Goal Zero really invented the portable, out of the box power generator market for camping, camper vans, etc. Their systems make it easy to instantly have a solar panel and power pack in a variety of different sizes.
The company exploded onto the market and was the only player for a while. There are now a variety of options from other brands, with a few being pretty enticing. I really did my research on this one and had some great options lined out.
Ultimately, I went with Goal Zero for my portable power and for good reason. Before I jump into that decision, here are the best uses for these power generators.
- RV’s and Campers
- Camper Vans
- Emergency home use
- Car travel and camping
- Backpacking (they have small units)
My Camper Van Solar and Battery Power System
I went with the Sherpa 100 Power Bank and the Nomad 20 Solar Panel. It’s a little on the small side for most folks running a bunch of power from their vans but it’s ideal for my simple setup.
I use a Chromebook with a super long battery life and the battery has no issue charging it a few times. I only need one charge (after depleting the original) for a full day plus of work anyways. The power bank has USB ports, laptop ports and an inverter for AC power. 3 hours on a wall plug and it recharges completely. You can also charge up while driving.
The Nomad 20 solar panel will fully recharge in a day of direct sunshine as well. I was surprised at how fast it was charging up on my first trip. After using this for a while, it seems to charge quicker than expected. About 6 hours of direct sunlight seems to power up my Sherpa 100.
While the Sherpa 100 isn’t ideal for running big items like a fridge, I can easily carry the generator and solar panels in a backpack or small bag. My first test run was on a multi-day river trip. The solar panel folds up into a small, flat rectangle. When you unfold the unit, it has hooks for easy hanging. I can actually hang it off my van or off the back seat on my raft.
There are a bunch of brands entering this market with similar products and one or two that might come close on quality at pretty much the same price but I like the Goal Zero company and am happy with the decision.
I was able to speak directly to a customer support rep in Salt Lake City, UT and they were extremely nice and helpful. You are not likely to have that experience with any other brand in the space. They back up their products and overall are a great company that is socially responsible.
No disclaimer. I paid for the product and simply enjoy the features and functionality.