While traveling as a photographer, there always seems to be a shortage of power. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m going to places that are off the beaten path, or maybe they just don’t put enough outlets in airports!
If you find yourself struggling to keep your cameras, phone, or even laptop charged, the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Portable Power Pack may be the perfect solution.
It’s great for keeping all your power-hungry electronics topped up while on the road. It also gives you the peace of mind that you can keep things running longer. You won’t find yourself stranded because you can’t navigate with a dead phone battery.
I’ve used other power banks in the past but the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC exceeded my expectations for how much power could fit in a small, durable, and lightweight package.
This power bank is ideal if you’re like me and regularly travel to off the grid locations but want to keep your gadgets running!
Table of Contents
Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Portable Power Pack Specs
- Versatile input/output
- Battery capacity
- AC inverter
- Small and lightweight
- Not waterproof
- On/off not automatic
Battery Type: Li-Ion NMC
Capacity: 94.7 Wh (14.8 VDC, 6400 mAh)
Input Power / Charge Time: USB-C PD (60 W) / 2.5 Hours
Output Ports: Wireless Qi (5w), USB-A, USB-C,
AC Inverter: 110 VAC, up to 0.9 A (100 W Max)
Operating temperature: 32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C
Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.7 x 1″ / 19 x 2.54 x 14.4 cm
Weight: 2 lb / 0.9 kg
Build & Appearance
When you first pick up the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Portable Power Pack, you can see that it’s clearly a well-designed product. The metal shell feels very durable and the thin strips of rubber that run the length of the shell make it very stable on slippery surfaces.
The included cords on the sides are very handy to make sure you can easily charge your accessories. As more companies migrate toward USB-C, this device will only increase in compatibility and functionality.
At one end of the device, you’ll find all the controls and ports in a thoughtful and simple layout.
One of the coolest features of the Goal Zero Sherpa is the wireless charging pad. This handy feature is great for cordless charging of your smartphone. No more worrying about carrying around a lightning cable.
In the middle of the ports is a small LCD screen with a few buttons. We’ll get more into the functionality it offers below, but it’s a very useful design element. It gives helpful information on the status of the device.
On the back of the pack is a cooling fan that allows it to avoid overheating when using the inverter.
The Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC isn’t waterproof; something I appreciated in other Goal Zero products. Despite this, the device does feel quite rugged.
Ergonomics & Functions
At a mere 2 lbs (0.9kg) the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Portable Power Pack is a no brainer to throw in your bag when traveling. The peace of mind it offers is well worth it!
I especially appreciate that this power bank offers such a variety of charging methods. It’s very easy to use and intuitive.
Rubber strips on each side of the device keep it from sliding around while driving or flying in a bumpy airplane. The plugs feel easy to use, and it can be easily recharged with a MacBook Pro charger or other USB-C power source.
I love when items in my bag serve more than one purpose. With a MacBook Pro charger (or other 45+Watt USB-C charger), I don’t have to bring a separate wall plug to keep the Goal Zero Sherpa charged.
The Sherpa has a variety of functions available through the LCD screen.
First off, the power switch turns on the device ensuring that you don’t waste power during transport. Below the power button is the select button, and on the other side of the screen it has a scroll and Qi button (which turns on the wireless charger).
Once you begin charging a device, the screen will show you the remaining power and the time to empty at the current discharge rate.
By pressing the scroll button it will show you a screen indicating the discharge or charge rate of each port. This is helpful to manage your power and get a very clear idea of how much energy it takes to charge a specific device.
Knowing the time to empty is super helpful if you’re planning how to manage your power during a long flight!
By holding the scroll button you’ll get to the details on each port as well as details on the lifecycle of the battery. This is handy to assess how effective the device is after it has seen a lot of use.
Being a bit of a nerd, I appreciate how much detail the device can display regarding input and output. This is a major upgrade over previous Goal Zero devices I’ve used that simply give you a basic indication of charge.
If you don’t want to dive into all the details, you can simply look at the battery percentage indicator to tell you how much power is left in the bank.
The capacity of the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC is described in a variety of ways. In simple terms, it can charge any one of the following (not all):
- 2x Laptop
- 4x Tablet
- 8x Smartphone
- 6x DSLR or Large Mirrorless Battery
- 18x POV Camera (i.e. GoPro)
These general guidelines are helpful to determine what to expect from this power bank. It will do any of the above items but not all of them on one charge.
