Should I Carry a Jump Starter, Jumper Cables or just a AAA Card?
We've all been there- that awful feeling when you climb in your car, turn the key, and all you hear is CLICK-CLICK-CLICK. Your heart sinks, and maybe a bit of panic sets in... Call AAA? Ask to borrow a set of jumper cables? Or will you pull out your lithium Jump Starter?
How did this happen? Maybe a dome light was left on after unloading groceries the night before. Maybe you returned to a frigid airport parking lot after a week in Hawaii only to discover the cold has zapped your battery. Or maybe your new 16 year old driver likes to sit in the car with the radio on for hours on-end.
On the best of days, a dead car battery is a major inconvenience. On the worst of days, it can be downright dangerous. Maybe calling AAA is your plan. But how long do you want to sit in the dark and cold waiting for a tow truck to save your bacon?
Then you remember you have those jumper cables in the trunk. Old Faithful. Better hope a Good Samaritan takes pity on you, and comes to your aid. Not too challenging in your own driveway, but maybe a bit more precarious in a dark isolated parking lot.
And, assuming a white-hat comes along to save the day, what are you going to do if you've pulled into a parking space with cars on both sides How are you going to position a second vehicle close enough to connect your batteries? Now we're talking about recruiting strangers to help push your car out of its space, and blocking traffic while you untangle your cables.
But what if you're on a solo adventure in your overland rig, on a remote trail, with no cell service, and where AAA fears to tread?
Enter the diminutive Lithium Jump Starter, a miraculous cure for a really bad day, right up there with a pint of Cherry Garcia. These miracles of modern science pack the power to start your two-ton SUV while being the size of a Chipotle burrito.
Jump packs are available at a range of capacities and price points. If you drive a Honda Civic, you might get away with a $29.00 jump pack. But if you drive a V6 or V8 vehicle, and venture far and wide in the great outdoors, I don't recommend trusting your family's safety to a toy.
Trailpower recommends the Hulkman Alpha 85s. It has a number of things going for it.
- Capacity. This is a beefy battery. After jumpstarting my 6.2L V8 Ford Raptor, it still held 97% of its charge. You could start dozens of vehicles before needing to recharge this unit.
- It's massively powerful. Watch our demo video, and listen to how aggressively it dumps power into the starter motor. My factory Ford battery that weighs 65 pounds doesn't crank with as much gusto.
- Emergency Override Feature. Jump starters have a safety circuit that prevents them from sending power to the cables if a battery isn't connected. This is to prevent the cables from shorting out when stored, and starting a fire. BUT, if the battery is very dead, it will not be detected, and the jump starter will be as useful as a medium-size rock. This has happened to us MULTIPLE times, leaving us and others stranded at the worst possible moment. Emergency Override Mode lets you manually confirm that the cables are safely connected to a battery and start a vehicle even with a completely dead battery. Watch our video as we demonstrate this feature.
- Cold Weather-ready. Lithium batteries can be sensitive to extreme temperatures. If you find yourself in a blizzard and below-zero temperatures, other jump starters may refuse to function. The Hulkman Alpha 85S compensates for cold temperatures by automatically pre-warming its battery to a safe temperature to allow it to perform optimally down to -40F. We've never seen this important feature in another jump starter.
- Fast Charger. Most jump packs come with a tiny charger that takes several hours to fully charge. The Hulkman comes with a legit 65W USB-C charger, that can fully charge it in an hour. This by itself is a huge benefit.
- Ease-of-use. The Hulkman has a large LED display showing percentage of charge remaining, along with confirmations when it is ready to start, or to identify any connection errors.
- Accessory Power. The Hulkman can also charge your phone or tablet via USB-A and USB-C. It also has a 150W cigarette lighter socket to power anything that can typically plug into 12v power.
- Emergency Lighting. The Hulkman has a built-in flashlight with five modes- Bright, Really Bright, Strobe, SOS, and Red Strobe. The Red Strobe is a perfect marker for safely changing a tire on the shoulder of a road, or for identifying your location for emergency responders.
We keep a jump starter in each of our vehicles and encourage you to do the same. They are an every-day-carry essential.
The Hulkman 85s is an awesome gift for anyone and everyone with a car, truck, or SUV. We have provided a special purchase option that includes the jump starter, and the optional carry case in a bundle. And honestly, the carry case is a must-have. It's a perfect fit for the jump starter and accessories.