I was on a flight home from Copenhagen in 2007 when I purchased my first portable solar charger from the airline magazine. It was a Powertraveller Solarmonkey, and it served me well until Goal Zero launched a few years later. Goal Zero has done a solid job of canvasing the market and its products have powered many of my backpacking and camping trips for more than a decade.
In June of this year, a company out of Japan called Elecom took to social media to introduce a sub-brand called Nestout. Nestout presented itself with all of the desirable traits: unique-looking products set up in remote locations with perfect light filters on their images. A sucker for great photography and product staging, as well as a portable solar aficionado, I was hooked.
Intrigued by what this brand seemed to be bringing to the table, I reached out to Nestout and requested one Outdoor Portable Battery 15,000mAh, one Outdoor 2 Panel Solar Charger, and one Outdoor Gear Lamp.
With two of the three products going to an Amazon store on its website (Elecom has since updated its site so you can order directly, but they’re sold out), I was concerned that my email would get lost in the ether. Then, a little over a week later, I received a response: the products were on their way.
In short: Over the time I’ve spent testing Nestout’s battery, charger and lamp, I have done quite a lot with these impressive little gadgets. Both indoors and outdoors, this stuff has proven that it’s not just for looking good in well-crafted Instagram posts. These Nestout products are a viable addition to the portable solar market and well-suited for outdoor enthusiasts.
- Outdoor Portable Battery 15000mAh
- Capacity 15000mAh
- Output Ports 2x USB-A, 1x USB-C
- Recharge Time 3h 35min
- Rating IP67, IPX7, MIL-STD-810G (Shock-proof)
- Dimensions 5” x 3.3” x 1.4”
- Weight 13oz
- Outdoor 2 Panel Solar Charger
- Power 14W
- Output Ports 2x USB-A
- Rating IP44 (Water and Dust Resistant)
- Dimensions (Folded) 6.1” x 11” x 1.5”
- Dimensions (Unfolded) 13.7” x 11” x 0.4”
- Weight 1.1 lbs
- Outdoor Gear Lamp
- Lumens 10-350
- Color Temperature 2800-3200K
- Input Power 7.5W (via USB-A)
- Rating IP44 (Water and Dust Resistant)
- Weight 3oz
- Visually appealing
- Dual-function portable battery
- Built like a brick outhouse — durable
- The price
- The “where to buy” factor is a little confusing
Nestout Solar Bundle Review
Let’s just get this out of the way so we can get down to the nitty-gritty: no one else is doing what Nestout is doing in regard to portable solar power.
Having portable battery banks that interface directly with lighting seems like a pretty easy thing to do. But they’re the only ones doing it. The Gear Lamp uses a USB-A male interface that plugs right into the battery pack’s female USB-A port. It’s also wicked clean-looking with a collar that covers the threads and dock.
Now, that’s not to say you can’t buy a portable battery that can power a light. And I’m not ignoring the fact that there are battery packs out there with built-in LED lights. But what we’re talking about here is a light that could light up your campsite, tent, etc. A soft white light, instead of a beaming LED light. And no tangles, no cords. The end result is very welcoming on a picnic table, in a tent, or on your kitchen table when the power goes out.
Additionally, with the 15,000mAh portable battery, you can charge your electronic device and use the Gear Lamp at the same time. You just need to find your balance between what’s more important if you’re not charging the battery with the solar panels. I’m not trying to get ahead of myself, but the light can drain the battery quicker than charging your phone, so keep that in mind.
There’s also the unbelievable pricing. This whole kit is less than $200. Battery, Double Solar Panel, and Light in all is $178 before tax. It makes you wonder what the catch is. But there doesn’t seem to be one. This stuff is really well made. It’s also easy to use, effective, and just affordable. Time will tell if the longevity of Nestout’s products is as impressive as these first impressions.
Design and Features
Nestout’s products are a love-at-first-sight kind of thing. But by no means would I call them a form-over-function situation.
The 15,000mAh Battery looks like a flask and comes in muted, tactical colors that have been all the rage for the last few years with outdoor equipment. The Gear Lamp looks like something that someone from the 1950s would imagine something from the 2000s would look like. Even the 2 Panel Solar charger, finely dressed in ripstop fabric, is visually appealing. And everything has its model name pad printed on it to indicate that it’s part of a collection.
For someone who’s worked in marketing as long as I have, these Nestout products are well thought-out and executed on high. There’s zero doubt in my mind that they’re initially being considered by prospective customers because of the way they look. For a “new” company, that’s the name of the game. That’s how you sell products when no one really knows who you are — by looking good.
And then you buy them and realize that they’re built to be used and abused.
