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Portable Lithium Power Goes Truck Camping

Lithium batteries also have a longer life span with at least two-times the number of useable cycles compared to lead acid batteries.  Lithium batteries also charge faster, are well suited to high-current applications, and are smaller and lighter than lead acid batteries.

This last point is worth repeating.  Lithium batteries are about half the size and one-quarter the weight of lead acid batteries with the same usable capacity.  The catch is that lithium batteries are a lot more expensive.  More on this later.

The Goal Zero Yeti 400 is offered in both lead acid and lithium battery configurations – perfect for a lead acid versus lithium showdown.  Let’s break these two Yeti masters down by price, capacity, weight, and size.

The standard lead acid Yeti 400 is $459 and offers 400Wh (33Ah) and weighs 29 pounds.  The lead acid Yeti 400 is 10.25-inches long, 8-inches wide, by 8-inches tall.  That’s 656 cubic inches.

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Specifications Badge

Above: Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Specifications

The Yeti 400 Lithium is $599 and offers 428Wh (39.6Ah) and weighs 16.3 pounds.  The Yeti 400 Lithium is 11.5-inches long, 7.5-inches wide, by 7-inches tall.  That’s 603.75 cubic inches.

For those who like percentages, the Yeti 400 Lithium offers 7-percent more capacity, 41.3-percent less weight, and 7.96-percent less volume compared to its lead acid cousin.  The trade-off is that the 400 Lithium costs 30.5-percent more than the 400 lead acid.  That’s a considerable price difference.

Lithium prices should come down considerably as lithium battery technology advances and production efficiencies continue to improve.  The Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium dropped $100 during the course of this evaluation.

The deciding lead acid versus lithium factors for me were the lower weight of the lithium and the desire to learn more about lithium technology and its implications for truck camping.  Let’s explore these implications.

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Rally

Above: Showing the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium off at the Lake George Jamboree.

What Can The Yeti 400 Lithium Power with 110-Volts?

According to the Goal Zero website, the Yeti 400 Lithium was designed to charge tablets, laptops, mini-refrigerators, televisions, emergency medical equipment, camera equipment, and lights.

To determine if a 110-volt device can be powered by the Yeti 400 Lithium, Goal Zero instructs customers to check how much power the device draws in watts.  The Yeti 400 Lithium is designed for up to 300-watts (1200-watt surge).  Anything over 300-watts is not compatible with the Yeti 400 Lithium.

To find out how long a 110-volt device can be powered by the Yeti 400 Lithium (also called run time hours), you need a little math.  Take the watt hours of the Goal Zero Yeti 400 (400 watts) and divide that number by the wattage of the chosen 110-volt device.

If your 110-volt device needs 25 watts, then you would divide the 400 watt hours of the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium by the 25 watts needed by the device.  In this example, 400Wh/25 = 16 hours.

Is that a Goal Zero 400 Lithium?  Well turn it up!

I actually happened upon the Goal Zero Yeti via Ella Fitzgerald, Muddy Waters, and The Rolling Stones.  You see, I’m an incurable music nut who travels with a home-style stereo system tucked into the cabinetry above our dinette.  Naturally I only use this 110-volt system when we’re plugged into shore power, but man do I miss my tunes when we’re off-grid.

Goal Zero Stereo System

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