Tools & Tech


Rolex's lineage is luxurious but there has always been a legit adventure timepiece in the mix. Meet the Deepsea.

I an experienced outdoorsman but I now deaf w/bad balance. I still love to explore Sierra rivers for fishing and swimming and can't always get wife/kids/buddies to get up that early. I would love to have some combo of text message-capable GPS or distress beacon that could talk to the family when they too are off the grid. Is there a cheaper option than a pair of full on satellite phones? Bob San Francisco, CA

From African safaris to Indian trekking to Brazilian backpacking, the right gear will make the trip

When you're charting a new course, these gadgets will keep you on track

I'm going on a four-day hike to Machu Picchu in May. I plan on taking my Canon Rebel XS digital SLR camera with me as well as a zoom lens. I'll be wearing a multi-day backpack for the hike. What would you recommend I use to carry the DSLR so that it is protected and still readily available for photos? I was considering a belt pack but was unsure how that would affect the backpack's belt straps. Rachel Newark, NJ

Red's Scarlet and Epic launch a new photo age

Upgrade your armory with the coolest knives and multitools out there

Dont’t want to lug around a large camera? Carrying the 14.5-megapixal Nikon Coolpix S710 is like having a full-size DSLR in your chest pocket ($380; Nikon Coolpix S710    …

Rado first introduced its oblong-cased Original line in 1962, and the new Split-Second Chronograph stays true to its Mod Squad style. A crystal back allows you to view the automatic movement, and its steel-and-titanium bracelet and sapphire crystal will withstand years of abuse ($6,200; Rado…

The self-winding automatic movement of the 300-meter-rated limited-edition Omega Seamaster James Bond 007 ensures perfect timekeeping up to two days after you last wore it. Plus it’s a “certified chronometer,” i.e., it’s undergone 15 days of rigorous independent testing, in temperatures from zero to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, to ensure unmatched…

Luminescent hands on TAG Heuer‘s F1 Chronograph sweep over three traditional chrono functions and an easy-to-read date window. And being forged almost entirely from scratch-resistant titanium carbide and brushed stainless steel, this one’s as tough as it is sleek ($1,350; TAG Heuer F1 Chronograph    …

It may look like a classic chronograph, but Breitling‘s Avenger Seawolf Chrono is a revolutionary dive watch. Even at the max depth of 1,000 meters, you can use the chrono functions without risking a breach, via a magnetic system engaged with the push of a button ($4,380;…

Not a Tom Cruise fan? Don’t fret: The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition Top Gun is named after the real deal, the elite U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School. And, yes, it can handle some serious G’s: The ceramic case and titanium movement are ultra-tough, and the reinforced crystal won’t dislodge…

The Epson P-7000 Multimedia Photo Viewer packs 160GB of storage and a four-inch, hi-def LCD screen for easy field vetting ($800; Leica D-Lux 4          …

Waterproof (to five feet) and shock-resistant, Panasonic‘s SDR-SW20S can capture footage in conditions that would ruin other camcorders ($400; Olympus Stylus 1050SW    …

The waterproof TX 770 Fly-Back Chronograph is even more functional than it appears, with an electronic compass and old-school features like a tachymeter and a fly-back chronograph, which resets at the press of a button and marks time from a fifth of a second to four hours ($425;…

Olympus‘s waterproof and shock-proof 10.1-megapixel Stylus 1050 SW can take a beating. And a dunking. And a freezing. Plus all major functions can be accessed by tapping the housing, even with gloves on ($300; Epson P-7000 Multimedia Photo Viewer…

Thanks to its upgraded f/2–2.8 aperture, 10.1-megapixel sensor, and mount for both flashes and a viewfinder, the D-Lux 4 puts a pro-quality Leica in the palm of your hand ($800; Panasonic SDR-SW205 Video Camera…

Most adventure-sport watches look out of place anywhere but in the wild. Not so the rugged Sector Mountain Master, which features abundant gadgetry—a digital compass, altimeter, thermometer, and barometer—but is stylish enough for everyday wear ($595; Sector Mountain Master      …

Top-tier lenses and a moisture-repellent coating mean Leica‘s 8×50 Ultravid HD binoculars provide greater clarity in low light and poor weather ($2,525;      …

Not only is Motorola‘s Talk­about EM1000 two-way radio the first with features like an emergency-alert siren and NOAA weather channels; it also has a range of 20 miles and a hands-free function ($70; Motorola Talkabout EM1000 Radio          …

Odometer, altimeter, barometer, compass—the water-resistant Suunto X10 watch (with improved GPS and battery life) is an instrument panel for your wrist ($600; Suunto X10 Watch    …

What’s the latest scoop on a very good pair of compact binoculars that can handle rough weather and hiking conditions? Jes Kailua, Hawaii

