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Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase Review

Overall Rating 8
Portability 9
Compatibility 8
Durability 8
Ease of Use 9
Value for Money 7

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket on August 28, 2019

  • Integrated kickstand
  • Tempered glass
  • Aluminum frame
  • Reinforced corners

18-22 volts DC (open circuit) and 7 amperes

Weight: 2.58 lbs. (11.7 kg)

Dimensions: (folded): 26.75 x 21.75 x 3.75 in (70 x 55.2 x 8.9 cm), (unfolded): 26.75 x 43.5 x 1.75 in (70 x 110.4 x 4.4 cm)

Our Verdict

The Boulder 100 Briefcase is one of the most innovative products in Goal Zero’s catalog of solar products. Essentially a set of two panels joined by hinges to form a foldable briefcase-like structure, it is perfect for those who want 100W power but not a large 40×26 inch panel. The two 50W panels are electrically connected in parallel, serving 100W power to recharge any 12V battery pack.

The panels are constructed from high efficiency monocrystalline cells sandwiched in tempered glass and a light aluminum frame. The kickstands make mounting at any angle quick and easy. The L-shaped corner guards on all corners are a welcome feature. All in all, the Boulder 100 Briefcase is a perfect camping companion to buy if compact size and decent power are your requirements.

Compatibility

Similar to other panels of the Boulder series, the Briefcase is also compatible with all of Goal Zero’s energy storage products such as the Yeti 150 or Yeti 400, among others. The charging time varies with the battery capacity. Ideally, being a set of parallel-connected panels with 14-22V output, it can go with any 12V battery unit. The catch, however, is the single pin output of the set. This means an adapter will be required for products other than Goal Zero’s.

Durability

The briefcase has all the factors of individual Boulder panels that make them durable. This includes the corner reinforcements and sturdy aluminum frame. It could have been best to have the panel faces fold inward into its briefcase form. This would have ensured higher safety for the glass.

Ease of Use

There are two main things that make using the Boulder 100 Briefcase easier than standard panels. Instead of a positive and negative terminal, it has a single pin output to plug into the power station. Panels also always need to be set at an angle to receive sunlight at 90 degrees. Both the panels in the briefcase come with their own kickstands which make setting up the panel at an angle takes only a few seconds.

front facing goal zero boulder 100 briefcase in its briefcase

Features

The main features of the briefcase are certainly the fact that one can get a 100W solar system almost in the size of a 50W panel. The weight does, however, goes above double the typical 50W panel’s weight. A robust yet lightweight Al frame, added with protected corners, enhances its portable nature.

Design

Once folded and put into the sheath, the set can almost pass as a briefcase, which is why it is rightly christened so. Fully black panels and black borders make it look modern. The corner protectors with a green portion add to its style. The kickstands are simple and easy to use. They could certainly be of better quality, though, and with end protection to avoid injuries.

What We Like

The Boulder 100 Briefcase does have its flaws, including its price tag and the slightly disappointing kickstands. Nevertheless, it is a highly practical unit that can be fit and carried fairly easily, and worthy of a spot in any list of this year’s top products. It is also genuinely portable, thanks to stronger build and mounting kickstands. The single pin output is easy to use. If you are a frequent traveler with off-grid power requirements who doesn’t mind paying a bit more for a well-built product, the Boulder 100 Briefcase is for you.

Pros:

  • Integrated kickstand allows easy setup
  • Excellent build quality with premium components (frame, glass)
  • Higher strength and durability due to corner protection
  • Double the power in given dimensions (folded), making carrying easier

Cons:

  • Considerably heavy, at almost 12kg (26.4 lbs.)
  • Costs significantly higher than other non-portable modules
  • Panel faces remain outwards on folding

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