get 2.2 charges for my phone, not the 2.5 advertised.

Field Report

Date
Location
Trail
Distance
Altitude
Weather
Devices
Charged
April 27
Saguaro National Park (West Unit - Tucson Mountains) near Tucson, Arizona
Sweetwater
7 miles
(11.3 km)
2800-3900 ft
(850-1190 m)
Sunny, 75 F
(24 C)
iPhone
May 5-7
Superstition Mountains near Phoenix, Arizona
Superstitions Loop
19.1 miles
(30.7 km)
4300-5280 ft
(1310-1610 m)
Cloudy to sunny,
42-73 F (6-23 C)
Kindle
May 22-23
Saguaro National Park (East Unit - Rincon Mountains) near Tucson, Arizona Quilter
21.6 miles
(34.8 km)
3100-5500 ft
(945-1675 m)
Sunny, 32-70 F
(0-21 C)
iPhone

Florida

During the latter part of March I spent 3 weeks with my sister in Florida.  Neither hiking nor camping involved, but lots of time in airplanes, at the beach and walks around town.

I used the Revolt extensively during this trip to charge my iPod, iPhone and Kindle.  I discovered that my iPod Nano (2nd generation) would only recharge through the Apple-supplied cable, but not with the Brunton 3-in-1.  I don't know why, but the results were very repeatable.  The good news is the USB charging port on the Revolt is completely compatible with the Apple cable, so it did work.

Sweetwater Trail

When I was prepping for the hike I noticed my iPhone battery was nearly depleted, and I intended to do some serious photography and videography along the way, so I threw the Revolt in my backpack.  Good thing - taking videos depletes the phone battery pretty quickly, and by the time I arrived at my turnaround point it was approaching zero, so I plugged the phone into the Revolt.

This worked great.  On the hike back to the trailhead whenever I stopped to take a photograph or shoot some video I just unplugged the phone from the charger, then plugged it back in again when I replaced the phone in my pack.  I was able to complete the shots I hoped to get, and when I returned to my car my iPhone had more of a charge than when I left!

I didn't anticipate that the Revolt charger would be useful on day hikes, but I underestimated its usefulness.

Superstitions Loop

br05From the Rogers Trough trailhead I combined the Rogers Canyon, Frog Tank, and Reavis Ranch trails to make a good loop hike.  I charged only my Kindle on this trip, as shown in the photo at left.

I really enjoyed being able to charge the device while I hiked.  I just plugged it in while breaking camp in the morning, packed up the connected devices in a plastic bag, and threw it in the elastic front pocket of my pack where the cable connections would not get jostled.  When I completed my hike at the end of the day it was ready to go.  I didn't charge the Kindle in the evening because I often read in the evenings, and will pick it back up and read more if I awake in the middle of the night.

Charging seemed to use only a fraction of the battery power, though my Kindle was not completely discharged.


Quilter Trail

This trip was an overnight backpack into the Rincon Mountains of Saguaro National Park, camping at the Grass Shack campground.  I used my iPhone for photography, videography, and for the first time as my GPS.  With iOS 8.3 the GPS chip now stays active in Airplane Mode, which extends the battery life to the point that I can think about leaving my GPS at home, and this trip was my first attempt to substitute my iPhone for my GPS.  This allows me to save the weight of my dedicated GPS unit, but depletes my iPhone battery much more quickly, making a charger like the Revolt essential.

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After I arrived at my campsite and set up my shelter, I prepared to recharge my iPhone to assure that I had a full charge for the following day.  The photo above depicts, left to right: the Revolt showing fully charged in my campsite, my iPhone state before charging, my iPhone state after charging just under 2 hours later.  The Revolt charging light was continuing to flash despite my phone indicating that its battery was at 100%, so I'm not sure exactly how long it took to charge from just over a one-half full state.  I had my iPhone powered down while charging to minimize battery use, so I was not able to consult the screen to determine the charge state.  Upon completion the Revolt showed 4/5 of the charge capacity LED's lit.

