Survival Tools

The JIT Charger is “Just In Time” When You Need Power

While we were at SHOT Show earlier this year in January, we met the people selling the JIT Charger. They were also selling Ron Hood survival videos (more on that later!) I got to talking with the guys at the booth and became really interested in their JIT charger. I got one and tested it out.

The JIT charger is an emergency power device that accepts a charge and then transfers that charge to either an Android or iPhone for battery power. It also contains an LED flashlight and an electric lighter that heats up metal coils. You could use this to smoke your last cigarette when the SHTF and you lost your lighter (unless you have this badass lighter on you) or make yourself a fire that might keep you alive until Judgement Day. The JIT is small and affordable, and does its job. It comes in three pieces: the flashlight, the lighter, and a USB that charges it. It’s light, at only 1 ounce you will not likely even know you are carrying it. The charger plugs directly into the phone with no need for an additional cord, which is nice. It’s available online for $21.49 for an Android version and $22.49 for the iPhone version.

Here’s how it worked for me. I plugged the flashlight part of the JIT into the USB on my desk computer at 11:30, and by 12:30 it was fully charged. It was actually full in less time than that, probably about 5 or 10 minutes earlier than that, but I’m not sure exactly since I wasn’t looking at it every second. I did not expect it to charge that fast. There are four green LED lights on the outside of it that show the progress visually. When it has only one green LED light lit it is only 1/4th charged. When all four green lights are lit it is fully charged. I let my iPhone 6 completely die, meaning that I let a game continue playing on my phone until it shut itself off and had no more power left. I plugged in the JIT at 1:19. Twenty minutes later, at 1:40, the JIT had imparted all of its charge (the four green LEDs had gone down from four lit to none lit) and my phone was at a 15% charge. This is plenty of charge to send a few emergency texts or make a quick phone call. The JIT will not fully charge your battery, but if it is totally dead, as mine was, it will give you enough juice to reach out for help.

I had to take my phone out of its OtterBox case in order to plug it in, but I didn’t mind doing that. It’s good to take it out of the case once in a while and clean it! Within 5 minutes it was down to 1 LED light on the charger, and the phone was at 7% charged. So you could use this to get a quick charge to make a text, and if you don’t connect with the person you’re trying to reach you could have enough power to try again a few minutes later. The packaging has actual instructions, which I didn’t read at first because I wanted to see how intuitive it was to use if I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I fumbled a minute pressing the on button, not sure exactly how to turn the flashlight on and turn the LED lights off. Turns out, all you have to do is press and hold the button to turn the flashlight on. The green LED lights go off by themselves after 15 seconds. The lighter automatically shuts off after 20 seconds. When I plugged the lighter into the JIT it got red right away, just like a cigarette lighter.

I don’t know exactly how many lumens the flashlight is but it is bright for its size and will dispel darkness enough to get you somewhere. I turned on the flashlight at 3:00 pm, and left it on the whole night while I was sleeping. By the next morning at 9am, it was still going strong. That’s a minimum of 18 hours of light. It could have kept going for a lot longer than that but my son got a hold of it and started playing with it, so I’ll have to test it again another time!

One drawback is that the three pieces are small so it could be easily lost or broken. I’d like to see the JIT come with a small case or carrying bag to better enable keeping track of them and keeping them all together. You can’t connect them all together, because then the charge from the charger will go into the lighter. You can connect the flashlight piece and the USB piece and keep those together. Both the flashlight piece and the lighter piece came with a small carrying loop so that it could be hooked to a keychain. The charging end of the flashlight had a cover that remains connected via this loop. The flashlight part requires a lithium ion battery, which is included.

There are a lot of chargers you can get out there, and many of them cost a lot more than the JIT. But I like the JIT because of its simplicity, its small size, and its affordability. This would be a very easy thing to keep in your purse, at work, or in your car in case of any power emergency, and for the price of three JITs you’d spend less than some other chargers that may or may not work as well as they say they will (read our comparison of smartphone power banks). Many smartphone chargers simply do not provide as much power as you think they will, and, they don’t have the flashlight or the lighter feature.

I’m the kind of person that keeps my phone fully charged at all times in anticipation of emergencies when I won’t be able to charge it. I have to admit that it made me nervous to let my cell phone dwindle its battery all the way down to nothing and then shut itself off! But the JIT came through, and when I plugged my phone in to charge back up, I plugged my JIT in too, so it’s ready for next time.

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Michelle Carol

Michelle Carol

My name is Michelle Carol and I have two kids and a bunch of animals I want to keep safe if something big happens. I'm always looking for ways to be more prepared and take care of things myself. I realize it's important to be prepared and I hope that I can help others too.