More and more tech is becoming portable. GPS, sonar fish trackers, trail cameras, two-way field radios, and smart phones are becoming more common in the field. The biggest problem with taking any technology into the field is the issue of a power source. If you have a basecamp with a generator, then power is not much of an issue. You can always recharge batteries for the next excursion. But if you don’t have a generator and you want to use these marvels of technology, you have to bring several spare batteries, and of course, that weighs down your pack. Having a renewable, free, power source would make it easy to bring your technology into the field and ensure that you always have spare power.
Solar panels have been available for hunters and campers for several years now, but most are either too big, too inefficient, or haven’t solved the issue of what happens if there is no sunlight.
Goal Zero took a good look at in-field solar panels and rethought how solar panels should work, especially in light of all the available new technology. They created a light, modular, efficient, and smart solar panel that includes all the plugs and ports you need to ensure your technology stays powered up in the field.
The Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit includes Goal Zero’s Nomad 7 Solar Panel and the Guide 10 Plus Recharger. The Nomad 7 Solar Panel has a 7-watt solar capacity that outputs to a power converter that’s attached on the back side of the panels. The converter has three outputs: a 12-volt line that attaches to an adapter for devices that charge via 12-volt car outlet, a line specifically to attach to the Guide 10 Plus Recharger, and a USB port to directly power any USB-powered device. There is also a Chain Input port if you have multiple Nomad 7 Solar Panels and want to daisy chain the power capacity.
The Nomad 7 Solar Panel comes in at .8 lbs. and has several rope loops around the edge so that you can mount the solar panel on your backpack, tent, or really anywhere you want if you have some cordage.
The Guide 10 Plus Recharger is the solution for when you don’t have any sunlight. This pack is a combination battery recharger and power supply. When you have sunlight you can charge as many rechargeable batteries as the day will allow. Then, when it’s dark, you will have a cache of charged and ready batteries. If your device doesn’t run on AA or AAA batteries, that’s no problem, because the Guide 10 Plus Recharger has a USB port where you can charge via USB from the batteries in the charger.
The Guide 10 Plus Recharger weights in at .4 lbs. and has an integrated LED light, just in case you need a quick light source.
In the field, this solar panel and battery pack kit comes in handy. When the solar panel was directly connected to a Galaxy Nexus cell phone on an overcast day, the battery charged at 20% per hour. The battery is 1750 mAh battery. So even on a overcast day, I was able to get 350 mAh per hour.
In direct sunlight the solar panel can recharge the Guide 10 Plus battery pack (4 AA batteries, at 2300 mAh each, for 9200 mAh total) in about five hours. At full charge, the Guide 10 Plus Recharger battery pack can fully recharge almost any portable electronic device in three to five hours (depending on the capacity of the battery).
With all the electronic devices that help you navigate, find game, communicate, and any of the apps on your smart phone, you’ll need a power source that’s highly portable and highly efficient. Taking the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit on your next hunt or camping trip will ensure that you stay powered up throughout your adventure.
Alex Sanchez, “The Nature N3rd,” has spent countless hours in the deep wild. He uses his knowledge to help those just getting acquainted with nature. You can find his basecamp at NatureN3rd.com.