Anyone with kids is likely to wish they had bought stock in a battery company, as they’re constantly changing out sets of AAs in the latest noisemaking toy or portable entertainment device. People who spend a lot of time outdoors might be thinking the same thing as the list of portable electronics that are so common in the backcountry continues to grow. After a quick survey of our testers’ packs, it’s fairly common to have a cell phone, GPS, camera, and headlamp on nearly every trip. But what happens when the battery dies? The Goal Zero Guide 10 Adventure Kit provides a solution that is both environmentally friendly and practical.
The kit combines a set of solar panels with a rechargeable battery pack to recharge nearly any device you have with you. The dual solar panels put out 7 watts of power to directly charge devices through a USB cable, or you can attach the battery pack to recharge AA or AAA batteries. The time to directly charge a device varies depending on the weather conditions, but charging a phone took a little over an hour, and GPS devices took between 2 and 3 hours to fill up on a sunny day. The panels have small loops for easy attachment to the outside of a pack or to hang in the sun, or it can also be laid out somewhere stationary. Our testers carried the panels on trips throughout Shenandoah National Park and along the Appalachian Trail and reported that “having a spare set of juiced up AAs saved the day when my camera quit on me as the sun was setting with great evening light.”
Another tester recharged batteries from a headlamp which had inadvertently been left on in his pack all day. The whole kit folds down to the size of a VHS tape and is impervious to rain or snow. Using the panel at home is also a smart way to keep toys and other electronics up and running without filling up the landfill or plugging them into the wall. $140; 1 lb. 4 oz.; goalzero.com