One of my most recent purchases that I used last year was the GoalZero Nomad 7 Solar Panel. I had been researching some of the mobile power sources to keep my equipment charged up while away for long periods of time. My main concern was having the capability to keep a phone charged at minimum to use in case of an emergency. I wanted to avoid running into an issue of being far away from anywhere and having no communication. I chose this route instead of going with a SPOT or other type of emergency locator.
I was very impressed with my first view of this product. It comes in a light weight and incredibly durable format. This thing will take just about any abuse you can throw at it. I elected to not get any accessories and run with just the panel. Here are a few of things I liked and didn't like about this unit.
- Very lightweight and makes it a very convenient piece of equipment I won't leave home without.
- Waterproof-This is a nice thing to have especially in the field when you never know what kind of weather you might just run into.
- Accessory loops all around unit. This feature allows me to simply hook the unit onto my pack while hiking by simply hooking the loop onto a small carabiner. The main thing of concern there is making sure you are hiking with the sun at your back.
- Amount of accessories you can charge. The unit comes with a place to put a USB cable, 12v attachment, multiple unit linking system, and GoalZero accessory output. This allows me to keep multiple items charged in the field from my car phone charger to my point and shoot camera. This is great and I can think of one particular day where I was in the pickup doing some scouting and was able to throw my unit on my dash to charge my camera as I forgot to charge it at home before hitting the field.
- An item that can be a life saver. There was a time where I enjoyed getting away from technology and still do. Come fall it is usually my time to relax and reflect on a lot of things. It is an opportunity to get back to nature and enjoy one of my favorite things. That is to hike and hunt all the while leaving most everything at home. I now have a good set of equipment that keeps me comfortable while in the field. The one thing I was missing was something to keep me safe in case something bad was to happen. The GoalZero Nomad 7 fills that gap. I know can feel safe knowing I have a way to keep things charged when they are needed most. I now don't worry about falling down and getting hurt and not having any options to help keep me safe. This item will forever stay with me on every hunt even the ones close to home where I only plan to hunt for a day.
- The thing I would advise is to buy some of the accessories. They allow you to store the energy from the panel as the panel will only charge what is connected. It would have been nice to be able to store power that is being charged with the panel.
- Charging time. Although it's nice to have the ability to keep things charges this unit takes a long time to do so. I knew before purchasing the panel this would be an issue, but at the same time I will take the long charge over not having the capability at all.
- Having to have direct sunlight. I was surprised that even a little bit of cloud cover effects the efficiency of the unit. You have to make sure the system is set up exactly right for it to correctly charge items.
Although this is a fairly short review I can say without a doubt GoalZero is coming out with the best products in the market for portable energy. It doesn't take long to realize these products will change just how safe and comfortable you can be while away from home for extended periods of time.
I will be purchasing more products in the future to go along with my Nomad 7 to keep me that much more comfortable. If you are having any hesitation about buying this product, make sure you don't. You are missing out on a great product to make life that much greater when you are away from comfort and safety.
For any questions feel free to ask here in the comments as well as checking out the GoalZero website.