Nomad 7 Solar Panel Review

By Robert Robillard on Remodeling

Goal Zero Nomad 7 Portable Solar Charger

I’m a backpacker, canoe camper and winter camper and also a carpenter.  I recently and read about the Nomad 7 Solar Panel in a backpacking magazine and have to admit I thought about how handy this solar charger would be for charging my headlamp, camera and maybe cellphone on the trail.   But what really got me thinking was how would this solar charger work on a remote job site?  Hence my idea for a Nomad 7 Solar Panel Review.

Many remote job sites have generators that supply power tools with power but it is not always convenient to charge the camera or cellphone  with a generator.  With gas powered job site generators it is always advisable to use a surge protector to avoid damage to the sensitive electronics.  Not to mention that I definitely do not want to leave my camera or cellphone hanging from a vibrating, dirty generator.

What is the Nomad 7 Solar Panel?

The Nomad 7 is a rugged, weather resistant, fold-able 7 watt Mono-crystalline solar panel.  when folded it is approximately the size of a Kindle or paper back book and measures: 6″ x 9″ x 1″.  Unfolded the solar panel measures 19″ x 9″ x 1″.

The Nomad 7 Solar Panel delivers an compact, powerful solar panel that can deliver 7 watts of power to charge your devices directly from its USB and 12 Volt DC charging ports.  Additionally the Nomad 7 can charge more that one device at the same time.

The solar panel is compatible with most USB devices and comes with a 12 Volt female cigarette adapter which allows you to plug in anything with a car “cigarette” charger

The Nomad 7 Solar Panel  has a 7 watt mono-crystalline solar technology with output ports in the following configuration:

  • USB output 5 volts
  • DC output 12 volts

Nomad 7 Solar Panel Review – How does it work?

Few panels are this simple all you do is plug your device into the panel and place it pin the sun.  Full sun worked best and charged the fastest.  I found that by angling the solar panels toward the sun that it actually charged my devices faster.

It works well for charging cellphones [not I-Phones], cameras and other small devices like my IPod, camera, and headlamp.

This device has issues when charging an Apple iPhone 4 (Goal Zero acknowledges this on their website). If sunlight is broken for even a moment, like a cloud passing by, between the panel and sun, it stops the charging process. The only way to get the iPhone charging again is to unplug it and plug it back in which is a pain.

If you’re looking for a solution for that then you should consider using a battery pack.  I use a simple 5 volt pack from


Ryobi that charges my phone fine.  Goal Zero has what they call the Guide 10 Battery pack.   The beauty of the Guide 10 pack is that once it is charged it will charge your device regardless of the sun, could or darkness.    Goal Zero even offers that you can simply plug the panel int

o the pack and plug the pack into the phone. If something passes over the panel, the Guide 10 pack will not stop the iPhone from charging.

Features of the Nomad 7 Solar Panel:

The panel has a built-in pocket which is super convenient for storing all of the adapters and cords needed to plug into your devices.   I used the pocket to hold my devices when charging, but be careful that the pocket flap does not block any part the solar panel.

Built-in nylon loops on the panel are perfect for hanging the panel from a tree, backpack or anything that you could possibly attach to.

Key Benefits:

  • USB charging port
  • Compatible with most USB devices
  • 12 Volt DC charging port
  • Compatible with most USB devices
  • Includes 12 Volt female cigarette adapter
  • 30% smaller than comparable panels
  • Only weighs 13 ounces
  • Pocket for devices and for cell charger
  • Compact foldable fabric case
  • Durable loops for hanging
  • 5+ year lifespan

Guide 10 Battery Pack Accessory


The Goal Zero Guide 10 allows you to store extra power in a package that a little heavier and bigger than a smart phone. You can charge it off the Nomad 7 or just about any USB power source (computer, car charger).

The battery pack also allows to you to charge AA rechargeable batteries and  lets you store power for usage at night, when it gets cloudy or during any non-sunlight times.  This would be especially useful when on the move back packing.

Overall Impression:

I noticed that in order to get the Nomad 7 to charge my phone I had to adjust the panel just right and hope for no clouds.  It took a very long time to charge my Droid phone and quite frankly did not work well.   I’m skeptical if the Nomad 7 would work strapped to a backpack on the move…..  it did work on the job site in a stationary position.

The Nomad 7 was able to charge my camera, IPod and headlamp.   It did not charge my Ryobi TEK2 power pack RP4900 which has 5 volts of output.   I use this battery pack similar to the Guide 10 above to charge my cellphone when in remote areas.  I left the Ryobi charger on the Nomad 7 for approximately six hours and it did not seem to recognize a charge. Not sure why.

I think the Nomad 7 is an innovative charging solution for use in the back country and remote areas but on the job site I need faster results with out having to worry about clouds disturbing my charge.   I  recommend purchasing the  Guide 10 with the Nomad 7 or if super fast results are needed use your vehicle to charge.

How Much and Where To Buy:

The New Goal 0 ELITE Nomad 7M Solar Panel Ultra-Compact Power Compatible With Most USB Devices sell online here: Goal-ELITE-Ultra-Compact-Compatible-Devices

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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