Think flash drive but with a headphone jack. Philips‘s matchbook-size 2GB GoGear player plugs right into your USB port ($50; Philips GoGear      …

Your audiophile brother who spent twice as much on his home theater system as you did on your bike? Ultrasone‘s velvet-lined, seventies-inspired HFI-2200 head­phones—the first cans to minimize eardrum pressure—are for him ($299; Untrasone HFI-2200 Headphones        …

Looking for more information than just your weight? Transparent electrodes on Tanita‘s BC573 Body Composition Monitor also measure body fat, water retention, and muscle mass ($109;

Armed with rust-proof everything (brackets, grille, hardware), Polk‘s outdoor-ready Atrium 45 speakers can weather salt water, rain, and sandstorms. And, yes, even your buddy’s homemade recordings ($240; Polk Atrium 45            …

Thanks to bendable rubber clips, the Airdrives Interactive Stereo Earphones stay put even when things get bumpy. And, because the buds rest just outside your ear canal, you can hear oncoming cars while you’re riding or running ($80; Airdrives Interactive Stereo Earphones        …

The 37-year-old Victor, Idaho, resident spends over 100 days a year in the field, often chasing the world's best skiers around in snowy ranges from Bolivia to Morocco. Here's what he usually takes along.

Forget theory. You want results. Our tutorial lays bare the tricks, techniques, and gear of our favorite photographers.

The tricks, techniques, and gear of our favorite photographers. PLUS: Your Best Shots!

Have you tested the SPOT satellite messenger, specifically the tracking function that adds extra cost? Do you think it’s worth it? Stephanie Providence, Utah

Uncle Sam's Presidential Fitness program was once a Herculean feat. Now it endorses video games. When did we go so soft?

Is there a backpack out there that will house fragile camera gear as well as all of the other essentials for camping? Or do you have any suggestions for packing it so it'll stay safe and is still easily accessible? Ara Wichita, Kansas

On road or trail, the best navigators do more than just keep you on track

The Best Gear, Tested

Eight ways to make the flight part of the vacation

1. BROOKS INFINITI JACKET The billboard-size logo on the back will make you feel like a pro during warm-ups, while reflective touches make it great for chilly dusk workouts. $100; The Goods: Road-Race Day 2. TRIGGER POINT PLANTAR FASCIITIS KIT The antidote to…

I can't find an accurate pedometer to take hiking with me. I've tried several different brands and have found them all unreliable when it comes to calculating mileage hiked. Any recommendations? Lori Grand Junction, Colorado

Your life needs a soundtrack. This go-anywhere gear lets you bring stereo-quality tunes wherever the adventure takes you.

I cycle long distances, run, backpack, use my bike trainer, etc. And I’d like some type of GPS that has it all so that I don’t have to use three or four different tools. I want something that can map a route whether I’m on my bike or hiking around Mt. Rainier. I want something that will show my cadence, heart rate, miles, elevation, average speed, and time, play my music, and set up tent (OK, not that last thing). Can you suggest a tool that does it all? Rich Spanaway, Washington

Cartier, Patek Philippe… Swiss Army? We were surprised, too. But the limited-edition VICTORINOX SWISS ARMY LEGACY RÉSERVE DE MARCHE PLATINE is an instant family heirloom. Encased in platinum, the watch has a unique design; it’s open on both sides, showcasing its remarkable engineering—a Valgranges self-winding movement, with a mechanical power-reserve…

The best new point-and-shoots, SLRs, and camcorders for the digital man

Tech toys are great. It's the people who don't know when to put them away that suck.

I was at a watch store today with the intention of buying a Suunto Vector for my backpacking trips. At the store they also had a St. Moritz Momentum VS-1. I've never heard of St. Moritz before, but the clerk told me it was a good company. What do you think of these two watches? Bryan Los Angeles, California

My son is a Geology major and is going on seven-week, field-study trip in Montana this summer. I saw the Bushnell outdoor camera and wondering what you know about it. My son is always climbing some mountain or going caving, so he needs a durable camera. Nicole Snellville, Georgia

I'm after a ccorder to film snowboarding flicks and don't have a clue what to buy. HDD, MiniDV, DVD? What is your opinion? S

I need a GPS system for the Coast to Coast Walk in England. I know nothing about them, but get the impression they operate only within specific areas. Can I purchase one here in Canada to use in the U.K. and Europe? Hilary Edmonton, Alberta

What camera can take the abuse of an Everest expedition and a 10-foot dive at the local snorkeling spot? I would prefer a digital (maybe even a digital SLR). Osvaldo Mii, Florida

What would work better for “predicting” sudden weather changes in the mountains: a cheap weather radio, or an all-in-one watch like the Suunto Core? I'm not sure if the weather radio will work in the mountains. On the other hand, the watch is pretty expensive. Steve Redmond, Washington