In practicality, I’ve found the performance to be slightly less than advertised. Maybe it depends on the size of the batteries (small or large laptop) and how discharged they are.
In the case of a laptop battery, I’m often using it while charging it so it can be difficult to judge exactly how much charge I get out of one power bank.
At 25,600 mAh, this power bank is just below the limit for maximum allowable for air travel. That means you shouldn’t have any issues taking it on the plane in your carry on luggage.
With airlines getting pickier about what you can take on planes, it’s nice to know your Sherpa 100 is compatible!
The port options include two USB-C ports (very useful if you’re a MacBook Pro/Air user), two USB-A ports, and a 110v outlet (US style).
On the far left, there’s an 8mm solar input that is compatible with other Goal Zero devices.
It doesn’t really count as a port but the wireless Qi charging pad will allow you to charge your phone without worrying about having a cable. Seems like I’m always losing my iPhone lightning cable so this handy feature is very nice to have!
As I mentioned previously, the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC doesn’t come with its own wall plug (though you can order one separately) – but it can be charged with any USB-C cable such as a MacBook charger (45+ Watt recommended output for faster recharge).
With regards to keeping the Sherpa 100 charged off the grid, there are a number of compatible solar panels from Goal Zero available. They all use the super simple 8mm plug and can charge in the following times depending on the size of the panel:
- Boulder 50 Solar Panel: 4-8 Hours
- Nomad 28 Solar Panel: 6-14 Hours
- Nomad 14 Solar Panel: 12-28 Hours
- Boulder 50 Solar Panel: 4-8 Hours
The availability of solar charging is very nice if you find yourself traveling to remote places.
I find myself using this power pack most often as a boost between grid charges. Because it charges so quickly from a standard outlet (approximately 3 hours), I don’t find myself using the solar option.
That said, they do offer folding portable panels that look reasonably sized to travel with.
Because of all the input and output options available on this power pack, it’s incredibly versatile. I’m always wishing for more capacity but it’s already impressive for its size and weight. Also, if it was larger, I wouldn’t be able to fly with it!
Overall, the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC offers incredible performance. Almost every device we use as photographers requires power and it’s nice to have the peace of mind that if something goes dead, you can quickly recharge it.
It can charge so many different types of devices – often at the same time! I was impressed with the thoughtfulness of the included ports and how well the device allows you to manage its capacity.
This power pack turns on quickly and allows you to really get down to the details of how much power each device requires.
An unexpected benefit of the Sherpa 100 is that, over time, you can learn to maximize the efficiency of your devices by knowing the amount of power you need to keep things running.
If you’re heading into the backcountry for an extended trip, the 94.7 Wh capacity of the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC might be on the low side unless you’re using minimal power or have a solar panel to keep it topped up.
With consistent solar charging, this might make the perfect bridge allowing you to charge devices at night and use them during the day.
This device is perfect if you’re heading out on smaller adventures between grid charges. If complete off-grid travel is your thing (and you’re not flying on planes), you might look at something larger like the Goal Zero Yeti 150 or 400.
Value for Money
In my opinion, the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Portable Power Pack offers great value. Sure, you might find a cheaper power bank from Ravpower or EcoFlow (both sell similar products at lower price points), but the quality/performance is lower.
If you go with a budget power bank you won’t have the trusted quality of the Goal Zero brand, and you’ll lose out on features like the power output of each port displayed on the LCD screen.
Additionally, Goal Zero is known for offering very rugged designs and great customer support.
At under $300, this power bank is a great option for the photographer who regularly flies to off-grid remote locations but still wants to ensure that everything is powered up and ready to go!
Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Portable Power Pack Review | Conclusion
If you’re a photographer who travels regularly, you know the feeling of being concerned about keeping things charged. The Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Portable Power Pack provides an amazingly flexible solution to charging your devices.
I love all the features that have been incorporated into this compact and lightweight package. It will keep your laptop, camera, tablet, phone, and accessories charged while still being within the airline battery size restrictions.
The Sherpa 100AC Power Pack is also one of the most versatile power banks I’ve used thanks to its inclusion of the AC inverter. It allows you to charge a wider variety of devices and is compatible with everything I carry in my bag.
The AC inverter also allows you to power 110V devices while you charge the power pack from a vehicle. This allows you to leave behind the 12V car AC adapter!
If you don’t currently have a power bank, I highly encourage you to check out this one to see if it might be a good fit. My guess is that it will become a device that consistently comes with you to ensure all your electronics stay powered up while traveling.