When looking for power solutions for our Vanlife project and Overland Trooper build, we did a lot of research and landed on Goal Zero. We were already familiar with their products as Maple X is equipped with a GZ Nomad 50 solar panel and Guardian 12v charge controller to keep renters powered off grid. Once we settled on what brand we wanted to go with, as with any solar set up, we needed to determine what our power needs were. As both set ups are weekend camping vehicles, we don’t need much more than powering phones, cameras, drones, and lights so the Yeti 150 and Yeti 400 were the perfect fit!
Goal Zero’s smallest unit in the Yeti product line the 150 is a 12 lbs lead acid power station perfect for keeping small devices and lights powered while camping. One reason we went with Goal Zero’s Yeti series power stations was the versatility in charging options. Not only can the units be charged off a standard wall plug (120v), but also can be charged with solar and 12v with the use of the 12v Car Charging Cable. With the ability be fully charged from 0 in as little as 6 hours when plugged into a 120v wall plug, or even the Boulder 50 watt panel, you could essentially power you devices indefinitely. The 150 has a max charging input of 60w so we decided to pair it with the Boulder 50 panel to maximize charging potential. When it comes to output the power station has (2) 12v ports, (2) USB ports and (1) 120v port for all of your power needs. At a price point of right at $200 the Goal Zero Yeti 150 is a great option for the weekend warriors and beyond!
Wanting a little more power to keep fans and potentially a small fridge powered we decided to pick up the Yeti 400 to help us expand our power capabilities. Coming in at 29lbs the 400 is still a very portable unit with 2.5x the power capacity and an inverter almost 4x as powerful as the 150. Charging the 400 definitely takes more time due to its size, but even with the Boulder 50 watt panel being only less than half the 400’s max input (120w) we have still been about to charge it from zero in about 12 hours. A great thing about the Boulder 50 is that you can daisy chain an additional panel at any time without any extra cords or adapters, so if we feel lacking in power we can always upgrade later. Another huge upgrade from the 150 is the ability to chain the 400 to another 400 unit or a 12v adapter with the use of their adapter cable and chaining cable. The LCD screen is also much larger on this unit displaying input, output, volts and other power information.
Benefits to Lead Acid
So why did we choose the lead acid line over the lithium? There are a few factors at play here, first and foremost price. With the new lithium unit starting at $600 and peaking at $3000 the newer unit didn’t offer the bang for the buck for our use. For the same price (at full retail) we were able to pick up both the Yeti 150 and 400 in the lead acid lines which offers us much more versatility. Another deciding factor for us was the durability of lead acid batteries vs lithium with the current technology. Finally, the AGM batteries that Goal Zero uses with their Yeti units last hundreds of life cycles, and can be replaced extremely cost effectively when needed.
So if you’re looking for power solutions on the go, we would highly recommend looking at Goal Zero for your power solutions. If you have any questions regarding what set up is right for you please feel free to contact us at ExpeditionGeorgia@gmail.com.