Behold, the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus in all its glory, but is it really all folks state that it is cracked up to be….?
Before we get into this, straight from the Goal Zero website.
With the Guide 10 Plus Recharger and Nomad 7 Solar Panel you have a portable, rugged charging kit as adventurous as you are. Charge AAs from the sun or any USB port, then power your phone, MP3, GPS, or perk up your tablet in a pinch.
Let’s cut to the chase here before I get into my detailed review. This thing is indeed great for power in a pinch but can be a chore, might not even be necessary for the simple weekend trip. Obviously we are not talking SHTF here because if that were the case, are we truly concerned about charging cell phones when the entire grid is down. Overall I’d have to say at this price point (around $100) it’s affordable, if you spend more than a few days out in remote areas it can be a nice to have item but don’t go out of your way to snag one up.
I spend a good amount of time out in the wilderness but never for more than a few days at a time (for the most part). In those instances I usually leave my electronic devices off because…there is no cell phone signal. I do carry a Delorme InReach Explorer on my person but the battery life of that device is more than sufficient for a 2-3 day trek. For me and what I do the Goal Zero is a nice to have but also not a necessity. I could hang it off my pack as an insurance plan knowing that power would always be there, no outlet needed, but again I’ve yet to run into an instance where I NEEDED power.
I charged up the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus to full power (indicated by the green LED on the device) and connected it to my cell phone which was sitting at 17% charge. 16 mins into this the battery pack was showing red, no more charge and my phone was up to 24%. Interesting. I then plugged my phone into the wall and 1 hour and 2 mins later it was at 76% (I had to leave). I set the Goal Zero back out on the deck to recharge.
Round Number 2
I decided to give the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus a second chance later in the day after letting my phone battery drain and the GZ battery pack charge. My iPhone was at 15% when I hooked up the GZ device, it only took 15 mins for the green light on the battery pack to turn amber (30% charge on my phone). It did last significantly longer this time, running a full 1 hour and 25 mins before turning red (no more charge) and bringing my phone up to 87% charge. Decent but not exactly earth shattering.
As previously stated I suppose one would benefit from having this device versus not having it for longer periods out in the wilderness. It will limp your small mobile devices along but isn’t exactly a power plant, nor was it probably designed to be. If you are the type to take a weekend trip I suggest making sure you have a full charge on your phone and bringing along a small power pack which will probably give you 1-2 full charges, less space than the solar panels and more effective. If you are the type to spend more than a few days out there, you probably already have this and have figured out a way to make it work. Personally I was a bit underwhelmed but hey, solar is…solar.