Electronic aids for your next winter mission.
OtterBox Defender Series for Ipad Mini
The iPad mini ($329) may be portable, but it’s still fragile. The Defender’s ($70) hard polycarbonate shell and built-in screen protector hasn’t let us down after months of travel. It isn’t waterproof, but port covers keep stray raindrops away from circuitry. The front cover detaches to become a kickstand for the device.
Mophie Powerstation PRO
This rechargeable lithium-ion power pack ($100) served us well on a four-day backpacking trip. The aluminum and steel case is surrounded by bouncy rubber, and port covers make it highly dirt and splash resistant. We were able to charge three mostly drained iPhones and still have some power left.
LSTN Cherry Wood Bowerys
Guitars and violins are made of wood for a reason. Like those instruments, the Bowerys ($50) (made from reclaimed cherry) produce deep, rich sound. And a portion of each purchase goes to the starkey foundation, which supplies hearing aids to those in need all over the world.
Etón Rugged Rukus
Unlike most Bluetooth speakers, the Rugged Rukus ($100) can stay juiced all day by way of an integrated solar panel. (AC power works, too.) In fact, this splashproof panel will even recharge your phone. You don’t get serious bass response for your $100, but for close-range listening this ruggedized, fully droppable speaker delivers admirable audio clarity and strong midrange.
UClear HBC220 Force Snow
Keep in touch with friends and family members while on the slopes with this helmet-based, always-on communicator and speaker system ($250). "Boomless" technology reduces wind noise, and you can pair it with any Bluetooth phone or MP3 player to answer calls and bump decent-sounding music hands-free. It’s rated to work at distances of up to 2,000 feet (as long as there’s direct line of sight), and you can link an unlimited number of users. Bike more than you ski? A cycling version features earbuds that hang down from your helmet.
Samsung Galaxy Camera WiFi
This 16-megapixel camera shoots brilliant outdoor photos, zooms to 21x, and can capture as many as 20 frames with a single touch. In range of a Wi-Fi network? Upload pictures to the cloud and social media or access weather, e-mail, and Google Play apps.
Next Up: 2013 Travel Tech Essentials