Adventurer's Atlas's Off-Grid Trek at Sikkim, India

Adventurer's Atlas with Goal Zero at Sikkim, India

THE GREAT (AND DIFFICULT) JOURNEY AHEAD

Home to the third tallest mountain peak in the world, Kanchenjunga, also called Khangchendzonga that measure 8568m in height, Sikkim is an adventure abode brimming with exotic trekking trails; some being short and mesmerizing, and some just worth all the efforts. Exactly what brought our friends at Adventurer’s Atlas to their next adventure.

Trekking to Mount Khangzhendzonga itself is forbidden, but our friends were ready for a challenge that is the Goechala Trek. The biggest reason to do so is the grand views of not just one summit — the Kanchenjunga — but 14 other big summits. Albeit, the entire journey will take 9-11 days and take visitors to a max. altitude of 15,000 ft, earning the trail its challenging difficulty.

Adventurer's Atlas team at Sikkim

POWER CHALLENGE

Difficult trek aside, the other challenge was being away from any source of power. Of course, thousands of visitors have completed the trail without power just the same. So, what did Adventurer’s Atlas need power for?

Completing the trail is one thing, capturing the trail is a whole other undertaking — possibly with phones, DSLR cameras, extra battery packs, gimbals, drones etc — that requires considerable power. Living off-grid at high altitudes can also be daunting without being able to utilise everyday appliances for quality-of-life utilities such as hot water and food, light, and warmth.

It is at rural places in Sikkim where one learns to appreciate the simplest of necessities and having access to them could spell the difference between triumph and failure. How were our heroines to overcome such trials and tribulations on their journey?

POWER ANSWER

Power banks are the common solution and they’re great no doubt; until they run out of power 2 days in and become dead weight for the rest of the trail. Not to mention, most everyday appliances do not typically have USB powering capabilities, ousting any form of off-grid usage.

Enter the Nomad 14 portable solar panel and Sherpa 100 AC powerbank, two versatile options for power. With the sun out and strong during the day, the Nomad 14 solar panel utilised solar power to charge the team’s phones in 2 hours and DSLR cameras in 3-5 hours. It was also used to charge the Sherpa 100 AC powerbank. For appliances that require more power and an AC power input such as a kettle, the Sherpa powerbank was perfect for the job, churning out hot water in minutes.

Sherpa 100AC powerbank charging iPhone at a table at Sikkim
"Let's face it, when you go off-grid for weeks into the wilderness it's extremely rare to get to a wall power outlet where you can charge your equipment, etc. Solar panels are the next best option, you've got the sun to power your equipment. Yes, it might take longer but the best part is you use nature's natural resources."
- A. of Adventurer’s Atlas

Charging gadgets and Sherpa 100 AC with the Nomad 14 portable solar panelSherpa 100AC powerbank charging phones

POWER LIGHT

Come nightfall, light is scarce and a luxury along the Goechala Trek. Greeted by pitch darkness at sunset, the local natives go about their night while travellers hailing from well-lit cities fumble around, heavily reliant on luck. An experience that the Adventurer’s Atlas team did not care to share with their Crush Light and Crush Light Chroma lanterns in tow, a solar-powered lantern with 60 lumens of light designed for convenience, be it indoors or out.

Crush Light lantern illuminating dining area
"I thought that the Crush Light would be something that I'd use only when I'm outdoors or off-grid but the functions of it being a side-lamp or reading light (especially the mouldable function it has besides being able to hang it up, etc) is a plus to me. Again, all you need is the sun to charge it if you're going on a waste-less journey or can’t plug it to a wall socket. The only downside is that you do not really know when it's fully charged or when it's going to run low."
- P. of Adventurer’s Atlas
Crush Light lantern hooked on a backpack in Sikkim

Easy to store, charge, and use, the Crush Light also aided in breaking the ice and fostering friendships with the locals and other travellers. Bringing different cultures together in a place where — despite its unmatched natural beauty — most would not agree to be the most hospitable.  

"We hooked it up on our backpacks wherever we went and it was always a conversation starter, a lot of other travellers/adventurers even the villagers were thoroughly impressed with the Crush Light. Some of them even offered us money to buy it off us! In rural areas where at times a wall socket or electricity is limited, this is such an awesome invention! So kudos Goal Zero!"

- A. of Adventurer’s Atlas

Woman standing on a bridge with Crush Light lantern hooked on backpack

THE END OF AN ADVENTURE, THE START OF NEW POSSIBILITIES

Completing the Goechala Trek is a great achievement to behold. But surely that doesn’t mark the end of our heroines’ atlas? Discovering new possibilities with Goal Zero’s support during this journey, the call to adventure has never been stronger. Rest assured, this isn’t the last that we’ve seen of Adventurer’s Atlas.

“The world is waiting for you. Good luck. Travel safe. Go!”

- Phil Keoghan

Follow Adventurer’s Atlas Instagram @adventurersatlas


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