Spring is upon us and summer is not that far behind. For many, this is the time of year that planning begins for hikes, camping trips, backpacking adventures or whatever outdoor activity you favor. While some may still enjoy “roughing it” outdoors, others prefer to stay plugged in to some extent. For the latter group, a solar powered charging device is one of those new gadgets that could become a welcome addition to backpacks. The solar charger, like many new devices, has benefited from on-going improvement over the years. The Guide 10 Adventure Kit, from portable power maker Goal Zero, is one of the latest additions to this product category that, according to the company, addresses some of the previous limitations of solar chargers and offers a practical and eco-friendly power solution for those times when an electrical outlet or car battery are nowhere in sight.
The Guide 10 kit is comprised of a flat, fold-able 7-watt solar array, a rechargeable battery pack that is compatible with AA or AAA rechargeable batteries, a USB and 12 volt direct charging adapter a USB to mini USB cable and a 6.5v direct charging cable. The company claims that the battery pack can be charged in a little as 1.5 hours if provided with direct and bright sun exposure. Once charged up, the battery pack is said to be able to charge phones, portable media players and other portable devices about as quickly as a wall charger will.
Goal Zero says that, when designing the kit, they looked to address the shortcomings of other portable solar charging devices including size, practicality, efficiency and affordability. At $139.99 MSRP, if the product performs as claimed, then it could meet the demands of outdoor enthusiasts who are equally enthusiastic about their portable devices.
The kit is marketed as being small enough to fit in a pocket, though we think they may be referring to backpack pockets since, when folded, the kit measures 6 x 9 x 1 inches-a little big for the average pants pocket. The kit does not come with the necessary rechargeable batteries-those must be purchased separately.