It’s that time of year again to grab a suitcase, toss in the sunscreen, and hit the beach, the slopes, or wherever your spring break travels take you. But it wouldn’t be a vacation without tunes, good food, and pictures and video to remember it by. Here are some of our favorite portable gadgets, adventure tech and more that will help you eek out maximum enjoyment from all your jaunts for under $200.
Sure, you could use a regular old meat thermometer to determine the temperature of your steak, but why spend valuable time and energy poking, prodding, and otherwise molesting that pricey but delicious Wagyu cut when you can have the temperature beamed directly to your iGrill device or even your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch? The iGrill features a thermometer and probe and will alert you when your steak (or whatever) is cooked to perfection from up to 200-feet away thanks to Bluetooth. Since everyone likes their steaks cooked differently, you can monitor two or more items thanks to iGrill’s multi-probe capability. Perhaps best of all, though, is that you don’t have to constantly open and close your barbecue to determine doneness. Instead, sit back, relax, and wait for the beep.
This jacket’s got four times as many pockets as a pool table, offering plenty of room for all your tech gear, including spots for your cell phone, your iPod or iPhone, Kindle, camera, sunglasses, business cards, travel documents, and more. There is even a PadPocket in sizes Medium and larger for your iPad. The soft, mid-weight microfleece is warm enough for the spring slopes or cool nights at the beach. If you are feeling a little stuffy, just remove the sleeves. It also has what Scottevest calls a Personal Area Network that help you manage all your wires, including headphones. With a jacket like this, who needs a carry-on?
USBCell AA Batteries$18 for two
We love these batteries because they are handy, not to mention environmentally friendly. Take them with you on your travels, and plug them into any USB port to draw a charge. This means less space in your pack for spare batteries, the ability to charge off the grid, and far less waste than disposable batteries.
How many times have you lost your camera, not to mention valuable adventure and travel photos, because you’ve dropped your digicam in the river, down the side of a mountain, left it in the snow, or flooded the chassis with sand from a day at the beach? If the answer is more than zero, you need to check out Fujifilm’s new 14-megapixel XP20 digital camera. This rugged model is waterproof to 16.5ft, shockproof to 5ft, freezeproof to 14°F, and dustproof. For $40 extra, you can upgrade to the XP30 and get GPS and geotagging capabilities.
If you want your tunes at the ready this Spring Break, check out iWatchz’s new Carbon Collection, which turns your iPod Nano into a wrist watch with a simple press, slide, and click. This latest addition to iWatchz lineup sports a sexy matte-black aluminum nanoclipz system and a carbon watchband with stitching available in six colors. The perfect travel companion.
Taking your first-generation iPad (which you purchased for more money than you care to admit) poolside means frantic glances back to your seat while you try to enjoy the water and angry threats to sopping-wet kids. If that doesn’t sound very relaxing, consider Barnes & Nobles’ Nook Wi-Fi. You get free Wi-Fi connectivity in Barnes & Nobles stores, digital lending of a wide selection of books, and the piece of mind knowing that if it gets damaged, lost, or even stolen, it’s not going to break you financially.
So you’ve got this great plan that lets you talk, text and browse the Web to your heart’s content. Well, Muve has got one better that includes all the music you want plus all of the above for a nominal monthly fee. Better yet, you don’t need your computer and you don’t even have to sign a contract. See what your fellow Muve Music friends are listening to, download their playlists, view their ringtones and more.
Portable MP3 players are great when you’re alone, but when you’re camping or fishing this spring break with family and friends, wouldn’t it be nice to share the musical love? While mobile speakers can be anemic, Portable Sounds Laboratories iMaingoX offers big sound from a package a little larger than a pocketbook that everyone round the campfire can enjoy.
How many times have you gone to the airport, only to find that your bag is over the weight limit and you’ve got to either pay exorbitant extra baggage fees or start trashing your packed items? The three-ounce Balanzza Mini scale will have you smugly smiling at the airport desk clerk because it allows you to pack your suitcase to the ideal weight before you even get to the airport. A great tool for the travelling outdoorsmen and habitual over-packer alike.
What a long way we’ve come since the first mega-expensive HD cameras! Kodak’s PlaySport lets you not only capture stunning 1080p video, but do so in up to 10 feet of water, making it an excellent companion on your snorkeling adventures. It has built-in image stabilization, making an ideal videocam for the slopes, as well! Better yet, it costs paltry $150!