Goal Zero Sherpa 50 & Nomad 13 Solar Recharging Kit – Review

By Jeremy Del Nero on 6 June 2013
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If you were stranded on a dessert island and could only take a handful of items with you,2013-06-03 13.34.25 the Sherpa 50 recharger and Nomad 13 portable solar panel may very well be two of them. Goal Zero sells these two products separately or bundled, and although they can each be used independently of one another, they act in concert to provide a convenient solution to a common problem.

Both the Sherpa and Nomad are included in the recharger kit, as are an AC adapter for the Sherpa and two 12V car cigarette lighter adapters, one each for power input and output.

The 1.8 pound (0.8 kg) Nomad 13 portable solar panel converts solar energy into a 13VDC output.  If connected to the Nomad, the 1.1 pound (.5 kg) Sherpa 50 stores this energy in its lithium-ion battery.  The Nomad doesn’t hold a charge on its own and will only supply power to its ports when in direct sunlight.  It’s quite portable; when folded shut, it measures 10.5 x 7 x 1 in (26.7 x 17.8 x 2.5 cm), roughly the height and width of a sheet of paper.

2013-06-03 13.37.07Four accessory ports are provided on the solar panel: a Guide 10 port to power a AA and AAA battery recharger that is sold separately; a daisy chaining connector that allows additional Nomad solar panels to be connected in order to boost power capabilities; a 12V output; and a USB port.  Power is supplied simultaneously to all ports but the total available is shared among them.

The Sherpa 50 is also equipped with four ports: two 12V outputs, a USB port, and one power input for charging the batteries.  An accessory inverter (sold separately, $49.99) converts the 12 VDC output to 110VAC (75W max) for low-power applications (the inverter adds .35 pounds or .16 kg).  Without the inverter, the device measures 4.5 x 5 x 1.5 in (11.4 x 12.7 x 3.8 cm).

A display provides information on charging and battery status (in 20% increments).  The Sherpa also contains a small LED flashlight that, while not very powerful, could prove to be very convenient in making connections in the dark.


There is relatively little that one must do to get the Nomad and Sherpa up and running.

Simply unfold the magnetically latched panels and lay the Nomad 13 in direct sunlight, avoiding obstructions (such as windows, screens and tree limbs) between the sun and the panel, in order to achieve maximum efficiency.  In addition, the Nomad will operate  in three to four hours most effectively when positioned perpendicularly to the direct line of sunlight.

A corded ring along its periphery lends versatility to the panel.  It can be attached to backpacks to power portable electronics while trekking in sunny areas, or it could be used to hang the unit on branches or be connected to ropes on campsites.

The Sherpa 50 power pack also has a fairly straightforward set up. All that is required is to charge the battery before using it.

The Sherpa may be fully charged in three hours with the included AC adapter, in three to four hours using the car charger, and from the sun in six to twelve hours (using the Nomad 13).  Its 50Wh (watt hour) capacity is enough to charge a smartphone multiple times, a tablet two or three times, or a laptop once before depletion.

Click here to continue to Page 2Using the Nomad 13 and Sherpa 50

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