The Best Adventure Tech of 2013
Fujifilm FinePix XP170 Digital Camera
Weatherproof, meet wireless transfer. The XP170 is built to withstand drops and dunks, and it lets you beam photos to your Android or iPhone via a free (if somewhat clunky) app. Its CMOS sensor and 14.4-megapixel resolution are impressive for the price, though outdoor results were mixed. The XP170 does, however, produce above-average video underwater (down to 10 meters), and the battery gets you 300 shots on a charge.
Magellan Switch Up Watch
Don’t be put off by the clunky looks: the Switch Up delivered some of the most accurate mileage readings we’ve seen from a fitness watch. Cyclists can snap off the device and mount it on handlebars, and triathletes can track progress in the drink. It also supplies temperature and elevation data and pairs with an optional heart-rate monitor ($50).
DeLorme InReach Communicator
This two-way satellite communicator gives you SOS and text capabilities in the 90 percent of the planet not covered by cell towers. This year’s upgrade is aimed at your smartphone: a monthly fee ($10–$65, depending on usage plan) lets you pair the device with your Android or iPhone to send and receive 160-character, GPS-stamped messages.
Optrix XD Smartphone Case
From the department of elegant solutions, the Optrix turns your iPhone into an action cam. The polycarbonate shell lends water and shock protection, and the wide-angle lens doubles the field of view of your iPhone’s (or iPod’s) camera. Comes with a helmet mount, which raises the question: Do you want your iPhone mounted on your head?
SpareOne Emergency Phone
This ultralight, no-contract phone has a 15-year battery life, making it the perfect just-in-case backup to toss in your glove box or backpack before an adventure. Slide in your SIM card (there’s also an international version available) and use the device in place of your smartphone, or don’t add a SIM and use it just for crisis calls.
Goal Zero Sherpa 50 Solar Recharging Kit
Hook up the Sherpa 50’s paperback-size solar panel to the two-pound power pack and inverter, set it in the sun, and in six to 10 hours (we did it in four with full rays) you have enough juice to power your laptop for three hours or a tablet for 15. Smart: The power pack charges by wall outlet in just three hours.