Goal Zero is known for it’s consumer friendly and quality solar solutions to gas generators.
I’ve been eying Goal Zero stuff for a while, and had even bought an older version of the Guide 10 Kit back in the day. As these power stations got more popular with the rise of overlanding and the #vanlife, my interested was renewed.
I really wanted to go for the Yeti 500x or even Yeti 1000…but I could not justify them for my budget…ie. my wife. 😂
As much as I dream about gearing up and knocking out a bunch of overloading trips with my family, my real world use case is still more along the lines of a long weekend trip.
In reality, I needed to be able to recharge phones, apple watches, and power some cool led light strips I bought for my car and/or campsite. The Yeti 200X actually fit the bill perfectly.
On my last camping trip, I was able to recharge phones, smart watches, headlamps, even my DSLR camera batteries for the whole weekend…and I only ever got down to 47% or so. I did buy the Goal Zero car charger, charging it for a quick jaunt to a nearby damn overlook.
Solar Panel to Go With It
I also bought the Nomad 50 Solar Panel to go with the 200x. I wanted to buy the Nomad 100…but I wanted a solar panel that had a USB direct charger to it…and for some reason the Nomad 50 does and the Nomad 100 does not.
It can charge the Yeti 200X in about 5-10hours with full sunlight. Enough to top it off or bring it up throughout the day if you’re worried about it.
Highly recommend checking out this little powerhouse. You’re starting to see Goal Zero’s Yeti “X line” (as I call them) which has USB-C ports as well as USB-C power delivery for fast charging.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about BioLite camp lights and all of the various options they have.
I took them with me on a recent camping trip and the SiteLite Minis were a huge hit with my family. We strung them inside of our big family sized REI tent and when it was raining in the later afternoon and evening on a couple of the days, I had the Minis powered by the Base Lantern XL that I got on sale over Memorial Day weekend.
Part of what I was trying to figure out was what all we would actually use and what would end up staying in the bin of camping gear. The minis and the baselantern worked great.
Before the trip, I broke down and bought my kids new rechargeable headlamps from BioLite too. I was tired of the batteries in their cheap headlamps running out and having to buy new batteries.
These were another hit with the family as my kids loved having their own headlamps …and I didn’t have to worry about them running out of juice since I could just recharge them from the BaseLantern XL.
I like them.
They’re a super fun addition to the campsite, not completely necessary (except headlamps in my opinion) but they are nice to have.
I liked having the BaseLantern XL as that also serves as a powerbrick should I need to recharge basically anything…plus the light it puts off is great.
If you’re looking for a fun campsite addition to your gear box…I would recommend these lights for sure.
I started researching outdoor lighting back when I stumbled across the Biolite Mini and I was planning my first real camping trip with my whole family.
I had actually book marked another led light string (from Lightforce that I’ll link here) that I purchased…but like most research I do on gadgets…I couldn’t stop. Somehow I stumbled across a top 10 list and the Luminoodle caught my eye.
This was actually a Kickstarter campaign back in 2015 and the company has continued to grow from the original product line.
The Basecamp version is 20 feet long, has a remote to control brightness and colors, and runs off of a 12v socket (or 12v battery pack…not all usb battery packs are 12v).
Let me tell you…1000 lumens of leds really lights up a campground.
I know that Father’s Day isn’t until the 21st, but since I’ll be out camping with my family that day…Happy Father’s Day!!
Funny enough I was talking to my mom recently and asked her about the first time I went camping as a kid…thinking we had started when I was about 7 or 8. She laughed and said that my younger brother was still in diapers when we first camped (we are 20 months apart).
My mother told me that she just stripped us both naked and we played in a creek for a whole day in the Sequoia National Forrest. And she got to read a book for the first time in 5 years.
Hearing that just made me smile and realize even more how much a part of being in the outdoors is a part of me.
Being with my mom and dad camping are some of my fondest memories of my childhood, so I am incredibly excited to start forming those same memories with my own kids.
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you know that my handle is @patagoniadad (or a slight variation)…and I’m proud to have that dad part of me out there.
To all the fathers out there that are trying make sure they keep their kids alive, fed, happy, and socially well-adjusted…thank you.
Getting big sponsorship dollars to pursue your outdoor adventures is a dream for many people. After all, who wouldn’t want to make a living hiking, backpacking, traveling, and pursuing your other passions.
Makes sense…but good to hear it distilled down here.
Solo backpacking can be the ultimate meditation experience. You can travel at your own pace, view beautiful scenery in solitude, and really get the chance to tune into your environment with minimal distractions. But, for some, venturing out to the backcountry alone conjures up visions of long, wide-eyed nights in the sleeping bag, wondering what is making that noise outside the tent?
Whether you’re committed to conquering solo backpacking by choice or forced to go alone because your trail partners can’t get time away from work, this article offers some tips to help you make the transition from backpacking with others to backpacking alone with confidence and ease. If you’re already backpacking solo, review these tips for additional ideas for safety and comfort.
I dream of the day I can get out and do some real backpacking camping trips again.
National Parks are opening and I wish I was there…
With a three-day weekend before them, Southern Californians will have to weigh the lure of desert vistas against the chance of crowds and the challenge of rising temperatures, expected to reach the 90s by Tuesday.
Even though I’m not back home to enjoy my state’s parks opening, I’m happy to see that they are.
Although tens of millions of American children show no medical symptoms of COVID-19, their education, mental health, and development have suffered because of the virus. Adults need to help them regain normalcy. One way to do that is by opening summer camps as soon as possible. Children face a relatively small risk of harm from summer camps, the risk that their participation poses to adults can likely be managed, and the benefits of giving families at least the option of sending children to camp are substantial.
Earlier this month, for the first time in recent memory, pronghorn antelope ventured into the sun-scorched lowlands of Death Valley national park. Undeterred by temperatures that climbed to over 110F, the animals were observed by park staff browsing on a hillside not far from Furnace Creek visitor center.
Bought this book a while back because I have always enjoyed reading about the adventures of Yvon Chouinard and his fellow climbers. This book sprinkles in a bit of business and it’s neat to see how lessons learned on a mountain can apply in the office too.
Needless to say there are a lot of options out there.
I am currently teetering on the edge of buying one of these since my family is finally getting to the point where we can start doing some extended camping trips. I do not have a direction that I have gone yet…but I tend to err in the direction of getting a bit more than I need.
Personally, I feel that this gives me the peace of mind that I won’t need to “upgrade” in the future when/if I realize that I want more capability.
The below linked article doesn’t cover EVERYTHING you need to start your research on solar panels and other outdoor power options (see the Wirecutter and Outdoor Gear Lab articles I linked to above too)…BUT…it has some one of the best “introduction to solar panels” write up I found.
Plus it links to 4 or 5 other types of “best solar panel for…” articles. It’s a great place to start if you’re curious.
Solar power varies according to multiple environmental conditions. Solar irradiance values, shadings, temperature, and the amount of direct sunlight exposure changes the output power of your solar panel and can change the charging speed of your solar charger. Moreover, if you are purchasing solar panels for off-grid boat applications, you will probably use a battery pack and a charge controller. Some energy will be lost in the energy conversion process as well. Therefore, you must estimate the size of the solar panel a little above the specific demands if you want it to charge within a single day.