Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Kit ~ WanderGear Wednesday

by Beth Whitman (December 3rd, 2014)

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus KitA friend had been telling me for a good eight months that Goal Zero was THE company to check out for solar powered products. After testing a number of units from other companies and being disappointed with the results, I had been kinda desperate to find something that worked. I know, I was testing out solar powered products in Seattle, where the sun don’t always shine. But still…something had to work, right?

Specifically I was looking for something to bring on the Snowman Trek. We’d be hiking and without power for 25 days and I needed something that could charge a few USB-powered items such as my iPod and iPhone (for photos as there was no cell service) as well as items that needed a power plug for both our small and large digital cameras.

Turns out, between a few of us on the trek, we had three different Goal Zero chargers. The one I carried was the Guide 10 Plus Kit (pictured above). Included in this kit is:

  • The Nomad 7 Solar Panel which is actually two panels that are attached but fold together to save space
  • The Guide 10 Recharger which recharges AA and AAA batteries using the Nomad 7 Solar Panel

The solar panel is light enough and small enough that I easily hung it off my backpack. Goal Zero on Tent Snowman TrekWhen we were hiking in full sun (which was often after the first week), it charged up just fine. On our few rest days, I’d just hang it on the tent and let it soak up rays for the day.

I used this most often by plugging my USB connection directly into the back of the panel and charging my various “i” items. While the Guide 10 Recharger is for batteries, I found that I rarely used this. Mostly because the few items I had that used AA or AAA batteries ate through batteries really quickly, be it alkaline or rechargeable. It was easier to just use the alkalines that I brought with me.

In the future, I would definitely carry the Nomad 7 Solar Panel with me as I used this almost every day. I would, however, think twice about bringing the Guide 10 Recharger. I just didn’t get enough use out of it and with so little space in my bag, it would be helpful to cut back where I can.

The Goal Zero Guide Plus Kit is available on Amazon for about $120.Goal Zero Boulder 30 Snowman Trek

Goal Zero Yeti 150 Snowman TrekWe also had the Goal Zero Yeti 150 power charger and the Goal Zero Boulder 30 panel. Often, our guide would carry the charger in his large pack and hang the panel off it to get as much sunlight as possible. It was heavy but he was motivated to do so because he, as well as the rest of our Bhutanese crew, wanted to have fully charged phones so that when they did have service they could chat with family and friends.

We also needed to power a laptop and video camera, hence this monster of a power supply.

Note that if you plan on flying with the Yeti 150 it could get confiscated by the airlines as some consider this a battery and unfit for checked luggage. We lost one to All Nippon Airways in Tokyo and nearly had our replacement taken by Korean Air in Bangkok.

The Yeti 150 is about $200 on Amazon and the Boulder 30 panel $174 on Amazon.

Goal Zero Panel Snowman Trek


Goal Zero Sherpa 50

For more modest use, we also had a smaller unit, the Sherpa 50 Power Pack, that allowed us to power up our cameras that needed an electrical (non-USB) source of power.

The Goal Zero Sherpa 50 goes for about $200 on Amazon but keep in mind you also need the solar panels.

Yup, it’s likely we were the most powered up group to have done the Snowman. And for sure Goal Zero is coming with us when we return to do the trek again in 2016. :-)

Be Bold,


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Snowman Trek: Mountain Photos

by Beth Whitman (December 1st, 2014)

The Snowman Trek is a 25 day journey that’s 220 miles long through Bhutan’s Himalayas. With that much time spent hiking that covers that much distance, it was inevitable there’d be countless opportunities to experience jaw-dropping beauty.

Though the first week of our trek brought rain, the weather improved considerably over time and altitude. That left us with day after day of spectacular mountain views.

Snowman Trek Bhutan Mt Jhomolhari

Early on (when we were still dealing with rain), the skies opened up enough one morning to give us a brief view of Mt. Jhomolhari (above). Shortly after taking this photo, the clouds moved in and no more mountain.

Snowman Trek Bhutan Glacier

During one particularly long trekking day, we passed a long path of mountains and glaciers.

Snowman Trek Bhutan Gangkar Puensum

With about two thirds of the way behind us, we came to the Lunana region and great views of Gangkar Puensum. Upon arrival at camp each day, the horsemen would unpack our horses and let them roam free (like this one) until the morning when it was time to pack up again.

Snowman Trek Bhutan Snow Sunburst

As I was sorting through images, I found this one that Jon took. It’s one of my favorites.

Snowman Trek Bhutan Tiger Mountain Laya

Laya is the highest altitude village in Bhutan. There are hundreds of homes scattered on the sides of slopes all with views of the surrounding mountains, including Tiger Mountain, above.

Snowman Trek Bhutan Mountains

This panorama is just a fraction of the amazing views we saw every day.

Wanna know how I got to my decision to hike the Snowman? Here’s a post about Trekking to the Top of the World on the Expedia Viewfinder blog.

Be Bold,


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Gordini Gloves – WanderGear Wednesday

by Beth Whitman (November 19th, 2014)

Gordini GTX Storm TrooperMy hands get cold long before any other part of my body. Even on the hottest of days when riding a motorcycle, I need gloves because the wind on my hands just chills me to the bone.

For this reason, I knew that in preparing for the Snowman Trek I’d need really warm gloves since much of my time would be spent well above 15,000 feet.

I was somewhat aware of Gordini gloves from my many trips to the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City. But since I don’t normally participate in snow sports, they really weren’t strong on my radar until I started looking for quality gloves that would properly protect my hands at altitude.

So, I started looking more closely at what these folks had to offer and discovered a range of gloves that would serve me well in the Himalayas.

On the coldest of days, I wore the GTX Storm Troopers. These are rated for 20 to 32 degrees. I didn’t know it when I got them, but that range was actually perfect in terms of what I experienced on the trek. We had some snow but perhaps only one snowy pass that might have been colder than 20 degrees.

Gordini Tactip WindstopperFor emergency purposes, these stayed in my daybag every day just in case we did run into a bad storm. But when they came out, they kept my hands perfectly warm.

Two cinches, one at the wrist and one further back on the lower arm, kept the gloves tight against my clothes and prevented any wind from getting in. And the goatskin fingers and palm were a nice padding against my trekking poles.

The GTX Stormtroopers are wind and waterproof. But best of all, their lined insulation is what kept my hands warm. Really warm.

Available on Amazon for about $65.

On days when the temps weren’t quite as low and I just needed some protection against wind and light rain, I wore the Tactip Windstoppers.

These were a perfect ever day glove with the added benefit of having touchpad-friendly fingertips. This meant I could use the camera on my iPhone without having to take off my gloves.

Now that I’m home, I’ve discovered these are great gloves for running in cold weather as they are light enough that I don’t sweat through them but they stop the wind.

Available on Amazon for about $30.

Both of these gloves are keepers for when I do the Snowman Trek again in 2016. :-)

Be Bold,


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Disclosure: Gordini provided these gloves to me for review. Regardless, everything I have said in the post reflects my honest opinions.

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