Back in 2015 we produced a feature on portable power for climbers. With smartphones, tablets and all manner of electronics becoming more of a feature on expeditions and even just for a day out – I wouldn’t even think about a winter day out without some form of power back up for my phone- power is something to think of.
I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of what to look for in a portable power unit – but a light and robust unit were important aspects. Enter the Goal Zero Venture 30, a rugged and powerful power unit that has proved to be a versatile part of my trip packing.
Goal Zero have been making real inroads into the portable power market for quite a while now and have developed a name for high quality, dependable units that work when you need them too. I have been let down several times since I wrote the Buyers Guide in 2015 and the Goal Zero Venture 30 has so far performed well through the winter season. It is light enough at 252g to pack away for an extended trip and easily light enough to pack for the commute or coffee shop office working. The IPX6 rating means that it is also burly enough for use on the trail – which is exactly what it is designed for!
It’s a whopping 7800mAh device that will easily provide my iPad Mini with a full charge and have some extra for a phone top up if I need one. Mostly it provides power the other way around as I tend to protect my phone power over the iPad. The Venture 30 also looks the part, it has a very ruggedized body that can withstand shocks and being thrown into my pack. It also comes with a rubber coated micro USB lead that can be used to charge the Venture 30 from the mains or a solar panel. The lead wraps around the body and importantly stays in place. I have used units with integrated leads in the past and the leads became more of a hinderance than a help. The lead on the Venture 30 detaches completely so can be used for other tasks.
The input is via a micro USB port and is 2.1A @ 5V and the Venture 30 took about 5 hrs to fully charge via the mains. I haven’t yet charged it from a solar panel but I will be using it with a Nomad 7 in the spring. The output is 24A via the two standard USB ports so you could, if you needed to, charge two devices at once. That would however deplete he battery quicker. 2.4A is pretty good however and as I said earlier the 7800mAh provided plenty of consistent power for both my iPhone and iPad Mini which ae the two devices I take on any climbing trip.
Another feature I really liked, and used, is the built in LED lights. The main body has two buttons situated either side of the 5 LED lights placed at the top of the Venture 30. The left hand button operates the amount of charge left in blue LED’s and the right hand button deploys the super bright white LED’s. These were easily powerful enough to use in a tent or in the hut and provided enough light to read by or complete the myriad of small tasks you have to do before bed. I really liked this feature and the only negative aspect was that I found the buttons too small to locate and press – I would like to see larger buttons to make it more expedition friendly.
In conclusion the Goal Zero Venture 30 is a great looking and dependable portable power unit. It is rugged enough to take on any expedition and looks the part on the commute to show off your adventure credentials. If I had featured this in the 2015 Buyer’s Guide it would have got Editor’s Choice hands down and I’m looking forward to seeing how it performs with a portable solar panel in the spring.
Dave Sarkar has tested and reviewed climbing, mountaineering and outdoor equipment for over 10 years. He works as a qualified MIA both in the UK and Internationally: working full time as a mountaineering instructor and expedition leader for his company Wild Spaces. When he isn’t working in the mountains he’s playing in the mountains and enjoys all aspects climbing and mountain sports whether bouldering at his local crag or ice climbing; as long as he’s going upwards he’s happy!