Product Review: Sunjack 14w Charger +1400maH battery

Sunjack 8w + 1400mah battery charger

I was recent sent a Sunjack 14w solar charger with an 8000maH battery for review*. I was looking forward to getting this kit and doing this review because I believe that the modern smartphone is an essential part of starting safe, and a smartphone (and some way to charge it) is an essential part of your “bug out” gear, and I’m pleased to report the charger and battery did not disappoint.

The Sunjack 14w Charger +1400maH battery is a great option for creating power to keep your smartphone up and running without connecting it to the power grid. About the same size as an iPad and weighing about as much as a large paperback book, it differs from cheaper solar chargers in that it charges a battery which then charges your phone.

Charger and battery outdoors

When the SunJack charger first arrived, the battery was half-charged, so I drained completely by recharging my iPhone with it and then plugged it into the charger and left it outdoors for 8 hours. I should note that I live in Florida and it’s the middle of hurricane season, but despite the partly cloudy skies, eight hours was enough to fully charge the battery. The fully-charged battery took two hours to recharge my iPhone 6+ from 10% charge to fully charged. The battery can also be charged up via a wall socket and a (not included) wall charger, and I found it that to be a faster way of recharging it than sticking it out in the sun (albeit one that only works if you have a working wall socket nearby).

chargingIf you’re like me (and I know I am), you rely on a smartphone for so much more than making phone calls. I’ve loaded up mine with useful things like an emergency radio scanner, a ballistics app and an e-book reader, so my phone is pretty much always by my side. I found the SunJack 8w+1400maH battery/charger to work just as expected, and it’s now a “must have” accessory for me if I leave the urban wilderness for something even more untamed. If there’s one thing I’d change about it, I’d ask them to toss in an iPhone Lightning-compatible cable with it along with the micro-USB cable it comes with, because, well, because iPhone, that’s why.

You can pick up the SunJack battery and charger at Amazon or on their website: www.sunjack.com/products/sunjack-14w-8000mah-battery


* Dear FTC, NSA, FDA and TVA: I’m putting in this sentence here because you want me to, but seriously, I say that this was sent to me “for review” right in the first paragraph. Do I have to rub your nose in it, like a puppy that needs to be potty-trained?

Pocket Protection.

There’s some really interesting ideas in this post from 2007 by noted terrorism expert John Robb.

“Cities have long maintained centralized police forces, but gangs can often overwhelm them. Many governments are responding with militarized police: China is building a million-man paramilitary force, for example; and even in the United States, the use of SWAT teams has increased from 3,000 deployments a year in the 1980s to 50,000 a year in 2006. But militarized police may too easily become an army of occupation, and, if corrupt, as they are in Brazil, they may become enemies of the state along with the gangs.

A better solution involves local security forces, either locally recruited or bought on the marketplace (such as Blackwater), which can be powerful bulwarks against small-group terrorism. Such forces may become a vital component in our defense against bioterrorism, too, since they can enforce local containment—and since large centralized services, like the ones we have today, might actually accelerate the propagation of bioweapons. Still, if improperly established, local forces can also become rogue criminal entities, like the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia and the militias in Rio de Janeiro. Governments need to regulate them carefully.”

I agree. A decentralized threat like terrorism or other non-government violent actor demands a decentralized response. Not only does it cost less and allows for more freedom, we know it actually works. The modern smartphone is nothing if not a decentralized and networked communication device, and we have other options for staying safe in an unsafe world that don’t require an often painfully slow response from state-approved “first” responders.

More thoughts on this over at Ricochet.com.

Upon Further Reflection…

  1. Cars break down.
  2. Cars have a tendency to break down at night.
  3. In really weird places.
  4. Where there’s no shoulder.
  5. So why don’t you have road flares (or reflective triangles) and a reflective vest in your trunk?

You DO know how to change a tire, don’t you?

And while I don’t recommend you go out looking for a fight, if you do find yourself in some place when carrying around an AR-15 in the open makes a lot of sense, I’m thinking that a reflective vest sends a clear signal to the other good guys out there that you’re on their side.

Call it a “Don’t Shoot Me First Vest”, if you will.

Outsource Your Security.

The personal empowerment brought about by the internet is changing the way society works. As I said earlier this year,

The world’s largest bookstore, Amazon, has no stores, and the worlds largest armed force, the American gun owner, has no generals, ranks or chain of command.

