As solar panel technology continues to dramatically improve, so too does portable electric solar powered generation. The Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit is just one among many, but one with a host of useful attractive features that make it a product worth investigating.
What is Included?
The Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit is a bundled package that includes a solar panel, a rechargeable battery pack, the requisite connecting wires and instruction manuals to help make sense of it all. Included in the complete package are: one Guide 10 Battery Pack, one Nomad 7 Solar Panel, one 12V cigarette adapter, four AA rechargeable batteries, and one AAA adapter.
Each of these components combine to create a kit made for versatility and portability, particularly for those backpacking, hiking, or traveling. It’s a great entry into mobile solar charging: everything you need for taking your smaller electronics out on the the road right away, with the ability to upgrade and add to the kit later if desired.
Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit: Power Output & Features
The main components of the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit are the Nomad 7 Solar Panel and the Guide 10 Battery Pack. The Nomad 7 Solar Panel is an impressively light, 0.8 lbs. foldable solar panel. When folded, its dimensions are 9 inches high, 6.5 inches wide, and 1.5 inches thick. When it is folded out, the length increases to 17 inches. The relatively small folded size allows for fairly easy and lightweight transport in a backpack, making it an excellent addition for those interested in mobility. The battery pack measures a compact 4″ x 2.5″ x 0.75″ (L x W x H) and weighs less than half a pound with batteries.
Nomad 7 Solar Panel – Specifications
- Product SKU: 11800
- USB port: Output of up to 5V 1A (5W)
- 8mm port: Output of up to 15V 0.3A (5W)
- 2.5mm port: Output of up to 6.5V 1.1A (7W)
- Multiple Nomad 7 panels can be chained together (via Chain Input port) to increase wattage.
- User Guide: Nomad 7 Solar Panel (PDF)
The solar panel uses a monocrystalline solar cell which can operate extremely well in direct sunlight, but can still operate at a limited capacity in cloudy conditions. The solar panel can be used to charge one device directly. It has an open circuit of 8-9V and is rated at 7W.
The Nomad 7 Solar Panel is suited specifically for smaller mobile devices, such as mobile phones, GPS devices, digital cameras and MP3 players. While it can work with other USB powered devices, many require higher wattage output than the Nomad 7 Solar Panel provides, to include most tablet devices.
The device also has three specific ports: The 2.5mm Mini Solar port provides up to the same max input of the Guide 10 Plus battery pack. There is a USB port which can provide up to 5V, 1A (5 Watts) of regulated power, which is convenient for charging a portable power bank you might already own. There is an 8mm Solar Port as well, which is a fairly common size plug, although a single panel might not be enough to power many devices that use it. Conveniently, though, the solar panel can also be chained with other Goal Zero solar panels to increase the wattage output.
Guide 10 Battery Pack – Specifications
The included Guide 10 Battery Pack is a multi-purpose device. It can charge from the Nomad 7 Solar Panel in 3-6 hours (depending on the directness of the sunlight). It also contains a charge space for 4 rechargeable AA batteries (included). The Guide 10 Battery Pack uses a NiMH battery capable of storing 11 watt hours of power at 4.8V, 2300mAh. The single cell equivalent capacity is 9200mAh at 1.2V.
- Product SKU: 21005
- Also charges AAA-size batteries, with included adapter
- Solar Power input (2.5mm port): 6.5V up to 1.1A (7W) – same as max output of Nomad 7 Solar Panel
- Mini USB Power input: 5V charges at up to 0.8A
- Has integrated LED light (white, 100mW)
- User Guide: Guide 10 Recharger (PDF)
The Guide 10 Battery Pack is capable of charging devices with a slightly larger power requirement than you might get directly from the included Nomad 7 Solar Panel. This is convenient for cloudy skies or when the sun goes down. The USB port output is 5V, up to 1A, or 5W of regulated power. It will recharge most mobile devices once per charge, or typical tablet device up to 25% capacity. Due to the minimum wattage requirements for most laptops, it cannot charge these devices.
In terms of charging the Guide 10 itself, you can opt for solar via the 2.5mm input, or via a micro-USB port. With this in mind, you might charge the battery pack at home (via standard USB charger) or in the car (via included 12V cigarette adapter) before a hiking or camping trip, then switch to solar once it becomes depleted. Alternatively, you could swap out the rechargeable AA batteries with four fresh ones.
The Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit is a great addition for those on the go. It’s excellent for hikers, bikers, backpackers and campers. It’s a low wattage, fairly inexpensive device made for the small, mobile devices that most of us simply cannot live without. While it is limited in what devices it can power, for low-capacity devices, it’s a handy, powerful addition that adds an excellent level of power security when away from home, or when the power goes out. Its compatibility with other Goal Zero products, particularly the ability to chain several panels together for added wattage, gives you the valuable option of adding to the kit’s capabilities in the future.