There’s an important list every serious outdoor junkie has at least heard of — it’s called the Ten Essentials, and it lists gear no adventurer should journey into the wilds without. But it was codified long before the digital age arrived; now that power-hungry electronic gadgets are a part of adventuring, a relaible backup fuel tank is pretty important. It could even make the difference between life and death.
That’s where Mophie’s Juice Pack Powerstation Pro ($130) comes in. It’s a monstrous 6000 mAh chunk of a battery guarded by a ruggedized, military-spec housing — and it’ll charge practically anything short of a laptop.
You’re an American, and you’ve just watched your athletes come away with a barrel full of gold medals in London. Maybe you’re feeling a little patriotic; maybe a little like you want to go out and train for Rio de Janiero. If so, then Monster has created the perfect earphones for you: A special edition “USA” version of their impressive, washable, iSport IEMs.
Mophie, the JuicePack company, has flipped out and gone in a totally new direction, head first into an equally crowded market: iPhone sports camera enclosures. Mophie’s version is called the OUTRIDE, in ALL-CAPS.
My first decision is easy when heading out on an outdoor adventure: Take the iPhone with me? Oh, you betcha. The next one is much more difficult. Since the iPhone requires a boost in both protection and juice when playing Indiana Jones, I’m forced to choose between slipping on a battery case and worrying about my iPhone shattering on a rock, or (painstakingly) wrapping it in a rubber case and hoping it doesn’t run out of power.
But Mophie’s new $130 iPhone 4/S battery pack — sort of a cross between a tank and a tanker — says “COMPROMISE IS FOR THE WEAK.” And also, the poor.
The new Timbuk2 Command Messenger 2012 ($140) is nothing like the first Timbuk2 bag I ever owned, some 11 years and 20 pounds ago, back when I was heavily commited to the world of cycling. Timbuk2 called it the Bolo, and it was a real messenger bag — though messengers almost always opted for it’s larger sibling, the Tag Junkie — crafted from a single piece of vinyl and Cordura; just a massive main compartment with not much more than a small pocket sewn on the outer face for coins and maybe a patch kit.
Although it’s just about as tough, the Command Messenger is light years away from my Bolo (and is really as much a messenger bag as a Chevy pickup is an ox cart): It’s sophisticated, uses several advanced materials, has loads of pockets and a trick feature that makes air travel easier for laptop-toting jestsetters. My how you’ve grown, Timbuk2.
Till January of this year, the Wahoo Key for iPhone ($80) dongle pwned fitness on the iPhone. Why? Because the tiny, ubiquitous dongle gives the iPhone access to dozens of ANT+ sensors, and more fitness apps than any other system — turning your iPhone into a fitness-tracking powerhouse.
Then in January, Wahoo one-upped itself and introduced the Wahoo Blue Bluetooth heart-rate strap, which completely bypasses ANT+ and instead communicates via low-energy Bluetooth v4.0. Does this mean the Key is obsolete? Not by a long shot.
Some gadgets love the rugged outdoors; the iPhone, with its sensitive, water-fearing innards, is more of a house gadget. Awww. Then LifeProof stepped in to change that when it launched its $80 water-, dirt-, snow- and shockproof case last summer. Now, the company has unveiled a line of four modular mounts that fit the LifeProof case, turning the iPhone into an electro-Leatherman.
Fitness buffs love Runkeeper (and its accompanying iPhone app) for its ability to gather data from a wide variety of cloud-based services and gadgets they might use, so it can be stored and viewed in a central location; we haven’t exactly counted, but it’s a good bet that the all-knowing fitness service can import data from more fitness apps, services and gadgets than any other cloud-based fitness service on the planet. But with the nine more they added today, well, now it’s just getting ridiculous.
The Pentax WG-1 GPS ($350) is a waterproof, shockproof location-aware camera.
If you’ve never tried a waterproof camera before, it can be quite a jarring experience. Every fibre of your soul tells you that you shouldn’t put electronic gadgets in water, so immersing this beast feels decidedly like the wrong thing to do.
As soon as you’ve done it, though, there’s a rush of delight as you press the on button and the screen lights up, and everything just works as if it were out on dry land.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2012 — Those studly hex bolts, that rubberized exterior, the thick mass of battery — Mophie’s new Power Station Pro was obviously designed with one idea in mind: keeping your iDevice-laden butt juiced out in the middle of nowhere.