WISO-Wireless-Emergency-Whistle-Safety-AlarmSo how can the American gun owner self-organize into something larger than just one or two people? What would happen in a Ferguson riot if a shop owner had something like this, with a half-dozen or so respectable, committed, responsible gun owners in their network?

This wireless whistle instantly notifies your friends and family in an emergency. WISO uses a combination of Bluetooth technology and GPS tracking.

The whistle sends out pre-selected SOS messages to your friends or relatives via SMS or email. It also includes your current location and can even contact up to seven people at once. The whistle weighs only 12 grams and has batteries that last two months. WISO is available now and costs $51.

Would that help someone survive the riot or a flash mob? I think so…

Are We Not Men?

My friend Rob talked on Facebook about being in a fast-food restaurant when the power went out.

Power flickered, then came back on, sorta, in a “emergency lighting in a sub” kind of way. The registers and computers all down and they couldn’t figure out how to fill all the many outstanding orders without power.

I finally yelled out what mine was and that it should have been next out and pulled out my pocket FourSevens light to give the guy putting the food together enough light to work by. I got my food and then they hustled everyone out and locked the doors. I don’t think anyone else got their food or even refunds.

Miguel talks about a dramatic water rescue facilitated by someone having a knife and states:

If your Every Day Carry kit does not have a knife (or two), it is time for you to get it.

I agree with both of these ideas 100%. As I sit at my desk in my office right now, scrupulously avoiding finishing a presentation I’m working on, I have a Photon II flashlight and a Leatherman PS on my keychain and a CRKT Pazoda II clipped to my pocket. All of these are innocuous, inoffensive and won’t raise any alarms, yet I’ve pulled each of these out of my pockets and put them to some use in the past week, something I (thankfully) can’t say about my defensive firearm.

Get a clue: Get a knife and a flashlight, and worry about what will happen before you worry about what might happen.


And yes, the title is yet another musical reference.

Open Carry Is Not Brandishing.

The good people of Milwaukee have decided to burn down a few buildings and smash up a few cop cars because one of their number was shot by the police last night. Unlike previous instances, though, the suspect had a gun and refused to stop when ordered by the police to do so.

Violence and protests erupted in Milwaukee overnight after a man was fatally shot by police during a foot chase.

Police said the victim, 23, was armed with a handgun and shot dead by an officer after fleeing a traffic stop on Milwaukee’s north side Saturday afternoon.

The suspect in question had a lengthy arrest record and was armed with a pistol stolen in a burglary earlier this year, but hey, let’s riot because “he was a good person“.

The man’s criminal record was extensive, and he was carrying 500 rounds of ammunition at the time as well as a gun which had been reported stolen in a burglary earlier this year, however, residents were outraged at the killing as it is an open carry state. Many argue that the suspect shot and killed deserved due process.

One protester spoke to the media the night before and revealed that the people were rallying for the 23-year-old suspect killed because he was a good person. It is estimated that about 200 persons came out to protest.

Cognitive dissonance: It’s not just for breakfast anymore!

Protestors seem upset, though, that because Wisconsin is an open-carry state, anyone with a gun in their hands is therefore not a threat.

Open carry outside.

My open carry rig for hiking. Note that I have a holster, and I use it to carry my gun.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Open carry refers to having a gun on your person that’s in plain view. Brandishing is also having a gun, but you have that gun in your hand, not in a holster. One is legal in a bunch of states, the other is not. If cop rolls up me, my wife, my second cousin twice removed, whoever, and we have a gun in our hands and refuse to set it down, we stand a better-than-average chance of getting shot.

That’s what probably happened in Milwaukee last night, and similar incidents have played out in other cities all over the world dozens of times in the past week. The difference is, in Milwaukee, it was used to touch off a a riot that has caused further pain and suffering to that city. It’s shameful, it’s abhorrent and it will continue as long such actions are rewarded by elements within our political leadership.

In the mean time, carry your guns and keep your head on a swivel.

Re-Re-Thinking The Trunk Gun.

tumblr_o0ty0lJ2F11sby66go7_500You’re not going to use your trunk gun to shoot a terrorist in the face. You’re just not. You job is to be your own FIRST responder, not a second responder like the cop who arrives after the shooting starts. Greg Ellifritz makes a really good point on the Ballistic Radio show from a few weeks ago: When the cops roll up on the scene, they are going to be looking for guys with rifles.

You’re on the scene. You have a rifle in your hands. It’s not going to go well for you.

