Battery packs are useless without cables, so one way to make sure you always have one is to just, uh, build the battery into the cable.
In addition to be being a fully-capable Lightning cable, the Portal Cord offers up a decently-sized, 1,800 mAh battery capable of charging an iPhone XS to about 70%. (USB-C and MicroUSB versions are also available, in addition to Lightning).
Of course, the Portal Cord isn’t the first product to do this, but it looks like a real marriage between a cable and a battery pack. Unlike the discontinued Jackery Jewel and the Nomad Battery Cable which were ostensibly lipstick-sized battery packs with a cable running through, the Portal Cord splits its battery capacity between four humps. This design choice makes the cable a little bit more manageable and cord-like. (At first glance, I actually mistook it to be Apple’s BeatsX headphones.)
Of course, the 1,800 mAh battery isn’t likely to replace your dedicated power bank for extended trips away, but it’ll definitely do well in a pinch.
And unlike a battery pack, it’ll charge while you sync your phone with your computer or plug it into the wall. This means you’ll never have to remember to charge it. (Like its competition, the cable prioritizes the charging of your smartphone before it begins charging the internal battery of the cable.)
If this sounds like something you’d like, you can pledge $55 on Kickstarter in your choice of black, white or gray. It’s quite a bit more than a regular cable, or a regular battery pack, but for some, the convenience of an always-ready battery may very well be worth the cost.