An electrifying gift for the survival expert on your list, the Pocket Socket 2 is a hand-crank dynamo generator that can provide power for nearly any device or appliance with a two-prong plug.
Why We Love It
Designed and manufactured in the US, the Pocket Socket is built to withstand years of regular use. The unit is cased in solid plastic with studded molding that makes for an easy grip, and a contoured handle matches the natural curvature of either thumb. The whole device folds up into a compact, travel-ready unit about the size of your average stapler, with everything secured in place by a thick, heavy-duty rubber band. Weighing in at just 15 ounces, the Pocket Socket is ideal for a backpack, glove box, or closet.
What makes the Pocket Socket stand out from competitors is the inclusion of a two-pronged wall socket-style that your gadgets know and love. The Pocket Socket is particularly unique; instead of outputting AC power, it puts out 120 volts of DC power (strange, right? Check out their patent patent - we couldn't believe it either) that is 100% compatible with most small chargers you might use at home, providing up to 10 watts of electricity. Unlike other smaller hand-crank generators that are limited to charging USB devices like cell phones and tablets, the Pocket Socket is able to charge devices that require up to 10 Watts, meaning that you can plug in your digital camera charger and make sure you get those last couple precious shots of your kids on your summer camping trip. There are loads of devices that will work with the Pocket Socket: cell phones, tablets, flashlights, camera chargers, and most other survival gear are all fair game; sadly, laptops and other equally energy-hungry gadgets are off the table.
To put the Pocket Socket into action, simply unfold the crank, plug in your wall charger and spin the arm at roughly two cycles per second to achieve maximum current. Depending on the type of phone, this bumps a typical smartphone's battery life by about one percent for every 45 to 60 seconds of cranking (roughly one minute of spinning equals one minute of talk time).
The Pocket Socket's design also minimizes the amount of wear and tear on a user's arms by creating a current regardless of whether the crank is rotated clockwise, counter clockwise or by a left or right-handed user, allowing you to switch off every few minutes when you are looking to generate a lot of power in a short time. Use the heavy-duty rubber band to keep the charger in place while you turn the crank - this allows you to loosen your grip on the unit without it slipping from your hands.
Why We Love It
People choose mechanical generators over solar generators for one reason: reliable power. Fortunately, the Pocket Socket has that in spades. Rather than banking on the availability of sunlight or a heat source, the Pocket Socket can be put to use regardless of your surroundings. The universal two-prong socket means we can treat this backup charger like we would any wall socket.
We love that the Pocket Socket's 120 volt DC output, paired with the generator's ergonomic handle and crank design, means we won’t exhaust ourselves while charging our gear (though you’ll definitely feel like you might have an excuse for skipping the gym that day). We also love that this allows us to quickly bring our electronics back into play when we need them most. Moreover, we get all of this in a unit that weighs less than one pound and is slim enough to be crammed into even the most over-stuffed emergency bag or hiking pack. It’s easy to forget we're even carrying the Pocket Socket, but we’re always glad when we remember.