Last fall, I was teaching a photo expedition in Morocco for National Geographic when I found myself on the way to Saharan sand dunes at the end of a long day of shooting with batteries running dangerously close to empty—dangerously close to empty with a sunset camel ride still to shoot and an overnight time lapse of those legendary North African stars not long after that.
Not to worry. My ace in the hole was Goal Zero’s Sherpa 100, a hundred-watt battery pack that can charge all manner of USB-powered phones, cameras, and devices, as well as laptops. I pulled my Canon 5D’s wall charger from my bag, plugged into the Sherpa’s inverter port, and by the time I was wiggling my toes in the red Erg Chebbis sand, the batteries were full.
With the optional inverter attached ($50), the Sherpa 100 is about the size of a small hardcover book and, at 1.9 pounds, just a little bit heavier. Its Li-NMC battery has a capacity of about 8,800mAh, enough to top off a smartphone 14 times, camera batteries 10 times, and a laptop twice. It can be filled via wall outlet (going from empty to full in three hours), by car charger (four hours), or by one of Goal Zero’s solar panels (10 to 20 hours). Its size, cost, and capabilities position it between casual power users and intensive expedition use. Although I got it with the Nomad 20 solar panels, I typically charge the Sherpa via the wall outlet before road trips and overseas adventures, using it as an alternative to finicky (and not cheap) car inverters, on planes, or as a safer charging method than dodgy electrical systems in remote one-star hotels. So far, it’s never let me down, nor run all the way to empty.
Oh, and that night sky? See below.
$349 • BUY
Read more from Steve Casimiro at his blog, Adventure Journal.
- Nat Geo Expeditions