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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Appendix: Equipment Reviews

The following equipment worked very well, as previously reviewed:
The following performed incredibly well, but were not previously reviewed:

Blackberry Curve 8320. This was by far the most valuable phone on the trip in a ship full of phones. International data roaming meant that Lisa and I could get e-mail access at all times. With the UMA service, any phone call in a Wi-Fi connected zone was a local call to the US. Today's choice would most likely be a Blackberry 8900. Note that of all the U.S. Carriers, only T-mobile supports UMA. For international travel, there is no reason to carry any other phone. I say despite knowing that yes, the Nexus One and iPhone are faster devices. It doesn't matter how fast the device is if you can't get access to data at a decent price while traveling, which is when I want data most. Highly recommended.

Sea-To-Summit Dry Bags. Light and water proof. Exactly what you want for a sailing trip. Or a cycling trip, or a backpacking trip. Every outdoors person should have a collection of these in his closet. Highly recommended.

MSR Pack Towel. Douglas Adams on towels. This one is light and absorbs massive quantities of water. Enough said.

Cloudveil Cool Caribe Shants. I bought 2 pairs at the Sports Basement. They were great. Long enough to protect knees, short enough to be cool. I can't wait to treat them like cycling knickers. The pockets are so well designed that when I got dunked into water my wallet stayed in them and I didn't lose it. Highly recommended.

The following performed somewhat decently, but had drawbacks:

Vibram Five Fingers. This was my first trip with the Five Fingers where I finally got comfortable with them. As usual, they attracted lots of attention, with two people offering to buy them off my feet. The problem with them is that once you get sand in them, it's nearly impossible to get sand out without putting them in the laundry. On a boat trip, that's incredibly annoying. I still wouldn't use these on a long hike.

HP Mini. This was a reasonable netbook, but the battery life is terrible, I don't think we ever got more than 3 hours of battery life out of it. They keyboard was nice, and I liked being able to write on it while I was on vacation, but if I was looking for a netbook, I'd look for one with longer battery life.

Wolverine PicPac. On the one hand, this allowed us to back up all our pictures. On the other hand, it can't be treated like a normal hard drive, and had a tough time connecting once I got home. I think a better solution would be to carry a netbok and a universal card reader.

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