As someone who frequently paddles with his ipod, I’ve long been on the lookout for a good solution to the problem of
keeping my magic little musicbox of beauty dry. Up to now, I’ve put my iPod (a gen4 unit sans photos) in a Ziplock bag,
cinched it up with tape, and prayed that I will not be capsized by a rogue swell. But now I have finally found the
solution. I recently got my hands on the SViP4G (oh please
oh please come up with a better name!) a wonderful new waterproof MP3 player housing from the good folks at
h2O Audio. So far, I cannot say enough about it. I took it out for a
paddle last weekend and even dumped it – with my ipod snugly encased inside – into the Hudson River. I actually held it
a few feet underwater as I was listening to some Pearl Jam.
These MP3 casings are very well-designed. You simply pop open
the casing and plug your ipod into the mini-jack that is affixed to the top. Shut the case and make sure that the
watertight seals have closed neatly around the unit. The case comes with a pair of headphones with special rubber ear
plugs that aren’t the most comfortable in the world, but they do a fine job once you get used to them. Once the
unit is closed, you have access to all the buttons and functionality of your ipod. Of course, you want to make sure you
get the right H2O unit for your particular ipod. The Mini
case will not work, for example, with the Gen4 because the size and button arrangement is different. But I was very
impressed that even the clickwheel works via a clever spinning wheel that simulates finger contact with the actual ipod
Of course, what I’d love to do with one of these things is go diving, but the company says that the cases’ protection
is only good to about 10 feet, which is fine for, say, snorkeling. Imagine floating over a reef alive with colorful
fish and hearing the new Foo Fighters album instead of your own labored breathing. Very cool. BTW: the company does
offer a unit called the i300dv (for Deep Version) that they
say is good to 200 feet.
But these casings do more than protect against water. They are rugged enough that you can use them for climbing,
hiking, surfing, mountain bike riding…wherever and how ever you might find yourself being active in the outdoors. I
assume you can’t hurl the thing off a mountain top or into a crevasse, but if it drops a few feet onto a jagged rock,
the case will absorb the fall and your ipod will keep on playing. If I have any quibble with the cases, they can be a
wee bit hard to close, as snapping shut the bottom latch takes some effort.
The cases run about $150, not exactly cheap, but worth the investment if just for the protection for your
I give the H2O a big thumbs up for helping me bring my music with me to the outdoors and underwater. On a scale of 1
to 10, I give it a 8.5.