In an effort to keep things as streamlined as possible, we try to keep the variety of battery sizes to a minimum. In a perfect world there’d be just two sizes – D and AA. Unfortunately the higher end stuff like the SureFire lights and a few other geegaws require CR123 batts. Ok, I can make peace with that. But I draw the line at three. I refuse to get sucked into having to keep those and 9v and AAA and C and coin-size, etc, etc.
Usually, spare batteries are stored in their original packaging, in bulk, with all the other long-term gear. However, there is always the need to carry spare batteries around when away from home. Problem is, with all the usual gear rattling around in my bag or pack there’s a good chance any batteries thrown in there will wind up contacting something (or each other, even) and shorting out. Obviously, some type of protective container is called for.
The gear I carry around runs on either AA or CR123 batts, so I usually carry spares in those two sizes. (About the only thing we have that uses D-batts are MagLites, seismic intrusion sets, and field phones..none of which I normally carry around with me.) I used to just throw a couple wraps of duct tape or electrical tape over the terminals of the battery, bundle them together, and leave it at that. It works, but it isn’t perfect. I later discovered that an Altoids tin makes an excellent case for AA batteries if you insulate the metal with a thin layer of bubble wrap. That woeked quite well for a number of years. But, I’m just never content to leave things as they are.
For keeping a handful of AA and CR123 in one place, I very much like this little gem from Maxpedition:
Each chamber of the carrier has small ribs inside to allow two different sizes of battery – AA or CR123. The two colored halves of the carrier slide apart so you can split them between two different size batteries or separate dead from fresh batteries. The carrier slides into the nylon pouch which secures shut with Velcro. The pouch has webbing on the back to attach to gear. All in all, a very handy and convenient way to carry spare batteries. Is it perfect? Sadly, no. The biggest drawback is that while it offers a great deal of protection, it isn’t waterproof. Oh sure, it’d take a heck of a dunking to get past the pack its carried in, into the nylon case, and then seep into the plastic carrier…but, it could happen. So whats a little more secure?
SureFire makes a spare carrier thats quite nice. It only holds four batteries though, butit waterproof and has a lanyard attachment. Unfortunately it is specific to the CR123 batts. On the side of overkill, County Comm sells these truly awesome battery carriers (AA , AAA, CR123) that, although not cheap, are about as bombproof as I think you could get. If I’m ejecting from a damaged aircraft over Afghanistan, I want the batteries for my distress strobe carried in these things.
While these are all fine protective cases for keeping batteries safe and available until they are needed, there seems to be no such protection for D-batteries. Usually the only thing I have that runs on D-batts are MagLites, seismic intrusion detectors, and field phones. Still, when I keep a MagLite in the truck it would be nice to have some way to keep spare batteries on hand in a convenient and protected manner. If I had to guess, I would say the reason I cant find such a piece of gear is because the smaller batts like the AAA,AA, and CR123 are for pieces of gear that are truly ‘pocket sized’ and thus the need for a spare battery carrier. Anything that runs on D-batts is usually large and bulky and therefore probably being hauled around with bunches of other gear…so youre supposed to just throw your spare batteries in there, I guess. Who knows? But if anyone knows of a similar battery carrier to the ones mentioned, sized for D-batteries, I’d like to hear about it.