<p>Gadgets have become essential carry-ons for travellers. They can be your saviours or give you company while you are out in the wild. Here are some that you can lug while on the go
This summer, when you set out on a perilous journey across the mountains, make sure your piece of equipment doesn’t fall off the cliff — and that it fends off the elements, too.
As an adventurer, you may have a lot to gain from the arrival of ‘rugged’ gadgets. The machines with machismo can not only withstand the rough and tumble, but also take you through it. Here we check the vigour of some:
Imagine yourself stranded in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, with your smartphone’s battery slowly fading away. In this situation, you could look to a solar charger that could power up gadgets on the go.
Solio Rocsta-i solar-powered charger measures 7.5x2x0.4 inches. It is easy to use: Charge it once and the built-in 1000 mAh battery, claims the company, will retain the energy for up to a year. It is compatible with over 3,200 gadgets.
When the sun's beating doing on you, your Rocsta-i can charge itself fully in six hours. Solio claims Rocsta-i can add up to 80 hours of playtime to tablets and hand-helds and another 6.5 hours of talk time to smartphones. The device costs Rs 4,500.
The Power Monkey Explorer (Rs 5,730) is encased in a tough, rubberised and waterproof body, you need to charge it once before using. It comes with a wide array of sockets that ensure its near-universal compatibility. It also features an LCD screen that displays the amount of charge.
If solar chargers don't have you all charged up, then PowerTrekk could be the thing for you. A water-powered portable fuel-cell charger, it charges a device by using fresh or salt water. It costs Rs 12,800. It takes the hydrogen component of water and converts it to electricity.
Love swimming up a wild stream? Waterproof cameras that hug your waist while swimming are now available. Olympus Stylus Tough 8010 digital camera is one of the best waterproof, shockproof, freeze-proof and adventure-ready devices. It can withstand below freezing-point temperatures, 220 pounds of pressure and survive 6.6-feet high falls. The 14-megapixel, 5x wide-angle optical zoom and 2.7-inch LCD screen camera can click picture-perfect shots even when the subject is moving. It costs Rs 9700.
Another camera that can brave the elements is Nikon CoolPix AW100. It features an underwater photography mode that corrects colours automatically while clicking pictures. The CoolPix AW100 has a 16-megapixel resolution and 5x optical zoom. When you click a picture, the built-in GPS automatically embeds your location data (GPS coordinates and location name) in the photograph. You can also track your location using the electronic compass and Google Earth. It costs Rs 16,440.
Having safe drinking water is vital while venturing into the unknown. SteriPen is a 3-in-1 UV water purifier designed for use in water bottles. You fill the bottle with water, put the tapered end of the device in, seal the vessel and switch it on. You need to ensure the water is submerging both ends of the device’s metal for the UV purifier to work. At only 7.5 inches long, it can easily fit in your luggage. SteriPen recommends using Lithium batteries with it instead of regular ones, and you'll be able to purify 100 litres of water with them. The SteriPen costs about Rs 2,470.
If you are looking for a pocket purifier, then SteriPen Freedom is the answer. The SteriPen Freedom charges via a micro-USB port and can sterilise up to 0.5 litre of water in one go, destroying, in the process, 99.9 per cent of bacteria and viruses. It emits UV light that disinfects the water. At Rs 5,491, it is double the price of SteriPen Traveler 3-in-1.
While charting unknown terrain, travel apps will make sure that you don't wander away. Some apps turn your phone into a flashlight while others enable you to upload destination reviews.
For iOS and Android devices, Postagram is recommended. It is a free app that picks an image from your smartphone and prints it at 300dpi, sending it to whomever you want. This costs only $0.99 and can be sent anywhere in the world. The printing and postage is done remotely. You can customise your Postagram with personalised messages. Also, when your friends receive Postagram, they can pull out the photo from its removable bezel.
Android device owners can download Wikitude, which is an augmented reality travel guide that overlays Wikipedia entries and user contributed information onto a map of your location. This free app turns your Android phone into a know-it-all guide of any country in the world. Using your phone’s GPS, compass and other sensors, Wikitude is able to tell exactly where you are, and dish up virtually any local information that you could need.
Apps like Google Translate are a must-have if you are heading to a destination where English is not the main language. The app lets you type in a phrase and almost instantly translate it and, in a new experimental mode, even translate audio from English to Spanish (and vice versa).
For BlackBerry users, translation apps like Navita Translator that can handle 50 languages and can translate and speak English, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, German and Russian are recommended.
Gear to wear
Be it a sunny beach or a hilly terrain, a good pair of sunglasses is a must. And if the idea of sunglasses that can double as a Bluetooth headset for making calls or listening to music appeals to you then look no further than Q i-wear. It puts a pair of shatterproof eyewear along with iPod-connected earbuds on your face. The glasses stream the music via Bluetooth stereo earbuds while offsetting the ambient noise and allow you to attend phone calls at the same time. You will have to dole out Rs 16,900.
Want to have a healthy vacation, then go for Jawbone UP, a wristband and smartphone app that tracks your wellness. This coloured wristband works together with an iPhone app to track your daily exercise activities and check your metabolism. Its alert feature will help you stay active even when that's the last thing on your mind. It costs Rs 10,000.
While many people like to write a journal while travelling, imagine if you could use the pen to translate foreign phrases, read aloud and project new words on a tiny built-in screen. That’s what Livescribe’s Pulse smartpen does. It speaks a number of languages like Japanese, Korean, Spanish, German and French. It comes for Rs 11,430.