Extras: Battery of Choices

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, July 1996

Extras: Battery of Choices
Michael Kessler

Disposable or rechargeable, no battery is particularly nurturing to the environment. For stereos and shortwave radios, you'll need typical cylindrical cells. Disposable alkalines are most cost efficient, and since they no longer contain hazardous heavy metals (aside from traces of mercury), some even term them "green." Rechargeable alkalines regain just 50 to 75 percent of their original power, which won't do for a multiday trip. Eveready's new lithium disposables (AA only) will power your Discman up to 15 hours--better than twice an alkalines' life span--and they work in colder temperatures.

Camcorders accommodate rechargeable battery packs, the most common of which are nickel cadmium. These can accept 1,000 charges, and the run time for, say, a $40 Energizer is about 1.8 hours. But cadmium is highly toxic, so call your waste management official for recycling instructions. A greener, gentler option is nickel metal hydride ($80 from Duracell), which can last up to 50 percent longer (to a maximum of three and a half hours) per charge.

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