I’ve come to appreciate the practicality of ruggedized Lightning cables. With three teenagers toting iPhone and iPads, plus the amount of time we spend camping and household hazards — like puppies — standard issue Apple Lightning cables have a lifespan of around two weeks in this place. Rugged makes sense, the more rugged the better. Running low on battery power is also an issue, so backup batteries are also in demand. But what about combining the two, a rugged battery cable for the iPhone, with a built-in backup battery? Nomad has released such a device, the Nomad Ultra Rugged Battery Cable for iPhone.
Picking it up, there is no doubt this is indeed a rugged, MFi-certified Lightning cable. It’s thick, and covered with braided ballistic nylon. It’s tangle-resistant and five feet in length. The connectors feel extremely heavy duty. The specs, according to Nomad, include:
• Braided 1000D ballistic nylon covering
• Double-thickness PVC jacket
• Reinforced RF shielding
• K-29 Kevlar core
• Extra thick, 20 AWG gauge wire
• Military 10K Spec, tested to withstand 10,000 flexions
Nomad has gone a big step further by integrating an inline battery in this cable. So you can use the Ultra Rugged Battery Cable as a regular Lightning cable for syncing or charging your iPhone (or iPad), and also as a portable battery pack for recharging your device when there are no outlets handy. The battery has a capacity of 2350 mAh (enough to fully recharge an iPhone 7 and then some). When the cable is connected to both power and an iPhone, the iPhone’s battery gets charged first, then the cable’s integrated battery charges. An LED light shows the status and charge level at a glance.
Does It Work?
I have no doubt of the Ultra Rugged Battery Cable’s toughness. It’s been as durable as any other I’ve used, if not more. Even the battery case is very strong. The cable has remained free of tangles and Nomad includes a tie — Vulcanized liquid silicon rubber (LSR) in keeping with the rugged theme — that makes it easy to keep it wrapped up in a manageable bundle. The battery works as advertised and it’s handy to have as a backup. However, the battery case isn’t small. It’s about five inches long, roughly an inch in diameter and raises the weight of the cable to a hefty four ounces.
Whether it’s worth having that battery depends on whether you’re willing to carry the cable with you everywhere. If so (and many people do stuff a Lightning cable in their gear for emergency charging), you have that charge/sync cable and a backup battery in a single unit. No pieces to forget. And at $39.95 the Nomad Ultra Rugged Battery Cable for iPhone is probably less expensive than buying many rugged cables and external battery packs separately.
Personally, I prefer carrying the Nomad charging wallet I reviewed in September — this way I don’t need to remember to bring a cable or battery — but it’s more expensive and only works for battery charging, not connecting my iPhone to a USB charger.
The Ultra Rugged Battery Cable and other rugged cable options are available directly from Nomad.
Disclosure: Nomad provided a cable for review purposes.