We are lucky in the modern age to be able to head into remote areas to hunt and recreate with modern communication devices. GPS devices, cell phones, and SOS transmitters allow us to stay connected like never before and signal for help in an emergency. Portable cameras like the GoPro allow us to document our trips for ourselves or for viewers on youtube. All these devices, however, need power to function. On a hunt lasting a week or more, it often becomes necessary to be able to recharge these devices. Since we depend on our devices in an emergency—we also need to be able to depend on our ability to recharge their batteries.
Goal Zero began in the mid-2000s as a small team of people with a mission to bring portable power to places in Africa that never had power before. Incorporating in 2009 as a business, they rapidly developed more advanced portable power products. They helped deliver solar power to rescuers and victims in Haiti after the deadly earthquake in 2010. In 2012 the company launched their Yeti power line which featured larger devices that stored more power. From the beginning, all their devices have been solar or wall charger compatible. Today they are an industry leader in rugged, portable, and reliable power solutions. Their gear is a perfect fit for people who spend a lot of time off the grid.
Venture 30 and 70
The Venture series of portable batteries are meant for the serious outdoorsman. They are rugged, compact, and lightweight relative to their storage capacity. The Venture 30 retails for $80 and the Venture 70 retails for $150. At about double the storage capacity (the 30 has a 7800mAh battery, and the 70 has 19,200mAh), the 70 is a good option if you need the extra power. The Venture 30 can recharge an iPhone about 2-3 times, while the Venture 70 can do 6-7 charges. That power does come at a cost as the Venture 70 weighs in at 1 pound while the Venture 30 is only 8.8 ounces. The Venture 70 is about two inches taller than the 30, but the other dimensions are similar enough. Both units feature a watertight rating. The 30 holds an IPX6 rating which means it is watertight, but should not be submerged. Heavy torrential rain, spills, dust, and hose blasts are fine. The Venture 70 features an IP67 rating which means it can be submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Both units are compatible with the Goal Zero line of solar panels (more on these later) and both can also be charged with USB power, including from a car. The final difference is that the Venture 30 features one rubber micro USB to USB cord that wraps around the unit, while the Venture 70 features two separate rubber cords. One of these is a USB to micro USB and one is a USB to lightning connector. Both units feature a 5 light strip of LEDs on the front which serve as a 65 lumen white light or a battery indicator. As a side note, the Venture 30 is available in a package with the Nomad 10 solar panel for $180 if you want both.
Nomad Series Portable Solar Panels
While you may use either of the Venture portable batteries as standalone chargers, Goal Zero has designed an entire line of ultra-portable solar panels to accompany them as well. The Nomad line features a Nomad 10, 20, and 100 solar panels. The panels are $100, $150, and $400, respectively. Below is a table of their charging capacity, weight, and folded dimensions.
|Weight (lbs.)||Folded Dimensions (in.)||Charging Time For Venture 30 (hrs.)||Charging Time For Venture 70 (hrs.)|
|Nomad 10||1.12||9.5 x 7.2 x 1.5||4.5 to 9||not specificied|
|Nomad 20||2.28||11.5 x 21.75 x .75||3 to 6||5.5 to 11|
|Nomad 100||10.2||20.5 x 15.5 x 2||not specified||not specified|
The Venture series of chargers and the Nomad series of panels are great options for hunters headed out on backcountry trips. The rugged design with a rubberized outer shell is durable enough to stand up to the elements while the small size and weight allow you to add it to your pack without taking up too much space. The solar panels which can be added on take a while to charge the Venture units, but if you leave them set up at your campsite for the day while you’re out hunting, you can come back to a full battery. Even if you don’t anticipate needing extra charges, it is worth having the Venture 30 just for emergency use—making sure you never have a dead battery when you need it most. I run the Venture 30 when I am out in the backcountry and I recommend picking up one as well. If you run a GoPro or other rechargeable devices (headlamps, etc) the Venture 70 is not a bad idea either. Both Venture units are quality products which should provide years of use.