It’s the adventure traveller’s classic dilemma. What do you take along on the sort of holiday where you want to leave everything behind? If you’re going on a remote mountain trek or snorkelling off the Andaman coast, you don’t want to lug equipment which demands special care.
But as much as we love the idea of heading out with just a toothbrush and a change of clothes, some technology can enhance your holiday. The best adventure gadgets are simple to use, can withstand the weather where you are, and help you make the most of the moment.
Here are five adventure enablers that are worth the carry-on weight.
Suunto is a Finnish company that specializes in making precision outdoor equipment, and its flagship X10 watch (or officially, “wrist-top computer”) comes with some great features. The device has a GPS that we found remarkably accurate and responsive, especially given that it comes in such a small package. The memory stores up to 50 routes, allowing you to retrace your steps back to a favoured spot. The X10 is also equipped with the “ABC" trio— altimeter, barometer and compass. The altimeter measures air pressure, elevation and altitude and is especially useful if you’re planning outdoor activities in the hills, such as skiing, hiking or even a bit of off-road mountain biking. The X10’s barometer not only measures weather conditions, it also forecasts them, allowing you to plan ahead while on the go. In spite of all its intricate features, the X10 remains a tough little beast, solidly cased in durable plastic. It is water-resistant up to 330ft, backlit—and it also tells the time.
The Suunto X10 costs Rs30,000. Suunto’s sole distributor in India is A&S Creations, 6/7, Ground floor, West Patel Nagar, New Delhi (011-45789911/18). For details, log on to www.lodhisports.in
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Panasonic Lumix DMC FT2
Water-sport enthusiasts know all too well the massive holes that exist in their holiday albums—it’s those snorkelling, kayaking and surfing trips with hardly any photographic evidence. Well, the best way to plug them is to get hold of Panasonic’s gorgeous Lumix DMC FT2— flat out one of the most impressive compact cameras we’ve come across. Not only does it take gorgeous pictures and stunning video, it can also take one hell of a beating and still turn up for work. Water, shock, freeze and dust-proof, the FT2 is capable of working 33ft underwater and surviving 10ft drops on concrete, and it’ll take pretty much anything you throw at it. We think it’s currently the best underwater camera on the market, and with 720p hi-def video and a dedicated video button, it outperforms most camcorders in the category too, including Panasonic’s very own overhyped SDR-SW21. Featuring a 14.1 megapixel camera and zippy autofocus, the FT2 is the sort of tough guy you can’t help but drool over.
The FT2 costs Rs27,910. It is available at most Panasonic brand stores across the country. For details, log on to http://panasonic.co.in/web/cid/MainCont/1282
Petzl duo 14 LED
A good, reliable source of light is invaluable if you’re planning anything more than an afternoon hike or are likely to explore places where sunlight might be scarce. While there are a number of excellent torches on the market, ideally you want to keep both hands free, and that’s where a headlamp such?as?the?Petzl?Duo?comes in. Though it’s been around for a while, this hybrid headlamp is one of the best on the market, featuring both a strong LED lamp, great for close-range work like setting up a tent or a campsite, and a halogen light for snowy conditions and long-distance illumination. Four AA batteries give you over 100 hours of uninterrupted light, and their weight acts as a good counterbalance for the lamps, ensuring the device sits nicely atop your head or helmet. Should you want to take a dip, the Duo is securely cased and waterproof up to 5m. It is a bit expensive, but the build quality is excellent and should survive even the roughest tumbles (be careful: you may not).
The Petzl Duo costs Rs8,650. Sole distributors in India: Allied Safety Equipments Pvt. Ltd, 109, Ajit Industrial Estate, Mira Village, Thane (022-28456117, 09930992329). For details, log on to www.adventure-mart.com/index.html
Victorinox Secure Pro
Victorinox’s famed Swiss Army Knives have been a staple for outdoor enthusiasts for over a century. While they still contain essentials such as scissors, screwdrivers and blades, their ingenious multi-tools have evolved quite a bit over time. The latest top-range version features a biometric USB key that is among the most secure commercially available data devices in the world. Victorinox claims that the USB drive, which has a maximum capacity of 32GB, is completely “unhackable”—and they’re not kidding. Hackers from across the world have tried (and failed) to break through the device’s impressive security mechanisms, which include a biometric reader and thermal and oxygen sensors. The thermal-oxygen sensors ensure that only a live finger can work the biometric reader. And like any gadget worthy of a role in the ‘Mission: Impossible’ movies, the device features a self-destruct option. Also included are a strong LED light and a ballpoint pen. But the best part of the Secure? Once you make it to the top, you can also use it to open a bottle of wine.
The Secure Pro will be launched soon in India, and the 8GB model is expected to cost around Rs12,000 (subject to change). For details, log on towww.victorinoxindia.com
Steiner 8x30 Wildlife Pro Binoculars
A lightweight pair of multi-purpose binoculars is essential if you want to go birdwatching or wildlife spotting, and they can be useful for mountaineers and hikers too. These Steiners offer top-of-the-range German engineering precision and are still light enough to be taken along on hikes. Cased in a hyper-durable, impact- resistant evolved polycarbonate body, they come equipped with Steiner’s multi-coated BAK-4 optical lenses that block UVA rays and cut glare, just like sunglasses. Steiner’s specially developed autofocus system allows you to track even the fastest movement from far away. These binoculars are waterproof, your best friend even on the rainiest of days. We loved the compact feel and fit of these binoculars in our hands, and although they’re a bit expensive, they’re a great package, with the kind of focal range and colour fidelity usually found in much larger, bulkier binoculars, plus a 30-year warranty.
The Steiner Wildlife Pro Binoculars cost Rs17,500. Distributors, Mastap Enterprizes, 1910 E, 11th Lane, Rajarampuri, Kolhapur (09731557296). For details, log on to www.adventure-mart.com/index.html
Prices are indicative and may vary from retailer to retailer and across locations.
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