That’s showcased in the decision to add a rubber ring and toggle lock on the neck of the Gear Lamp so that it seals and locks in place on the battery pack. In reality, the USB-A interface will do a well enough job to keep the lamp in place, but it’s obvious that Nestout was aiming for that finished look that it executed quite well here.
One feature I like about the battery pack is the included folding tripod. It allows you to prop up the battery pack or hang it. This multifaceted feature comes in handy for nights out at the picnic table at your campsite, or in your tent when you want some mood lighting. The Gear Lamp being dimmable is both overkill and wonderful.
Additionally, the lithium-ion-powered battery is not only IP67, IPX7 (water- and dustproof), and MIL-STD-810G (shockproof) rated, but it also utilizes what Nestout calls “6 Circuit Protection & Detection.” This promises that the unit won’t overheat and provides overcharge, over-discharged, short-circuit, overvoltage, and overcurrent protection.
The folding 2 Panel Solar charger can be a little tricky to set up at first. But there is a diagram printed on one of the folds so you can quickly figure it out. The unit has a zippered pocket that includes a built-in solar regulator with a digital readout. That shows you how much solar juice you’re pulling in. It can also hold the battery inside that pocket, which makes it great for storage and transport.
In the Field
It was hotter than hell in Connecticut this summer. But I still found myself outside testing a lot of different gear. Tents were a big theme for me, which meant I was out there in the middle of nowhere, overnight, quite a bit. Anytime I was out there, I had my Nestout gear with me. In fact, as I’m writing this, the whole kit and kaboodle are sitting next to me charging my iPhone. It makes me feel like I’m at some mobile research facility in some wild sci-fi movie.
In hindsight, I feel pretty nomadic overall, but my therapist says that’s par for the course.
My primary uses for these Nestout products were charging my iPhone and lighting up the night when I was eating, reading, and getting ready to go to bed. I’ve also used the Battery and Gear Lamp combo to light up the kitchen back at the house when we lost power. In all that, and over the course of 3 months, I’ve found that I can get five iPhone 14 Pro charges off of the battery if I use it on its own.
When I added the Gear Lamp into the mix, it really diminished those possibilities quickly. I would say, at most, if you use the Gear Lamp at half power throughout the night, you can expect to get two full phone charges out of it. That said, having the 2 Panel Solar charger can combat this fairly well as you can charge the battery on the go. In full sun, it takes about 3 hours to get the battery fully charged.
These stats aren’t bad. Far from it. At home, I don’t think I charge my phone five times in a week.
What’s great about the panel is that it has a digital readout telling you if you need to reposition it for better solar absorption. It’s the little things.
Over the years, I’ve learned to adjust my habits with my phone, iPad, GoPro, etc., when relying on solar panels and battery packs. I tone it down a little. I’m not streaming movies in the tent for hours on end. But, with these Nestout products, I feel like I could put on a movie marathon without having to worry about the 15,000mAh battery pack getting fully drained.
Three months is a long time for something to crap out on me. Part of being a gear tester is looking for both the pros and cons of the product. And, well, I hate to say it, but this brand-new brand out of Japan is ahead of the curve with its products. I can’t find much of anything to complain about.
Sold Out? Not Quite
I’m not going to pretend to know the finer aspects of Elecom’s business model, or its deal with Amazon. But the Nestout products on the Nestout site have been sold out for a couple of months now. However, they’re all available on Amazon. Here are the links:
It Won a Major Award
In the process of testing and finally sitting down to write about my findings, Nestout made some considerable updates to their website. One of which was a blurb on the fact that their Outdoor Batteries won the prestigious IF Design Award.
Having been on a global team who won this award when I worked for a brand in years past, I can tell you that this award isn’t a participation trophy. The product being considered needs to go above and beyond anything in its category. So that speaks to the quality of design behind Nestout’s products.
Nestout Solar Bundle: In Conclusion
With there being so many portable solar-powered possibilities on the market today, it’s hard to pledge allegiance to just one. But Nestout has something that the other brands don’t: they look like they belong in the outdoors. And yeah, that’s part of the appeal here.
What’s more, these products outperformed my expectations. I relied on them more than any other portable solar product I ever used. That’s a bold statement. But during testing, I found myself using it to get other tests done.
This summer was the perfect setting to test out portable solar gadgets and widgets. It was hot and sunny, all summer. Though the heat got to be a little bit much, there was always a lake nearby to cool off. All the while, that 2 Panel Solar charger was drinking up the sun sitting on my beach towel, on a picnic table, or hanging off my backpack.
Overall, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Nestout impressed me. As gear testers, some of the stuff we test ends up on a shelf when we’re done with it. I am happy to say that I used the 15,000mAh Battery last night to charge my iPhone after my daughters stole my wall charger. And I plan on using it for a lot more in the coming months.