Outdoor hiking/bicycling speakers

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quazi
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Outdoor hiking/bicycling speakers

Post by quazi » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:05 pm

I've never felt comfortable having my earbuds in while riding my bicycle or walking around in the woods.

Some times I would like to be able to listen to audiobooks and podcasts while out and about. I figure a small speaker or set of speakers that I could hook to backpack straps would let me do that while still maintaining some level of awareness of cars coming up behind me, bears, etc. Also, if I'm listening to an audiobook that keeps me from having to talk to myself to let bears know I'm coming.

They don't need to be really loud, but loud enough to hear over rain or bicycle tires on gravel would be nice. They do need to be rainproof. I want 3.5mm, not bluetooth so that I can hook them up to my theoretical mp3 player (I gave mine away and need to get a new one).

Any suggestions?

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Re: Outdoor hiking/bicycling speakers

Post by Close_enough » Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:24 pm

There are Bluetooth speakers designed to be worn around the neck and both BT and corded mini/micro/nano speakers small enough to be dangled from a neck lanyard. These are probably your best option. Otherwise, just drop the MP3 player (if it has an external speaker) in a waterproof cell phone pouch with a neck lanyard.

EDIT: The waterproof mini speakers are often sold as "Shower speakers", but finding a corded one is going to be a bit tricky due to the leak path through the 3.5mm audio jack. They're mostly BT.

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Re: Outdoor hiking/bicycling speakers

Post by quazi » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:37 pm

Thanks, I hadn't thought about searching for shower speakers.

I've been using Sansa Clip mp3 players for years. They don't have bluetooth or built-in speakers. I wasn't very happy with the last one I got, but in my short bit of searching around I haven't seen anything that would necessarily be any better. The Sansa Clip has a lot of things going for it, especially for $40.

I did a bit of googling and the EcoPebble speaker has pretty decent reviews. It doesn't cost much either. It looks like the battery would only be good for short trips, but that's okay. It has both bluetooth and a wired audio-in. I'd guess the waterproof rating doesn't apply when the 3.5mm cable is plugged in, but I'd guess it is still good enough for rain.
https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Digital-Au ... =ecopebble

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Re: Outdoor hiking/bicycling speakers

Post by the_alias » Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:33 pm

Honestly there is little I hate more in the wilderness than coming across some teens or millennials listening to music from their shitty phone speakers. You are out in nature to experience it, not to distract yourself from it.

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Re: Outdoor hiking/bicycling speakers

Post by quazi » Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:52 pm

the_alias wrote:Honestly there is little I hate more in the wilderness than coming across some teens or millennials listening to music from their shitty phone speakers. You are out in nature to experience it, not to distract yourself from it.

:clownshoes:
I can see that being annoying, but I think my case is somewhat different than what you're thinking of.

I'm not talking about backpacking through a nature reserve, I just live in a relatively wild place. I end up walking through the woods or along the edge of the woods very frequently because they are all around me.

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Re: Outdoor hiking/bicycling speakers

Post by Close_enough » Tue Nov 08, 2016 2:11 pm

I think I just stumbled across the perfect solution. Look up "Open Ear Bone Conduction Headphone". They're not cheap, but they're designed for personal listening (no offending folks like the_alias with leaking noise) while still being able to hear your surroundings.

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Re: Outdoor hiking/bicycling speakers

Post by zero11010 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:52 pm

For an audiobook or a podcast where perfect audio quality isn't really the goal I would strongly suggest using one earbud. For listening to music where audio quality may matter more, I would strongly suggest using even one earbud instead of one travel speaker.

Why?
* Speakers are going to negatively impact people around you. There are lots and lots and lots of options like this (things for bike riding, and hiking, and all kinds of things). Things specifically designed to clip on to a backpack strap or whatever else. Lots of these are water resistant and blah blah blah.
* You can adjust the sound from the earbud to still be able to hear things around you. I promise that you can play the audio in one earbud at a lower volume with it still audible than you can play it from a speaker.
* If you only have one earbud in you're still going to have one ear unobstructed and without even low audio coming from a speaker.
* Speakers will run you through batteries faster. This isn't the end of the world and rechargeable speakers and batteries help a lot. But, it's a factor.
* You can get WAY better sound quality out of a reasonably priced set of earbuds than you can get out of a reasonably priced speaker. This may not be a factor with the types of things you intend to listen to.

What is it that a speaker will do that a single earbud will not?
* If this is a goal: a speaker will more easily let people around you listen to what you're listening to (there are earbud options for this, but generally speaking this is true)
* With a speaker you don't have to worry about shit in your ears, some people just hate that.



Earbud suggestions:
* Spend time to find some that are actually comfortable for you. You can spend more and get some that are actually molded to your ear if comfort is this important for you.
* Every pair I've ever seen that isn't just hard plastic (like the worst and cheapest types) come with silicone inserts of difference sizes. Don't assume that the pair that start out on the earbuds are the best size for you. Try every size. If shit is popping out when you walk or run, you have successfully found the wrong size.
* For use with an activity use a pair with a clip to attach it to your shirt/jacket/lapel. This takes the weight of the cord itself off of your ear and helps it stay in place.
* Get a pair that are designed to work with your phone or whatever. Basically all of these come with control options. You should have access to three buttons for volume up, volume down, and an action button. For modern phones the action button will pause, play, skip forward (double press), skip back (triple press), and activate the phone's voice commands (press and hold) giving you access to anything you can do by voice. In some cases a certain pair may work with android devices but not apple devices (it's rare, but it happens).

