I’m currently using the Goal Zero Yeti 150 on dispersed camping trips from a couple nights to a few weeks in length.
If you want an affordable (although not particularly lightweight) portable power station for charging small devices (that’s charging only – not providing continuous power), then the Yeti 150 is a great option.
It’s an especially good choice if you have a way to recharge it in the field, such as a portable solar panel, like the Goal Zero Boulder 50 (my current go-to).
But, if you need to power small appliances, like an electric cooler or CPAP machine, something a little beefier (check out our alternative recommendations) is required.
Below I break down my personal experience using this portable power station for dispersed camping in Washington State and beyond over the past two years.
Or, if you’re already sold, bite the bullet and buy the Goal Zero Yeti 150 from REI now.
See Also: My 2021 Dispersed Camping Gear List
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The Goal Zero Yeti 150 has been around since, I believe, 2013.
Although it’s had a few small tweaks, it remains largely the same as it was in 2013 (which is mostly good a thing since it was named the 2013 CES Innovations Award Nominee).
The biggest difference? The price. The power station is about half as expensive as it was when it was first released.
Sure, there’ve been big changes in portable power and portable solar technology since then, but the Yeti 150 remains a solid budget option.
As a so-called “solar generator,” gas isn’t required for use. But, this title is a little misleading – you can charge the device with a solar panel (sold separately) or you can use a wall outlet or car outlet. There’s no built-in solar panel.
The portable generator itself boasts a 168Wh, 14Ah (12V) lead acid battery. You can charge devices with two USB ports, one AC outlet, and one 12V outlet.
Although the Yeti 150 clocks in at 12 pounds, it’s still fairly easy to move around thanks to the built-in pop-up carry handle.
A small screen (which is quite difficult to read since it doesn’t have a backlight) lets you monitor the battery’s charge capacity. Rather than a specific charge level, it just gives an estimate to the closet 20% (so 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, 100%).
As mentioned above, the Yeti 150 is made for charging small devices, like smartphones, tablets, laptops, GPS navigators, satellite communicators, headlights, and lanterns.
Sound like what you’re after? Then click here to learn more about the Yeti 150 at REI.
Goal Zero Yeti 150 Features and Specifications
Here are the main features and specs of the Goal Zero Yeti 150:
|Lead Acid Battery||168 Watt Hours Capacity|
|12 Pounds||7.75 x 6.75 x 5.75 Inches|
|2 USB Ports, 1 12V Outlet, 1 AC Outlet||6 Hours to Charge w/ Wall Outlet|
|8 Hours to Charge w/ AC Car Outlet||8 Hours to Charge w/ Boulder 50 Solar Panel|
|Comes w/ AC Wall Outlet Charger||Built-In Carry Handle|
My Experience with the Yeti 150
I’ve owned the Goal Zero Yeti 150 for about two years now.
I originally purchased it because I wanted a compact portable power device to charge my MacBook, Garmin inReach Mini, iPhone, and small USB devices like USB lanterns and headlamps on extended dispersed camping trips out of the back of my truck.
Right out of the box, I was impressed with the Yeti 150’s sturdiness.
If there’s two things Goal Zero products have going for them, it’s definitely great build quality and ease of use.
I quickly added the Goal Zero Boulder 50, a portable solar panel, to the mix. This gives me the ability to recharge my power station at the campsite without an electrical outlet or car charger.
Goal Zero solar panels and power stations are plug-and-play. Just attach your panel to your power station with the included cords and you’re all set.
The Yeti 150 charges slowly but reliably. It’s very quiet, aside from a quiet cooling fan that kicks on after a few minutes.
Fully charged, the power station can charge my older model MacBook one time with juice to spare. Or, it can charge my iPhone about a dozen times.
Usually though, I leave my laptop at home and just use the Yeti 150 to recharge my iPhone, Garmin inReach mini, and headlamp. The Yeti 150 has more than enough juice to keep all of these devices fully charged for a week or longer before it needs to be recharged itself. You can charge several devices at once.
The rugged design of the Goal Zero Yeti 150 also stands out. Although it’s not water-resistant, it’s very clear that it’s built for outdoor use. After two years of regular wear and tear, this baby still looks almost new, aside from minor scratches.
I’ve taken it on a month-long trip in late summer through the Southwest as well as countless midwinter outings to the Olympic Peninsula (not to mention a whole lot of other trips). It performs just as well in temperatures nearing 100°F as it does in those hovering around 32°F.
Despite liking the Yeti 150, I admit that it does fall into a sort of weird middle area in terms of size/weight and power output.
At 12 pounds, it’s too heavy to lug very far from the car, despite the convenient carry handle. At the same time, however, it has far too little power to work as a permanent fixture in your vehicle (in my opinion).
