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Thread: Travel cables

  1. #1
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    Travel cables

    Thanks to the great traveler recommendations on this forum, I got an Anker dual USB travel wall charger and a Kikkerland adaptor. I now need a short USB to micro USB cable for my kindle and a short USB to lightning cable for my iPhone. Does anyone have a recommendation for brand, or a favorite setup for these for travel? Of course, looking for light weight and as little space as possible needed! Thanks!
    Indigo/Solar Western Flyer, Aubergine/Steel Tri Star, Nordic/Steel Aeronaut, Indigo/Solar Synapse, Cocoa/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Steel Co-Pilot, Aubergine/Hemp/Steel Imago, Wasabi Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Small Shop Bags, Solar Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Large Shop Bags, Indigo, Wasabi Dyneema, and Plum 3D Organizer Cubes, Wasabi Dyneema Travel Tray, Wasabi Dyneema Large Yarn Stuff Sack, Small, Mini and Pen/Pencil Pouches, an assortment of key straps

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    I buy these type of cables from Monoprice.
    I also buy in bulk usually both for my work and they are so inexpensive to get this way that it is silly not to get backups too!

    I install and use a LOT of cables and can usually not tell any difference between these and expensive ones,really.

    Cables more than almost anything else:2 is 1 and 1 is none!

    Ed
    Last edited by AVService; 06-24-2014 at 03:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwright17 View Post
    Thanks to the great traveler recommendations on this forum, I got an Anker dual USB travel wall charger and a Kikkerland adaptor. I now need a short USB to micro USB cable for my kindle and a short USB to lightning cable for my iPhone. Does anyone have a recommendation for brand, or a favorite setup for these for travel? Of course, looking for light weight and as little space as possible needed! Thanks!
    @dwright I recently posted about carrying a set of short cables in my Kiwi/Nordic PocketPouch. For USB to micro USB, the best short cables I've found are the accessories that come along with Jawbone's products (e.g., their Jambox Bluetooth speaker). The most convenient travel size for me is their 12" Micro USB Charging/Data Cable (not the really short 3" or longer 24" cables). I've never had to replace these, but they also came with the product, and I didn't have to buy them separately. (i've been using these for 3-4 years -- more than I've used the Jambox!) Jawbone's store seems to only separately sell the 3" and 24" size cables now, unless you're separately buying their wall charger (in which case you can choose your cable length), and this seems an unwarrantably expensive way to go.

    It appears you can buy original new12" Jawbone Micro USB Charging/Data cables on eBay for $9.99 (including shipping), as in this listing. Another nice feature of the Jawbone micro USB cables is that one side is flat, so that it's easy to know the orientation of your connection plug-in without having to examine the connector. By the way, the original Kindle micro USb charging cables supplied in the first few years used to be really terrible in quality: the outer plastic on the cables would harden, crack, and flake off leaving bare wires exposed, even if you never traveled with these. This is no longer the case, but for a long time I'd recommend using any other micro USB cable (e.g., even one you bought in a drug store) over the Amazon a kindle ones.

    For short lightning cables, I use the CableJive iBoltz XS (purchased directly from CableJive during one of their sales, but I've linked to the Amazon product).

    Monoprice is a good source of general cables, but I think the shortest length is 1.5'

    You can also read the discussion thread about the Wirecutter Guide to Traveling Well products, and look at that Guide's USB Cables recommendations (which links to the Griffin Technology Mini-USB set). I find those cables can be too short to use conveniently.

    HTH. moriond
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    @AVService - Thanks, Ed, but monoprice doesn't sell short micro usb cables; only lightning cables. Feel free to use my $5 coupon code though - NEWS5, for $5 off!

    @moriond - Thanks for the links. It surprises me that the cables are so darn expensive, but I imagine getting a $5 cable on eBay will burn me for sure. I appreciate that you already have experience with these, so I'll go with them. By the way, what length cables do you carry in your pocket pouch? Ideally I'd like the 5" like your lighning cable, or a 6" since I'll just be powering in a hotel room (although I suppose I could need a quick charge in a coffee shop, too). Also, do you recommend an emergency phone charger for European travel? If so, is Anker the way to go? I noticed the lipstick sized one as a suggested purchase at the bottom of your link to the CableJive cable.
    Indigo/Solar Western Flyer, Aubergine/Steel Tri Star, Nordic/Steel Aeronaut, Indigo/Solar Synapse, Cocoa/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Steel Co-Pilot, Aubergine/Hemp/Steel Imago, Wasabi Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Small Shop Bags, Solar Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Large Shop Bags, Indigo, Wasabi Dyneema, and Plum 3D Organizer Cubes, Wasabi Dyneema Travel Tray, Wasabi Dyneema Large Yarn Stuff Sack, Small, Mini and Pen/Pencil Pouches, an assortment of key straps

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    Hello Nomad has a few very compact and portable cable solutions like their NomadKey and NomadClip in both Micro USB (Android, Windows Phone, etc.) and Lightning (iPhone).

