My opinion on the Goal Zero Nomad 50 and BigBlue 28W solar panels

Brief presentation of my bicycle trip around the world

A lover of freedom and nature, I have embarked on a daring and inspiring bicycle journey: a journey across the world, from the picturesque landscapes of France to the mysterious lands of Asia. A journey spanning several years, my pedals are destined to tread the five continents, totaling over 70,000 kilometers.

For me, this trip is not a race against the clock. On the contrary, I enjoy every moment, savoring life to the rhythm of the seasons and the passing landscapes. Far from trying to travel light, I appreciate the comfort and autonomy that my equipment offers me.

The cornerstone of this trip is autonomy. I want to be able to settle down for several days in places far from civilization, to live by my own rules, free and independent.

Living off the grid while traveling by bike


Energy autonomy is a fundamental issue when you start a long trip by bike, especially when you travel through isolated areas, far from the facilities of modern civilization. The problem becomes even more complex when you work and do business on the web as a digital nomad, as I do. Maintaining the link with the digital world is vital, as it allows me not only to perform my daily tasks, stay in touch with my clients, update my websites, but also to share my adventure with my online community.

To meet this challenge, it is imperative to have access to a reliable and sustainable energy source that can generate the electricity needed to run my laptop, smartphone and other electronic devices essential to my trip. Solar power proved to be an environmentally friendly and practical solution for my cycling journey.

So I chose to travel with two solar panels, the Goal Zero Nomad 50 and the BigBlue 28Wto get the best of both worlds. In this article, I will share my experience with these two devices, hoping that it will help other travelers and digital nomads in their quest for energy autonomy.

In my quest for energy independence, two solar panel options caught my eye: the Goal Zero Nomad 50 and the BigBlue 28W.

The Goal Zero Nomad 50As the name implies, it offers 50 watts of power, ideal for charging large capacity batteries. It is designed to be lightweight and portable, with a focus on durability and efficiency. Its solar panels are protected by a rugged, weather-resistant casing, making it particularly suited to the harsh outdoor conditions I may encounter on my trip.

The BigBlue 28WAs for it, it is a more compact solar panel with a power of 28 watts. It features a light weight and foldable design that makes it easy to carry and store. The BigBlue 28W also has built-in USB ports, making it easy to connect my electronic devices directly for charging.

These two solar panels are my faithful companions throughout my journey, providing the energy needed to power my digital nomadism. In the following sections, I will share more details about my experience with the Goal Zero Nomad 50 and the BigBlue 28Wto help you understand how these tools can support an energy self-sufficient bicycle trip.

Why solar panels?

Energy autonomy is one of the most important aspects of being a digital nomad and traveler. This is even more true when venturing to remote locations where access to a reliable power source can be a challenge. That's where solar panels come in.

In my case, I use a combination of hardware and renewable energy solutions to stay connected and productive while traveling. My MacBook Air M1 is essential for web development and site management. My iPhone 11 keeps me in touch with my clients and online community. As for my Insta360 X3 camera, it captures the precious moments and breathtaking views I encounter along the way.

However, all of these devices require a power source to operate. This is where my solar panels, the Goal Zero Nomad 50 and the BigBlue 28WThe two solar panels come into play. These two solar panels, combined with my three robust batteries (two of 26800mAh 100W and one of 10000mAh), provide me with the electricity I need to power my equipment.

Solar power is an obvious solution for bicycle travel because of its renewable and environmentally friendly nature. In addition, solar technology has made huge strides in recent years, which means that panels are becoming more efficient and portable. They can generate a significant amount of energy, even on cloudy days, which allows me to recharge my batteries throughout the day.

By choosing solar panels as a source of energy, I not only ensure my energy autonomy wherever I am, but I also participate in the protection of our planet by opting for a clean and renewable energy. It's a choice I highly recommend to all travelers and digital nomads who are looking to combine adventure and work in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Goal Zero Nomad 50 solar panel

The solar panel Goal Zero Nomad 50 is a valuable partner in my journey. It combines remarkable power with efficient portability, providing a reliable renewable energy solution in even the most remote locations.

This panel has 50 watts of power, making it capable of quickly charging my 26800mAh batteries. It has a built-in USB port for direct use, as well as an 8mm port to connect to larger Goal Zero batteries. Smart features like smart charging technology ensure optimal efficiency and protect your devices during the charging process.

