This $300 battery was a godsend on my trip to Comic Con

Over the summer I had been playing with the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Backup Battery for use with some big solar panels. I had woefully underestimated the power drawn by the panels, so the Sherpa’s load was regularly maxed out. Shortly after, Goal Zero released an update to the Sherpa 100AC, which I was eager to try. The latest generation dramatically increases the power output and brings big changes to its display. A road trip to New York Comic-Con turned out to be a nice melting pot to test this pack.

One of my favorite features of the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC was the wireless charger right on top. Its output power has been increased from 5 watts to 15 W for faster charging. As usual, finding the right place to charge can be tricky, and you still have to press a button on the Sherpa to toggle wireless charging.

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On the front are two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, and a standard AC outlet. Like the wireless charging feature, there are two dedicated buttons for activating AC or USB outlets. The power has been increased on one of the USB-C slots from 60W to 100W, which is particularly practical for recharging the Sherpa more quickly.

There are a few new switches on the back to decide whether the USB-C ports should be inputs or outputs. I learned the hard way not to leave it on the auto setting because the Sherpa sucked all the power from another backup battery rather than charging that second battery as intended. USB-A ports remain at 12W as in the last generation, and the overall capacity of 94.7 watt-hours is also unchanged.

The big change is the display. It is now tilted so you can check the status from above more easily. The previous-gen screen was on par with the pack, although I found it to be of higher quality, showing a wider range of information. The new display has a few color elements, but that’s mitigated by light leaking through the USB-A slots.

The Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC charges multiple devices on a bedside table.
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The physical footprint is nearly identical to the previous Sherpa. It retained the welcome rubber ridges to give it extra grip while sitting on our car’s dashboard. The older version had dedicated storage cavities along the edges for charging cables which this generation lacks, which opted for solid bumpers instead. The solar input port has been moved to the rear which is great. If you’re charging with solar power, there will already be enough other things plugged into the front. That said, a battery of this size is only really suitable for smaller panels, which I’m usually not a fan of.

On the go, the Sherpa 100AC was useful in being able to provide a quick charge without taking up a lot of space in my bag. Even in places where I had access to an outlet, like in the hotel room or in the car, the number of outlets was limited or the cables couldn’t go far enough. The Sherpa acted as a great hub for charging multiple devices at once in these cases.

The $300 asking price might be a lot to swallow, but if you ever find yourself in a situation where a big battery backup might come in handy, the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC is among the best around.

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Daniel K. Denny