Survival Gear Review: Guide 10 Adventure Kit

With known electrical grid issues and the possibility of being in a remote area without electricity, the sun seems to be logical solution when the outlet is no longer available.  Although we never like to rely on survival gear that requires electricity, it often times can prove to be very useful.

Karambit Knife

By Josh, a contributing author of SurvivalCache.com

Intro

We receive requests for portable solar panel recommendations on an almost daily basis. Today we are taking a look at one of the top competitors in the solar energy market.  Goal Zero’s Guide 10 Adventure Kit, and its individual components including the Nomad 7 Solar Panel.

Specs

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

If nothing else, Goal Zero has mastered the art of the product page which includes all of the technical facts for both the battery pack and the Nomad 7 Solar Panel (Click Here).

Performance

I took my setup out on the trail for a total of ~50 days and nights over the course of a year.  I was provided the chance to test Goal Zero Survival Gear Review Guide 10 Kitthe Nomad 7 panel out in wide variety of temperatures and weather conditions.  While doing the research for this article we surveyed our awesome fans over on the SurvivalCache Facebook Page (Click Here) to find out exactly what it is that they wanted to know about the Guide 10 Adventure Kit.

One of the most frequently asked questions we received was “Why do you have to have the battery pack?  Can’t you just charge your phone right off of the panel?”  Going through the battery pack regulates the charge for your device.  Without it, you would have a variable current, depending on the intensity of the sun at that particular moment.  All devices being charged need a regulated current.  Some phones can be seriously damage by a fluctuating current, my iPhone actually wouldn’t recognize the panel as a power source without routing it through the battery pack.  You can also charge your device straight off of the battery pack without trickle charging it through the panel.  I was able to charge my iPhone from dead to 100% and then top it off again from 50% before the batteries died.  Also, for us photographers, you will get a way to charge your camera batteries out of the deal too- you aren’t just limited to using a USB charger.  At this time I should note that I used the included batteries interchangeably with my Rechargeable Duracell batteries to keep my camera running 24/7.  No problems here.

Charge Times?

This is the clincher. I found Goal Zero’s projected charge times to be spot on with my testing.  I was able to charge the battery pack in 2-4 hours depending on the available sunlight.  I was able to juice up my iPhone 4s from dead to 100% in 2-4 hours as well.  This was also true for a borrowed Galaxy S, iPods, and comparable MP3 players took about 1 hour to charge.  I have heard that there can be issues with charging the iPhone 5, but I was unable to verify that through my own testing.

Applications

When I say optimum sunlight, I mean that the panel is lying flat in direct sunlight with no cloud cover or shadows to reduce Goal Zero Solar Panel Reviewyour potential power.  If you are in a base camp situation you will likely be able to set your panel up in the perfect position and get those awesome 2 hour charge times that we were able to obtain.  In the real world, however, you can not always stop what you’re doing to recharge your batteries.  The panel has little loops sewn into it at convenient points so that you can easily lash it to your pack and charge on the go.  Due to the fact that while hiking you will sometimes move into the shadows, or your angle to the sun may change, our charge times were increased by an hour or more while on the move.

Conclusion

So, to recap: You can use the panel to store up energy in the battery pack for later use (ie. Night time or in poor sunlight).  You can charge your phone directly off the panel (beware of variable power, must have constant power coming from sun).  You can also charge your battery bank and through that charge your phone.  So, the solar panel is trickle charging the battery pack while the battery pack is charging your phone.  You can also link multiple panels together for increased amperage.  The Nomad 7 panel and the Guide 10 battery pack work just as advertised.  The Guide 10 adventure kit is available directly from Goal Zero for $119.99, and is also available on Amazon for $99.99 with 67 “5 star” reviews at the time of this writing.  The individual components can also be purchased separately so you can build the rig that best suits your needs.  One more big thank you for all of the help from our readers!  Two thumbs up!

All Photos by Josh from SurvivalCache.com

14 thoughts on “Survival Gear Review: Guide 10 Adventure Kit”

  1. Any testing done on how long the charge will hold? Could I charge it, store it, and use it a month later reliably?

    Reply
    • Great question! The longest I ever went between charges was ~2 weeks so I can't really give you a good answer on that. No problem in 2 weeks though.

      Reply
  2. These solar generators are an awesome idea. This company also has full sized generators for bug in applications. These larger models have 120v receptacles in them for running a refrigerator or an XBox. Top 10 on my "Things To Get" list

    I also have some questions. Was it uncomfortable to carry/How much does it weigh? Did the batteries ever seem overheated because of direct sunlight?

    Reply
    • Good questions! It folds up flat, so you can just tuck it in a pocket on your bag. The whole setup weighs something like 10 ounces if I remember correctly. Light enough that it doesn't present a problem. You can see in the picture of the panel opened up that there is a little pocket with a velcro flap. I just stuck the battery pack in the pocket and it never overheated. That might be a concern if you have the batteries out in the open, but it wasn't a problem for me.

      Reply
  3. Just a few questions.
    1. What elevations were you at while testing? I would be curious to see if it makes much difference.
    2. How durable is the kit? (Is it "Private Proof"?)
    3. What type of charge did you get on less than clear days?
    4. To clarify: You did say you used Rechargeable Duracell batteries in the charger without issue?

    Thanks for the review and follow up answers!

    Reply
    • 1) Testing took place in Colorado, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, California and and Louisiana. Altitude varied from sea level to 14,000+ above sea level. Within that range I experienced no noticeable difference.
      2) VERY durable. Water and impact resistant. If you look hard enough you should be able to find a Youtube video of one being run over with a truck.
      3) It really varied a lot. Charge times were extended by as much as 2 hours depending on cloud cover, etc.
      4) Correct! Any NiMH batteries.

      Thanks for the questions!

      Reply
  4. Plugged my Guide 10 into my Kindle e-reader to charge. Burned up the Guide 10 electronics. Contacted Goal Zero who promptly replaced the Guide 10. Evidently the current required by the Kindle was too much for the Guide 10 to supply. I think the Guide 10 works great for smaller loads but I've got reservations about using a heavier load like an iPad or Kindle. Great support from Goal Zero though.

    Reply
  5. Check out BrownDogGadgets. They offer a variety of solar chargers and battery packs. They even offer DIY kits so you can customize or save a little cash. Best of all, they're stuff is about 35% cheaper than the Goal Zero stuff.

    Reply
  6. Were the Goal Zero and Sunjack components interchangeable? I have a Goal Zero 10 and would be interested in getting a Sunjack unit if they were.

    Reply

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