Gear review: Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD power bank
Going camping off-grid and need a reliable, versatile power source for your tech? We've taken a look at the new Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD power bank.
In the past, camping holidays were all about switching off, leaving all the distractions of modern life at home and getting back to nature, Of course, for many people, that’s still the case, but these days most of us want to stay connected when we head out to the campsite.
Phones, tablets, Bluetooth speakers, USB-powered lights and even laptops are all considered essential items by lots of campers. Obviously they all need a power source and one of the biggest issues you’ll face is keeping all of your technology charged.
If you don’t have access to an electric hook-up or a shared power-point on the campsite then it won’t be long before the battery icons on your tech start to edge perilously close to zero. If you’re not careful, you won’t be able to share those pictures of your adventures on Instagram or upload your latest vlog to YouTube!
Unless, that is, you have a power bank with you. Over the past 10 years, Goal Zero has developed an extensive range of products that provide portable power solutions designed for the outdoors – including solar panels, power banks, lighting and an assortment of accessories. Goal Zero’s Venture power banks have long been one of the Out And About Live team’s favourite pieces of kit.
The Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD is the newest model in the collection. It has a rugged metal construction and it’s certainly not the most lightweight power bank on the market. It’s perhaps not the choice for lightweight campers or backpackers, where every gram is crucial, but if weight isn't an issue then it’s ideal. And for all that it’s fairly bulky, it’s still sleek enough to fit into bags where space is limited.
Getting started is simple. Before you set off, charge the Sherpa 100PD at home, using the supplied cables. Charging with a USB-C cable via the Power Direct port takes just two-and-a-half hours. Using a standard USB source it will be fully charged in between eight to 10 hours. Charging from the wall using an optional 45W charger takes around three hours. Once you are on the move you can use a compatible solar panel, such as Goal Zero’s Nomad 28 Plus. This method will take up to 14 hours to get the Sherpa up to full capacity, depending on the size of the panel (and how much sunshine there is). And getting going really is as simple as that.
USING THE POWER BANK
For a weekend away, a full charge should provide you with all the power you’ll need to keep your devices topped up. The Sherpa 100PD will recharge a smartphone up to eight times or an adventure camera up to eight times. Helpfully, the electronic display lets you know how much juice is still in the tank, so you can see exactly how much charging capacity you have left.
The PD in the name stands for Power Delivery, and according to Goal Zero this delivers more power in less time. In other words you can get your devices charged quicker. The 60W Power Delivery port allows you to charge any device that uses a USB-C connection – that could be a phone, tablet or even a laptop.
If you want to charge devices that aren’t compatible with USB-C – such as an iPhone with lightning connection, fitness tracker or GPS – you can use the two standard USB ports. We fully charged an iPhone 7 in less than one hour using this method, and the power bank was still showing 94% capacity when it was complete.
The third charging method requires no cables at all. The Sherpa 100PD has a built-in wireless charging pad that allows you to charge a Qi-compatible phone simply by placing it on the pad. Check if your phone is fitted with Qi technology – it is featured on the iPhone 8 and later and a good few non-Apple devices.
An easy to use power bank that is sturdy, well-made and delivers a fast charge to your devices using a variety of methods. The large capacity should keep all your gadgets – from phones to laptops – topped-up when you’re on camping trips without access to mains electricity. It is also airline-friendly – so there’s no problem taking it on board a flight in your hand luggage. At around £200, this is not a cheap option but its versatility and quality make it a great choice for serious outdoor adventurers and regular travellers.
Charging Times: USB-C PD: 2.5 hrs; wall charger: 3 hrs; USB-A: 9 hrs; Nomad 28 solar panel: 6-14 hrs
Battery capacity: 25,600mAh
Dimensions: 19.05 x 9.4 x 2.54cm