Brain Post: “How to Keep Batteries From Dying in the Cold?”

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mt. rainier climb
Mt. Rainier, a battery battleground. photo:

Batteries are notorious for dying in the cold.  They get cold, their life decreases dramatically and the device they’re powering dies and you’re screwed.  Some of the things batteries power are crucial to mountain survival:  avalanche beacons and headlamps come to mind.

With this in mind, we need to do what we can to make batteries last as long as possible, especially when in the backcountry.  Outside Magazine has some great tips that we’ve borrowed here:


How Do I Keep My Batteries from Dying in the Cold?

1) Ditch the Double As

Swap out your standard AA or AAA batteries for lithium ones. Even though they tend to be more expensive, lithium batteries are lighter and will perform better in the cold.

(Lithium batteries are not recommend for avalanche beacons.  See why here:  “When Should You Change Your Avalanche Transceiver Batteries?”)

2) Juice it Up

Top off the charge before heading out into the cold. It’s importance of get as much charge as possible into the battery, even though it might shorten the overall lifespan of rechargeable units. Once you start losing bars, the battery life rapidly deteriorates, Larsen says.

3) Body Heat, Baby

Keep the gadget close to your body. “Get it under a couple layers,” Larsen says. While it might be a hassle to fiddle with a device buried under a jacket, your body heat will considerably lengthen battery time. Note where the battery is located on a device and make sure it’s facing your body when you put it in your pocket. You can also put the player in your glove for faster warming. 

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