Off the Grid – The Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Recharger
Total Score: 7.91 -
Introduction: These days it seems everything is going digital and
even when we are on the water or hiking down a steam fishing we are never truly
“unplugged,” as we rely on our smartphones, GPS or headlamps to keep us fishing
and get us home safely. Goal Zero produces a variety of portable power devices
and is a self-proclaimed leader in consumer solar power systems designed to
power everything from your handheld devices to a complete mobile camp. One of
their smaller and more affordable products is the Guide 10 Plus Recharger which
is a portable charging kit that can not only charge AA or AAA batteries but also
support your small USB powered electronic devices on the go.
Looking for a way to power your
portable electronics in the field? Goal Zero has a few options including the
Guide 10 Plus Recharger
All of Goal Zero’s products have a clean utilitarian design that also exhibits a
rugged build quality. These products are designed to be employed in the harshest
of environments and the company has been empowering people in third world
countries since 2009 with a way to create sustainable power systems. Robert
Workman, the company’s founder, originally thought of the idea to create solar
powered systems back in 2007 when witnessing the first hand need for helping
people out of poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His revelation led to
the design of his first solar power packs and two years later Goal Zero was
launched as a business. Their mission: to empower people by putting reliable
power in the hands of every human being, based on a mantra of Zero Apathy, Zero
Boundaries, and Zero Regrets.
The Guide 10 Plus can charge and
leverage the power of the included AA batteries
The company is
very involved in many humanitarian undertakings and has been there helping
people through some of the most challenging natural disasters in recent history.
Examples include providing Goal Zero batteries and lights to locals after the
Haiti 2010 earthquake, donating hundreds of lighting kits and solar panels to
families in Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and giving out over half
a million dollars in portable power, solar panels and lights to Americans living
in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Open up the unit to access the
The premise of
most of the company’s systems is simple, use a solar panel or wall plug to
collect power, and then utilizing a power pack device to store that power and
ultimately plug it into your gear and power it. The Guide 10 Plus Recharger
looks like a traditional battery recharger but there is no plug on the chassis.
Instead the batteries are recharged via a special cable that plugs into the
company’s portable solar panels or via a USB cable.
The Guide 10 Plus provides extra
security you will be able to power your electronics when you need them most
We purchased two Guide 10 units direct from Tackle Warehouse, one as a
standalone unit and another in what the company calls the Guide 10 Plus
Adventure kit which comes with both the recharger and a Guide Zero Nomad 7 solar
panel. To test the Guide 10 Plus Recharger we packed it with us on a range of
activities ranging from long distance travel to fishing in the backcountry.
While the Guide 10 Plus can
recharge your phone getting a signal out in the woods might be more of a
The Guide 10 is relatively compact at 2.5 x 4 inches in size and only .75 inch
in width. It also feels solid but weighs .4lbs. when it is fully loaded up with
batteries. This made it easy to stow the Guide 10 in a backpack but I found it
is a little on the heavy side to stow in a jacket or vest pouch. Overall the
unit does look and feel quite well built.
On the bottom of the unit are the
inputs and outputs as well as an emergency LED light
If you own a
smartphone it is likely you have at one time or another needed a recharger.
Taking too many photos, using the GPS to navigate, watching YouTube or simply
posting on Facebook puts a drain on your smartphone and the Guide 10 Plus has
the power to charge your phone back up a few times over. In the field when my
phone got low on power I would simply put it in the backpack and connect the USB
charging cable to the Guide 10 Plus. If you have the Nomad 7 solar panels you
can actually generate power by simply attaching the panels to the back of your
pack as you walk. We did find that the amount of direct sunlight can vary the
charging times greatly.
Looking to get totally off the
grid? Charge the Guide 10 Plus with the company's Nomad 7 solar panels
In our tests we
observed that as long as there was direct sunlight the Nomad 7 solar panels
could charge the Guide 10 Plus in about 3-4 hours while charging directly from
the USB in your computer could take up to 6 hours. The one thing that we really
felt the Guide 10 Plus was missing was a way to charge direct from an outlet
since there was no bundled plug option. The good news is that you probably own
the right plug and I found that using my iPhone or iPod mini adapter could
charge the Guide 10 in just a few hours. When used in the field the unit will
also tell you how approximately how much power is left via a led which will
either be solid green, orange or red to indicate how much charge still remains
in the batteries.
Grab a drink because it can take
up to 6 hours to charge the Guide 10 Plus via the Nomad 7 solar panel. The
charge time is shortened with full sun or Goal Zero's larger Nomad panels
Section: Getting off the grid