Solar Charger Review: Goal Zero Guide 10 Kit

Intro:

I like the idea of the portable solar charger. Having the ability to charge a cell phone, hand-held GPS and even a portable game device while off the grid, perhaps in the middle of the woods, is appealing. Unfortunately I have come to find that not all portable solar device chargers can deliver on their promise to provide portable power while away from civilization. Some chargers simply can’t charge their own internal batteries and, thus, can’t fully charge some devices. Others miss some practicality points; and how about some versatility?

image copyright EarthTechling

In this review I take a look at the Goal Zero Guide 10 Adventure Kit to determine if it can deliver on its promises as a charger and rank it according to portability, practicality, power and versatility.

De-boxing:

The Guide 10 Adventure Kit is a combination of a few of Goal Zero’s products. In the kit is the company’s Nomad 7m solar panel, the Guide 10 battery pack (our sample included 4 AA rechargeable batteries but Goal Zero’s site indicates batteries not included), a 12volt “cigarette adapter”, a USB to mini-USB cable, a 6 volt cable and a AAA battery pack insert.

The Nomad solar panel is much like a tri-fold organizer that measures 6 x 9 x 1 inches when folded and 19 x 9 x 0.1 inches when unfolded. The edges of the panel are fitted with loops which are intended to allow the panel to be fixed to a backpack or perhaps a window.

Two of the Nomad’s sections include mono-crystalline solar panels. At the top of the third section is the panel’s connection box which includes a 6 volt output, a 5 volt USB output and a 12 volt output for the cigarette lighter socket. Having several options for connections allows for the user the option of charging a mobile device directly off the solar panel (so long as it will charge from a USB connection) whilst also charging the Guide 10 battery pack.

Below the connection box is a storage pouch, which I assume is intended to hold the device that is being charged based on the placement of two “windows” at the top and left hand side that seem intended to allow access to the charging ports of most phones.

The battery pack came with four AA Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries but a provided adapter allows for AAA sized batteries. This may come in handy for campers with lights and other gadgets that usually use the smaller battery type.

At the base of the battery park are two inputs, one 6.5 volt DC connection and one mini-USB. To the left of the inputs is the full-sized USB output. Just below that is a white LED intended to be used as a flashlight (rated for 20 hours of use on a full charge). Finally, on the left most portion of the pack is a three position switch and a smaller LED light used as a charging indicator.

  • Bruno

    Great review. Question: do you have to charge 4 batteries at a time, or can you charge 1, 2 or 3?

    • Punkman87

      All 4 at same time only

  • scott

    thanks nice review,   confirms my thoughts that this will be the unit for me. One question – do you if will charge other similar batteries?

  • http://www.facebook.com/greenlivingeveryday Green Living Everyday

    With 7 Watts of charging power this solar panel will charge the battery pack in about 3-4 hours. The mono-crystalline solar panel is the most efficient solar panel on the market. Has a USB input so you can also use just the solar panel to plug your device directly in to recharge.
    http://www.greenlivingeveryday.com/Goal0-Guide-10-Adventure-Kit-with-batteries-p/9461001.htm 

  • Todd

    I have the GoalZero 150 with two of the solar panels (takes one day and a half to charge) and I am testing what I can run in the living room during the evening hours (bought four of the G0 lights – run two to four (obviously a larger drain the more you run – can run one for two plus days then running two through four cuts down a ton – A LOT!!!). I like it for what I use it for – it will not be an “off grid” source that I can tell – just not enough juice to kick out). Keep in mind this is the 150 – worse case scenario I can run one light all night (plus). My goal is to cut out my evening hours living room time (light, laptop, tv) – going to try G0’s next level for that and if all goes well hit the yeti up.

  • silverdarling

    nice review, appreciated.

    any thoughts on how tough – robust this unit is? that’s a big concern if it has to be relied on in the field.