The O List


Jan 10, 2001
Outside Magazine


Reliable Small Camera  Satellite Phone  Digital Organizer  SLR Camera  Camcorder  MP3 Player  Two-way Radio
One Auspicious Eye
Over decades, LEICA has emerged as the maker of the sturdiest, most reliable small cameras on earth. While, ahem, not exactly cheap, the M6 TTL, shown here, has a bombproof body capable of enduring extremes in temperature and vibration—a masterwork of fussy German engineering. As a range finder camera, the M6 lacks the hinged mirror and spring-loaded iris of an SLR, so the shutter release is both whisper-quiet and extremely fast. Loading the film is tricky, but with exquisite optics and incomparable durability, you'll have a lifetime to practice.
$4,290 as shown with 28mm lens; 800-222-0118;
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Globalstar Qualcomm GSP1600

With Iridium only recently back up and running after its bankruptcy, we're standing by Globalstar as the best handheld satellite phone for mountain climbers, outback guides, and the otherwise off-the-grid Panamanian islander. If you're within range of a tower, the GSP1600 will hook you into a conventional cell network. If not, pull up the antenna to access one of Globalstar's 48 birds. No polar coverage--yet.
$900; 877-728-7466;
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Handspring Visor Edge

The Visor Edge puts the whole world in your hands; it marries elegant, simple software (just tap the screen to access thousands of contacts and appointments) with sultry hardware (think sleek cigarette case). Optional plug-in modules transform the Visor Edge into a GPS receiver, MP3 player, cell phone, or video game.
$399; 888-565-9393;
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Nikon FM3A

This camera from the makers of the FM2, a photojournalism workhorse, is fully manual, very functional, and almost indestructible. The company has left out the sometimes-too-helpful geegaws that have turned many SLR cameras into second-guessing supercomputers--this one's all about metal, glass, and film (maximum shutter speed is 1/4,000 second). Plus the FM3A has a center-weighted metering system and will work even if the batteries bonk out on the upper reaches of the Ubangi River.
$820; 800-645-6687;
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Sony DCR-PC110

The PC110 is the younger cousin of the camcorder that an intrepid adventure racer relied on to film his entire Eco-Challenge Borneo slogfest for a television news-magazine program. This unit is small and light with image-steadying and night-vision shooting capability, and it records 520 lines of horizontal video resolution on MiniDV tape that can be easily pulled onto your computer for editing and special effects. Unfortunately, you may not be able to alter the outcome of your own race.
$1,800; 888-420-7669;
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Nike TechLab psa[Play 120

Some digital players are built for the subway, some are built for the mud. It's on the latter front that the psa[Play shines. Offload two hours' worth of tunes into this rubberized, water-resistant, lozenge-shaped unit, screw it into its armband housing, and then bliss out with your own custom-mixed sound track as you bomb down your favorite trail or chute. The psa[Play will not take flight and bust on the rocks or vanish in the pow.
$249; 800-344-6453;
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Motorola Talkabout T6320

The T6320 has more than 500 possible frequencies and a scramble option to avoid channel chatter. Add to that a vibrating alert to discreetly inform you of an incoming call and a rather trick collection of onboard instruments (barometer, digital compass, and thermometer).
$130; 800-353-2729;
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