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Camera Accessories

Polar Pro PowerGrip H2O is more than your average GoPro pole mount

With elements seemingly borrowed from other GoPro accessories including the company's own battery-integrated pole mount, the PowerGrip H2O packs in a lot of usability.

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Most pole mounts for GoPro cameras are little more than extendable monopods with a handgrip. Polar Pro's PowerGrip H2O goes well beyond that thanks to a flexible design and some choice accessories.

An evolution of the camera-accessory maker's PowerPole, the PowerGrip H2O puts a battery in the pole mount's handle -- a 6,700mAh lithium rechargeable battery to be exact. That's enough power to fully charge a GoPro camera up to six times via one of the two built-in USB ports in the handle.

You can use the USB ports to charge other devices such as your smartphone, and Polar Pro has a smartphone mount for the PowerGrip in case you want to shoot with that instead of an action cam. And for those times when you need to shine some light on a subject, you can connect a waterproof add-on 500-lumen LED light that fits between the grip and camera mount.

It's not just the add-on light that's waterproof: the whole thing is. An included door protects the USB ports, keeping them dry down to 99 feet (30 meters). Going a step further, there is also an Underwater Live Charge kit that lets you keep a GoPro Hero4 or Hero3/3+ powered underwater using the camera's standard 40-meter waterproof housing.

Instead of the telescoping design used for most extension poles, the PowerGrip H2O has two folding arms, making it very similar to GoPro's own 3-way mount. Unlike the 3-way, though, Polar Pro used two 11-inch removable arms that attach using GoPro-mount thumbscrews, so you can use it as just an 11-inch handle (28 cm) or extend it to 22 or 33 inches (56 or 83 cm). There's also a standard 1/4-20 tripod mount handle's base so you can pop it onto a tripod.

Sarah Tew/CNET

There is also a mounting plate on the back of the grip that works with Polar Pro's StrapMount. Like Peak Design's Capture POV Action mount, you can put the StrapMount around the shoulder strap of a harness or backpack. The mounting plate on the PowerGrip then just slides and locks into the StrapMount letting you record handsfree or simply keep it close until you need it.

I like the flexibility of the design and having access to additional power -- in and out of the water -- is great. However, the PowerGrip is definitely bulkier than your average GoPro handgrip/pole mount and was a bit clumsy to use. Still, if you do a lot of shooting away from power or you hate changing batteries or want an easy way to stay charged capturing a time-lapse without worrying about weather, this is certainly a nice option to have.

The PowerGrip H2O by itself is available for $69 through its fully-funded Kickstarter or kitted out with accessories for $149. That converts to about AU$100 and AU$210, or £45 and £100 in Australia and the UK, respectively. There are only a few days left on the campaign, but you won't have to wait too long to pick it up at retail since the PowerGrip H2O will be available in November starting at $99 (about AU$140, £65).

Also, when Polar Pro hit its $50,000 goal, it added another accessory called the Trippler to its backer rewards. The Trippler is an extension pole that reaches from 10 to 26 inches (25 to 66 cm). The pole's grip splits apart into tripod legs. A pledge of $179 (about AU$250 or £118) gets you the Trippler along with the PowerGrip H2O and accessories.