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?
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.
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.