The days of going into the field and “unplugging” from the real world are all but over. As hunters we are all taking technology with us into the blind and the mountains. Smartphones, GPS units, tablets, satellite phones, etc. The biggest concern is how do you keep these devices charged at all times so that they are ready to use at a moment’s notice? Goal Zero has developed multiple solutions to the problem of no power in the backcountry or farm fields.
Recently on a backcountry elk hunt in the mountains of Montana, I was fortunate enough to be able to use a Goal Zero Sherpa 100 Solar Kit
. With four hunters all taking GPS units, phones, and cameras into the field we needed something powerful enough to handle the workload. The Sherpa 100 Solar Kit was the ticket. It has all of the ports and enough power to charge all of our devices for a few days before the battery pack itself needed to be recharged.
The Goal Zero Sherpa 100 Solar Kit includes the Nomad 20 solar panel, the Sherpa 100 battery pack, a detachable AC invertor, and numerous plugs for charging laptop computers. There are also plugs included to charge the battery pack from a standard household outlet as well as from a 12-volt plug in your vehicle. The only thing you need now is a device to charge and its appropriate charging cable.
The Sherpa 100 battery pack allows users to charge is three different way. With the include 12-volt adapter you can expect a charge time of four hours. Users can charge the battery in three hours with the standard AC plug. In the field, the Nomad 20 solar panel will charge the Sherpa 100 in 10-20 hours depending on conditions. The amount of sun available and the angle of the solar panel will dictate just how long it will take to charge the battery. After a few trial and errors in Montana, I was able to find the correct way of propping up the panel so that I could maximize the sun’s rays each day I was out hunting.
Charging your mobile device is as easy as turning the unit on and plugging the device in. The Sherpa 100 battery pack has 2 USB ports, a 12-volt port, a specific laptop computer port, as well as the optional AC power invertor. Users can charge multiple devices at one time and can expect charging times to be the same as if plugged into a household outlet. With a fully charged battery, you can expect to charge your devices multiple times before recharging the battery pack.
- Cell phone 14 charges
- GoPro 18 charges
- Digital Camera 10 charges
- Tablet 2-4 charges
- Laptop Computer 1-2 charges
The Nomad 20 solar panel doubles as a charger for the Sherpa 100 battery pack as well as a charger for your smaller devices like phones and GPS units. On the back of the solar panel, there are numerous plugs. One is used to charge a battery pack, another is used to daisy change multiple solar panels together, and there is also a USB port for charging your cell phone and smaller devices.
The only issue I really encountered with the Goal Zero Sherpa 100 Solar Kit was the weight. For a backcountry hunting trip where weight can be an issue, the 5 pounds for this kit might have hunters wondering if it is worth it. While Goal Zero does offer smaller and lighter options, for a week long hunt with multiple devices to charge the Sherpa 100 worked great. My hunting party and I split up some of our gear to help compensate for the additional weight and gear. The way I saw it, the other hunters were going to benefit so they could help carry the load.
Overall the Goal Zero Sherpa 100 Solar Kit worked great for a week in the mountains of Montana. It provided power for our cell phones, GPS units, and cameras. For a group of hunters that all had electronics, the additional weight was worth it. We needed power for our cell phones so that we could use them to view satellite images of our location for the next day’s hunt as well as our GPS units for navigation in the backcountry. If you feel that the Sherpa 100 Solar Kit is too much, look at the various options Goal Zero has to offer for power on the go.