Potentially a piece of life-saving kit, this tidy little device allows one-way satellite communication from your Android smartphone or iPhone. The user predefines 120-character messages, set up through an on-line account, which can then be sent quickly to contact groups’ e-mail addresses and mobile numbers with a couple of button presses. Messages also include GPS co-ordinates so friends and family can keep track of your exact location. When typing directly to your smartphone, you can only send 41-character messages – limiting though undoubtedly useful. The SOS button works independently of the phone and will send a distress signal to the relevant authority, initially without GPS data if unavailable – then followed up once satellites are located. Coverage is basically global, with South Africa, India and Madagascar the only major omissions.
Reg Rating 75%
Price £180, £90 (annual subscription)
More info Spot Europe
SteriPen Adventurer Opti
Featuring a simple yet remarkable piece of technology – the humble UV light – the SteriPen could save you from all manner of stomach complaints and, in extreme circumstances, might save a life. Stir the optical sensor in a container of clear, collected water for a few minutes and… hey presto: drinkable water. Cautious trekkers carry one of these as a back-up, yet if you were to trek for numerous days in, say, the foothills of the Himalayas, it could treat your daily water – the stats say it will treat 100 half-litre containers on one set of batteries. Use a T-shirt to filter out the debris, and the SteriPen could also make stagnant water a whole lot more drinkable in desperate situations. If you're inclined to wander off the beaten track then this gadget is worthy of serious consideration and an optional solar charging case is available too. ®
Reg Rating 85%
More info SteriPen
Ten... outdoor gadgets
Suggestion for reviews like this
I have a suggestion for reviews like this: please tell us WHAT THE HECK THE THING IS in the title.
Consider the Knog Nerd 12 - The picture doesn't immediately tell me this is a bicycle computer, and I was 2 sentences in to a 4 sentence review (albeit one of those sentences is quite long) before I knew what it was.
Would it be so hard to have the title be "Knog Nerd 12 Bicycle computer"?
Or the Liquid Image Impact HD720P - "Oh, goggles. No wait - goggles with a camera!? Now I understand what HD720P refers to!" Given that manufacturers love to put random strings of numbers and letters after product names it's not worth trying to parse them. "Liquid Image Impact HD720P Goggle/Camera"
The Real World
Invented so geeks could have somewhere to use GPS.
Top ten outdoor gadgets?
1) A good pair of boots
4) Fire starter
5) Good hat
6) hooks & line
8) 3x4 metres of 8 or 10 mil visqueen
9) Clothing appropriate for weather conditions
30 metres of quarter inch nylon line, a cooking pot, bedroll, good map
& compass, signaling mirror, small flashlight, basic medical kit, small handgun etc. are also handy, but hardly necessary. I've crossed the Rockies with no more than my top ten ... Survival training isn't exactly a walk in the park ;-)
Ah. So ...
"One could make a case that ability to move and store water is the single thing that made civilization possible."
So ... you meant containers, not water. Still not gadgets though.
"Try to get along without it for a fortnight or so ..."
Better put "oxygen" as the minus first item on your list.
But those are gadgets for people who will actually go ... you know ... "outdoors".
The article is aimed at cellar-dwelling ITboys whose idea of wilderness is when they drop out of 3G coverage.