Tag Archive: Yeti Power Station


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    Brody Leven focuses on simplicity as both an art and a science in his van build.

    Whether building for full-time van life or the occasional road trip, folks designing their own campervan customization often become overwhelmed by the elements and details. Regardless of whether they’re building it themselves or having a professional upfitter, it’s common for them to take a confusing, piecemeal approach of various manufacturers, tolerances, sizes, mounting situations, and proprietary components to their electrical system specifically. Some people enjoy this process of engineering and then troubleshooting the inevitable problems that seem to come with most homemade electrical builds. Others, like me, prefer simple, elegant solutions that are designed for the way I’ll be using them. For everything from my ski mountaineering to my van, I am obsessed with using the right tool for the job. In the long term, and in this case even in the short term, it also tends to be more cost effective.

    Through my various van builds and iterations of each, as well as other places in my life, I’ve focused on simplicity as both an art and a science. Engineering open space into my van and house (which are, fortunately, for the time being, two separate things) is very important to me. This open space creates a feeling of spaciousness and comfort, but it also allows me to actually use my van, instead of just standing in it and brushing up against showers, kicking extra seats, and hitting my head on poorly-located overhead cabinets. While some vans are designed with every single feature anyone could ever want in a van, that doesn’t leave space to live, to operate, to move. It doesn’t leave space to just toss a duffel bag into the van without it being in your way. It doesn’t leave space to carry a sheet of plywood, to share dinner with some friends after a day of climbing, or to quickly bring your bike in when it starts raining outside. My van has space that is functional and practical, and it’s something that I emphasize in design. Leaving space for the unexpected is more important than having some of the luxuries that are easy—and I daresay good—to learn to live without.

    Incorporating Goal Zero power systems into my vans is a solution that is not only practical and affordable, but simply more appropriate than many of its alternatives for the task at hand.

    My current van is pretty power hungry. In lieu of old school fuel sources (propane, kerosene, etc.), everything is electric. This increases safety, decreases smell, and maximizes simplicity. Each electronic part of my van is either 12v or 110v, and it’s all powered by a single, integrated Goal Zero system. It features a rooftop fan, various interior fans, USB and 110v outlets for charging and powering whatever is chosen to bring along, a dual burner induction cooktop, water pump, extensive interior and exterior lighting, a refrigerator/freezer, and even a central vacuum unit. There’s also an air compressor under the hood for inflating bike and van tires. I wanted to have power to spare, meaning I could cook a complete off-grid dinner without rushing and go to sleep with the fan running all night, and still wake up with plenty of battery power—before the sun rises and begins charging the system via solar—to make tea and cook a real breakfast. If my girlfriend needs to work on her laptop for five hours from camp, we don’t need to think twice about her power source. A friend needs to charge a headlamp, inReach, phone, and DSLR? No problem. For my power system, simplicity of function and appearance were important, as was limiting the amount of failure points. But mostly, I wanted a system we could actually use instead of just fearing, the way many van-dwellers live in constant fear of using too much power, with an eye always on the battery monitor.

    My ~400 amp-hour system charges via four Goal Zero Boulder 100 solar panels mounted on the roof of the van (which fit side-by-side absolutely perfectly, without an inch to spare, on a Sprinter van). Whenever the sun is above the horizon, my Yeti is being topped off by solar. With this 400 watts of solar, I can stay off-grid indefinitely without fear of ever running out of power, because even during the cloudiest summer days and shortest winter days, these efficient solar panels keep the batteries sufficiently charged, largely because I chose to put four Goal Zero Boulder 100 panels on the roof when, during sunny conditions, two would have been plenty. But again, I didn’t want to even have to think about running out of power. These solar panels charge a Goal Zero Yeti 3000X battery

    What I love most about Yeti batteries (of any size) is that they incorporate all of the features that other van-builders incorporate into their systems, but pre-packaged in a single unit with components engineered to work together. Additionally, if the power in my house fails, or I need to run a heat gun far back on my property to soften an irrigation hose that needs repaired (trust me here), or I am going to an off-grid event, I simply unplug two cables to easily pull the Yeti out of the van and boom, I have a fully-functioning generator. The Yeti 3000X also charges via a shore power plug drilled into the side of my van (which I’ve never even connected because the solar panels provide all the charging I need) and from the two Goal Zero Tanks that are in my system.

