Hard Wired

Electronics built to handle the elements

Dec 1, 2001
Outside Magazine

With a stainless-steel body and a 3x zoom lens that retracts when not in use, the diminutive Canon S300 Digital ELPH ($600) is one tough cookie. There's even an optional waterproof case that lets divers snap away 100 feet down. [ www.canon.com / 800-828-4040 ]

You can duplicate the military's 810E durability test by spilling coffee and the contents of a vacuum-cleaner bag on this computer and then knocking it to the floor. No worries: The magnesium-cased Panasonic Toughbook 28 ($4,100) will survive. Yeah, at nine pounds it's heavy, but inside the armor are a Mobile Pentium III 600 MHz processor and a gel-mounted 20-gig hard drive well worth protecting. [ www.panasonic.com / 800-662-3537 ]

Take a full-color handheld computer, wrap it in thick rubber and watertight gaskets, beef up the action buttons, and you get the 10.3-ounce Casio EG800 ($900). It's able to withstand fumbles on a talus slope, and a sealed screen and lidded CompactFlash card slot render it splashproof. If nothing else, you can play Maze Craze while you're stuck in a bivouac. [ www.casio.com / 800-836-8580 ]

In addition to its altimeter, the Suunto Observer wrist computer ($500) has a barometer, a thermometer, a compass, a clock with stopwatch, and continuous-flow bearing information. Better yet, all that technology is tucked into a titanium package so tough you could use it to club fish. [ www.suunto.com / 800-543-9124 ]

Thanks to the Iridium satellite system (which, after a well-publicized hiatus, is back on line) and the Motorola 9505 satellite telephone ($1,500), you can once again check in with your sponsors from the Arctic Circle. The handheld unit weighs 13.2 ounces and supports voice-mail, text messaging, and (with a computer and a $150 kit) Internet data transmission. "Hello, Quokka? Where's our food cache? Hello?" [ www.motorola.com / 800-353-2729 ]

Geographically challenged but loath to admit it? Download maps from MapSource's huge CD-ROM library; select a camp, hotel, or restaurant; and the nine-ounce, waterproof Garmin GPS V ($535) guides you there. [ www.garmin.com / 800-800-1020 ]

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web

Not Now

Need a Gear Fix?

Open email. Get latest gear. Repeat.

Thank you!