August 29, 2014

GoalZero Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit review

goal_Zero_nomad&-720w

Continuing with our series of solar-powered chargers and accessories for smartphones, we bring you a review of the GoalZero Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit. This device, like the others we tested, was used over the course of a few days while camping in mostly sunny conditions.

What’s in the box?

  • 1 x Guide 10 Battery Pack
  • 1 x Nomad 7 Solar Panel
  • 1 x Ultra Charge Solar Cord
  • 1 x 12V cigarette adapter
  • 1 x AA rechargeable batteries (4 pack)

Weighing less than a pound (.8lb) and having the footprint of a typical middle school yearbook, the Nomad 7 part of the kit is very convenient to carry around. When not in use, the device folds up quite nicely and tucks away into any bag.  Opened up, the solar charger can be hung from a backpack, canopy, or tent.

We found that the device would fully charge over the span of around 3-4 hours, but required pretty much perfect sunny conditions.  On a few days that were cloudy and overcast, the Nomad 7 obviously took longer.  Unlike other models we’ve reviewed, we missed the option of being able to plug into a wall for quicker charge or overnight boosts.

One of the key features we really enjoyed about the Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit. was the car/cigarette adapter.  This alone added a level of functionality and flexibility that other solar chargers we tested did not offer.  We really appreciated that other users in our camp were able to plug in their phone (iPhone, feature phone) charger or device (MP3 player, Nintendo DS) just the same as if they were in a car.

Charging times varied a bit from device to device however most smartphones were completed in well under four hours.  Since nobody likes to get dangerously low on juice, we found that our average times were 2-2.5 hours.

 

Not bad considering you can do this while setting a campfire, eating dinner, and enjoy a few s’mores.  Other things we charged were usually finished in about 1-2 hours and, again, depended on the item and existing battery level.

The Guide 10 comes with a set of four rechargeable AA batteries (and a charger) which can be plugged directly into Nomad 7 Solar Panel.  This would prove handy for flashlights, radios, and other devices which use the AA battery size.  What’s more, leaving them in the charger itself would double as a portable power bank for charging phones and other items via USB plug.  And as if that weren’t enough, the charger has an LED light on its end so it acted as a flashlight.  Tons of flexibility here, and we loved it.

What we liked

  • The car charger adapter added both peace of mind and functionality
  • The AA charger and batteries doubled as a power bank with flashlight capabilities
  • Lightweight, fold-up kit stores in any bag

What we didn’t love

  • The $159 retail price is a little higher than most consumers are ready to justify
  • Would like to see a port to plug into a wall for quicker charging on less than sunny days.

Where to buy the Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit

You can pick one of these up directly from the manufacturer for about $160 if you’re so inclined.  Our advice to you, however, is to hop over to Amazon and grab it for about half that cost.  The last we checked, Amazon.com was selling the Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit for $85.00, or 47% off the normal price.  IF you can get the entire kit for $100 or less than you’re doing quite well.