Basic Sony earbuds are fine for regular use, not great for running, do work great for walking
http://www.sony.com/electronics/in-ear- ... x110-110ap
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Bose noise cancelling are really outstanding, but only if noise cancelling is something you're really looking for. Same basic design for the ones without noise canceling.
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I've never found the over the ear style to be needed, but there are lots of options.
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Re: Outdoor hiking/bicycling speakers

Post by quazi » Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:00 pm

Close_enough wrote:they're designed for personal listening (no offending folks like the_alias with leaking noise)
zero11010 wrote: Speakers are going to negatively impact people around you.
I'm not at all concerned with bothering other people, and it's not because I'm an asshole. I just made a mistake in saying hiking speakers. I was thinking that what I would be looking for would be similar to what hikers might use, but I'm not going to be using them on hiking trips.

I'm primarily going to be using them when I'm just getting from point A to point B in normal, everyday life. This means walking in the ditch/shoulder of narrow country roads with woods growing right up to them. Also I'm going to use them while doing tasks out in the woods like gathering firewood or picking berries, which I do primarily on private property. I basically never see other humans on foot while doing these things, and if I did I would want to pause the audiobook to say hi to them.
Close_enough wrote:I think I just stumbled across the perfect solution. Look up "Open Ear Bone Conduction Headphone". They're not cheap, but they're designed for personal listening (no offending folks like the_alias with leaking noise) while still being able to hear your surroundings.
Thanks, I'll have to do some research into them. Some seem to be relatively inexpensive, but I'm not sure if those ones are any good.
zero11010 wrote:For an audiobook or a podcast where perfect audio quality isn't really the goal I would strongly suggest using one earbud. For listening to music where audio quality may matter more, I would strongly suggest using even one earbud instead of one travel speaker.
I hadn't thought of using one earbud, thanks. I know in the past when I had one earbud go down it would annoy me, but maybe I just need to get used to it. Sometimes it seems like the audio will be done in such a way that most of one person's voice will come from one side while another person's voice will come from the other, but I'm guessing those are the exception.

In the past I always bought really cheap earbuds, as I broke several pairs a winter. When it got cold the cables would get brittle and break. Even running them through the inside of my jacket didn't seem to work. I live in a warmer place now, so it might be worth getting some better ones.

I like the ones with earhooks, as mine get yanked out a lot. I can't stand the style that have bits that go up inside my ears.

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Re: Outdoor hiking/bicycling speakers

Post by zero11010 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 2:43 pm

quazi wrote: I hadn't thought of using one earbud, thanks. I know in the past when I had one earbud go down it would annoy me, but maybe I just need to get used to it. Sometimes it seems like the audio will be done in such a way that most of one person's voice will come from one side while another person's voice will come from the other, but I'm guessing those are the exception.

In the past I always bought really cheap earbuds, as I broke several pairs a winter. When it got cold the cables would get brittle and break. Even running them through the inside of my jacket didn't seem to work. I live in a warmer place now, so it might be worth getting some better ones.

I like the ones with earhooks, as mine get yanked out a lot. I can't stand the style that have bits that go up inside my ears.
I started using earbuds a lot in the early 90's and have continued to do so to this day (I own many pairs, some for when I ride a motorcycle that are small enough to fit inside my helmet with limited space, some that are comfortable enough to wear while sleeping, some that are immovable enough to deal with an hour or more of rigorous exercise).

I'm not an expert, but I've got some time tested opinions.

Really focus on how comfortable they are. Stores like Best Buy will let you return ear buds that you wear for a day or two and don't find comfortable. And, really, don't assume that the default silicone will fit your ear.

Since you have concerns about them falling out, ONLY look at pairs with clips or otherwise negate the pull on the ear (or plan on spending a dollar or two to buy a clip for this purpose). Clips are incredibly common, especially for anything designed to be worn during physical activity. The clip does a few things. One, without the clip the weight of the whole cord will try to pull it out of your ear. The more you move, and the more you sweat the greater the impact of gravity on the situation. I imagine this is why you like the idea of the ones that fit over your ear. Some people do this with regular earbuds, too. You can also use the clip to hold the extra earbud down to keep it from flopping all over. At the very least the extra earbud can be fed down the inside of your shirt.
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Plan to deal with the cord itself, or consider bluetooth options (these will have battery issues, but some are super convenient). I use a small toggle to wind up the cord so that I only have the length of cord to go from my pocket to my ear without any extra flopping around waiting to get caught on things (works for the 1ft length from my breast pocket to my ear, or from a front pant pocket to my ear). A common option is to run a cord on the inside of a shirt instead of on the outside. This helps prevent it from getting caught on things. Some types of clothing (shirts, jackets, vests) even have systems to help with this.


Another thought for your idea of getting the over ear style earbuds. This type tends to be heavier. If you're using one side and not the other that will be more weight pulling them down.

You could always experiment with cutting one of the earbuds off at the Y intersection of the cable. Personally, I'd get a pair of regular earbuds designed for athletic use (coming with a clip, a cable management tool, and being water resistant)



People wear earbuds on marathon runs. They're going to work for you when you take a stroll.


Good luck!

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Re: Outdoor hiking/bicycling speakers

Post by Close_enough » Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:31 pm

zero11010 wrote:For an audiobook or a podcast where perfect audio quality isn't really the goal I would strongly suggest using one earbud. For listening to music where audio quality may matter more, I would strongly suggest using even one earbud instead of one travel speaker.
I do that for situations where I need to keep an ear out for my surroundings. I coil the extra wire around a badge clip and drop the unused earbud down my shirt to keep it out of the way. I've found they hold better than dedicated lapel clips.

http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/3 ... s-Pack-Of/

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