    Between battery storage, solar, shore power, Tanks, and the van’s alternator, I have virtually endless power for any practical use during road trips. Connecting my van’s power system was simple. An organized and well-engineered DIY system offering this same amount of power and options typically takes a giant custom wheel-well box worth of space in a Sprinter, Transit, or Promaster van. With the Goal Zero system I use, there is only a Yeti, two Tanks, and a few cables. That’s it. Solar charge controller, battery monitor, MPPT, distributor, inverter, DC-DC charger, main switch, and the other components used by DIY systems are contained in a single, reliable, lightweight unit that is completely pre-wired (and, importantly, all of those wires are out of sight). This system weighs just over 200 pounds and can easily fit around a single wheel-well. If I require extra storage space or less power, I can remove the tanks by disconnecting a single cable. The modularity, simplicity, and speed with which this system can be incorporated into even the most power-hungry van builds is staggering. And as someone who is only somewhat electronically-inclined, it’s nice to not open the rear of my van to see an intimidating mess of wires and batteries, and to not fear using my electrical system.

    As a professional adventurer, my time spent on trails is valuable in many ways. Simplifying and minimizing wherever possible allows me to maximize time outdoors. Because for me, the van isn’t an end in itself, but a means by which I can explore.

    NOTE: Brody’s van build is unique and was designed and installed by a qualified professional engineer. Goal Zero has not tested this use case and does not recommend it. All users are cautioned to follow the instructions and warnings contained with Goal Zero’s products. The Yeti Link Vehicle integration kit Requires installation by a qualified professional.


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    As we have learnt over the past few months in Australia, emergencies can happen anywhere at any time—and while no one likes to be a pessimist, it’s truly better to stay prepared than to be caught off guard without a plan. No matter what the emergency power outage may be, here’s what you can do to keep you and your loved ones safe:


    Gather your family members and create a plan for a number of different situations. Explain the dangers and discuss how you can prepare, react and help one another should disaster strike. Create a map detailing your home and where you all can meet outside of your home if you are separated or lost. Make sure your escape plans are accessible to all members of your family, including the young ones, seniors and those with special needs.

    Ensure each family member has each other’s phone numbers, as well as local emergency numbers programmed into their cell phones. It is also recommended that designating an “out-of-town” contact who each family member should contact with their location and status in the case of emergency.


    Now that you’ve got a plan, you should put together an emergency kit. It’s worth noting that modern technology allows many older recommendations, like spare batteries, can be replaced with a solar generator kit, which uses solar power to create power for your other electronics.

    • 3-4 litres of water per person per day for at least three days. This should be enough for drinking and sanitation purposes.
    • A three-day supply of non-perishable food for everyone in your family — and any pets — as well as a manual can opener.
    • A first aid kit that includes enough bandages, and prescribed medications for everyone in your family. 
    • Spiral-bound, laminated copies of local maps. They’re more durable than paper.
    • portable power station that will help you keep all your family’s electronics, medical devices, and lights charged. Find a style and size that works for you, and be sure to bring any cord adapters you might require.
    • A torch with fully charged batteries or rechargeable lantern
    • A cell phone and a power bank.
    • A whistle to signal for help in the case of a crisis.
    • Spare clothes for cold or wet conditions.
    • Stay informed You’re prepared with a plan and with a kit, now all you have to do is stay informed. First, learn everything you can about where you live. Understand what weather patterns you can expect and how you should react when they occur. 

    Ask where your local law enforcement officers are. Ask those officers how they will contact you during an emergency and what kind of directions you can expect from them.

    Sign yourself up for emergency alerts, breaking news notifications and severe weather warnings. These will keep you up-to-date on the latest information you need to stay safe and aware of your surroundings.


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    We’re showing you all the ways to recharge your Yeti—from the wall outlet to your vehicle to solar. Goal Zero Product Manager, Robbie Kerback, walks through how to charge a Yeti at home and while on the move using a number of different charging options. Watch the video to find out which recharging options are right for you.


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    Tesla’s doing it, cell phones became viable with it, and now Goal Zero’s Yeti has gone the way of the lithium battery. It’s expensive, seems to catch fire sometimes, and can you throw it away in a regular trashcan when it’s time? Well don’t do that, much like larger lead acid batteries, you need to dispose of these properly, not in your standard recycling, but taken to a certified facility.

    As a battery company, Goal Zero has investigated and produced products using multiple battery technologies. We have seen both successes and failures within the emerging market of portable power, but most importantly, we have learned a lot in doing so. Many are wondering what the main differences between lead acid and lithium technologies are, and why the whole world is currently moving in the lithium direction.

