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At the recent Go Pro Mountain Games, I came a cross a wide variety of cool items for outdoor activities. There were handy knives from Gerber, some tasty treats for your puppy from Eukanuba and plenty of energy drinks in powder form. However, I was attracted to and purchased two key items for projecting sound and now I’ve had ample time test drive them.


The first product was from a manufacturer better known for its line of solar powered batteries- Goal Zero.  A few of my friends have purchased their solar kits that help them store power in the deepest of woods (as long as there is enough sunlight), and they have been pleased with the quality of their products.  Therefore, I was anxious to try their line of powered speakers called RockOut.  These portable speakers now come in two versions- the original and RockOut2.  I picked up the latest version that retails for under $50 and have been quite pleased.


The speaker comes in an easy to carry zippered leather case that is about the size of a hot dog, but offers the sound reproduction of speakers much larger.  Compatible with any device that uses an audio headphone output jack, the Rock Out promotes 20 hours of music without draining your MP3 device.   Though there are a litany of speakers these days for you iPhones, iPods etc, the RockOut offers universal controls in a safe zippered package that charges off any standard USB charger.


I have a very dated iPod with thousands of songs and it’s my go to device; however, it lacks Bluetooth which eliminates dozens of other speaker choices for me.  In addition, carrying speakers with cables to connect is also very challenging and cumbersome.  This is where the RockOut really shines.  Its case has two handy storage areas for cables that never disconnect from the unit and a convenient netted holder for your music playing device.  On top of that, the volume, song selection and on/off switch on the outside of the speaker works with every MP3 player I have tried.


That all being said. How does it sound?  Well granted the speakers themselves are only 2 inches round and yet it provided ample loudness for campfires and was even loud enough to overcome crashing waves on the beach. I wouldn’t quite say it is ready for raging beach parties entertaining dozens but for 10 of us sitting on a blanket it makes a great accompaniment, was sand safe in its locked case and never ran out of power.  The RockOut is a fine choice for outside portable listening.


The other device I came across was from a small company called BOOM.  Their line of wireless speakers were also quite impressive.  I purchased the BOOM Swimmer for $40 (Mountain Games special normally $59).  They promoted the handy all in one unit as a floatable speaker that links to Bluetooth with a quick press of one button.  The speaker linked flawlessly to all music devices I tried however its range proved limited.  I also attempted to float the speaker in the pool and though this was cool, it muffled the sound significantly.  The speaker has a very handy flexible handle which allows it to be set up and hung anywhere while provided decent sound as long as the MP3 player stays within range.  It’s cool and a great conversation piece but not up to the compassion to the RockOut2.