Although it’s a great entry-level power station, I think there are better options for most campers (read more on this below).
Pros and Cons of the Yeti 150
After roughly two years of use, here’s what I’ve come to personally consider the most notable pros and cons of the Goal Zero Yeti 150 portable power station.
What I Like
Here’s what I like most about the Yeti 150:
- Reliable – Goal Zero products have always treated me well. The Yeti 150 still provides a reliable charge after two years of regular use. I expect to get at least another year out of it before a battery change (or upgrade) is necessary.
- Easy to Use – All Goal Zero products are extremely intuitive. The Yeti 150 is no exception. Even swapping out the battery for a replacement is so simple anyone can do it.
- Great for Small Devices – The Yeti 150 charges small devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops) like a champ, albeit somewhat slowly. You can charge multiple devices at once.
- Compatible with Solar – Sure, this is now that industry standard with portable power devices, but the plug-and-play compatibility of the Yeti 150 and most Goal Zero solar panels is much appreciated.
- Made for Outdoors – This thing is rugged. It’s plenty durable to stand up to the wear and tear of regular camping use. Obviously, try not to drop it, but if you do, it will almost certainly come out unscathed.
What I Don’t Like
Here’s what I don’t really like about the Yeti 150:
- Heavy – Sure, 12 pounds isn’t much compared to other portable power stations, but it’s certainly pretty darn heavy for only 168Wh capacity.
- For Charging Only – Good luck trying to continuously power anything, aside from maybe string lights or a small fan, with the Yeti 150. It’s really only good for recharging devices that aren’t in use.
- Bad Display – The display on the Yeti 150 sucks. It’s small. There’s no backlight. It’s extremely simple. The charge meter rounds to the nearest 20%. It’s impossible to tell how fast the power station is charging in real time.
What Can the Yeti 150 Power?
The Goal Zero Yeti 150 is definitely made to charge devices not power them.
Right off the bat, you should know this isn’t the right solar power station if you want to power devices or small appliances, like a CPAP machine, electric cooler, mini fridge, coffee maker, etc.
That said, you can use this Goal Zero power station to run simple things like string lights, a small fan, or a heating pad while camping.
With that in mind, the Yeti 150 does effectively, and relatively efficiently, charge laptops, tablets, smartphones, GPS navigators, satellite communicators, camera batteries, rechargeable lanterns, headlamps, and other similarly-sized devices. I sometimes use it to charge batteries for power toools.
Know the Yeti 150 isn’t a portable jump starter. Unlike some similar devices, you can’t jump start a car with this power station.
How to Charge the Yeti 150
All Goal Zero portable power stations can be charged with a wall outlet, 12-volt car outlet (car charger sold separately), or solar panel.
Although Goal Zero power stations are compatible with solar panels from other brands, pairing the Yeti 150 with a third-party solar panel does require a special adapter (you should always double check with Goal Zero directly to ensure compatibility).
I’ve found that it takes a little over 6 hours to fully charge the Yeti 150 (from around 20% to 100%) using a standard wall outlet.
With a 12-volt car outlet, it takes at least 8 hours for a full charge. During my camping trips, however, I typically use this method for a few hours of charging while driving between campsites. I then top it off with my solar panel if needed.
The Yeti 150’s charging speed with a solar panel is much more variable. Of course, solar charging speed depends heavily on the amount of sunlight as well as time of year. But it also boils down to the size of the solar panel itself.
With my Boulder 50, it honestly takes most of the day (8+ hours) to fully charge the Yeti 150. Luckily, I rarely run the Yeti 150 down below 60% or so in a single day, so the remaining 40% recharge is much easier to manage.
You can also chain multiple Goal Zero solar panels together to charge a single power station more quickly.
Unless you mount your solar panel to the roof of your vehicle (check out Goal Zero’s solar panel mounting brackets if you’re interested), it’s important to move the solar panel around during the day so it gets the most direct sunlight possible.
The Boulder 50 has a built-in kickstand which makes adjusting the angle to the sun easy. But the cord that it comes with is quite short. I’d suggest buying either a 15-foot extension cord or 30-foot extension cord, so you can keep your Yeti 150 in the shade while moving your solar panel into the sunniest places throughout the day.
When not in use, it’s important to leave your portable solar generator plugged into an outlet at home (even when fully charged). Doing so will greatly extend its life.
That said, the Yeti 150 does retain a charge for a long time, even when it’s not in use. I’ve left mine unplugged and unused for several months and still found around 80% battery life left.
Remember to never let the battery run down to 0%. If the power station starts beeping, it’s essential to charge it as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage.
Luckily, Goal Zero sells replacement batteries for the Yeti 150 and other models (including those that are no longer manufactured). This helps further extend the potential lifespan of your power station.
