Melissa got me one of these nifty satellite radio receivers, which could come in handy on hikes. Normally I prefer to hear the sounds of the outdoors but not every hike is going to be all that interesting, soundwise, so a little aural entertainment could be nice to have along.
Also might be nice for backpacking — it weighs less than 5 ounces — heavier than an iPod Nano, I suspect, but with the advantage of being able to tune in weather forecasts (provided a signal is available.)
Battery life is a bit of a bugaboo: only four hours of live satellite listening, but it has a one-gigabyte memory chip and lets you record up to 50 hours of programming. Playback of recorded content is much more battery-friendly: up to 15 hours. Can upload MP3s with Windows-only software (sorry, Mac folks).
It’s probably a better fit for walks around the neighborhood compared to, say, deep in a canyon or redwood forest, but it’ll be interesting to see how well it works in the woods.
(Actually, the receiver comes with a home kit that includes an antenna, battery charger, dock and connection cable to your home stereo — and the all-important remote — which makes it a very nice-to-have gadget for listening and computing. No loss of tunes when the computer crashes!)