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Submitted: 07-27-2013 by DH
The Goalzero Guide 10 is a compact 3 panel folding solar charging device that is aimed at charging your smaller cell phones and USB devices. It comes with a rechargeable battery pack, 3 fold-able solar panels that have a charger built into the panels. This allows you to either charge your devices by directly hooking them into the panel charger or by using the rechargeable battery pack.
I received the Goalzero guide 10 as a gift over the winter holidays. Once spring arrived I planned a 6 day kayak camp trip out to a large local lake that had a few islands setup for camping. I was excited about trying out the guide 10. However one thing to note about the Guide 10: Although the manufacturer said they did indeed test it for waterproofing and have even submerged it in water for a period of time (Info from owners manual), they still DO NOT claim the device as being water proof or even water resistant for that matter. I believe reason being is long period exposures to salt water will destroy just about anything. So when packing your boat I would be sure to wrap the device in a plastic trash bag or a dry bag and have it stored in a dry hatch.
So, setting off on my week long trip I only had my cell phone to charge. That and a VHF are really the only electronics that I take out on the water. On the drive out to the lake (roughly 4 hours) I never charged my cell phone in the car and let the battery drain a bit. By the third day into my trip my cell phone was completely dead not to mention there where storms rolling in and expected through out the night. The sky was overcast with clouds throughout the afternoon. I decided to plug my cell phone in the charger located on the 3 panels via USB. I plugged the phone in around 1:05 in the afternoon and when gather firewood for the long night ahead I forgot about the phone and panels on the rock. I came back to the phone by 2:40ish and the phone was fully charged. Now the website claims that it can charge a phone in an hour. My phone was plugged in for roughly an hour and 45 minutes on an overcast day and the phone was fully charged from being completely dead.
Anyone who has plans for a long backpacking trip and/or boat trip and they are planning on bringing electronics such as a cell phone, GPS or anything of the sort, I would suggest looking into the Guide 10 from Goal Zero. They also make a smaller model I believe which is called the Nomad 7. Just remember, keep them in a dry bag of some sort just in case. Another tip as well, My VHF will not charge by USB, Goal zero sells an adapter for the guide that acts like a car charger for devices that can not be charged by USB. I did end up buying this adapter and can now charge my VHF.
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