Forget nature and plug in the newest gadgets

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      It’s time to venture outside. But where to plug in and stay connected? Let’s not even pretend that summer is all about getting back to nature after a winter spent indoors. Yeah, the great outdoors is pretty great, but until they find a way to charge up devices using sand or logs, power sources are still needed. An afternoon fishing on the Capilano or the Fraser is one thing. But we’re just passing the time while our gadgets charge up.

      Sony 4G Wearable Wireless Walkman Headphones ($89.99; Best Buy)
      You can listen to music underwater with these waterproof headphones. Many swimmers like the solitude of empty pools on weekday mornings, but these are great at sealing out screaming children at the neighbourhood pool on a weekend. I’ve always been a bit wary that waterproof isn’t actually waterproof, but these work. Incredibly lightweight and great sound.

      Magellan Explorist 310 ($199;
      So now we can listen to tunes underwater, but what if we get lost in the pool? Ah, there’s something for that too, although this waterproof handheld GPS probably has a better use than keeping within your lane. The eXplorist 310 is loaded with the World Edition map, which includes the complete road network in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, and Australia and major roads throughout the rest of the world. It also includes water features, urban and rural land use, and city centres.

      Sphero ($99;
      When Barack Obama calls your product cool, you know you’ve got a winner. Sphero is a three-inch ball of fun controlled by an app on your smartphone. On YouTube, you can find all kinds of things people are doing with their Spheros; one guy navigated his around 24 bottles of Jack Daniel’s. The polycarbonate shell works with a network sensor that includes a multi-axis rate gyro and accelerometer, which means it can travel up to three feet per second and in all directions—it’s guaranteed to drive your cat or dog nuts. It’s powered by lithium polymer batteries that are inductively recharged, and it has a Bluetooth-based command and control data link with a 50-foot-plus range. So far, more than 20 apps are available for it, and the company wants more API developers for both iOS and Android devices. For instance, swing your smartphone like a golf club and Sphero will be the ball. With every new app you download, you’ll experience this robotic ball in a new and fun way.

      D-Link DIR-505 SharePort Mobile Companion ($49.99;
      If you’re heading to a hotel somewhere this summer, chances are you’ll only get free Wi-Fi on one or two of your devices. After that, you’ll be charged extra to use the hotel’s services. The D-Link DIR-505 SharePort Mobile Companion tricks the hotel’s wired or wireless Internet into seeing only one device and can also help boost a weak Wi-Fi connection. As it also has a USB port, you can stream movies, music, photos, and documents to any device wirelessly. Bonus: it also works as a USB charger, so you don’t need another USB brick to charge up your devices. Bonus number two: you can use an app on your phone or tablet to set up and change the settings of the SharePort, so there’s no need to bring along Ethernet cords to configure it.

      The SurfEasy works to shield your identity and location when you’re using Wi-Fi.

      SurfEasy Plug In Privacy ($69.99; London Drugs)
      Internet connections may be ubiquitous these days, but how trustworthy are they? Even at trusted Wi-Fi locations, someone with nefarious intentions could be intercepting the sites you visit and skimming keystrokes and passwords. SurfEasy is a little USB flash drive that works on any PC or Mac. On the drive, there’s an encrypted web browser that anonymously hides your location. Using the same encryption technology as banks, this device shields your ID and location. It even makes it seem like you’re in the U.S., so Netflix subscribers can access the much more content-heavy American site.

      Rapala Sapphire Rod And Reel Spin ($107.98; available online only at
      My fly-fishing guy is a loyal Sage and Loomis fan with hopes of one day owning Ambassadeurs. But he’s willing to concede that the Rapala Sapphire Rod and Reel Spin Combo may convert him with its front-drag system for steady fish-fighting power. The rod and reel combination includes a Rapala Sapphire 193-centimetre lightweight, durable graphite rod and a Rapala Sapphire #15 spinning reel with an instant antireverse and multidisk front-drag system. The custom fast-action blank tapers allow for longer casts and hook-setting power.