I’d say that today’s top 10 travel items include a portable charger for smartphones and tablets. All we want is for our phones to never lose battery. Unfortunately we can’t always be prepared with a second gadget that’s the size of our smartphone, and triple its width. What if we could purchase some extra smartphone juice from a snack machine at a mall for a few bucks?

Powrtabs is exactly what we’re describing here. Two brothers from Chicago, Steven and Nicholas Helfer, have come up with portable and disposable chargers. They understand that “these are not going to replace a portable battery brick, but they’re a lot smaller and can fit into pant pockets a lot better.”

These handy little packs of power are the world’s first disposable lithium-ion battery pack with a bio-degradable shell. It’s the type of thing you’d store a bunch of in your garage, next to your emergency tools. I know I could have used Powrtabs during Hurricane Sandy, that’s for sure.

Powrtabs are simply the type of thing that you’d want to have available on a late night out, where you just need a little extra juice to Uber back home. I can say that there have been multiple situations where I thought I had charged my portable charger, and when I needed to use it, I realized that I had actually forgotten. Worst thing ever.

There’s two types of packaging: white for the iPhone, and black for Android. They come pre-charged of course, and it’s printed that you’ll get an extra 4 hours of battery life with it. All you need to do is peel it out of the nice wrapper, and plug it into your phone. It can easily fit into your pocket and you can safely recycle them when you finish using it.

Powrtabs have a shelf life of five years, so you could throw one in a bag and forget about it, until you need it. Keep it in your car’s glove compartment or even in your wallet. Powrtabs could soon become available in vending machines at stadiums and schools, and its an easy money-maker too, as people get desperate when their phones shut off on them.

We’re not sure if they’re MFi certified, so use at your own risk. Separately, these could go for around $5 but you can purchase them in wholesale, where they’d cost less as a bundle. You can buy a pack of three Powrtabs for $15 or a six pack for $25.

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Perry Raskin's favorite gear