    First and foremost, we must talk price. No longer an exotic futuristic technology that costs an arm and a leg, lithium has arrived in the realm of attainable, available, and affordable. The future is now, and the price of lithium has dropped dramatically in recent years. Lithium is closing the gap in price per watt compared to Lead Acid, especially when factoring in # of cycles and depth of discharge. This allows the other benefits of lithium to exude a much greater value proposition.

    Secondly, plain and simple, smaller + lighter= better. Compared to its lead predecessor, lithium is up to 2/3 lighter, while giving the same amount of power (energy density). This allows a better user experience simply from a labor standpoint. The smaller form factor allows for a versatile use case with convenient portability to get more power to more places and more devices.

    A deeper depth of discharge enhances user experience. Lithium can be discharged further before harming the battery, essentially increasing its potential power output and overall life. Because lithium holds a steady voltage, it can deliver 99% of its stored power! Lead acid’s continuously dropping voltage sees product functionality issues as voltage gets lower, leaving a little “gas in the tank” so to speak. Also, lithium operates in a much larger temperature window. Safety goes up because of this, where we only see failure in extreme thermal conditions that simply exist less in the real world. However, when lithium exceeds its limits, it fully shuts down… or catches fire, whereas most of the time lead acid will function, just with less capacity. All in all, lithium is more reliable as a byproduct.

    As far as lifetime, lead acid and lithium don’t have a huge difference. Only LFP, lithium iron phosphate, has a reliably significant increase in the number of cycles it can handle. Oddly, most devices are not using this technology, opting for the smaller size of other lithium technologies over the larger, heavier LFPs. Otherwise, heavy use sees only a few hundred cycles in non-LFP lithium cells, which can scale up to a few thousand with much lighter cycling (depth of discharge), just like lead-acids. Either way, you will get many years of good use out of your battery before needing to consider a replacement, so its perceived value over time is present nonetheless. As a bonus, the idle shelf life of lithium is significantly better (it can sit longer unused until the battery self-depletes). This just means that a lithium battery will probably still work if it has been sitting in your garage all winter, once again increasing value and lifetime.

    The few drawbacks found in the lithium world are getting smaller. Lithium prices have dropped significantly over the past few years, but still remains more expensive than lead acid. Chaining multiple lithium batteries isn’t as easy as lead acid and is a hurdle currently being overcome, no big deal. We are also beginning to see lithium batteries becoming replaceable, so you don’t always have to throw away your device when the battery dies. Finally, the international availability of replacement batteries is still dominated by lead acid. As Goal Zero prides itself on humanitarian work around the world, this cutting edge technology remains rare in the dark corners of the planet. Now, a lead acid product can live longer around the world only because lead acid batteries are readily available. Otherwise, there aren’t many reasons not to go the way of the lithium battery.

    From a safety standpoint, the world has learned to use lithium properly… mostly. As with any learning curve, we must find out the bad in order to prevent it. The knowledge and safety protocols available within this sector are growing every day. Now we can limit most harmful issues, so besides dealing with TSA and UPS, the hassles of lithium are largely over. The impact of our obsession with lithium is changing the way we look at power. From pocket batteries to micro grid community backup, lithium is working its way into our lives on multiple fronts. We should no longer be wary of this emerging technology. Smaller, lighter, and more powerful are the way of the NOW. Enjoy the new power revolution!

    By David Rosner


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    Need to quickly charge a Yeti Lithium Power Station while on the move? We’ve got you covered. Goal Zero Product Manager Robbie Kerback walks through how to charge your Yeti right from your vehicle’s alternator using the Yeti Link Car Charging Kit.

  6. Evolution of the Yeti

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    A decade ago, we set a new category of portable power in motion. We began to push the boundaries of how and where power can be used with the creation of our very first portable solar power solution. In 2012, we celebrated the launch of our original, award-winning Goal Zero Yeti power station and five years later changed the game once again with the launch of our Yeti Lithium. We’ve tested our Yetis in the toughest, most extreme environments around the world and put them to work in our own homes, to help keep our families safe and comfortable in an emergency.

    Today, we’re proud to offer a full lineup of Yeti power stations that are well-equipped to power everything from phones and tablets to power tools and fridges. And we’re not stopping here. As we continue to lead the portable power space, we’re already working on the next iteration of our Yeti line that will pave the way for an even more connected future.

    As we move ahead into the future, it’s exciting to look back and see where we came from. Our humanitarian roots motivated the creation of our first portable power solution, and continue to inspire the work we do today. Read on to learn more about our beginnings and the evolution of the Goal Zero Yeti.

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