One of the most impressive aspects of the Goal Zero Nomad 50 is its durable design. The solar cells are protected by a rugged enclosure that resists the elements, ensuring consistent longevity and performance, even in harsh conditions. Plus, it's lightweight and its foldable design makes it easy to carry and store when not in use.

Overall, the Goal Zero Nomad 50 is a versatile solar panel that offers an attractive combination of power, durability and portability. It's a smart investment for any traveler or digital nomad looking to ensure energy independence on the go.

My personal experience using the Goal Zero Nomad 50 during my bike trip.

It is true that I do not use the solar panel Goal Zero Nomad 50 daily, especially during the days when I cover long distances by bike. Its extra weight of more than three kilograms can be felt during these stages.

However, when I decide to take a break in a remote place immersed in nature, this solar panel becomes my precious collaborator. It is essential to recharge my batteries, allowing me to maintain my energy autonomy and continue my work as a web developer, even in the most remote places on the planet.

Advantages and disadvantages of the Goal Zero Nomad 50

During my bicycle trip around the world, the solar panel Goal Zero Nomad 50 has proven to be a valuable ally, but it has also presented some challenges. Here is my feedback, detailing the pros and cons of this model.

Benefits:

  1. Reliability and efficiency The Goal Zero Nomad 50 solar panel has a power output of 50 watts, which makes it effective in charging my batteries quickly, even when I'm in the middle of nowhere.
  2. Sustainability The panel's robustness is a major asset. It has survived various weather conditions without losing effectiveness. Its water and weather resistant construction allows it to remain operational even under difficult conditions.
  3. Portability Despite its size, the panel is foldable and compact enough to be easily packed and transported.
  4. Smart charging The solar panel features smart charging technology that optimizes efficiency and protects my devices during the charging process.

Disadvantages:

  1. Weight Weighing more than three kilograms, the weight of the solar panel is the major drawback, especially during long days of cycling.
  2. Dependence on weather conditions Like all solar panels, its efficiency depends on weather conditions. Cloudy or rainy days can significantly slow down the charging process.
  3. Price The Goal Zero Nomad 50 is a significant investment. It may not be the most economical choice for all bike travelers or digital nomads.

It is important to note that my experience with the Goal Zero Nomad 50 solar panel can vary depending on many factors, including geographic location, device usage, and weather conditions.

Here is a data sheet for the Goal Zero Nomad 50 solar panel

Technical specifications:

  • Panel type: Monocrystalline
  • Max. power 50 Watts
  • Ports: 1 USB port (5V, up to 2.4A, 12W max), 1 8mm DC port (14-22V, up to 3A, 50W max)
  • Open circuit voltage: 18-22V
  • Solar cells: Monocrystalline
  • Weight: 6.85 lbs (3.1 kg)
  • Dimensions (unfolded): 28.5 x 37 x 1 in (72.4 x 94 x 2.54 cm)
  • Dimensions (folded): 11.5 x 7.2 x 2.5 in (29.2 x 18.4 x 6.4 cm)

Features:

  • Foldable design: Easy to carry and store. The foldable design makes it perfect for travel use.
  • Durability: The solar cells are protected by a robust and weatherproof envelope.
  • Smart charging: Intelligent charging technology for optimal efficiency and device protection during the charging process.
  • Compatibility: Compatible with most USB devices and Goal Zero batteries.

BigBlue 28W Solar Panel

Compact and light, the solar panel BigBlue 28W is a centerpiece of my equipment set. This solar panel is designed for portability, with a foldable design that makes it easy to carry and store, even in tight spaces. Despite its small size, this panel is capable of delivering up to 28 watts of power, which is enough to effectively charge most of my electronic devices, such as my phone, headlamp, and camera batteries.

This solar panel is equipped with high efficiency solar cells that maximize the conversion of solar energy into electricity. It also has built-in USB ports, so I can plug my devices directly into it without the need for additional adapters. One of my favorite features of the BigBlue 28W is its intelligent regulation system, which automatically adjusts the output current according to the connected device, ensuring a safe and efficient charge.

In terms of durability, the BigBlue 28W doesn't disappoint either. Its rugged, water-resistant design makes it perfectly suited for the changing outdoor conditions I encounter on my travels. Whether it's blazing sunshine or a downpour, this solar panel continues to provide reliable electricity.

Overall, the BigBlue 28W is a great choice for anyone looking for a portable and efficient solar power solution. Its combination of power, portability and durability makes it ideal for my digital nomad lifestyle.

My personal experience using the BigBlue 28W on my bike trip.

