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Small but mighty, the Goal Zero Switch 8 portable recharger breathes life into your phone, music player, or tablet; bring it wherever your adventures may lead
Powerful lithium ion battery is light and powerful and holds a charge for up to 6 months; charge it up from the included Nomad 3.5 solar panel
USB in and out offer a simple and straightforward design for easy use
Simply lay out the light and portable Nomad 3.5 solar panel and use the sun's power to charge the Switch 8 battery pack
Compact, weather-resistant solar panel is smaller and more powerful than comparable panels
This item contains hazardous or flammable materials and is restricted to surface shipping only. Online orders for shipment to Alaska must be picked up at any Alaska REI store (follow options for Free Shipping to REI Store when ordering); shipment to any other Alaska address is not offered. Sorry, this product cannot be shipped to Hawaii, APO, FPO or international addresses.
by mrmalbafromBad connection between solar panel & battery pacI purchased this kit for my recent two week Boy Scout Philmont trip. I fully charged the battery at home, and used it on the trail. I attached the solar panel to the top of my backpack, away from harm, with full sun exposure. I never attained more than half a charge in a day. Worse, the connection between the solar panel and the battery pack (the tube type shown with the kit photo) would work its way loose! No connection. No charge. Upon discovering that, I tried to adjust the small lock tabs in the USB connection, but it has no effect. I found it disconnected a second time. Later, I also discovered that the end caps of the battery tube (containing the USB connector at each end) would also 'unscrew'. Again, no connection, no charge. Further, if my camera battery (or gps watch battery…) was low (still working, just low charge level), and I plugged it into the battery pack without full charge (one or two 'lights'), it would end up dead. This might have been due to the yet to be discovered loose connector caps on the battery pack, I'm not certain.
I also experienced the mounting loop failure described by other reviewers. One trip!!
I am very disappointed with this product. I will return it to REI. I do not recommend it.
Date published: 2014-07-11
Rated 2out of5
by LivingReflectionfromBattery pack is lackingThe panels charge fine but that battery pack is a piece of dung. It claims to charge a smartphone up to 2x but it barely boosts mine 25%. Amazon reviews will also confirm this. I would suggest getting a kit with just the panels and using an alternative battery pack.
Date published: 2014-05-20
Rated 4out of5
by woodspiritsfromthe battery gets REAL HOTI bought this @ REI and imminently hooked it up, placed it on my dash board and got into I-95 traffic. After 2 1/2 hours (everyday) I opened the mesh pocket and could not touch the battery. The battery worked, but not without handling it with a cloth rapped around it. It took 6 hr to charge, yes it's the smallest model, but 6 hours....
Date published: 2014-06-14
Rated 2out of5
by XMan714fromDisappointing performanceI tested this product on two separate days, one fully sunny 90 degree day, one partly cloudy 90 degree day. Performance was fairly equal. The issue is that the charger is very slow and with a Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, its best work was able to charge it 50% capacity. I think this product would be more effective if the solar panels were twice as large in surface area and the lithium ion battery had at least triple the capacity.
Date published: 2013-07-31
Rated 3out of5
by In search of great viewsfromDoesn't live up to the hypeLeft it in a window and it took 4 days to charge fully.
Date published: 2013-06-19
Rated 2out of5
by eric&silviafromBackpack-mounted solar chargerI've been on a search for the perfect backpack-mounted solar charger. My two main requirements are:
1. Durable design that can be mounted on the outside of my pack and,
My basepack weight is around 6.5 pounds so item #2 is pretty important - but durability will always win out for me so a little extra weight in exchange for durability is OK.
I started with the Power-Film USB/AA Solar Charger - mainly because of it's extremely lightweight (6.6 oz). Soon though I found durability of the electronics was lacking. All three units eventually just stopped charging after 2-3 uses.
I then tried this product, The Goal Zero "Switch 8" Solar Kit (11.2 oz). I liked the flat solar panels like the Power-Film unit and the Goal Zero's zippered pocket to hold charge cables. The seperate battery pack is nice because you can disconnect it at the end of the day and bring it into the tent to charge GPS, etc. without removing the panels from your pack... that's an OK feature too.
Brought it home pulled it out of the package and noticed that the cordellette "loops" that are sewn around the outside seam of the panel "case" had a lot of hanging threads. Didn't think much of it at the time. Then I started with a few different options of mounting it to the pack with black stretcy cord. Decided to mount it on the four side loops and the on the top loop. Mounted snug put not tight. While adjusting it, the top loop just pulled out of the threads on the panel!! This makes the mount totally worthless!
Using mostly ultralight gear, I am very careful with my gear - so I wasn't rough with it at all. I then noticed that these cord loops sewn in to the panel are just small bits of cord sewn with only a miniscule thread, not a continuous piece wrapped around the outsied of the entire panel that would help to strengthen what is a very important part of this product!
I can't recommend this product when such an integral part of the item is so poorly made. I think of what would have been if this happened while in the backcountry.
However, I did like the switch 8 battery pack, that is the reason I gave it 2 stars.
Next, I am going to try the Solar Monkey Adventurer (REI Item #843129) and mount the panel only to my pack without the "wallet". The hard case (without the "wallet") has handles that can be used to mount to the pack... since it's part of the case it should be much more durable. And, this unit is 2 ounces lighter than the Switch 8 Solar Kit!
I'll post a review on the Solar Monkey Adventurer once I've had a chance to try it... the search continues!
Date published: 2013-05-18
Rated 5out of5
by hikingbootsfromWorks as advertisedI was able to use the Switch 8 battery pack to charge my iPhone5 from 30% to 95% and it only used up half the battery. I did the same the next day. It took about 6 hours of sunlight in direct sun to fully charge the battery with the solar panels. I'm pleased with the results.
Date published: 2013-11-20
Rated 1out of5
by CrankyspokefromNice Idea...Poor ExecutionAs an REI Member I rely heavily on reviews when purchasing equipment. In this particular case I was sorely disappointed in both the equipment and Goal Zero's response regarding the Switch 8 Solar Recharging Kit that was ordered on February 28, 2014. I purchased this product for a cross country bicycle that will originate at the Vietnam Memorial and end in Seattle, Washington commencing April 10, 2014. At 65 years of age I felt that having a smart phone was a must for safety reasons and that the Switch 8 was exactly what I needed to keep it charged. Initially the Switch 8 worked well and I was pleased. Unfortunately, after only three charges the battery seemed to be losing life and would not charge the phone. While I received a quick response from Goal Zero, they had little to offer except to say the battery was bad. I followed up with a telephone call to a very polite Goal Zero representative and in this case they suggested purchasing a more expensive unit as a solution.
I was not satisfied with this product...it simply does not work...but I am pleased that I purchased it from REI so that it could be returned albeit after paying $16 in shipping. With this particular product, the concept is great, the unit size and configuration wonderful, but unfortunately the product simply does not work and battery would not charge an IPhone. The unit ceased to perform after several charges. Very unhappy with its performance and Goal Zero's response.
Date published: 2014-03-20
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Goal Zero Switch 8 Solar Recharging Kit Customer Reviews