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Gear we Like

Here at Wndsn we have been kicking around for a long time an idea of showcasing gear we like. This idea has picked up considerable steam since the advent of the Wndsn Expedition Team Telegram. Members are frequently sharing their favorite pieces of gear and it has become a valuable resource for crowd sourced information from people who actually use the products on a daily basis. We are not sure what format this feature will take in the future but we are bringing it here first.

Have a beloved item that is crucial to your kit that you think the world needs to know? Submit your review to info@wndsn.com, subject line: Gear we Like, following the format linked here.

Gear we Like: PortaPow 3rd Gen USB Data Blocker ("USB Condom")


Reviewed by Wndsn staff, Germany.


Significant risks come with the use of USB in public spaces that frequently make charging ones phone or devices on the go untenable.

There are two scenarios to prevent when charging the phone at a public, and hence untrusted USB outlet:

  1. Data theft, by creating a data connection to the device being charged, personal data can be read and/or copied.
  2. Malware infection, a data connection allows data transfer in either direction, and unwanted data can be written to the device being charged.

USB condoms

We spotlight so called "USB condoms", thumb-drive sized devices that are designed to protect the user from malicious data traffic in and out of the device when hooking up to public or unknown USB charging outlets. They work by physically removing the ability to transfer data from the connection.


The PortaPow USB Data Blocker does one job and it does it well.


As with any security device, a USB data blocker only one element in a more comprehensive set of best practices. Also, keep it from being tampered with.



The 3rd Gen USB Data Blocker by PortaPow a useful little device, small enough to always bring and use, the USB condom adds an additional layer of (data) security when working in public/unknown/untrusted environments. The tiny space it takes up more than makes up for the larger security it provides.

USB condom in use

USB condom in use.

An upgrade to the condom is a throughput measuring device which does both, providing not just data safety (it has the exact same functionality), but also information about electrical current and voltage. Often, cables are of questionable quality, and many public charging services only have very limited current, so it might help to monitor the (electrical) connection.

Another option is to buy from the same source (or DIY) a dedicated charge-only cable, with a deactivated data connection.

Feedback, suggestions, questions?

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