By Jim Baird, Professional Adventurer and Filmmaker
While trekking in the heart of a rugged mountain wilderness, where untamed rivers carve their paths through pristine landscapes and whitewater challenges beacon, a new adventure unfolds each day. As a filmmaker and devoted YouTuber, I need to document my adventures as they develop - I can’t afford to miss any of the key moments.
In late July and early August of 2023, I embarked on a solo river expedition down the Hart River in Canada’s Yukon Territory. With roughly 14 days dedicated to this venture, my mission was to capture approximately two terabytes of 4K footage in order to craft an adventure film series out of the trip. Needless to say, this endeavor demanded a substantial amount of battery power to keep my cameras rolling. To meet this challenge, I entrusted the Bluetti EB3A Portable Power Station and a 100-watt folding solar panel.
The Hart River is very remote and for a summer paddling trip, it’s only realistically accessible by floatplane. With no power outlets for hundreds of square kilometers and no one to supply me with fresh batteries, the BLUETTI EB3A became my steadfast companion on this adventure. The portable power device was so key because it enabled me to capture all the authentic moments during the extraordinary journey. Below I share five examples of why the the Bluetti EB3A is a crucial piece of gear on adventures like this along with some tips on how I go about using it while traveling through remote areas.
1. Filming in the Wild and Capturing Whitewater Rapid Descents:
One of the defining aspects of my wilderness expeditions is my need to document heart-pounding whitewater rapids. To do this, I typically use an array of electronic gear which includes two high-end GoPro action cameras. I affix one of the Go Pros to my whitewater helmet using a special helmet mount manufactured by GoPro and I affix the other GoPro to the canoe using a more sophisticated mount such as the Manfrotto Magic Arm. I’ll often set up a camera on shore beside the rapid using a tripod as well. What you don’t see in my videos is the footage of me trekking back up the river bank as I run back to retrieve my tripod after the run is finished. I sometimes use an aerial drone to capture the rapids too. For safety, I carry a satellite communication device called an InReach in my pocket and tether it to my belt with a lanyard for extra security. Should I lose my canoe in a rapid, the InReach can help me arrange an air evacuation or a pick-up from a remote road or rail line if a multi-day trek to safety is a possibility. The EB3A plays a pivotal role in ensuring these devices remain charged and ready to capture the wild ride that remote whitewater has to offer.
2. How I go About Charging My Camera Equipment While in the Field:
Typically, I charge smaller anchor batteries and camera batteries at night through the EB3A, reserving daylight hours for recharging the EB3A with my solar panel. Because of potential rain and the very real concern of capsizing in rapids, waterproofing my EB3A is paramount. To do this, I secure the EB3A in a roll-top dry bag, arranging it in a manner that allows the charging cable to extend out of the bag through the edge of the bag’s rolled-up top. Placing the bag in my canoe, I connect the solar panel to the cable and then position the panel on top of my gear in the canoe or onto of my canoe’s spray deck when it’s affixed. Finally, I clip down the solar panel using small carabiners. This setup allows the EB3A to consistently charge and I paddle throughout the day.
When it comes time to charge my camera batteries, the EBA3’s setup really makes life easy. The portable power station boasts two AC outlets, a 12-volt DC output, two USB ports, and one USB-C port. On occasion, I bring a computer power bar with me and connect it to an AC port, expanding the number of available charging outlets. A wireless charging port location on top of the EB3A provides a great place to charge your smartphone overnight as well. (I use my smartphone primed with downloaded topographic maps as a backup GPS while in the field). Sometimes I also charge additional camera batteries through the EB3A while I’m on the move during the day. Regardless of the approach, maintaining battery levels and ensuring the EB3A remains charged is a constant task while filming my expeditions. Fortunately, the EB3A’s high capacity allows it to sustain me even on cloudy days when solar charging is less efficient.
3. Setting the EB3A Apart in Demanding Environments - Giving Remote Adventures Reliable Power
With all my camera batteries charged each day, I can fully immerse myself in the adventure, focusing on filming while ensuring I proceed safely. What sets the EB3A apart in this demanding environment is its unwavering reliability. Whether I’m capturing the breathtaking mountain landscape or sending updates to my social media accounts via satellite, the EB3 remains steadfast. Its robust lithium ion phosphate (LiFePO4) battery guarantees long-lasting, stable power throughout the day, regardless of the river’s challenges. The Bluetti’s display screen even provides real-time information including the remaining charging time left at a given output which simplifies the planning of charging intervals.
Note: To enhance preparedness, I always bring extra charging cables, as the connections between the EB3A unit and the solar panel can occasionally endure significant stress on my adventures.
4. Capturing the Thrills and the Story - Adventure Filmmaking Past and Present
To say camera equipment has become more compact and better quality over the last couple of decades is a large understatement and the advent of small aerial drones has shrunk budges and enabled a single producer to capture large-scale, cinematic shots. But all this gear still needs to be powered. Not long ago, adventure filmmakers had to haul heavy, pre-charged car batteries or pack gas generators into the field for such journeys, limiting the distance and speed they could travel in remote areas. With the EB3A weighing in at a mere 10.14 pounds, it delivers the necessary power at a fraction of the weight. Like with camera gear itself, this technological advancement in charging ability has significantly expanded possibilities for adventure filmmaking. Unlike a generator, its silent operation ensures I can record the sounds of the river and the movements of wildlife without disturbing the natural tranquility of nature.
5. Conclusion: The Power Behind the Adventure
In the heart of the mountain wilderness, where each day ushers in new challenges and moments of awe, BLUETTI’s EB3A Portable Power Station has emerged as an indispensable companion for the scale of my filming needs. It offers unwavering reliability, lightweight design, portability, and on-the-go charging capability. All this means that I am able to capture every inspiring moment of my adventures. This, is all while treading lightly through the natural landscapes I explore.