We thought you might like a sneak preview of the new Texenergy Infinite Air in action. In essence it's a meticulously-designed miniaturised wind turbine that breaks down into a compact 430-gramme package and can charge an iPhone from empty in two to three hours.
The idea is that you can charge up your outdoor electronics - phones, GPS, head-torches, cameras etc - even in the absence of the sort of bright, direct sunshine that most compact solar panels rely on and tends to be a somewhat limited commodity in the British hills.
To see just how it works, we grabbed Texenergy's Nikki Skinner and her whippet Archie, and headed out onto Kinder Scout on a relatively still day. First impressions are that the Infinite Air is pretty straightforward to put together from its component parts.
The cleverly-designed blades slot into slots in the head, then the whole caboodle mounts on the extendable mini-tripod. Dead easy even without instructions.
Three years of development work included crucial work on the polypropylene blades, which need to be shaped for a combination of effectiveness and strength and moulded to fit exactly into the generator head. The yellow tips deliberately echo the propellors of a WW2 Spitfire by the way and give you a fighting chance of avoiding an accidental hair-cut when things are spinning fast.
Once assembled, all you need is some wind. In stronger winds the Infinite Air spins up with the threatening roar of a turbo-proper plane, but it's actually been designed to work and produce decent power in winds of from 12-15 mph upwards.
'Moderate winds' is the technical term and it's what we had. Think moving grass and rustling leaves rather than cats being blown past your ears... In those conditions, the blades spun up easily and an iPhone plugged into the USB outlet was happily charging away.
For more general use and for storable power, you can charge up one of Texenergy's own TexFlex 3 batteries, a super neat, folding, magnetic 3000mAh lithium ion pack that'll fold into a neat cube or extend into a pocket-friendly, thin package. It's highly water resistant too, covered in waterproof leather and features useful LED status lights. It'll charge your smartphone one to one-and-a-half times.
Its also, Nikki says, capable of holding a high percentage of its charge over extended periods of time, so it'll still be usable when you grab it from your gear cupboard as you head out of the door. It'll be priced at £38 when it launches next month, with the larger capacity TexFlex 10 to follow.
Wind, sun, water, storage and hand-generated too...
Tex Energy isn't just about the Infinite Air. Company founder Jerry Ranger, previously CEO of Power Traveller, is all about providing everything you need to generate electricity off grid. There's the high quality solar panel above as well, the Tex-Flex batteries for storage and a neat little Tex-Orbit hand-cranked emergency generator which'll power a USB head-torch for 6-8 hours after ten minutes of cranking. Or use it to power up an out of juice smartphone for a emergency call or text.
And water? An aquatic, water-driven version of the Infinite Air is in development and will let you get your power direct from the nearest stream. Neat huh?
Overall we reckon the little wind generator makes perfect sense for mountain use. Let's face it, you're more likely to encounter wind than bright sunshine in UK hills. You can set it up and leave it running and charging overnight in conditions where a solar panel simply makes a convenient tea-tray. And while it's been designed primarily of off-the-grid hill use, it would work just as well for wild van camping as it would outside a Himalayan tea-house.
All-in price for the Infinite Air, once it's available in June 2017, will be £98 - not cheap, but not insanely expensive for a serious bit of high-tech engineering. Combine it with a £39 Infinite Solar 5 and you should be good to go whether it's sunny or windy or both.
The main Texenergy products above are set to launch in June 2017. More details from texenergy.co.uk