10 top gadgets for your summer holiday
11th Jul 2013 | 11:55
Be equipped for your trip with these must-have travel gadgets
Even when you're getting away from it all, there are some things you want to take with you. But how do you know which gadgets are worthy of taking up your valuable packing space?
These are our 10 picks for the technological traveller: everything on this lists has been designed for travel.
From smaller, lighter, luggage friendly versions of your must-have gadgets to life-savers for your life on the road, we've got your packing covered.
1. Sennheiser PXC 250-II
A pair of bulky noise-cancelling headphones come somewhere near the kitchen sink on most people's packing list, which makes these dinky Sennheisers something of a revelation.
The headband has two comfy skull pads while the ear-cups press themselves effectively to close the gaps.Most impressively, the NoiseGard noise cancelling function (which can be toggled on and off) works almost as well as models four times the size (and three times the price).
The only drawback is an AA battery compartment on the audio cable, but it's a small price to pay on these expensive, but good value headphones.
2. Vanguard Alta 225CT tripod
You need a tripod to get your best shot, so it's a pity that when you're on holiday and most likely to have exotic scenes and great adventures to record, you're
Made from carbon fibre and weighing-in at just 810g (that's less than the smallest Macbook Air), this three-legged, five-section tripod from Vanguard stretches from 42cm to a mighty 115cm.
It sits easily in the side pocket of most small backpack, and its built-in spirit level means you can always be confident of shooting straight.
3. Reef Men's Quencha TQT sandals
Picture the scene: you're on the beach, sunset's drawing near and you've a bag full of beer to get stuck into … but did anyone pack a bottle opener?
Probably not, but if you're sporting a pair of Quencha TQT (which stands for Thirst Quenching Technology) sandals from Reef there's a nice surprise in the sole, where a bottle opener has been cleverly stashed away.
Also featuring an airbag in the heel and a comfy nubuck strap, these Reefs come in black and lime green.
4. LAT56 backpack
Looking more like futuristic body armour than a simple gadget bag, this tough aircraft cabin-sized backpack from LAT56 keeps your gadgets protected as you barge through the world airports, bus stations and hotels.
The secret is the use of specially moulded EVA foam that's got a bit of give in it, but only a bit; cue zip-up side-pockets that are sturdy enough to take a pair of sunglasses (though also perfect for chargers and cables) and a slightly bulging front that's there to protect your gear, but also happens to be the shape of a folded-up shirt.
At the back behind some unusually comfy shoulder straps is a bombproof NASA-spec memory foam laptop compartment for models up to 15.6 inches, while inside are some dividers that can be flattened for full access to its 15-litre capacity.
5. Panasonic DMC-FT5 tough camera
The fact that it's got built-in GPS tells you straight away that the Panasonic DMC-FT5 is built for roaming. It can geotag images as you go, so you'll never be left wondering exactly which picturesque mountain you decided to photograph.
It could also probably survive a fall down that mountain, thanks to its orange battle armour. Although it suffered a few scars when we dropped it during our tests, it carried on working perfectly and delivering clear images.
Some will miss optical zoom, though the flip-side of its 'no moving parts' design is a totally waterproof, underwater mode that makes this portable a great candidate for snorkelling or diving.
6. Geneva Sound System Model XS
Travel speakers are routinely sold with tall stories of turning tables into speakers and hotel rooms into discos. Ignore all that and go straight for the best-sounding by size: this Swiss-made speaker system that doubles as an alarm clock.
Connecting to a smartphone or laptop via Bluetooth, the Model XS also throws in a DAB+ radio. And it all snaps shut in a travel-friendly clamshell case.
It's also really useful for business trips, able to act as an impressive hands-free speaker for conference calls.
7. Petzl Tikka Plus 2 headtorch
You'll see Maglite torches in the gift sets on the plane, but it's an LED head torch from Petzl that you really need.
Powered by three AAA batteries and comfy to wear, the biggest beam is powerful enough for upcountry hiking in the pre-dawn darkness while a less powerful setting is just right for finding your hotel room late at night.
It also features flashing modes, and red light setting for stargazers trying to preserve their night-vision while dodging guy ropes on campsites.
8. Thule Perspektiv SLR Daypack
Is this the finest outdoorsy camera bag available? If you're taking your DSLR on holiday, this backpack from Thule with easy-vis bright blue compartments galore can take a camera and multiple lenses. It's ideal as both cabin baggage and for day trips, but that's not what makes it special.
Though its undercarriage is pleasingly tough and strong, it rather unexpectedly hides a useful rain cover, which covers the entire (and already water-resistant - even the zips and seams) daypack in the event of a downpour.
There's even a totally waterproof section for storing SD cards, a stash pocket and a clever tripod clip on the front, and - best of all - it's comfy to wear on a hike around town or up a mountain.
9. Goal Zero Yeti 1250
For long-term campers and caravanners headed off to remote parts with gadgetry in tow, a generator is a noisy necessity.
But there is a less intrusive option: this silent (if heavy at 54kg) option from Goal Zero, which stores a mighty 1500W of power within. That's enough to recharge a laptop twenty times over.
About 15 hours refuels it from a wall outlet, or even via a USB cable, but if you're off on a long trip to (say) the Australian Outback you'd be a fool not to add the optional solar panel that recharges the Yeti inside 20 hours.
10. SATcase for Android
Probably overkill for two weeks in the Med (unless you own a yacht), but adventurous types take note. Aimed at hikers, sailors and aviators, the SATcase (due to be launched later this year) transforms any Android smartphone into a satellite phone - thereby bypassing the globe's patchy 3G network.
SATcase is the first satellite phone kit that swaps a bulky receiver unit for a smartphone app, and comes in a rugged case. It also contains a 406 beacon that search and rescue teams can find using the COSPAS-SARSAT system.