By Siva Om on Tue, 08/26/2014
The latest crop of rugged, adventure ready gear is out, and there are some great new gadgets and accessories you'll want to take a look at. All of the gear featured here is built tough, with the shared focus of being able to survive extreme stresses and perform well under exceptional circumstances. From waterproof headphones and speakers, to the best new iPhone protective cases, we've got some unique rugged products that are made to live up to the challenge of an active and daring lifestyle. You'll notice as you read on, that many rugged products refer to IP and MIL-STD-810 ratings. For more on those designations and what they mean, you can click HERE to read my article discussing that topic.
Heavy-Duty iPhone 5/5s Cases
MountCASE with ARMORGuard ($79.95)
The MountCASE is technically a full-time use iPhone case, meaning that you don't have to take it off to charge it or access any of the iPhone's features or controls. That said, I think the case is a little bulky for most people to want to use it full time, even though it's possible and the level of protection you gain may be worth the trade off of having a slimmer profile case. Fortunately the MountCASE is a breeze to put on and take off so its no big deal to swap it out for a lighter case when you don't need its higher level of ARMORGuard protection. This IP-68 waterproof case is specially designed to be attached most any type of handlebar via a special mounting apparatus (sold seperately).
This IP-68 waterproof case is one of my favorites of the current crop of iPhone 5/5s full-time use waterproof cases. Its sleek and slim profile add little in the way of extra bulk to the iPhone. The way it fully reveals the iPhone's front and back sides lets the inherent elegance and beauty of the iPhone shine through. I have personally beat the heck out of my iPhone with it in this case and I am happy to say both iPhone and case are still in excellent condition.
This battery case is a first of its kind. The Refuel Aqua is in fact the only waterproof iPhone 5/5s battery case to make its way to market. It is waterproof up to 9-feet (deeper than most other competitive waterproof cases can go) for half an hour, and drop-proof against drops of over 6-feet. Its 2,200 mAh battery not only provides you with a full iPhone recharge, it is also replaceable. This means that after a battery's average (300-500 cycles) lifespan, you can swap it out for a new one, or just keep a spare one around for extra back-up. The full-time use Refuel Aqua iPhone 5S case has an IP-X8 protection rating.
Otterbox Resurgence ($99.95)
Otterbox's rugged Resurgence battery case is designed to withstand some pretty extreme treatment, it's high level of drop/impact protection has received a MIL-STD 810 rating. The Resurgence is designed to keep your iPhone safe even if you drop it from as high as 6-feet. The case's 2,000mAh battery provides a full charge to a dead iPhone battery, and Otterbox's Auto-Stop charge technology means that you choose when your iPhone is being charged by the case's battery. The external battery automatically powers off once your iPhone's battery reaches full charge, insuring that you'll have back-up power when you need it most.
Rugged Headphones for Adventure and Fitness
SMS BioSport (Release date and price to be announced)
SMS Audio and computer chip maker Intel have joined forces to bring to market this IP-X4 fitness headphone. The BioSport allows you to conveniently and accurately monitor your training performance and progress. SMS Audio has already garnered a reputation for making headphones that bring premier sound quality, and now they also offer the latest in fitness-tracking biometrics technology. When used in conjunction with the RunKeeper app, the headphones can effectively chart heart rate, pace, distance, elevation, and calories burned. The BioSports require power to work, so it's a good thing they've been specially designed to charge themselves from your iDevice.
Blue Ant PUMP ($129.95)
The PUMP waterproof (IP-67) Bluetooth earphones are perfect for anyone who anticipates getting wet while wearing them. The PUMP are actually completely submersible, so you don't have to worry about taking a dive with them in your pocket, much less exposing them to a little rain or perspiration from a great work out. The headphones are ergonomically designed to stay in place in your ears, even under extreme circumstances and they allow you to control song selection and volume as well as phone calls via buttons embedded in the right earpiece.
Portable Bluetooth Speakers
Grace Digital Ecostone ($149.99)
This powerful indoor/outdoor Bluetooth speaker doesn't just meet MIL-STD 810 standards and have a high IP-68 rating, it even floats; so if it ever falls overboard while jet skiing or kayaking, it's unlikely to get lost. The Ecostone shows off Grace Digital's skill and proficiency at designing durable, rugged, waterproof gear. This speaker has great sound, with large drivers in front and a powerful passive bass radiator on the back. It delivers 12 hours of playback time, and also lets you charge your iPhone from the speaker's internal battery. And as icing on the cake, it has a convenient built-in LED flashlight on its top side.
Scosche boomBOTTLE Realtree ($109.99)
Scosche has a great reputation for making high quality audio equipment. The boomBOTTLE H2O RealTree edition is the latest in the award-winning boomBOTTLE series of Bluetooth speakers from Scosche. This miniature speaker is smaller than a can of soda and built to fit into most water bottle holders, whether on bikes or in backpacks. The speaker sounds exceptional for its size. It has one 50mm up-facing speaker and a passive radiator subwoofer for a solid base response. The RealTree boomBOTTLE is IP-67 rated and ideal for any activities and sports that take you near dirt, water, and mud, or even just have you chilling by the pool or soaking in the tub.
Divoom Ongo ($69.99)
This Bluetooth speaker from Divoom is weather resistant, lightweight, and geared for adventure. The mounting point on its underside allows you to attach the ONGO to anything that has a standard camera-size screw mount, from a tripod to a specialized bike mount. As with all of Divoom's rugged speakers, the ONGO has great battery life, and some of the loudest and best sounding audio of a portable speaker this size. The ONGO also has a convenient point of attachment for hooking it to whatever you want with a small carabiner, making it easy to carry around in numerous different ways.