Hint: It wasn’t so you could take to your iPod into the woods. A reader asks Outside’s Gear Guy:

I like to backpack with my iPod when I am alone in the wilderness. After setting camp it would be ideal to have speakers instead of headphones to enjoy my music. Are there any lightweight, portable speakers good for backpacking?

Sorry, but this is just plain self-involved idiocy. If the only way you can stand to hike and backpack is to having your tunes blaring to keep you company, you should find another hobby. Sure, everybody hikes into the countryside for their own reasons but one thing is universal: the point of getting into the wilds is to experience things you can’t exprience in civilization.

With all our store-bought gear and wisdom gleaned from compelling outdoor blogs, we’re not getting too doggone wild no matter how far we hike in — as long as we plan to hike back. Some stuff in the wilds can be experienced only by hearing it. Like, how you know you’re nearing the top of a ridge because the sound of wind whistling through the trees is getting louder.

I could buy the argument of taking an iPod and earbuds to help you sleep when the sound of tent flaps flapping is keeping you up all night — heck, the new Nano weighs practically nothing. But external speakers? Please. Don’t.