Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Solar Power for Denali - Part 1


I'm going to be on the Northwest Buttress of Denali for about a month, and between the music, audio books, Kindle, Spot, and who knows what else, I'll need some serious power.

I'm an Elite Team Athlete at Goal0, so I'll be proving the ability of their equipment to work on an Alpine Expedition like this. They have some great larger solar panels, and some great battery packs and inverters, but those are all pretty heavy. For this I'll be taking a Nomad 7M panel with USB charging ability.

In the picture above, while hiking up Quandary, a 14,265' mountain in Colorado, I took one with to test (one of the first beta models I've had for about a year). At the 13.200' break spot I pulled it out and hooked up my Droid Pro to see if it charged regardless of angling the panel directly perpendicular to the sun. You can see the summit ridge in the back of the picture.

The answer is a happy yes. Though I won't be taking the phone on the mountain, it shares similar USB charging characteristics with many of my other gear.

A few days later I dropped by the Goal0 office to talk to some of the great people there and pick up a Guide10 kit - which has a newer model 7M panel, with a special plug to charge the included AA battery pack that stores power to charge small electronics. I also got a Luna 1/2 watt LED tent light - which might come in handy for the few hours of total darkness during the May Alaska nights.

I'll show some tests of that in an upcoming post.

Goal0 Guide 10 Kit
Goal0 Luna Light