Great Gifts For Travellers and Backpackers

If your friends are heading off on a round-the-world adventure, or you just know someone who loves their holidays, here are some ideas for the perfect present.


Nikon AW100 rugged camera

Climbers, divers and skiers, can grab all the best shots with the Nikon AW100 – a ‘rugged’ camera that is shockproof, waterproof and freezeproof.  It has a 16-megapixel back illuminated CMOS image sensor; Action Control to allow one-handed operation and built-in Global Positioning System (GPS), electronic compass and world map.

Price: £279

From: High street stores

HD Hero2 wearable/mountable cameras

Active travellers can capture and share their high-definition videos while in action on the slopes, surfing or cycling with the HD hero2 camera, which has a high-performance 11-megapixel sensor, a totally redesigned wide-angle lens, plus Wi-Fi BacPac and Wi-Fi Remote products are slated for release this winter, so the HD Hero2 will enable video remote control. The removable polycarbonate housing means the camera is waterproof to 180ft/60m and protected from rocks and other hazards. Accessories include straps to attach the camera to your chest, a wrist strap and the option to attach the camera to a helmet.

Price £299.99



AirCurve Play loudspeaker

Take your sounds with you with the AirCurve Play designed for the iPhone 4. Using the phone’s onboard loudspeaker and a clever coil design, the sound is amplified to 10 decibels, without the need for any battery power. The AirCurve Play sits in the rubber dock and can be propped up in landscape or portrait. It also leaves the Apple dock connector port free, allowing you to charge and sync while using the speaker.

Price: £14.99


Travel Scratch Map

Make a note of where you’ve been and what you’ve done with the Travel Scratch Map. The map has a gold foil layer over the top of it, so whenever you frequent a certain place anywhere in the world, scratch it off to reveal the underlying world in colour. Flip the map over and you’ll find the travel log feature, where you can plot your route, stick down photos, and note what music you listened to and friends you met and so on. The map comes in a sturdy tube that you can stick in your rucksack.

Price: £11.95



Bladefish Underwater Video Camera

Perfect for daredevils and intrepid explorers, this camera captures sporting successes and underwater finds  – and it’s small enough to tuck in your Speedos (without its waterproof case it measures a diddy 2 cm x 5.5 cm x 2 cm)! Waterproof to a depth of ten metres, it allows up to 2 hours of recording time whether you’re snowboarding or snorkelling. With its own special waterproof casing, it has loads of different adaptors to mount your waterproof digital camera – clip, strap or screw your camera wherever you want.

Price: £44.49

Ocean Leisure press day: Underwater and sailing gadgets

Ocean Leisure is one of the UK’s premier marine and water sports superstore and they recently held a press day to show off their latest and greatest pieces of equipment. Promising the Latest Gadgets team wet and wonderful gadgets, the likes of which I had never seen before I headed down to their 8000 sq ft store in the heart of London. Ocean Leisure has over thirty specialist staff, including diving instructors, dinghy sailors and ocean yachtsmen, who all seemed happy to deal with a series of “… oooh what does this do” style questions from me.


The first thing to elicit an oooh from me was the Bladefish, a lightweight James Bond style driver propulsion vehicle with a built in propeller that pulls you along under water. It has a nice safety feature to prevent you fingers from getting chopped off – you have to depress tabs on both sides to engage the engine. There are a variety of models that have differing battery capacities and engine strengths with the Bladefish 7000 coming top of the charts with 2 hours of battery life and the ability to happily withstand depths of up to 40 metres, making it ideal for a diving enthusiast.

Other useful innovations included the solargorilla – huge slabs of solar panels to charge your phones, tablets of laptops whilst you were out on the open sea. They also had cool little water bouy devices to help you find your keys or other equipment if they happened to go overboard (something similar was on the most recent series of It’s Always Sunny in Philiadelphia). And if you go overboard, Personal Location Beacons from Fast Find should help to find you, beaming your exact GPS co-ordinates to rescue services.  They also had hand held anemometers – the SKYWATCH Xplorer 4 Anemometer (JDC X4), which is a pocket sized meteorological instrument that measures Windspeed, Temperature, Windchill factor, Digital compass, Altitude, Barometric air pressure. Useful if you ever need to know any of those things obviously and great for windsurfers and their ilk. And h20 audio had an amazing enclosure beloved by divers waiting to decompress that enabled you to use an iPhone or iPod touch underwater (pictured).