However, that doesn’t mean that a trunk gun is totally useless. You spend a third of your life at work, and trouble can happen right quickly when you’re away from home. If you have to defend your life at work (and maybe the lives of your coworkers), you’ll probably want more than a pistol (if you have one) or a stapler (if you don’t). Turning your home into Warwick Castle means diddley-squat if you’re attacked out side of your ancestral manse.

A Little Respite Would Be Nice.

Can we please go a week without hearing about an Islam-inspired mass murder somewhere in what little remains of Western Civilization or a cop-shooting rampage inspired by a racist hate group?

My thoughts and prayers are for our police officers tonight, and especially for the members of the Baton Rouge police department affected by this mass murder. May justice be swift and sure for those who did this.

With the Republican National Convention starting up, and with more promises of violence at the convention from the people who inspired the attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge, my advice to people of Cleveland is simple: Be your own Roof Korean.

All Things Be Ready If Our Minds Be So.

As Alcoholics Anonymous says, the first step is acknowledging you have a problem, and that’s true of personal safety as well. Like some of my colleagues, I became aware at an early age that there were predators in the jungle, so I never really lived in what some call “Condition White” for any great length of time. Some may see that as living in fear, I call it living in reality, because we’re only fearful of the unknown.

With that overly-long introduction out of the way, here’s three good articles on staying aware of what’s going on around you and what you should do about it. Stuff like this isn’t as sexy as dressing up like The Punishera six second El Presidenté or a $3000 1911, but its more important.

Grant Cunningham on finding out what the real threats are in your life:

Consider the threat of a job loss or severe economic downturn; what would happen if there were a drought in your part of the country? How about an accident that closes the only road into your town for a couple of weeks? A monthlong power outage? These are all things that have happened somewhere in this country just in the last year! How about having your gas main, electrical service, or water cut off during a major storm? (My wife and I had to deal with a widespread week-long power outage, in the middle of winter, twice in our lifetimes — once when we were living in one of the most affluent cities in our state!) Finally, a big risk might be unresolved health issues that are under your control.

How to listen to what someone’s body language is telling you:

  • Don’t make the usual mistakes: Take context, clusters, baseline, and biases into consideration.

  • First impressions are often accurate: With a number of traits you can trust your gut. But know which ones.

  • Trust mimicry and emotional expression: But they have to be sustained and consistent.

  • Awful people have tells: Pay attention to notice them. And look for narcissists in flashy clothing.

Dr. Sherman House on becoming a “civilian defender”.

… here is what I feel should constitute the undergraduate education of the civilian defender:

  1. Criminology/Street Smarts/Physical Preparedness

  2. Defensive Driving

  3. Emergency Medical

  4. Legal Preparation, Aftermath and Rules of Engagement

  5. Less Lethal skills

  6. Handgun Carry Course

  7. Handgun Skills and Tactics Course

  8. Defensive Tactics

Note: Dressing up like Batman is NOT listed there.

The Car Gun In Context.

Car guns and trunk guns are on my mind again. I’ve changed cars, and I no longer drive a dull grey Honda Civic, I’m driving something a bit more… lively now. Because I drive a nicer car, I’m a bigger target, but because the car has a stick shift, I might be a smaller target. I like having at gun (or two) in my car because it gives me options. The concern, however, with doing such is that crooks can break in and steal it, or that your gun will get stolen along with your car.

I can dig it.

I’ve had my car broken into, and I’ve had another car stolen. When my car was broken into, it was because there were items in plain view that the crooks wanted (one time, they mistook my Bible in its cover for a purse. I hope they took some time to read the “Thou Shalt Nots”…). It took me a while, but I realized what the crooks were looking for was not my car (there were plenty of better cars around), it was the things inside my car they were looking for. Since then, I’ve been pretty scrupulous about making it look like there is nothing of value inside my car, and I make sure I don’t have anything on the outside (like an NRA sticker) that says there might be something inside the car a crook might want.

To me, having the means to keep the fight off my front porch, no matter where I might be, is worth the risk of carrying around a trunk gun. I’m more likely to need my fire extinguisher or jumper cables than I am my trunk gun, but there really isn’t a substitute out there for a long gun if you need one in a hurry.

Update: Driving to work yesterday, and what do I see but the local fire department putting out a car-be-cue on the side of the Interstate. Poor dude coulda saved his nice Lexus SUV had he one of these in the cargo compartment.