    I can tell you that any of the "Amazon Basics" brand cables are good quality and I have several (and of course they're all available on Amazon Prime).

    And, not a cable but used with cables, for the Mac people, the PlugBug can make the charging situation in your travel kit more compact by combining the iPad/iPhone usb charger with the MacBook power brick adapter.
    Last edited by sheeshoo; 06-25-2014 at 11:25 AM. Reason: edited for typo(s)
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    future - Aeronaut and/or Aeronaut 30 Black Dyneema/Wasabi :: SCB Linen :: TB everything else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwright17 View Post
    @AVService - Thanks, Ed, but monoprice doesn't sell short micro usb cables; only lightning cables. Feel free to use my $5 coupon code though - NEWS5, for $5 off!
    Well you didn't mention a certain length but I use the 1.5' cables a lot and they are pretty short I think.

    Just how short do you want?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AVService View Post
    Well you didn't mention a certain length but I use the 1.5' cables a lot and they are pretty short I think.

    Just how short do you want?
    Sorry I didn't mention exact length. I was thinking around 6" so i can use as little space as possible in my travel bag
    Indigo/Solar Western Flyer, Aubergine/Steel Tri Star, Nordic/Steel Aeronaut, Indigo/Solar Synapse, Cocoa/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Steel Co-Pilot, Aubergine/Hemp/Steel Imago, Wasabi Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Small Shop Bags, Solar Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Large Shop Bags, Indigo, Wasabi Dyneema, and Plum 3D Organizer Cubes, Wasabi Dyneema Travel Tray, Wasabi Dyneema Large Yarn Stuff Sack, Small, Mini and Pen/Pencil Pouches, an assortment of key straps

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    Amy
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    I downsized all my cables in my gear bag by buying retractable ones from ReTrak. Here's the USB to micro-USB that I use:
    Amazon.com: ReTrak Retractable Micro USB Cable (ETCABLETAB5): Computers & Accessories

    It's very small when retracted but long enough to go from wall to nightstand when needed.

    I also have one for headphones and HDMI.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amy View Post
    I downsized all my cables in my gear bag by buying retractable ones from ReTrak. Here's the USB to micro-USB that I use:
    Amazon.com: ReTrak Retractable Micro USB Cable (ETCABLETAB5): Computers & Accessories

    It's very small when retracted but long enough to go from wall to nightstand when needed.

    I also have one for headphones and HDMI.
    I have gone through the Retrak models too,I will not use them again.

    It was not pretty and money was wasted.

    Just my story.

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    Amy
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    Oh, that is too bad. I have been using mine since november and all seem fine so far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amy View Post
    Oh, that is too bad. I have been using mine since november and all seem fine so far.
    I actually do still use the cables themselves but only after they exploded from the reels!

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    It's interesting whenever I research a new product to buy. People have such different experiences with the products oftentimes. I think sometimes it's just the luck of the draw. I got a Samsung HD tv that was a lemon and am wary of all Samsung products now, but the reviews of most Samsung products are out of this world.
    Indigo/Solar Western Flyer, Aubergine/Steel Tri Star, Nordic/Steel Aeronaut, Indigo/Solar Synapse, Cocoa/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Steel Co-Pilot, Aubergine/Hemp/Steel Imago, Wasabi Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Small Shop Bags, Solar Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Large Shop Bags, Indigo, Wasabi Dyneema, and Plum 3D Organizer Cubes, Wasabi Dyneema Travel Tray, Wasabi Dyneema Large Yarn Stuff Sack, Small, Mini and Pen/Pencil Pouches, an assortment of key straps

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwright17 View Post
    It's interesting whenever I research a new product to buy. People have such different experiences with the products oftentimes. I think sometimes it's just the luck of the draw. I got a Samsung HD tv that was a lemon and am wary of all Samsung products now, but the reviews of most Samsung products are out of this world.
    Probably little consolation for you but I only install Panasonic or Samsung and in that order of my preference too.

    You are right that it can sort of be a craps shoot whether you get a good or bad copy of anything these days but there are also different and additional factors to consider very often too.

    For example I think I would qualify as a "Power User" when it comes to electronics and to me they are really just a tool usually. Also my level of satisfaction is likely tougher to attain as I see so much terrible stuff out there it just is not easy to meet my standards for reliability and longevity.

    It makes it hard to find things that I like and suggest for others also as I can't suggest something if I have had problems with it,usually many times.

    On the other hand a lot of commodity items really are mostly identical and when I find something really different I am eager to offer that experience too.

    This we are all here as one example!

    I also like Cable Jive products in general,and they offer quality usually and features that are hard to find elsewhere too.

    I find Apple products to be in that group in general as well,different and better than average quality and execution and I guess that makes me a "FanBoy" but I call it pragmatic !

    It can be a challenge as a consumer these days for sure.

