Created by Antigravity Batteries, known for high-end lithium batteries, the Micro-start is the first, original mini jump starter. These days, we rely on electronic devices more than ever—even in the middle of nowhere—which is what makes the Micro-start an essential item whenever I walk, drive, or ride two wheels off into an adventure.
This pocket-sized device will jump motorcycles, powersport toys, cars, trucks, and even diesel passenger vehicles. It also has a USB output for phones, tablets, cameras, radios, and communication systems. You might be asking, what about laptops? Yes and no, but more on that later.
Along with carrying this handy device in your vehicle as backup, you can bring it hiking, bikepacking, or anywhere around the world or off-road. One charge lasts up to one year, depending on how often it’s used.
A Micro-start really is the perfect digital backup companion. That said, there are some downsides to this device often exposed to outdoor elements, which I’ll point out below.
First, Micro-start has five options ranging from lightweight units—for when you want to keep weight and bulk to a minimum—to powerful models that will jump diesel trucks.
Note: I wasn’t able to test all options, just the XP-1, and the Mini, which has been replaced by the Sport. All Micro-starts work the same, more or less, with the only differences being which one you choose for which functionality.
I used the Mini Micro-start during two years of motorcycle travel. Along with loving the unit for charging devices while living out of a tent, it came in handy several times for jumping my G 650 GS. In Alaska, for example, I had to jump my bike every morning one week because the weather was so chilly. Without the Mini, I would have had to flag down passing vehicles; with it, I was self-sufficient, connecting the jumper cables to my boyfriend’s motorcycle.
Unfortunately, one major downfall I’ve found while reading reviews and have experienced myself is the unit swells after some time. Even if it still works, you should discontinue use as the case can crack, presenting dangerous hazards. To be fair, I put the Mini through its paces. They don’t do well in heat, and that could have caused the swelling in my case. I’ve been reading that some purchasers see the units swelling when they haven’t used them for some time—in most examples, two to three years. There is no further information for how the Micro-start was stored and how that might be the cause for the damage.
Despite this negative aspect, there’s nothing else like the Micro-start on the market, and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring one on any adventure. Just take care of it. When you’re adventuring in hot climates without an air-conditioned vehicle, it’s hard to keep them cool. The Mini (pictured above) I had during my moto travels was stored in a pannier. Panniers can get very hot, especially if you’re riding somewhere with heat and humidity every day.
For use while hiking in hot weather, I recommend storing the unit against the back support inside your pack—i.e., not in top compartments or pockets. Also, note Micro-starts are not waterproof or very water-resistant, so protect them in a dry bag or waterproof case.
Definitely do not keep Micro-starts in a tank bag on a motorcycle. They’ll get too hot and potentially wet. Even panniers aren’t ideal, but what other option do you have on a bike? I now keep mine in a waterproof bag inside a portable cooler, which I already have along to store food.
Micro-starts are easy to use and convenient with their exceptional capabilities, all wrapped up in a compact size. The hardest part is understanding how to hook up the cables when jumping a car or truck; if you don’t have that dialed, learn before you head out adventuring.
The XP-1 pictures below I have used to charge devices only. Despite reaching out through social media channels in the city I live in, no one volunteered their dead vehicle for me to jump-start. I didn’t need to test that to know it works, I just thought it would be a fun and a chance to meet some potentially interesting characters.
Laptops:Apple users are out of luck.Although the XP-1 and XP-10 options come with a 19-volt output and adaptors, the kit is not compatible with Apple laptops. I have a MacBook Pro and wasn’t able to test this feature. Also, some newer laptops have a proprietary override built in which won’t allow a Micro-start charge, so keep that in mind.
DVD players:if you have a portable DVD player, the XP-1 and XP-10 also have 12-volt outputs.
Diesel trucks:As you can see from the chart above, the best model for bigger engines is the XP-10-HD, which will jump start up to 7L gas and diesel vehicles.
Micro-start Pros and Cons
Pocket-sized power and charging
Lightweight emergency gear
Charges almost everything you need for an adventure
Swells in heat or after long time with no use
Not waterproof/water resistant
Doesn’t charge all laptops
Some units won’t charge diesels
Before jump-starting anything, read the owner’s manual to know how many LED lights need to be lit on the unit (meaning make sure your Micro-start has a decent amount of charge capacity.).
Long-distance adventurers might be interested in the tire inflator/air pump add-on.
Keep units in waterproof containers/bags.
Store in a cooler while in hot environments (I now store mine in a portable cooler while traveling by motorcycle).
Included in carrying cases for all units:
Wall, mobile, and USB chargers
Laptop adaptors (XP-1 and XP-10 units only)
What do you think? Is a Micro-start in your future?
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