The sexy part of preparing your EDC is shopping for the guns … but as modern Americans, we have to admit that there’s a portion of our everyday loadout that gets neglected: our cars. The ability to escape a situation that’s going sideways is a critical part of our defensive strategies. A car with a dead battery is even more useless than an unloaded gun, and while jump-starting a car may seem pedestrian compared to the tactical stuff, it’s a critical life skill. And it doesn’t have to be hard to learn.
I’ve been relying on a vehicle gadget called the Noco Boost portable jump pack for years. I carry one in each of my vehicles, including my UTV. I have used them with success dozens of times over the years … for other drivers. (I guess I just look like one of those people who has jumper cables.)
The Noco Boost packs utilize lithium batteries which can pack up to 3,000 amps! That’s enough power to start a 7-liter diesel truck engine! While the Noco Boost packs a large punch, these jump starters are portable and small enough to fit in a glove box, and only weigh a couple pounds. I love the idea of bringing the solution right to the problem dead battery—no weird angles, stretching, contorting or any other situations that would remind you of the first 10 seconds of an infomercial.
These boost packs work in a really interesting way. They don’t actually recharge a car battery. Instead, they basically hook up to a 12-volt car battery and replace it. With all of that potential amperage power, as soon as you turn on the boost pack’s start cycle, you can immediately start the car. Remove the boost pack and you are done. It takes seconds to start a dead vehicle instead of up to 30 minutes via jump cables.
How does that work? Well, as long as the car’s alternator is still functioning, the alternator is actually providing the power to keep the car running—and as long as the dead battery can be recharged, the alternator will recharge it as you drive. Slightly revving the engine after a jump start will help; when your engine turns faster, so does the alternator. And when an alternator turns faster, it produces more electricity. And when it produces more electricity, the battery recharges faster. That being said, it’s also a good idea to let your vehicle run for 20-30 minutes after a jump start.
Did my earlier comment about 3,000 amps make you wonder about safety? I’m going to be a responsible unpewfessional and note that any time you are dealing with electricity, you need to use caution. Think of it just as you would a firearm … lines should always be treated as live! Lithium-ion batteries, if damaged, can cause fires. Again, treat it like a firearm. No burning, shooting at or trying to chop in half a Noco Boost! All that responsible stuff said, though, the Noco Boost is basically idiot-proof.
The onboard electronics mean that the Noco Boost will not spark, like traditional cables can. The boost is so safe that you can actually touch the positive to negative leads together and it will not spark. They have also published videos that show a boost hooked up backwards positive hooked up to the negative and negative hooked up to positive. The computer will reverse polarity to match the battery and still jump start the vehicle, with no sparking or fires. If you did that with cables you would burn both vehicles up for sure.
I will admit right away that a pair of jumper cables is way cheaper than a jump box. But remember, you get what you pay for. If you are the one who is stuck do you really want to trust your luck with some dollar store cables? Plus, the Noco Boost packs do more than jumpstart. They also can act as a flashlight and strobe. The pack also has a rechargeable lithium-powered LED flashlight with seven light modes, including SOS and Emergency Strobe. Its powerful wash light will help you see your engine, help you change a tire at night, or even warn oncoming traffic when you are in need of roadside assistance.
Next up you can use the Boost to recharge your tablets, phones, and other gadgets via usb connection. Some of the larger units even have the capability of providing direct 12-volt power for things like air compressors. I have used it for portable power during camping or a long day at the range with great success. All of that capability in a nice, neat package that I keep charged via an extra usb-c port in my vehicles.
I don’t know about you, but I kind of like coming to the rescue of a stranded person. You bet it always amazes people when they need a jump and you come over with a handheld device the size of a Bluetooth speaker. I have heard “there is no way that will start my car” many times (just before it does exactly that).
The Noco Boost may not be the most glamorous part of your preps, but if you ever have to use it, will be one of the coolest gadgets in your arsenal. I can tell you I personally swear by Noco including their battery maintainers, they put a lot of thought behind safety and are some of the best built chargers made.
James the “XDMAN” Nicholas Mr. UnPewfessional himself.
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