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    Then you'll be happy to know I scored a 60" Panasonic plasma tv before they retired their plasma line! Fabulous television. I just bought, five minutes ago, an LG 3D DVD player to go with it. Reviews are mixed but the price is right, so I'll give it a go. I'll also check out those short cables and see if 6" is too short for my travel needs. Now you have me biting my nails about the length, ha ha!
    Indigo/Solar Western Flyer, Aubergine/Steel Tri Star, Nordic/Steel Aeronaut, Indigo/Solar Synapse, Cocoa/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Steel Co-Pilot, Aubergine/Hemp/Steel Imago, Wasabi Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Small Shop Bags, Solar Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Large Shop Bags, Indigo, Wasabi Dyneema, and Plum 3D Organizer Cubes, Wasabi Dyneema Travel Tray, Wasabi Dyneema Large Yarn Stuff Sack, Small, Mini and Pen/Pencil Pouches, an assortment of key straps

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwright17 View Post
    @moriond - Thanks for the links. It surprises me that the cables are so darn expensive, but I imagine getting a $5 cable on eBay will burn me for sure. I appreciate that you already have experience with these, so I'll go with them. By the way, what length cables do you carry in your pocket pouch? Ideally I'd like the 5" like your lighning cable, or a 6" since I'll just be powering in a hotel room (although I suppose I could need a quick charge in a coffee shop, too). Also, do you recommend an emergency phone charger for European travel? If so, is Anker the way to go? I noticed the lipstick sized one as a suggested purchase at the bottom of your link to the CableJive cable.
    @dwright Yes, these cables for charging/connecting are expensive. Before I answered your post, I did a web search and found a number of threads, including some very recent ones, discussing the short lifetimes for USB - USB Micro cables, especially compared to the previous experience with USB - USB Mini cables (since this connection has been adopted as the standard for cell phone usage). The viewpoints seemed to be that cheap, third-party cables definitely had short lifetimes, probably due to inferior parts (and perhaps the connectors), but going with name-brand OEM cables didn't necessarily get you better results. There were a few different strategies: some people simply bought cables from Monoprice, on the grounds that while they still had to replace cables, they were guaranteed these met a certain quality, and are inexpensive. Other people referenced specific manufacturer's brands (usually ones that came with their cell phones) or tried to look for specific brands.

    Since I used these Jawbone UBS-micro USB cables by happenstance, and just found that they worked well for me, as opposed to trying to research these, I can only tell you my experience (and give you the usage period, which started around December 2010) to let you make your own evaluation. I haven't tried to specifically purchase these cables since then, and it could be the case that since 2010 they've outsourced to a substandard supplier, and I wouldn't be able to predict your experience. It could simply be that the design of the cable ends, where it is easy to check the orientation of the micro USB connector -- the flat end is the side of the longer "base", while the curved end is the shorter side of the micro USB connector. To charge your Kindle, you simply plug the cable in with the flat side of the connector facing the table or tray your Kindle is lying on (or supported against your forefinger, so it is parallel to the back of the Kindle, with your thumb resting on the curved section). You can insert the plug in low light or darkness without mistaking the orientation of the connector or jamming it in with the wrong orientation. I use this cable to charge my CLEARspot personal WiFi device, as well.

    I haven't used the CableJive USB-lightning connectors long enough to comment on their longevity (only about 1.5-2 years). With the Apple Connectors, the main reason to choose a designated supplier is to ensure that syncing works correctly. If you only care about being able to charge the device through the cable, there's probably more leeway. (There are reports of lightning cables that fail to sync correctly after some of the iOS 7 upgrades.) Also, some people use the less expensive Amazon brand lightning cables (which don't work for a few cases with narrow openings for the charging plugs).

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    Here's a picture of the same cables that I carry in my PocketPouch. The white 5"/12 cm cable is the USB-lightning connector from CableJive. The gray 12" cable is the Jawbone USB-micro USB connector, with the flat end of the micro USB plug and the curved end of the USB plug facing the camera. The black 30-pin USB connectors are actually also from CableJive (although Griffin makes similarly sized black 30-pin USB cables). I've also included one of the shorter black cables for reference purposes. (You can easily fit it into the PocketPouch with all the others, but I find this length is shorter than is really convenient for me.)

    I don't have a good recommendation for a Phone charger (maybe you can use the Anker one?) I still have, and continue to use, the old JustMobile Gum Pro Battery Pack. (I used this model before I had an iPhone, and replaced it once). I'm sure there are better current solutions. If I'm carrying multiple electronic devices abroad, I'll bring along a Monster Outlets to Go power strip.. (This was discussed in my Wirecutter Guide to Traveling Well post, but I'm explicitly giving you the B&H Photo link, which I've used to re-purchase this for a friend recently. Amazon lists this as discontinued by the manufacturer, although the manufacturer still lists it. However, the comments to the Amazon listing late last fall indicated products that didn't look like the original picture, and that weren't as reliable, just before they took it to be discontinued. B&H Photo sells the original brand currently for $9.49. You can also see a picture of this product in the top left of Amy's photo post in the Perspectives on Size… thread.

    HTH.

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