Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gear Review - Electronics

Garmin Dakota 20 GPS

Amazing little device, did a full review before leaving but now after using it for 17 days on the water, unit is amazing.  Didn’t have any problems and worked perfectly.  battery life wasn’t bad, got two full days of paddling (on all the time) out of alkaline batteries and more with my rechargeable ones.   Did hear bad reviews on screen glare in the sun but not once did I feel like I was twisting around to see the screen.  Kept it in my PFD and it got wet a few times, waterproof is always good, never had any issues or condensation build up on the screen.  Get one, you won’t be disappointed.

Was loaded up with Garmin G2 Vision charts for Lake Huron which includes Georgian Bay and up to Lake Simcoe, these maps have amazing detail and lots of additional information on marinas sights and such. Original BlueChart version for the rest of the Trent waterway just lacked extra info for marinas but had everything else required.

I do have full GPX route plans I created before leaving if anybody wants to save time creating them.  Just email me and I will send them.

Olympus Stylus Tough 6020 Camera

Lived up to every claim the marketing people brag about, this camera is great, you never have to worry about it, waterproof, shock proof, crush proof.  You just clip it on and take pictures when needed, if it gets wet so what, if you ding it around so what, mine looks like it just came out of the box like the day I bought it.   Battery life is phenomenal, I brought two batteries and switched out at the halfway point when the first one went down to about half.  I did have the charger with me just in case and topped up near the end but didn’t have to.   Much better than using my Blackberry camera like I did last year.   Was stored in my PFD pocket for quick access and attached via carabineer just in case I dropped it. 

Brunton ACD Summit

Cool gadget but didn’t need it, was ok to know the wind speed but if you had to check then you probably shouldn’t be out there in the first place (Lake Couchiching) temperature, yup hot out, what more do you need to know, current flow? so what, paddle harder. Storm Indicator? Reason I picked this up was the alarm when storm approaching, did pick up a storm one day but you would have to be Helen Keller not have seen it coming.   I much prefer my UHF Radio with marine forecasts.

Pelican IPod Waterproof Case (i1015)

Worked perfectly, the only downside with this case is that you can’t adjust anything once it’s sealed up, you have to open to adjust volume or skip/pause songs.  For the price I can live with it, there are more expensive types that allow you to do it but Pelican makes the most waterproof cases so I’m going with name recognition. Suited my needs perfectly.   Add a Silica pack to though as the heat from the iPod will cause condensation if in direct sunlight.

H20 Audio Surge Waterproof Headphones

Generally speaking they worked well, did have one issue where there was a lot of static after getting wet, cleared up pretty quick (blast on full volume to pop the speaker membrane) but wouldn’t have expected it with waterproof headphones.  Better option over dunking my Bose headphones from last year which still aren’t working properly. Sound was ok but don’t expect the same quality as a good set.  Was nice not to worry about dunking them, which I did a few times.

EGO iPod Sound System (Waterproof)

Julie brought this one and it was amazing, it’s a waterproof speaker system for your iPod, sound was great and she would just strap to deck and press play. I want one now.  Battery life was great, only changed once during the trip on the second last day.   The only downside is they don’t have a version available for the iTouch or iPhone, means you can’t adjust on the fly like you can with the older iPods, still fits and works but you do have to open it up to adjust songs.  External volume controls work fine.  Was great to have music at camp over dinner or in the tent at night.  Great alternative to headphones and the thing floats to boot.

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