|Rating:||8.8 / 10|
|Weight||2.1 / 2.5|
|Durability||2.2 / 2.5|
|Versatility||2.3 / 2.5|
|Value for Money||2.2 / 2.5|
For most hikers a power bank of any size is not a consideration with many people preferring to disconnect when out on trail. But then there’s the other side of this debate with more and more hikers carrying at least a small back up power source to power their essentials such as a phone and/or camera.
I fall into the category of a heavy power user and while I managed to get my power use down to a fine art when I’m doing serious long distance hikes and I know that I’ll be away from a powerpoint for around two weeks or more, I carry a serious power bank and currently that’s the Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD Power Bank. While this beast of a power bank does what its designed to do providing plenty of recharge capability it also weights in at 659 grams and is only ever going to be of use for a small percentage of hikers. For those times I will be hitting towns roughly every 7-9 days and I can access a powerpoint to recharge all my electronics, I reduce the size of the power bank that I carry and along with that the weight.
Now there really is no end to the brands and models of power banks available so when choosing a model so how do you make a decision? My criteria for choosing a new power bank for hikes when I can recharge includes the following:
When choosing a power bank knowing your power requirements is a good start point but what this means is that you need to do a trip first to be able to work your requirements. Even though between my wife and I we now own six power banks, most with differing capacities my current go-to option at the moment is the Goal Zero Sherpa 40 and here’s why.
As an overarching comment the Sherpa 40 fits all of my selection criteria. Goal Zero is a big supplier to outdoor adventurers of all kings from the self contained hiker all the way up to the full-on car camper. The Sherpa 4o weighs 388 grams including with its cables. Speaking of cables it comes with a three – all 100 mm long:
This supplied set of cables works well with my charging requirements and I find myself only having to add a cable to charge my Suunto Baro 9 Watch. Having said that while you can use the micro USB cable to charge this unit in all honesty it’s too short in most cases and I add a longer dedicated charging cable. When choosing a cable check that it will fit into the narrow gaps provided. You can store two out of the three cables in the top and bottom slot with the third being loose. From what I can tell, this unit must have originally come with just two cables and it looks like the lightening cable which came in its own bag, has been added-on at some stage.
This unit is robustly constructed and Goal Zero has opted to make it a wide, tall but thin unit (190 mm x 107 mm x 11 mm) rather than going for a blocky shape. I find that to be a preferable option but that’s just me. I would class this unit as a mid-size power bank and unlike its smaller brethren, the shape of this unit means it isn’t going to fit into a pocket like smaller, lower capacity units will. That applies to anything with this capacity. Still on construction, the Sherpa 40 has an aluminium body so while I have never damaged or destroyed a power bank before, this unit is about as robust as it gets when compared to many others on the market that have plastic bodies.
Unlike its bigger sibling the Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD Power Bank, this unit doesn’t do wireless charging but if you need that capability its likely you are going to need a bigger power bank anyway. Battery-wise the Sherpa 40 has a good capacity at 44.4 Wh, 3.7 12000 mAh. In plain English this means that it can charge a mobile phone for four charges. In my case the Sherpa 40 will last 7-9 days and my main use is charging my tablet which, when I’m podcasting on-trail, is uploading and downloading files in the podcast production process and this is where most of my power goes. The rest of my power usage is more towards topping up my other devices as needed if I am away from civilisation for more than 7-8 days – this when I definitely need my Sherpa to keep me going.
This unit comes with two USB-A charging ports and a Micro USB-C port for charging. Goal Zero says you will require approximately 7.5 hours using a wall charger or 7.5-12 hours if using one of their solar panels. Having said that the solar panels they quote aren’t ones that hikers are likely to be carrying but are good for car campers. In regard to charging electronics I usually set up at the end of the day and plug in what I need and then shut down ready for the next day. As I’ve indicated above this is very infrequent.
These days I work out my requirements at the start of the trip and select which power bank I will need so I don’t have to carry any unnecessary weight.
This unit can be carried on airplane without approval and in fact you could actually carry two if need be and still be within Australian guidelines which permit up to 100 Wh per person.
Cost-wise this unit sells for $129.95 AUD RRP at the time of this review which for the size of this power bank, is reasonably well priced. Yes you can probably find cheaper power banks online from overseas but you need to ensure you are doing a direct comparison of all the features and not just the price.
Now let’s look at the negatives. To charge this unit you will need to source an extra charging cable and a power plug and if you are a heavy power user who is going remote for multiple weeks, then the Sherpa 40 may not suit. The Sherpa 40 is designed to suit a particular niche and if that fits you then it will do the job very well.
Overall the Goal Zero Sherpa 40 is a great option for medium power users for a couple of weeks or in my case a heavy power user for around 7-9 days. As mentioned, I will take this power bank with me on my upcoming 1200 km journey on the Heysen Trail and it will meet my needs quite well.
Goal Zero sherpa 40 with 3 cables
The business end of the Goal Zero Sherpa 40. The two USB-A ports are for charging and the Micro USB is to charge the unit
Cable storage on the Goal Zero Sherpa 40. You can store a cable at each end of this unit and in my case I carry two out of the three so that works well
Goal Zero Sherpa 40 on charge. The little lights are actually dark on this image but it shows the unit as being 50% full
Goal Zero Sherpa 40 charging an iPhone 12 Mini
Goal Zero make a large range of power banks and charging accessories for users of any size:
You can purchase the Goal Zero Sherpa 40 Power Bank Power Bank online from Snowys
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$129.95 AUD RRP
This review was done with product purchased by Australian Hiker from a retail store