We’re going to talk about the Goal Zero Yeti 400. We bought one for our off-road travels and camping.
We’re going to talk a bit about what we think of the form factor, whether or not it’s been enough power for us and our uses. We’re going to talk about how we used it, and I don’t have a lot of experience with any of the other models, so we can’t make a comparison for you. But yeah, hopefully, this review will help you.
Buy On Amazon: Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station
One thing, though, I want to ask you. Why did you want it in the first place?
That’s a good question, so we do a lot of photography and filming while doing Overlanding and off-road stuff. So, I needed a way to charge my camera consistently and bring extra batteries with me, which you could probably do with just a regular inverter. The problem is that when you turn your car off then. You don’t really have a way to be charging, and our vehicles will sit at a campsite for a day or more at a time.
I also was hoping to find something that I could use to power my laptop if I wanted to work remotely. I can work from anywhere, but if you don’t have power, you can’t really do that because it’s the tech and online job, so this seemed to fit the bill really well. When we talked about them, we were talking about getting some of the bigger ones to think the next ones up the Goal Zero Yeti 1000, and then our buddy pointed out. Even if you had done up all the solar panels, you wouldn’t be able to recharge the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 entirely in a day, so it didn’t really make sense to like go so big when you weren’t going to be using all the power.
I don’t think we could get enough panels on our truck roofs to do that without deploying some external ones or something. Now that we’ve used these, we didn’t get solar to test them out and see how much we actually use them before we invested more. And now that we’ve done that, we’ve learned to really don’t need solar unless I’m going to be camping somewhere for multiple days at a time. So, we’ll go over that later because it’s pretty simple to get around. We use an inverter in your vehicle. They also make cables for the other style that just plugged it in. You can plug it with the 12V socket in your car, but for the lithium ones, you need an inverter.
I have nothing positive or negative to say about this one. I’m not recommending it in any way. Still, using this, I found that while we’re usually like the couple-hour drive between campsites for us on trails, the Goal Zero Yeti 400 will power and recharge pretty much anything I’ve used. I typically charge camera batteries, drone batteries, laptops, and radios. Sometimes my phone is off that, but the phones are usually hooked up on the truck. I’m not generally doing all those things at once, so I’m not usually using the entire 400 at once, and just a couple of hours on the inverter is usually enough to top it back off, and I don’t really see a need for me to get solar at this point.
Goal Zero sells a 12 Volt charging car cable that goes in the car that charges this, but it was sold out everywhere. It was not in stock on any website that I could find. Goal Zero didn’t have it. It seemed a little mythical to me. I saw one review on YouTube of a guy using it, and it was all I could find. They say that you can buy an inverter if you can’t find the cable on their website. OK, the thing that’s weird about it is you’re taking 12 Volt, converting it to 120 Volt, and then back to 12 Volt to charge this. So, it’s like a complete waste, but it works fine, and I could keep this topped off for like 100% pretty much all day. We were driving around; I found myself at camp, leaving my phones, camera batteries, radio, or charging my laptop like once or twice a day. I can go about a day or two, maybe three, not topping this off, but then I’ve got to drive again to fill it back up if I wanted to sit at a campsite for a week.
When it comes to the smaller stuff like the phone, the camera, batteries, and everything like that, negligible, yeah, essentially, I haven’t had to worry about it at all. The only thing that draws significant power is the 15-inch MacBook Pro I used. The charge and the draw for this thing is pretty heavy. Yeah, so you got to be kind of careful with that. If you plug it in, turn on the charging ports, leave it, and walk away and forget about it, you can pretty easily drain this down completely when you don’t need to. So that’s the only thing to be careful of.
You can’t really do that. You can’t use it like you would have all outlets. If you want to use your laptop on your battery, plug it in to charge it when it’s done charging, then take it off and use your laptop again. If you do that, you can get a couple of charges. I have a 12-inch MacBook and a 15-inch MacBook Pro, and the little 12-inch one takes about 1/4 of this. So, I can get probably only like 3.
The size of the Goal Zero Yeti 400 is very convenient. So, we’re always driving around in our trucks, so for me, this size works pretty well, and I’m pretty happy I got this one and not one of the larger ones. This fits in. I got to figure out a better solution for this, but right now, I usually put it in like the wheel well or the footwell of my passenger seat. I have a camera bag and all my equipment ready to go there, strapping to that seat and then on the floor. I have everything neatly organized charging there, and that works really well.
So if I get in an accident might get a little dicey. So, this is how we secure it. I took out the jack that’s underneath the rear seat, and then we put two like eye hook bolts through those connector points, and then I put a strap over it. The problem with this is that it weighs. I think around 29 pounds, and if you are in an accident, this can become a very heavy projectile in your vehicle, and you’re not supposed to get it wet or too cold or too hot. So it kind of needs to be in your car, but it’s not super safe, in my opinion, to have it there. I think trying to figure out how to and where to put it to be safe, like your trunk, might be a good spot if you have that.
But then you got to run a cable all the way back there. I don’t know; it’s tough. Yeah, it’s a challenging problem. I like having everything within easy arm’s reach. Yeah, if we pull off and I just need to charge something really quick and lean over and plug it in. So maybe I’ll just build a little plate or something, strap it down into the plate, and figure out how to get that in there.
So I like that as a portable power station. You can just pick it up and take it out and use it on a table or something. It’d be cool if they sold some kind of securing like brackets or something like that for people who probably use these in vehicles. There were three of us on the last trip, and two of us have these, so you’re using yours earlier. Our buddy needed some power and was able to grab this and slap it in his truck, and he was good to go for a while.
So today, we’ve had someone’s phone on plugged in along with their like signal booster, and this was going to run for like 900 hours, and then we have Wi-Fi at the campsite.
Overall, I’m delighted with the Goal Zero Yeti 400, especially for the price. It’s a little expensive, but we were able to get like if you watch for sales on Amazon, and we got ours with the sale price that felt pretty reasonable. If you’re thinking about it and you need power at your campsite or while traveling, you just got too much random junk like we do. I’d recommend the Goal Zero Yeti 400. It’s not nearly as much power as you could build in like a custom system, but I think the form factor is excellent, and honestly, I have never wanted more power.
One more thing to mention is the way the charging works is all the different ports are kind of broken up into sections, so you can turn on and off different sections as you go, which is really lovely. It’s all built-in, and you can quickly turn them on and off. It’s pretty versatile.
The display is fantastic because you know many hours you have left given what you’re charging. I really like it.