Intent Adventures Final Verdict

by Tiahni Sutton on March 28, 2022

Recommendation

I tend to get unlucky with projects like this — I think I have it all planned out perfectly, but when it comes to the install, something goes awry. So it was incredibly gratifying to clip the solar connector to the charger during the install and see the lights on the controller spring to life indicating it was starting to charge the battery. In fact, the whole installation was a breeze and went flawlessly.

The MPPT solar charger appears to be very efficient. I was able to monitor how many volts were being pulled in via the solar panel and was quite impressed with the throughput. When I received the battery from KickAss, it was about half charged, but the controller had it fully charged in less than 24 hours pulling almost entirely from solar power. I expect that I will be able to run our fridge and other accessories while on the trail with minimal concern for battery life given the performance of the charger thus far.

Ease of installation aside, we are also very pleased with the quality of the products from KickAss and the value they represent. There are tons of informative videos on YouTube that walk you through using the products, and you can tell that KickAss is constantly innovating and improving its offerings. Little touches, like the external LED wiring to remotely monitor the charger status, are incredibly useful tools to make your overland experience more enjoyable. Trail time and exploring in our overland rig is one of the ways we relax and unwind, so having one less thing to worry or think about because that little LED quickly tells me what’s going on is a much-appreciated feature. 

The price point for the KickAss products is very fair. They aren’t the cheapest, but they’re also not the most expensive. In my opinion, they offer tremendous value for the price. It is so nice to have a well-built, quality, efficient tool — one I know that I’m not going to have to worry about. 

When we talk about winches and recovery gear for our rigs, we often revert to a debate about when and where is the right place to save a little money. We opted for a Warn winch on our vehicle because if we’re stuck in the woods with no cell signal, we want to reach for a tool that we know will always work. Likewise, there are plenty of times when we opt for the budget-friendly Harbor Freight option (like our rooftop storage box). But when it comes to electricity, paying for a reputable company and high-quality product is worth the investment. KickAss dubs themselves as “outback proof gear,” and while I might not be traveling through the Australian outback, I have no doubt that the battery and charge controller are also “America proof gear” and will hold up to the years of use (and abuse) I will put them through. Score: 10 - Recommend Without Reservation

Future Imports?

Looking through the Australian offerings that KickAss Products has, it’s not hard to daydream and make a wish list of the products I hope to see them importing into the US market soon. Here’s a glimpse at some of the best that we’ll hopefully find for sale on the KickAss Products USA website soon:

  • Battery trays

  • Propane hot water showers

  • 120ah slim battery

  • Solar panels

What Could be Better?

As much as I recommend these products with a 10 out of 10 scores, I also believe that every product can be made better. Sometimes the improvements are unique and specific to an individual application, and sometimes they are general improvements that apply to a larger audience. In this case, it’s not really either situation. The improvements I want them to make are to introduce two new products to the line and to make their other products compatible. 

First, I’d love to see the introduction of a slim lithium battery. There are lots of Australian companies offering slim batteries, but in the US, we have almost no options. KickAss would not only sell a ton of slim lithium batteries in the United States, but they’d also be the only producer of such a battery system. They could be lighter and larger capacity and would be a popular option for folks like me who run overland Jeeps. I know the lithium technology is still newer and more expensive, but I hope the KickAss team is wearing their lab coats and working with kangaroos and koala bears to design a slim lithium battery to bring to market soon.

Second, I would appreciate a KickAss brand external battery monitor system. It doesn’t need to compete with the Redarc RedVision system, but something to allow me to monitor my battery status remotely with a little more data would be awesome. We used the Renogy 500A battery monitor for our setup, but there’s no reason KickAss couldn’t design a monitor that connects via a cable to the DCDC controller, eliminating some of the extra wirings I have in the Jeep. 

Finally, and this is really silly stuff, I’d recommend that KickAss make the mounting holes on the side of the DCDC charger a smidge larger in diameter. It took a bit of trial and error at the hardware store to get something that’d fit into that small mounting hole spot. Again, this is a very trivial matter, but one thing I think could have made the install that much easier.

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