Solar kit

The Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator Kit (Goal Zero)

Name: Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator Kit

What it is: A portable solar generator kit with a Yeti 150 plug-and-play battery and a Nomad 20 Monocrystalline Solar Panel for charging with sunshine. Yeti 150 also can be charged with power from a car or a regular electrical outlet. The lead-acid battery offers 150 watt-hours of power and has two USB ports, two 12-volt ports and one AC output to charge anything from camera batteries to tablets or a CPAP machine. The Nomad 20 Solar Panel takes 17 to 34 hours to charge the Yeti fully, depending on sunlight. A wall outlet recharges it in six hours. The battery is 12 pounds, and the Nomad 20 is 2.5 pounds.

The good: Because most of my electronics use AC or USB power, the Yeti can power anything I pack. When I'm away from a power source, I can simultaneously charge my iPhone and laptop without draining the Yeti. The solar panel charges batteries faster than the Nomad 7 I typically tote, and it's ideal for recharging the Yeti with sunshine. After I used the Yeti 150 to power two Goal Zero Light-a-Life LED Lanterns one evening on a hotel balcony, I wanted to take the kit camping. My favorite feature of the Yeti, however, is its ability to hold a charge for three to four months, making it an ideal companion in any emergency, either at home or on the road.

The bad: Solar charging still isn't nearly as fast as a wall outlet, so the kit makes more sense for campers, while the Yeti alone can work well for road-trippers.

Cost: $399.98 for the kit or $199.99 for the Yeti 150 alone.

Available from: goalzero.com and amazon.com