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Tool Review


Power Off the Grid – The Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Recharger
 

Date: 2/9/14
Tackle type: Tool
Manufacturer: Goal Zero
Reviewer: Zander






Total Score: 7.91 - GOOD

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.  

 

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Specifications

Type Recharger power pack
Battery Details NiMH
Peak Capacity 11 Wh
Ports USB port (output), USB mini port (input), mini solar port (input)
Light details LED, 100mW white LED
MSRP $39.99


Looking for a way to power your portable electronics in the field? Goal Zero has a few options including the Guide 10 Plus Recharger

Impressions: 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 officially 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 batteries

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

Real World Tests: 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 challenge

Operation: 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

Next Section: Getting off the grid


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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