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Make a splash

Electronics and water can be a downright disastrous combination—unless you have the right gear. Each of these gadgets performs well in conditions that would ruin more-delicate devices, so they’re perfect for beaches, pools, rainy days, and more.

Pricing guide

Free
$ - Bargain ($1–$30)
$$ - Inexpensive ($31–$60)
$$$ - Moderate ($61–$150)
$$$$ - Pricey ($151–$350)
$$$$$ - Splurge (more than $350)

Portability guide (from low to high)

Weightless
Extremely Portable
Comfortable
Cumbersome
Burdensome

The go-anywhere iPod case (A)

Price: $-$$
Portability: Comfortable

If you want to be able to listen to your iPod while you’re playing in water, sand, or mud, you need an OtterBox for iPod case (   ). Each OtterBox case encloses your iPod in thick plastic that’s not only waterproof (to about 3 feet) but also shock resistant. A thick membrane on the front of the case gives you full access to your iPod’s controls, and the case’s pass-through connector lets you plug in your favorite headphones ($20 to $50, depending on iPod model; OtterBox ).— Dan Frakes

The backup pair (B)

Price: $$
Portability: Extremely Portable

Aquapac’s 100% Waterproof Headphones may not compete with more-expensive models when it comes to sound quality, but they stand up to extreme conditions and are inexpensive enough to serve as your second pair when you don’t want to risk damaging your favorites. These in-ear-canal headphones are technically waterproof down to 30 feet; however, the company recommends that you wear them no deeper than 10 feet. Research suggests that using any in-ear headphones at greater depths may prevent your ears from maintaining proper pressure and could damage your hearing ($40; Aquapac ).— Dan Frakes

Poolside jams (C)

Price: $$$
Portability: Cumbersome

Want to share your music at the pool or on a boat? Then check out Atlantic’s Ego Waterproof Sound Case. This portable iPod speaker system provides a sealed iPod compartment that fits all dockable iPods (you access your iPod’s Click Wheel through a thin membrane). The Ego plays for up to 30 hours on four AA batteries. Shock-absorbing bumpers inside the compartment protect your iPod. A shoulder strap lets you carry the system, and left and right speakers with bass ports offer better-than-expected sound quality. And if you accidentally drop your Ego in the water, don’t fret—it floats ($150; Atlantic ).— Dan Frakes

Underwater snapshots (D)

Price: $$$$$
Portability: Extremely Portable

From exotic fish to rowdy kids, there’s a whole world of photographic gold waiting just below the water’s surface. Although you can buy an underwater case for your digital camera, these cases tend to be bulky and expensive—some cost as much as the camera itself. And a separate case is just one more thing you have to remember to pack. A better option is the Olympus Stylus 770 SW. This compact 7-megapixel camera may not have a lot of fancy controls, but it takes great photos in almost any climate. The camera will work in up to 33 feet of water or at freezing temperatures, it can survive a 5-foot drop, and it can withstand up to 220 pounds of pressure—all without a case. It even takes underwater videos. And if you take the camera snorkeling, you can set it to warn you when you get close to the 33-foot mark ($380; Olympus ).— Kelly Turner

Wave runner (E)

Price: $$$$$
Portability: Comfortable

If video is more your thing, Sanyo’s Xacti E1 will let you go where other consumer camcorders fear to tread: under the waves. This compact, flash-based camcorder is waterproof down to 5 feet. It records 640-by-480-pixel video in the H.264 MPEG-4 format (the same format that Apple uses for video on the iTunes Store), and 6-megapixel photos onto an SD card. When you get back to your Mac, simply open iMovie and drag the files from the SD card into iMovie’s clips pane to edit them. Cannonball competition, anyone ($499; Sanyo )?— Kelly Turner

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