Goal Zero Yeti 400 and Boulder 90 Solar Panel

I’m using the Goal Zero Yeti 400 and Boulder 90 solar panel to provide power for all of my electronic devices in my van. It’s a real step up from trying to rotate things off the car’s own USB charger and/or cigarette lighter, and has quickly become an indispensable element for travel.

If you’re the super tech savvy type and you’re linking your laptop to your cell phone as a hotspot, having full charging capability means that you can get work done almost anywhere while on the road, and no longer be tied to a Starbucks or McDonalds for the computer communications part of your work day.
fridge counter
The Yeti is compact and doesn’t require you to do any charging rotation because it has USB outlets as well as a build-in AC inverter which gives you two regular wall plug-style outlets. And it has a 12V outlet–personally I don’t use that, but it’s good to have options.
panel and fan
We’d talked about different mounting options for the panel on the van roof, and had been advised to consider some space-age type 3M tape (which is what a friend used for his). Goalzero makes hinge base mounting brackets that are easy to use and confidence inspiring, so definitely the most straightforward way to go, and they work perfectly for me.

James wrote a comment and asked for some photos of mounting and installation. Here’s the bracket installation:
mounting brackets
and the cable going through the roof: both involve scary drilling through the roof stuff 🙂
gz roof hole
So far my experience with the Yeti 400 has been hassle free charging for whatever you’ll be needing to power on the road, and it’s one of those devices that quietly does what you need it to do without causing any trouble, which is what I like. The Boulder 90 keeps it charged all the time, so that’s been quietly doing its job well too. Best of all, you don’t need to be an engineer to figure the system out, which is a huge bonus from my perspective! This wonderful little setup gets an all thumbs up from me 🙂


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  • Barry Dutton

    Found your site and post today via my SM feeds on Solar, Homesteading, Simple Life, Bushcraft, etc etc. I liked your simple post and pics with explanations, good on ya! Barry Dutton — Canada.

  • Ashley Mann

    I like your post. Totally into Goalzero and its a great partner for your life style. Im all for bloggers leasing their brand for companies and getting income. Bloggers work hard and deserve it. I just wish bloggers would be honest and say, love the product and here’s what they wrote for my blog. Times are changing. Credibility is everything. This post reads like Goalzero wrote it. Like i said, credibility is everything.

  • Lots of companies send me products for review: if I love the product, I share my thoughts on it. Almost all of my gear purchases are based on reading reviews, so I try to do my part in reviewing things I have and like. Sorry you didn’t enjoy this post. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • thanks! I’m not the most tech savvy, so I really like gadgetry that’s easy for me to use 😉

  • James

    Hey I have the same set up going on in my van with Goal Zero stuff i have yet to mount panels on roof. how did u pass cable through roof? Close up picture of wiring going through roof? Thanks

  • Bryan

    Hey Steph, thanks for the post! I’m curious about your fridge, just a couple questions…what is the brand and what do you have powering? I’m guessing you power it directly with the deep cycle batteries? Any info would be great, thanks!

  • the fridge is a Nova Kool, and here’s a link with the spec list: http://www.novakool.com/docume
    It is powered off the deep cycle batteries: we’ve been using it for about 9 months, and it has been great so far, although the temperature dial knob tends to pop off sometimes (it can’t go far, it’s inside the fridge)

  • I can’t add photos in this comment, so I’m going to add them to the post–you will have to drill through your roof, which is scary…

  • Ryan mclean

    Hey Steph,
    Just wanted to say thanks so much for the post. There is almost nothing out there on using the Boulder 90’s on campervans so it came in super helpful. I bought the exact same brackets as you and used the glue too, but ending up adding screws just in case.
    I used 2 x Boulder 90’s as I have a Yeti 1250. Connectors are a bit different when you do that so if anyone is interested I did a full writeup on my solar setups at the link below (hope it’s ok to share it).
    http://startingsolar.com/simple-campervan-solar-setup/
    Thanks again so much for your help

  • Ryan mclean

    I disagree. This post was vital to me when I was doing my campervan solar setup with Goal Zero.

  • I’m glad to hear that Ryan, thanks!

  • Matt Van Winsen

    I’m using a yeti 400 in the process of my van build and I’m really pleased with it so far. I’m considering chaining it to another 33Ah deep cycle battery to expand the life like I’ve seen others done. I still have to buy a solar panel, how is the Boulder 90 holding up?

  • Lily Rissel

    Hi Steph,
    Thanks for the blog post! I was wondering about how you tied the solar panels up on the roof – how did you secure them? It feels like it would be fairly easy to steal them off the roof – which considering the price we definitely wouldn’t want to risk. How did you do it?
    Thanks so much for our help!

  • Hi Lily, I used the fittings that Goal Zero sells. I have some friends who have used 3M double sided tape and swear it is bombproof.

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