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The UWaterG2 MP3 player: Committed to creating unswerving swimmers

The surge in fitness and exercise the New Year traditionally creates is often accompanied with a surge in the sales of fitness gadgets and equipment. Given this annual trend, Latest Gadgets thought our readers may welcome being informed about a particularly notable new ‘fitness’ gadget – The UWaterG2, the world’s smallest 100 percent waterproof MP3 player.


This remarkably diminutive device has been created by Fitness Technologies Inc, a leading manufacturer of waterproof audio technology. Like many great gadgets about to join the eternally evolving technology marketplace, the UWaterG2 is to feature at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES), held on 6 – 9 of this month.

It has been long established that exercise is made infinitely easier when it is accompanied with music. Having been IPX8-certified at the highest rate possible, still working under ten feet of water, this micro-sized MP3 player, boasting dimensions of just 0.4” x 1.25” x 1.75” and weighing less than an ounce, clips easily onto goggles, armbands or headbands causing no obstruction or hindrance to a swimmer, and on the contrary, is designed to enhance performance.

Although it is not just the pangs of swimmers’ boredom and loneliness the UWaterG2 can help eradicate, as the advantages of this “ultimate outdoor companion” can be utilized by surfers, scuba divers, snorkelers and even by those executing activities that do not include water, such as running and walking.

This miniscule device comes with 2GB, 4GB or 8GB of memory and is available in five different stylish colours. Its uniqueness lies not only within its miniscule size and being virtually weightless, but also due to the fact it features Waterproof Audio Technologies (WAT)  “Twist & Lock” technology, which, as well as sealing 100 percent of water out of the ear jacks, provides long term protection against corrosion.

Being equipped with a highly visible multi-colour LED mode control means the UWaterG2 can be operated effortlessly, even when under ten feet of water. The UWaterG2 package includes a USB cable, four sets of silicon ear-tips, extendable stereo waterproof earphones, a detachable flex clip, a user’s manual and an international extended warranty.

The LG verdict? Not bad for just $59.95, especially when you consider the health benefits it will bring if it helps you stay committed to clocking up those lengths.

Sanyo takes the plunge into high-def, 14mp underwater shooting with the Xacti CA100

Whether you’re snorkelling, on the beach, or just plain stuck in your average Great British summer scenario (ie. wet), the latest offering from Sanyo will let you take high-def video and 14mp still shots at depths of up to 3m (that’s about 10ft).

The Sanyo Xacti CA100 has come out just in time for the school holidays, ready to be taken on holidays both abroad and in the great British outdoors.


While 1080p high-def video is already available for water lovers in the shape of the Kodak Playsport and the Toshiba Camileo BW10, the Xacti CA100 blows them out of the water (sorry) with its 14mp still capabilities.

The pistol-grip design, which naturally lends itself to more active users, whether you’re treading water with the other arm, or holding a brolly, is similar to that of its predecessor the Xacti CA9, which failed to impress its critics by falling down on the quality of its photos. Hopefully, the Xacti CA100 has come up to the mark, offering improved video and stills quality. A nice touch is a dual record button, which allows users to take pictures instantly even while shooting a movie.

As well as the distinctive design, the Xacti CA 100 ensures it stands out thanks to a choice of bright yellow or pink versions – you’ll never lose those on the beach. Or if you’re feeling less than adventurous, there is a black option.

A 6x optical zoom is included in the package, with the added enhancement of a 6x “Advanced Zoom”, which crops the image sensor, rather than just blowing up the pixels, which is the case with your regular digital zoom.

There’s a wide-angle 35mm lens, with high-def video being shot at 60fps, and the 12x Double Range Advanced Zoom will help you capture even distant events underwater (why do I keep thinking about shark attacks?) There’s an underwater filming mode that automatically adjusts colour and contrast ration to help you achieve true-to-life colours under the water and Sanyo says it has an improved digital image stabiliser to keep footage smooth (again, I’m picturing shark attacks – “It’s okay dear, the beast ate the other arm, and thanks to the image stabiliser, I got a great shot of the whole thing.”)

Other technical niceties include a 2.7in TFT LCD display, recording to SD card and the new high-capacity SD XC cards and MP4 format for easy uploading to Facebook and YouTube. Eye-Fi card compatibility means you can upload videos and images to your social networks from any hotspot. (“I’m sitting in the hospital now, but here’s the footage of Gerald getting his arm chewed off by a great white.”)

The Sanyo Xacti CA100 is out now for the princely sum of £349, but if you take into account the fact that it may well be good enough to replace both your video and still camera, that makes it altogether more palatable (just like Gerald’s arm).