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I’m not one to store my toys over the winter. I use my machines throughout, including our personal Can-Am Maverick X3 Max, and Honda's Africa Twin and CRF300L Rally which I have on loan. Each was used in the snow, and I was diligent in starting them up whenever I had a period where I didn’t use them to keep them primed and ready.
But that dedication to keep my vehicles alive and well made testing Uncharted Supply Co.’s Athena jumpstarter—a unit designed for the adventurer and outdoors person—a pain because none of them were even close to dead.
At first, I just waited for a couple of weeks to see if the Africa Twin would die left unloved in a corner of my garage. Yeah, it didn’t, and neither did the Can-Am. Nor, for the first time, did my brother-in-law’s Polaris RZR. His kids tend to leave lights on while playing in the cabin like a jungle gym.
“Why won’t you die?!” was uttered on a few occasions, but props to Can-Am, Honda, and Polaris for making stuff that doesn’t draw too much power when idle. Finally, I took matters into my own hands and just left both the Can-Am and Africa Twin on accessory power for a full day. Praise be, they both died and I had a worthy test of the Athena. Back-to-back jumps on 12V powersport batteries. Let’s get it.
A Compact Backcountry Jumpstarter Enters the Chat
The idea behind the Athena jumpstarter is to be able to go off-grid, but not fear losing your vehicle’s state of charge while being off-grid. As such, the compact jumpstarter has been ruggedized so that it can survive whatever backcountry situation you encounter, with semi-soft plastic molding to shield it from impacts, an LED light to help illuminate the darkness, is IP67 rated for water and dust, and will keep its charge for up to a year when in nominal temperatures, while colder climates or colder seasons will only allow for the battery to stay charged for up to 6 months.
Obviously, however, it needs to back all that up with the right tech so that you have more than enough juice to jump however many times you need to. The Athena has a 16000mAh capacity which Uncharted Supply Co. states is good for jumpstarting “up to a 6.0L gasoline or diesel engine in seconds, up to 20 times with one charge.” The company also states that the Athena is aimed at filling “a growing need for a portable energy system for smaller engines and day-to-day use.” Perfect for my tested applications.
It can also be used to charge laptops, phones, or whatever else you take into the backcountry on your adventures, as it also features a USB-C, Micro USB, and 2 USB ports.
Let There Be Light!
After thoroughly killing the two machines, I had to remove a number of pieces of their bodywork to access the batteries. With the Honda Africa Twin, that was two small bolts, and a pop rivet to pull the battery out enough to get the clamps onto the terminals. The Can-Am, well, that was one of the rear seats. That design could be better. And I should've remembered to take pictures during, so here are some very vague ones of where the battery resides.
But from there, it was literally easy-peasy. All you have to do with the Athena is; make sure it’s charged, which you can see by the four LED lights near the power button, and then hook the terminals up. It’s automatic after that and will provide enough juice to jumpstart the vehicle.
Both the Africa Twin and the Can-Am fired up in seconds, and after warming up and a set of rides around the block to ensure the batteries had enough charged to stay powered, I was done. Quick and easy, which is exactly what you want from a portable jumpstarter. It really did make for easy work, and I’m confident even the most unhandy of folks could use this without issue.
I also tried out the USB charging with my phone. What’s really great is you don’t actually have to press any buttons for the Athena to work. You just plug in whatever cord you need to charge from, and you’re on your way to a full battery. It worked pretty quickly, too, only taking a few minutes to charge about 10-15%.
The only issue I found with the Athena is the small plastic tab that goes over the outputs, as the piece that keeps it from falling off snapped. I can still insert the tab so that it retains its IP67 rating. But I think that something with a little more integrity, i.e. a piece of paracord or some type of string, would be better suited to keep the tab secure.
Other than that single issue, which wasn’t a big one in my opinion, Uncharted Supply Co.'s Athena jumped the two powersports vehicles easily. Nor did it take too long to charge up, averaging about 6 hours to be fully charged and ready to hit its prescribed 20 jumps.
Best of all, however, it was incredibly simple to use. At least once I removed everything in the way of the two batteries. But that’s not on Uncharted Supply Co., that’s on Can-Am and Honda. And for $130, it offers a pretty solid piece of mind that I won’t get stuck out in the wilderness or along a highway, and is going to hop from the emergency kits in each of my vehicles depending on the situation.
If you’re in the need of a more rugged jumpstarter for your rugged adventures, you should check out the Athena. And if you need more power, Uncharted Supply Co. also has an upgraded jumpstarter called the Zeus for only $20 more.
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