Review - Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel Charger and Venture 30 Power Bank

Review Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel Charger and Venture 30 Power Bank
In the search for charging solutions when bike touring, I have tried everything from dynamo hubs to café plugs. The Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel is my first solar solution – paired with a Goal Zero Venture 30 Power Bank it is performing well.

The need for power when bike touring is a constant conundrum. A dynamo hub is reassuringly self-sufficient; but you risk it failing and leaving you without power. A collection of power banks, recharged in cafes and hotels is another solution; but they are heavy, and charging is slow. Solar power is a potentially more sustainable and reliable option, and the offering from Goal Zero is one of the most impressive on the market.

The Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel is a portable and rugged solar panel, ideal for providing power when cycle touring, trekking, kayaking, sailing, or in any other outdoor pursuit.

The Nomad 7 panel is 24cm x 16cm in size and folds out to create an area twice that width (24 x 32cm). It is the smallest solar panel within the Goal Zero Nomad range, but it still provides an impressive charge rate – capable of charging a phone, camera, or power bank in around six hours of good sunlight.

You can connect any USB or 12V device directly into the Nomad 7, and you can also chain together the solar panels to provide a greater power source.

Combining the solar panel with a power bank is the best solution for charging, in my experience. By charging a power bank rather than a device itself, it means you can leave the solar panel undisturbed sat on top of a pannier or rucksack, and then recharge your phone or GPS unit with the power bank at the end of the day. A power bank is also less susceptible to 'charge jumping' – when a device jumps in and out of charging mode when connected to a solar panel that has unreliable sunlight (typical when riding through shaded areas and tunnels).

The Goal Zero Venture 30 Power Bank is one of the most rugged and bike touring ready power banks that I have come across. The unit itself is drop-proof, water resistant (IPX6), and compact. It holds 7800mAh of charge and has two high speed USB outlets to allow you to charge a Micro-USB device and any USB cable charged device at the same time. It also has an integrated torch – ideal if you get stuck out in the dark.

The Venture 30 will recharge from a wall mounted 2AMP outlet in about five hours, and from the Nomad 7 Solar Panel in 9-16 hours depending on the sunlight situation.

The combination of the Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel and the Goal Zero Venture 30 Power Bank has been working well for me on several recent trips – I charge the power bank up during the day, and then use it to recharge my phone and GPS in the evening; the dual port output is ideal for this set-up.

Being weatherproof and rugged is a good thing when bike touring, and it is far better to have the power bank rattling around in my pannier than my delicate smartphone. The solar panel and cable connections also seem to be lasting well through repeat downpours and knocks.

Overall, this could well be a good solution for long distance unsupported rides, if you have somewhere that you can strap the solar panel. The Venture 30 Power Bank has recharged effectively over a full day of riding (9-11 hours) in the late summer sunshine; but I admit I have yet to see how well it will do in the darker winter months.

This set up is certainly a lot less hassle than fitting a dynamo hub, and a lot more self-sufficient than café stops with charging plugs. I am impressed – look out on my Instagram feed for the Goal Zero kit in use on future adventures.

Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel Review

Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel Review

Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel Review

Goal Zero Venture 30 Power Bank Review

Goal Zero Venture 30 Power Bank Review

Goal Zero Venture 30 Power Bank Review


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