Summary

Good Things

  1. Useful on day hikes and extended travel as well as overnight backpacks.
  2. Charges all my devices.
  3. The right amount of charging capacity for my needs.
  4. Becomes an essential piece of gear when using a smartphone as a GPS unit due to the faster battery depletion.

Not So Good Things

  1. Requires use of my Apple-supplied iPod interface cable for charging my 2nd Generation Nano.
  2. Unclear indicator from the Revolt whether charging is complete.  Of course I can always consult the charging device, but this requires that I power it on to do so.

Long Term Report

Date
Location
Trail
Distance
Altitude
Weather
Devices
Charged
July 11-13, 2015
Mogollon Rim in the Tonto National Forest
Highline
30.4 miles
(49 km)
5500-6900 ft
(1675-2100 m)
Partly cloudy to sunny, low temperature 58 F (14.5 C), high about 85 F (29.5 C)
iPod
July 24-26, 2015
Chiricahua Mountains in the Coronado National Forest
Chiricahua Crest Trail
15 miles
(24 km)
8468-9795 ft
(2581-2986 m)
Sun, rain, sleet, we had it all.  Lows around 50 F (10 C), highs around 75 F (24 C)
iPhone

Highline Trail

This was a two night trip to a trail that I had never explored before.  I only hiked about a third of this historic National Recreation Trail, so this leaves me something to go back for.

I only used the Revolt to charge my dying iPod, and now I can only get about 2 hours of play out of it before the battery dies, which means I need to charge it daily on the trail because I listen to it every night.

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In the above photo the "lightning bolt" image on the iPod screen indicates it is charging.  Note as mentioned earlier in this report I could only get the iPod to charge through the native Apple cable.

Chiricahua Crest Trail

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This was a three-day two-night backpacking trip, though we camped at the trail head the first night.  I made extensive use of my iPhone on this trip, taking 162 photos and videos, and GPS tracking the route on day two.  On the evening of day one my phone had about 66% of charge remaining, so I recharged it overnight which seemed to hardly put a dent in the Revolt's charge display.  On day two my GPS tracking app (not the same app I used on the Quilter Trail) completely depleted my iPhone battery in about 3 hours, so I immediately plugged it into the Revolt and brought it back up to 100%.  This pretty much drained the Revolt dry.

Since my last trip, my old iPod has pretty much died and will no longer hold a charge.  It stayed home on this trip, and I used my iPhone to listen to podcasts, making me even more dependent on my iPhone and keeping it charged.

Summary

I am preparing for a 6-day hike through the Sisters Wilderness of Oregon in a few weeks.  As I prepare for the trip I have some concerns about the Revolt having enough capacity to last me for that length of time.  I'll need to conserve battery power to make sure I can still take photos and videos on day 6, as well as contact our ride at the trail head.

Good things

  1. Rugged and reliable.  I trust the Revolt to hold a full charge for some time before heading out on a trip, and had no issues with it in the field.  I did not coddle the Revolt in any way, I simply tossed it into the front pocket of my pack where it suffered the same abuse as all my other gear, and came through unscathed.
  2. Great for activities that do not require more than 1.5 iPhone 6 charges.

Things I'd like to see improved

  1. I wish I wasn't nervous about my upcoming 6-day hike, and didn't have to focus on conserving power.  To my knowledge, there will be no opportunities to access a power outlet along the way.  Modern smartphones like my iPhone 6 have a fairly high capacity internal battery and are quite power hungry in certain applications such as GPS tracking, so I'd like to see the charge capacity of the Revolt bumped up a bit.

Overall I am a satisfied user of the Brunton Revolt 4000.  I intend to continue to use it on future backpacking trips until such time that a charger with substantially higher capacity and equal or less weight is available.

My iPhone 6 (with case) weighs 5.9 oz (166 g), almost exactly the same as the Brunton Revolt 4000.  Since I can get 1.5 phone charges from the Revolt, I am still better off carrying the charger than I am a backup phone.


Thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Brunton for the opportunity to contribute to this test.


Read more gear reviews by Kurt Papke

Reviews > Electronic Devices > Chargers > Brunton Revolt 4000 USB > Test Report by Kurt Papke



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