Charged up....

1:12 a.m. on April 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey all,

Nowadays we all have technology with us and when backpacking some of those devices can be a lifesaver, such as a GPS.  However, if the battery is dead, the device does you no good and just become useless weight to carry around.

So what about the Solicharger, the battery pack that has a solar panel on it.  It seems like a worthwhile investment, as being outdoors in the sun it makes perfect sense to have a device that will keep the other devices charged up. 

So do any of you use the SoliCharger or similar devices?  If do you like them?


2:22 a.m. on April 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Well I have been doing some checking and found this unit that is really cool.

It weighs practically nothing and you can charge any USB device directly off the panel.  You can also charge AA & AAA rechargeable batteries and then charge your devices from the pack or put the batteries in the device.  It retails here for only $139.95...

This is way cool...

The safety of having power for a cell phone or GPS and you save on batteries.


12:59 a.m. on April 22, 2011 (EDT)
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10:59 a.m. on April 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Only 6.4 Ounces for the one pictured.

3:03 p.m. on April 22, 2011 (EDT)
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One thing I do is to remove or disconnect, where possible,  the battery and/or put electronic item/s in a protective case to ensure safety against damage and particularly against accidentally turning on.  This all to ensure battery performance when needed.  Also try where possible to take electronic item/s that contain the same batteries so as to reduce the number and types of batteries needed.  Also keeping the batteries the same helps to have backups being in the other not being used items.

8:28 p.m. on April 22, 2011 (EDT)
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The Goal-Zero (Nomad 7) you show only puts out 7 watts in full summer sunlight - not enough to run my netbook, though it will run my iPad. It won't charge my camera batteries, either. Goal-Zero has several more powerful models, mostly intended to charge their storage batteries that can be used more realistically.

I find that my Brunton 26W foldable is much better (charges my camera's batteries in 2 hours, same as plugging the charger into a standard wall outlet). I have used the Brunton in Antarctica and other places far from the power lines.

6.4 ounces is NOT "practically nothing." That's getting close to a half-pound (0.4 pounds, in fact). Besides, the one I have weighs 12.5 ounces, not 6.4, and that doesn't include the battery pack that is shown in the ad. The weight given on the Goal 0 website is 12.8 ounces, twice what you gave.

Another problem with the Goal-Zero units is that they are glass panels, hence very subject to breaking if you drop them. The Brunton foldable, on the other hand, can be dropped, and boaters lay them out on the deck of their sailboats and actually walk on them. I am not promoting the Brunton, though, since it is very expensive these days ($540 list, though you can get them for half that).

By the way, you can buy the Nomad 7 directly from Goal 0 for $99. Their Nomad 27 is comparable to the Brunton 26, at $350 direct from Goal 0.

8:14 a.m. on April 23, 2011 (EDT)
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I have TRIED two different solar-recharging devices in the past year.  Neither were of Brunton, nor Goal manufacture.

Absolutely HORRID.  Complete junk. Why?   "MADE IN CHINA".

Returned both for refund. 

Yogi Robt

11:16 a.m. on April 23, 2011 (EDT)
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The Guide 10 that I have pictured above is not designed to charge a laptop, and my point was a way to charge AA or AAA battieries, and it does weigh 6.4 oz.  Here is the link to their website.

For weighing dry items, 16 ounces = 1 pound, so half way there is not really close in my book, but yes...0.4 over does put is closer to the one pound mark.  Still for a way to charge a few batteries, it is a cool idea.  As Callahan pointed out, taking devices where the the batteries match is a great idea and this unit would suffice. Most people don't take a laptop with them when they go backpacking, unless you are blogging or something. 

As far as the laptop, they make the Sherpa 50 adventure pack, which will charge a laptop easily, and the entire kit sells for $449.95 from their website, however you can find it cheaper elsewhere on the internet.  As far as reliability they have used these things all over the globe and with great success.  The glass is very durable actually, so you would have to take care of it. I am not a rep for them, but YouTube shows many people using them with great success.  The Sherpa 50 comes with the battery...


You can tandem the packs together for even more power.  The Brunton's are good....but WAY to expensive.  Robert is right, as most all of the stuff that claims to be "solar" is junk from china.  Goal Zero is start-up American company. 