Who Is the Yeti 150 Best for?
Like most, if not all, of Goal Zero’s offerings, the Yeti 150 is a high-quality product.
It’s a good option for car campers that camp close to their vehicles who just want to charge small devices rather than power appliances.
Personally, however, I rarely use the power station. In fact, I’m surprised at how little I’ve used it while dispersed camping after the initial honeymoon period when I tested it with anything and everything.
For me, the Yeti 150 is at a funky in-between in terms of size and power output that just doesn’t make a lot of sense with the way I camp.
It’s not quite powerful enough to power small appliances like an electric cooler or other appliances you’d have in a camper van or built-out truck or SUV. But it’s much too bulky to take with you on a backpacking, bike packing, or paddling trip.
That said, it does excel at charging small devices. It’s also super rugged and durable. It recharges relatively quickly with a standard wall outlet, car charging port, or portable solar panel. It’s built to last for a long time.
I think most campers (including myself) are better off with a super lightweight portable battery pack for backpacking or a larger (around 500Wh) power station for car camping (boondockers should look at something even more robust).
Other Goal Zero Yeti 150 Reviews
We’re far from the only folks who have reviewed the Goal Zero Yeti 150.
Although I hope you come to trust Campnado as a go-to source for unbiased camping gear reviews, I always encourage you to look at multiple reviews to make the most informed decision possible.
The video review above (from the Last Line of Defense YouTube channel) does a great job at breaking down the Yeti 150’s different features and provides a full 360 degree look at the device.
As far as other written reviews, I’ve yet to find any that are particularly helpful – or that give me much faith that the product was actually reviewed in the field by a real person.
So, if you’re still looking for more information or additional opinions, I’d direct you to the user reviews left on REI as well as Amazon user reviews (although I tend to trust the REI user reviews more).
Other Portable Power Stations to Consider
Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station
A 518 Wh portable power station with several charging ports. Recharge with a wall outlet, car outlet, or solar panel. Ideal for running small appliances and charging your devices.
There are just so many options available now that it’s impossible to narrow down a single best portable power station for camping.
It all boils down to why you want a portable power device and how you plan to use it. A backpacker’s needs are naturally much different than those of a full-time vandweller or RV boondocker.
If you just want to charge USB devices and value a lightweight design above all else, I’d recommend a portable power bank like the BioLite Charge 80 PD Power Bank.
The 20,000mAH (74Wh) capacity is perfect for charging smartphones, satellite communicators, and tablets. It can even charge a standard laptop battery in a pinch. And, at just a hair over 1 pound 6 ounces, you can easily tuck this power pack into your backpack before hitting the trails.
On the other end of the spectrum, I’d recommend a solar power station a bit beefier than the Yeti 150 if you’re looking for a system to keep inside a vehicle.
The Jackery Explorer 500 immediately comes to mind. The 518Wh battery is ideal for powering – rather than just charging – devices and appliances, including CPAP machines, televisions, mini fridges, electric coolers, electric blankets, air mattress pumps, and much more.
In my opinion, the Jackery Explorer 500 is also an excellent emergency power station for home power outages and the like.
If you’re creating a more permanent camping setup in your vehicle, such as a full-blown van conversion, even higher-capacity power stations are available, like the Jackery Explorer 1000 and Jackery Explorer 1500.
The Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 500X and Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 1000X are also well worth considering. In fact, solar power stations with lithium ion batteries like these are quickly replacing lead acid batteries (which the Yeti 150 has).
Also, worth considering is a DIY portable solar power system…
You can often make these at least two times as powerful as a store-bought system for less than half the price. Of course, the trade off is you have to put your own sweat and tears into building the system yourself.
If you’re interested in going this route, Gnomad Home has an incredibly helpful DIY solar electrical system guide for vans, trucks, and other vehicles.
Where to Buy the Goal Zero Yeti 150
Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station
An easy-to-use portable power station with several charging ports and a comfortable carry handle. Recharge with a wall outlet, car outlet, or solar panel. Ideal for smartphones, laptops, and other small devices.
Despite some flaws, the Goal Zero Yeti 150 is still a great portable power station for camping.
It’s perfect for those who prefer a portable power station over a portable battery pack to charge small devices but who still want something relatively compact.
Although this power station is a great value deal at its normal retail price, it’s not uncommon to find the Yeti 150 on heavy discount during REI’s annual sales, especially during the annual REI anniversary sale on Memorial Day as well as in-person at your local REI Garage Sale.
For more great product recommendations, don’t forget to check out my ultimate camping gear guide for 2021.
And, if you still have questions about the Goal Zero Yeti 150 (or anything else), feel free to shoot me a line at: email@example.com