As someone who travels with an array of technology, being able to keep my gear charged while on the go is vitally important. These days, when I set out on an adventure, I’m often carrying my smartphone, a tablet, laptop, and a variety of other items that have rechargeable batteries.
Those items can include everything from a headlamp and camera to a smartwatch and a drone. Thankfully, I have an array of battery packs and portable power stations to help keep my gadgets up and running.
Still, the latest offering from Goal Zero may be the best one yet, offering up lots of power and options in a compact, easy to carry design.
The new Sherpa 100AC comes with everything you need to stay charged on the road, including all the cables you could ask for as well. The device ships with a USB-A, USB-C, and Apple Lightning cable. It also comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable, which can be used for charging too.
The cables can be stored in slots along either side of the device, and Goal Zero ships it with a handy carrying case that makes it easy to take everything with you when you hit the road.
The power bank is equipped with all of the charging options you would expect, and then some. Not only does it come with two quick-charging standard USB-A ports, but it also features dual USB-C ports for use with newer devices too. It also includes a built-in AC wall outlet without the need to add a separate inverter.
Goal Zero’s previous Sherpa 100 model required users to add an AC inverter to get this functionality. As if that wasn’t enough, the device even comes with a Qi wireless charging pad embedded in the top. If you have a smartphone, such as an iPhone X or a Samsung Galaxy S9, you can simply place your device on the pad, and it will start charging.
Goal Zero has included a small but very readable OLED screen on the Sherpa 100AC. This allows users to easily monitor power in and power out on each of the individual ports while also checking current battery status.
The display also provides information on the healthy of the battery as a whole, showing the number of recharge cycles. This is handy for keeping tabs on how the charger is performing and indicates that the Sherpa 100AC is aimed at professional level users.
As with most of Goal Zero’s portable power solutions, the Sherpa 100AC can be recharged via a wall outlet or a solar panel. That said, the device doesn’t come with an AC adapter, although one will be available from GZ when the battery pack ships in September.
Instead, you can use the included USB-C cable to plug the Sherpa into any USB charger you already own. USB-C offers bidirectional power flow, allowing it to charge the battery pack or provide power to a device, as needed. This is exactly how I’ve charged the Sherpa during testing, and it has worked very well.
I simply use the charger that came with my iPad and has found it to be fast, efficient, and convenient. For those looking to save a few ounces, this means you won’t have to carry an extra charger with you when you hit the road.
Charging your portable devices from the Sherpa is fast and about as efficient as you can expect from a portable battery pack, even when you have multiple gadgets plugged in at the same time. And as a recent convert to the wireless charging options, I absolutely love that Goal Zero has included a Qi pad right in the 100AC’s design.
When the pad is activated, you can simply place your smartphone right on it, and it immediately starts charging. This is handy because it frees up a cable and a port that can be used for other things.
One of the big advantages that the Sherpa 100AC has over the previous Sherpa 100 model is that it is much thinner and more compact. It is also slightly lighter at two pounds, but you’ll still feel it in your backpack.
One place that the original model does have an edge, however, is in battery size. It packed a 98 watt-hour (26,400 mAh) power cell, while the 100AC clocks in at 94.7 watt-hours (25,600 mAh). However, that isn’t much of a difference, and it is still under the maximum allowed for a battery pack to be carried on a plane.
The new Sherpa 100AC marks the pinnacle of the current evolution of portable battery packs. It offers a ton of features, it allows users to easily charge multiple devices at once, including laptops, and it has a big enough battery to keep all of your gadgets running while on the go.
Add in fast charging from an AC outlet, the ability to charge via solar, and a compact (albeit a little heavy) design, and you have pretty much the perfect power solution for the mobile professional.
This thing will keep all my gadgets charged no matter where I go, with enough juice (and ports!) leftover for friends to share too. In other words, it is poised to be an indispensable option for those who need power at all times.
The Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC is available for preorder now and will begin shipping in September. It will carry a $300 price tag, which makes it pricier than your typical battery pack. But considering what it brings to the table, it delivers a lot of value for that price.
It isn’t a product for the average traveler, but the person who needs its features will certainly appreciate it.
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