Yeah, it’s not an iPod, but for around $60 the Freestyle Sport MP3 player is shockproof, has up to 4GB of memory, only weighs 2.1 oz (58 gr.) with waterproof headphones, and pumps out music for up to 17 hours on one charge. For me, this is near perfect backcountry electronics.
I set up my Freestyle about a week ago, for use during the enhanced interrogation technique otherwise known the one-hour lap swim. I’d still rather be skiing, but a workout mix of Zep, Great White, Aerosmith and Clapton seems be the key to resisting torture and even finishing with a smile.
The Freestyle will actually play a bunch of formats, and interfaces nicely with Windows Media Player (and is said to fine with Mac as well). I found the button based control system and tiny LCD a bit difficult, but after some practice I’m getting there. I was optimistic about the included FM radio receiver, but sadly that’s worthless unless you’re outside with a clean broadcast. Indoors where I swim, one station comes in compared to dozens normally available, and it’s a station with a playlist I don’t like. (I was kind of hoping to vary my auditory environment with some talk radio, but nope, and perhaps that’s better anyway.)
In all, a good player that’s bomber for backcountry use. Website here.