Universal solar chargers
All this gadgetry, but where’s the power to run it in the wilderness? Well, there’s always the sun. Devices such as the 4-12V, 0-1A rated output Solio Classic Hybrid Charger offer you an internal 3.6V, 1600mAh Li-ion battery that stores energy for up to a year and recharges from sunlight (or a wall socket). One hour of sunlight gives you 15 minutes talktime or 40 minutes of MP3 music. The 156g charger is weather resistant, and comes with an adapter tip system cable, USB port replicator tip, mini-USB tip, Nokia/Samsung/LG tips, and a global travel charger.
The Brunton SolarPort, with its polycrystalline solar panel construction, provides an energy alternative for cellphones, GPS units, PDAs, and digicams via USB (5V 500mA). It can also link up to three units together. Offering 4.4 watts, it includes a BattJack AA/AAA battery charger and proffers 265mA at 12V and 530mA at 6V. It also comes with a 20-inch extendable power cable with an adapter plug.
Panasonic CF-19 Toughbook
The newest in Panasonic’s Field Mobile series, this toughie weighs just 1.2kg, has a 10.4-inch, 180-degree turning splash-proof touch screen with pen-input capability, spill-resistant keyboard, and splash-water-dust proof covers. The impact-resistant magnesium alloy body can withstand 3ft free falls. The hard disk is protected by special shock absorbing dampers and the shock-resistant LCD has a bend- and twist-resistant frame. Sealing and a fanless design prevent penetration of all water and dust. Its Li-ion battery lasts seven hours. The anti-reflection coated, high-brightness LCD makes for easy viewing even under direct sunlight. It can withstand temperatures from 20°C to 60 °C. And ah, it runs an Intel Core Duo Processor and comes with 512MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 56Kbps modem, Intel High Definition Audio subsystem support, stylus f -20 °C t and a stack of ports and card slots.
Thuraya & Nera satellite phones
Thuraya sat phones seem to be the preferred satellite communication device for most experienced adventure travellers and climbers, though permission in India may be more than usually hard to get. But the quality of service and smaller handsets make it popular. Thuraya’s geo-synchronous satellite provides border-to-border coverage over 110 nations, spanning Europe, North, Central Africa and large parts of Southern Africa, West Asia, East, Central and South Asia. Thuraya also offers dual mode (GSM and satellite) handsets to integrate terrestrial and satellite services. The officially prescribed Nera WorldPhone service—available through Global Information Technologies under Inmarsat Satellite Phone Services—is capable enough, but it means lugging around a mini suitcase of equipment. Depending on your location, Iridium and Globalstar satellite communication solutions can also keep you connected with friends, foes and relatives. Several handset choices are available with all providers. But, gear up to wade through a lot of sanction rigmarole and red tape if you intend to stay hooked with the civilized world via sat phone out in the wilderness.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50
The stylish and advanced FZ50 camera, with its 12x Leica zoom, is rated by photographers as an ideal compact all-in-one solution for anyone needing a super zoom range without wanting to lug lenses around (to avoid weight) and change them (to avoid dust on the sensor). Fairly rugged but not waterproof, it boasts excellent image stabilization, a 10.1-megapixel high resolution CCD and a Venus Engine III for fast image processing. The free-angle LCD adjusts 180 degrees both vertically and horizontally to assist shooting in high and low-angle shooting positions and cuts snow and sun glare beautifully. In video mode it offers 1920x1080 pixels with a wide angle 16:9 aspect ratio, perfect for large-screen HDTV viewing. Delivers best results within ISO 100 (and perhaps ISO 200).
When it comes to finding your way home, the world has long graduated from Hansel-and-Gretel-breadcrumb-trails to autonomous geo-spatial navigation satellites. While up in the heavens, a constellation of 24 medium Earth orbit satellites can track your whereabouts and mother you to your destination, a load of diminutive GPS receiver devices are available for hand-holding on the ground. Guided by the transmission of precise satellite microwave signals, the system enables a GPS receiver to determine your exact location, speed, direction, and time. Your options encompass wristwatches such as the Casio Pro Trek Satellite Navi GPS or the Suunto X9i. Apart from an awesome array of GPS navigational functionality, these watches also work as compass, chronograph, altimeter, and barometer. If you would rather have the larger screen of dedicated hand-held GPS device, there are a wide assortment of rugged hand-helds in Garmin Etrex series and Magellan, each built for a specific purpose.
Myolite 3 Headlamp
You can’t be groping and grappling in the dark, stumbling around with a flashlight in one hand for very long, can you? So, adorn your crown with what is, perhaps, one of the lightest long-range Xenon halogen headlamps in the market, the Myolite 3. Weighing 175g with batteries, its three LED halogens are powerful enough to pierce the shadows as far as 150ft. The adjustable elastic headband makes it comfortable on your forehead and switching on the lamp and adjusting the zoom can be done in the same move. The bezel is easy to use, even with gloved hands. The Myolite is a water resistant, all-weather light, comes with a spare standard bulb, and operates on three AA/LR6 batteries that last approximately 130 hours.
Kestrel pocket weather tracker
When the going gets tough, the tough like to keep going. Especially if the Kestrel weather monitoring station is in their palm to measure environmental conditions.
For among other things, it can tell you your compass heading (true and magnetic); wind direction; crosswind; headwind/tailwind; altitude; pressure trend; barometric pressure; wet bulb temperature; relative humidity; dew point; density altitude; wind chill; air, water, and snow temperatures; current, average, and maximum air velocity.
It comes with a backlit display, can automatically store measurements, recall values, chart historical data, and upload data to a PC, etc. It runs on two AAA batteries and is completely waterproof. Each Kestrel instrument is individually calibrated, tested and certified against the US National Institute of Standards and Testing (Nist) standards.
Nikon & Celestron binoculars
These are two top-of-the-line brands. You can tweak your selection, depending on whether you are heading into fair weather or foul, towards lofty snow-capped peaks or tumultuous sea sprays. Along with the field of vision, almost everything hinges on magnification—and a magnification from 8x to 12x is suitable for most people. For the perfect outdoorsy experience, ensure that the binoculars are waterproof (or at least water-resistant), rubber-armoured for a more comfortable grip and ease of handling, and shaped to fit snugly in your hands. Also look for a fog-free functionality (O-ring seals and nitrogen gas to provide added resistance to the effects of changes in weather), phase correction coated roof prisms for high resolution, and high-reflection mirror-coating prisms for bright images.
Nikon Sports Optics
Coghlans Outdoorsman Digital Compass
The Coghlans Outdoorsman Digital Compass is a high-impact, rubberized finish bodied digital contraption that brags an oversized display, multi-line readout, and declination adjustment (Geography buffs will know that as the angle between the magnetic north and true north at a particular location—also called magnetic variation). It even throws in a thermometer with temperature readings in C or F, a 24-hour min/max memory, a clock with 12/24 hour formats, an alarm with snooze, and a day-date-month-year calendar.
Products whose prices are given in rupees are available in India, from stores dealing in outdoor equipment, such as Wild Ventures (www.wildventures.org).
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