Kirk and I have been toying around with a iMainGoX speaker system of late. It has a couple features that will make it excellent for hiking and travel (even though it isn’t the lightest). While aimed at the iPod crowd (of which I have been happily carrying one while hiking for many years now), the speaker system works with a variety of devices including iPods, iPhones, Zunes, other MP3 devices, Kindles, iPads and so on.
The speaker comes with a travel bag (a soft fabric bag) with a drawstring top, a hand lanyard for the speaker, a larger lanyard for wearing or hanging (making it so you can hang it in your tent or from a tree), battery charger and foam inserts for fitting your mp3 player of choice.
Upon opening the box you need to use the enclosed charger for the lithium-ion battery and charge it for 6 hours. The only tricky thing is the speaker system has a battery kill switch – but it isn’t marked on the speaker nor in the directions. This drove me batty till Kirk heard me cursing and of course figured it out in like 3 seconds. Oh well. But the kill switch is a good thing – it means your system cannot be turned on by accident! So you get a good (up to) 12 hours of battery life. The lithium-ion battery is new, where as the iMainGo2 uses AAA batteries. For the weekend backpacker or road traveling the rechargeable battery is great.
Easy enough to use, you zip it open and insert the enclosed 3.5mm connector into the headphone jack of the iPod (or similar device), put the foam inserts needed to hold it, clip the plastic back on and zip back up. Press the power button on front and start listening. You control the music through the clear vinyl window on the back. This gives your music device a bit of padding and protection, especially if in a pack.
Now I know….there are many people who don’t carry entertainment devices and hey, great. For me though….I like relaxing in my tent at night. A little piped in classical music is a nice thing while making dinner or getting my bed ready. I don’t like wearing headphones but neither do I have it loud. Just so I can hear it but not blaring from the tent. (No flashbacks to the 70’s and transistor radios screaming out rock music on a picnic table!)
But as well if you carry a phone with video capability you can watch a movie and listen to it – in nice clear sound – and not the tinny speakers of most phones. I travel with an iPad and I can easily hook up the iMainGoX to it and have a nice speaker system for the hotel room!
You can also use it as splitter so 2 can listen on headphones if so desired.
Not for the ultralight crowd but it can be any enjoyable tool to take along if a group wants to enjoy music or a movie in camp!