12:30 p.m. on April 23, 2011 (EDT)
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The weight of the Nomad 7 (the panel that is part of the Guide 10 Adventure Kit) is 0.8 pounds/12.8 ounces, and the Guide 10 battery pack is 0.4 pounds/6.4 ounces. So the total is 1.2 pounds/19.2 ounces, not 6.4 ounces. If you are going to keep your AA and AAA batteries charged while you are on the AT or even a weekend backpack, you have to have the panel (and sunshine). If you are going to recharge the batteries at home or in the car on the way to the trailhead, you don't need to spend the $140 for the Guide 10 kit - there are car chargers for $10 that work just fine in the car. If all you are running is an iPod or MP3 (for the wilderness??? so why are you in the wilderness, if you are listening to your iPod), just carry an extra set of batteries. But if you need to charge batteries for a decent camera, the Guide 10 kit (or just the Nomad 7 panel) is inadequate, plus a lot heavier than an extra, charged battery or two.

Guide 10 Battery Pack

Output Port USB 2.5 watts (5V:0.5A)

General Product Weight (no pkg) 6.4 oz / 0.18 kgs

Product dimensions 2.5 x 4 x 0.75 (inch) 6 x 10 x 2 (cm)

Warranty Twelve months

Operating Temperatures Optimal Operating 32°-104°F 0°-40°C Optimal Storage 32°-86°F 0°-30°C  

Nomad 7 Solar Panel

Input Source 7 watt mono-crystalline solar technology

Output Ports USB output 5 volts DC output 12 volts

General Product Weight (no pkg) 0.8 lbs 0.36kgs

Product Dimensions (Folded) 6 x 9 x 1 (inch) 15 x 23 x 2.5 (cm)

Product Dimensions (Unfolded) 19 x 9 x 0.1 (inch) 48 x 23 x 0.25 (cm)

Warranty Twelve months

Operating Temperatures Optimal Operating 32°-104°F 0°-40°C Optimal Storage 32°-86°F 0°-30°C

The Goal 0 panel that is comparable to the Brunton 26 watt is the Nomad 27 (27 watts, about the same size and weight) at $350. The Brunton can be bought at $250, though it lists for $550. The "complete power kit" using the Nomad 27 is the Sherpa 120, which Goal 0 sells at $750.

I use the laptop for things like the CBEE2011, where we recording data in the field. Also, the Nomad 7 will not charge the camera batteries. Gary Palmer (one of Trailspace's major contributors) has been using his Brunton 26 for a number of years, running his laptop off it to post to Trailspace.

11:00 a.m. on April 24, 2011 (EDT)
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My bad...I didn't realize it was 0.8 lbs...LOL. My entire premise for posting this was as a way to find out if people are using solar on the trail.  Obviously, as with many products, people have preferences based on their experiences which is good information.  I personally don't carry an iPod into the wilderness and don't recall saying that, but I do carry a camera.  Now...the camera is not some fancy DSLR, (which if weight is an issue why would you carry a huge Nikon), so I am happy with my digital camera (a very nice camera...although it does not shoot raw photos) which does use AA batteries and the Guide 10 does charge them.  As my first post points out, it was  also a way to charge a GPS, and in that case mine also uses AA batteries.  I won't press forward with this anymore as I am not a rep for any company and until I have real world experience with that product I won't be.  There are a myriad of scenarios with solar that could be used for someone in the outdoors, but I think that not many of us are taking a notebook into the wilderness so that we can post to this forum.  So therefore we could go back and forth, and on and on, but I will leave it at this.  We can agree on one thing....a solar panel needs sunlight. :)

Nuff said...

12:25 p.m. on April 24, 2011 (EDT)
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I hear 'Ya, Snarkey .  O0oops!  Meant 'snakey' ....

I recall hiking the AT in Maine during October.   Leaves were starting to fall, but many trees still had ample ....

Met a fellow hiker.  He said he was from the West Coast (USA), and this was his first East Coast hiking experience.  

He had some solar contraption on the top of his external backpack ... sorta jury-rigged.   It was a solar-charger. 

He said he couldn't get it to work, because of hiking in shade / tree cover for a week.   His cell-phone and GPS were useless.

I might add ... cell-phones were a 'non-issue' up there.   No coverage from any of the carriers.

Yogi Robt

June 20, 2018
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