I recently saw an ad for a pair of $450 Vanguard USA binoculars that claim they are as good as Bushnell Elite, which goes for more than $900. The Vanguard’s even have a lifetime warranty. Is this too good to be true? Jim Grosse Pointe, Michigan

This year, at least two new quasi Personal Locator Beacons are coming out. One is called TracMe and the other is SPOT. Being a known gear junkie (the first step is to admit you have a problem), I'm getting hit up by my associates to get the low down on these critters. So, can you help us out and do a side by side comparison on these new products? Ranger Randy Grand Junction, Colorado

I want a waterproof digital camera that has a viewfinder. Any suggestions? Ashleigh Austin, Texas

Call it trickle-up technology. In the past 30 years, adventure-centric products have moved from the margins to the mainstream. Here's drool-inducing proof that today's top manufacturers are on our side.

My boyfriend is stationed in Iraq and he needs an extremely durable digital watch that is water resistant (due to extreme heat and sweating) and has 24-hour time format, compass, barometer, timer, etc. What would you suggest in the $200 range? Loree Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I’m considering buying two-way radios for group bicycling outings. What features should I look for? Jes Atlanta, Georgia

Why we love gadgets: a crushproof camera, a portable weather station, and more

I’m looking for a camera mount that can be attached to my kayak and used for camcorders and/or digital cameras. Any ideas? Mark Hamburg, New York

I need a camera that’s water resistant (or waterproof), can withstand being banged around a bit, has a bit of zoom, and can be charged using a 12V solar power system. Lots of cameras out there seem to have a couple of these features, but not all of them. Do you have any suggestions? Rachael Springtown, Pennsylvania

I'm looking for an affordable, very compact solar charger that will charge AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V batteries. I'm planning on mountain climbing with it, so size and weight are an issue. What suggestions do you have? Linda Bloomfield, Indiana

Do you have any suggestions for a digital video camera that I can mount to a bike for some amateur film making? Jeryl Carpinteria, California

When I turn 40, I'm going to hike the AT. I would like to take a GPS unit, and my wife would like a way to keep track of my progress. Is there anything out there that can meet the need? Glenn New York, New York

Cords, schmords. Bluetooth—God love it—has finally arrived in high-fidelity stereo. Available in June, Samsung’s sleek little T9B is a flash-based audio-video unit with FM and voice recording, 30 hours of music playback per charge, and the aforementioned streaming capability. Pair it with wireless earbuds for 21st-century headbanging: Coming in at…

In a 2000 column, you said that you prefer a traditional needle-based compass over a digital compass. Is that still your advice? Why or why not? Marshall Atlanta, Georgia

I need a backpack to safely hold my camera, lenses, and other gear. My hard or soft camera cases are fine for short trips but not for real travel, as they attract the wrong attention. And a backpack would be a lot more convenient for hiking, long day trips, etc. Any thoughts? Tanya Chilliwack, British Columbia

I need to purchase two-way radios for a group of missionaries working in Guyana. Obviously, things such as maximum range and durability are of great importance. Much more important than price, actually. Can you recommend something? Randall Decatur, Alabama

My wife just had a bypass and wants a heart monitor to put on her wrist; she does not want a strap attached to her chest. Can you recommend a monitor that is self-contained on the wrist and has no other attachments? Tim Puyallup, Washington

Strap on one of these classy timekeepers and see your wrist in a whole new light

I’d like to buy one knife for all my outdoor activities (camping, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and kayaking). What would you pick? Bob Lexington, Kentucky

The smartest new gadgets put grand ideas in the palm of your hand

Runners who want to know pace, distance, and calorie output (and nothing more), take note: Silva’s TECH40 Accelerator pedometer watches are accurate and inexpensive. $59; Tech 40 Full Suspension Granted, insoles are the least sexy piece of gear on the shelf. But…

Will a high-range two-way radio work in deep canyons? I ask because my father, who is 77, likes to "trp around the backcountry," which has a lot of large canyons. This worries my mother sick, as he gets no cell phone signal there. Any ideas? John Genoa City, Wisconsin

With the latest iPod evolution, our human guinea pig turns on, tunes in, and...drops out?

I can’t find a camera-gear pack that includes hydration system capability. Any help from within your deep “bag” of experience? Clay Wimberley, Texas

Take your eyes off digital photography for six months and high-tech image making reinvents itself—again. Just in time for the holidays, we bring you the latest revolution in digicams, camcorders, printers, solar chargers, and more.

I tend to hike off-trail, but I've also gotten myself lost at times. Is there a GPS unit than can help me get back to my car after bushwhacking or taking a trail that isn't marked on any map? Even better if it could help me navigate back roads and trails on my bike, too. Karin Glendale, Arizona