The BigBlue 28W is a great ally in my quest for energy autonomy. Usually attached to the back of my bike, it takes care of recharging my small 10,000mAh battery as I travel.

This compact and lightweight solar panel has proven its effectiveness especially when charging my iPhone 11. In full sunlight, it takes only one hour to bring my phone battery back to its maximum capacity. A great asset when you are constantly on the go.

At the beginning of my adventure, the BigBlue 28W was my only source of solar power. Its convenient size and light weight make it extremely useful for powering all my small electronic devices. However, it should be noted that it does not provide enough power to effectively charge my MacBook Air M1, hence the need to add the Goal Zero Nomad 50 solar panel to my arsenal.

The advantages and disadvantages of the BigBlue 28W

Like any product, the solar panel BigBlue 28W has its strengths and weaknesses that I was able to discover throughout my cycling trip. Here is my analysis based on my personal experience.

Benefits of the BigBlue 28W:

  1. Compactness and lightness Its compact size and light weight make it easy to carry and store. It is perfect for mobile use and easily adapts to various environments.
  2. Fast charging of small devices : It offers fast and efficient charging for small electronic devices such as my iPhone 11. In about an hour, my phone is fully charged.
  3. Ease of use : Its simplicity of use is also a big plus. It's easy to attach it to my bike and connect it to my devices thanks to its built-in USB ports.

Disadvantages of the BigBlue 28W:

  1. Limited power : Its 28 watts of power is insufficient to efficiently charge more power-hungry devices, like my MacBook Air M1. For that, I had to turn to a more powerful solar panel, the Goal Zero Nomad 50.
  2. Dependence on solar luminosity Like any solar panel, the BigBlue 28W is dependent on solar light. It works great in bright sunlight, but its performance can be limited on cloudy days or in shaded environments.

Here is a data sheet for the BigBlue 28W solar panel

Technical specifications :

  • Type of panel : Polycrystalline
  • Max Power : 28 Watts
  • Ports 3 x USB-A (5V, up to 4.8A, 24W max)
  • Conversion Efficiency : 21.5 – 23.5%
  • Solar cells : Polycrystalline
  • Weight Size : 21.9 oz (620g)
  • Dimensions (unfolded) : 33.111.10.2in (8402825mm)
  • Dimensions (folded) : 11.16.31.3in (28216033mm)

Features :

  • Foldable design Easy to carry and store. The foldable design makes it perfect for travel use.
  • Sustainability The solar cells are protected by a robust and water-resistant envelope.
  • Smart charging Smart charging technology for optimal efficiency and protection of the device during the charging process.
  • Compatibility Compatible with most USB devices.

Here is my conclusion

As I continue to cycle around the world, the value of my faithful companions on the road, the Goal Zero Nomad 50 and BigBlue 28W solar panels, continues to grow. These robust and efficient tools have become the pillars of my energy autonomy, an essential component of my life as a digital nomad.

No matter what scenery passes before me, whether it's a peaceful beach, a lush valley or a mountain peak with breathtaking views, these solar panels provide the energy to power my work, maintain my connection to the world and document every precious moment of this extraordinary adventure.

These panels are much more than just solar chargers. They are the guardians of my freedom, precious tools that allow me to live this unique experience while remaining connected to the outside world. Despite the extra weight they add to my bike, the possibilities they offer in terms of energy autonomy more than compensate for this inconvenience.

However, I must point out that these solar panels are not the ideal solution for those looking to travel light by bike. They add a lot of weight and require some organization for optimal use. But if you are, like me, willing to make some compromises to get true energy independence, then the Goal Zero Nomad 50 and the BigBlue 28W are worth your attention.

In conclusion, I can't recommend these two solar panels, the Goal Zero Nomad 50 and the BigBlue 28W, highly enough to any digital nomad or long-term traveler looking for a reliable energy autonomy solution. They have proven themselves time and time again on my travels, providing vital power in remote locations where alternative power sources were non-existent.

The Goal Zero Nomad 50, with its rugged design and high power output, is ideal for more power-hungry devices like a laptop, while the compact and lightweight BigBlue 28W is perfect for efficiently charging smaller devices like a smartphone or headlamp.

It's important to note that these solar panels are not the lightest solution for a bike trip. However, for those like me who are willing to carry a little extra weight for the energy independence they offer, these panels are a well worth the investment.

All in all, the Goal Zero Nomad 50 and the BigBlue 28W are exceptional products that I warmly recommend to all those who are looking to combine adventure and work, and who dream of living a truly independent life on the road.