Almost exactly a year ago, I reviewed a new portable charging solution from Goal Zero called the Sherpa 100AC.
At the time, the new power bank replaced a previous Sherpa model, refining the previous product by creating a smaller and lighter option for keeping our gadgets charged while on the road.
The Sherpa 100AC delivered a lot of bang for the buck, offering multiple USB-A and USB-C ports, a Qi wireless charging pad, and a built-in AC socket. It was a bit larger and heavier –– not to mention more expensive –– than most casual users wanted, however, putting it squarely in the realm of the mobile professional.
Fast forward a year, however, and the company continues to refine its designs. Recently, it introduced a new product called the Sherpa 100PD, which is lighter and more affordable, yet still feature-packed, that is likely to appeal to a much more mainstream crowd.
The Sherpa 100PD vs the Sherpa 100AC
In many ways, the Sherpa 100PD resembles its predecessor, particularly when it comes to its durable construction and design. Sitting side-by-side with one another, it is easy to see the family resemblance.
The 100PD is considerably smaller than the 100AC, in large part because Goal Zero has done away with the AC wall outlet that helped define –– and name –– the original model.
Weight & Power Capacity
The new version of the Sherpa weighs about 10 ounces (283 grams) less while still offering the same 25,600 mAh (94.7 Wh) of battery life. That’s the maximum amount that airlines will allow you to carry on an aircraft, making this an ideal option for travelers.
Sherpa 100PD Features
The Sherpa 100PD also features one less USB-C port and has dropped the 100AC’s and its OLED display as well, although it does have its own LED screen for indicating its current level of charge.
That screen doesn’t provide nearly as much information about the amount of power going in and out of the battery pack, but for most users, it offers a quick and easy way to stay informed of the current levels.
So what exactly does the Sherpa 100PD bring to the table, other than a large battery? For starters, it comes equipped with a 60-watt USB-C PD port.
In this case, the “PD” stands for “Power Delivery,” which allows it to charge some potent devices using a small, standard port. For instance, this battery pack has no problems quickly and efficiently charging my iPad Pro.
It can also charge a newer MacBook or another laptop that is similarly equipped with a USB-C charging port. That means not having to lug a large, bulky power adapter with you when you travel. Instead, you can bring the 100PD and a USB cable.
Fast Charging on the Go
It also means fast, easy charging on the go, such as when you’re at the airport, on an airplane, or at a remote camp where power is at a premium. In other words, if you have devices that can take advantage of USC-C PD, your life just got a lot easier.
Goal Zero has also equipped the Sherpa 100PD with two standard USB-A ports, and the Qi wireless charging mat remains. That means you have the potential to recharge as many as four devices at once.
Control what you Charge
Independent power buttons allow you to turn on the specific ports and pad as needed, providing solid control over where the battery life is being directed.
Essentially, this could be the only charging solution you’ll need to take with you, depending on your needs. And for the vast majority of travelers, it is overkill in a good way.
Not as slim and light as other USB battery packs on the market, the Sherpa 100PD nevertheless impresses its design and build quality. That’s because its case is built from rugged metals designed to keep it alive and functioning even in harsh environments.
Once again, not everyone will need this level of durability. Still, those who carry our gadgets with us into remote places will certainly appreciate knowing that they will survive the journey.
That isn’t to say there aren’t a few things that I miss about the Sherpa 100AC. For instance, last year’s model came with Goal Zero’s proprietary solar charging port built right in, meaning you could plug it into one of the company’s larger solar panels and recharge while in the backcountry.
The Sherpa 100PD doesn’t have this port, which limits its charging abilities somewhat. It can be recharged using a solar panel with its own USB ports, of course, but that isn’t quite as fast or efficient.
I also miss the OLED screen on the AC model, as it does an impressive job of allowing you to monitor power in and power out. A second USB-C port would have been nice for those times when you need to both charge a device and recharge the battery pack too.
Those small compromises won’t bother the vast majority of people, however, as the 100PD is excellent at what it does –– providing an ample amount of portable power.
This battery pack is fast, rugged, and dependable, which is exactly what you need from any portable charging solution.
I know that this will likely be the battery pack that I’ll carry with me on most of my trips moving forward despite its larger weight and size. It’s just too good and powerful to leave at home.
The Sherpa 100PD is still pricier than most other battery packs on the market, although it is nearly half the price of the Sherpa 100AC.
Suppose you’re looking for a good, high-capacity USB battery for keeping your devices charged while on the road but aren’t all that concerned about durability than you’ll find plenty of less expensive options elsewhere.
If you’re someone who appreciates rugged construction, attention to detail, and high-quality design and components, it is tough to top Goal Zero’s new addition.
For outdoor adventurers, explorers, and travelers, there is no question that this is the battery pack you want with you when you hit the road.
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