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Innovative Gadgets for the Outdoor Enthusiast
 Innovative Gadgets for the Outdoor Enthusiast 

(ARA) - Searching for that perfect Father's Day or graduation gift? If the dad or graduate in your life enjoys the great outdoors, consider choosing a gift that can help enhance the recreational experience.

Outdoor sports lovers are known gadget aficionados, enjoying everything from the latest advances in camping gear to feature-filled digital compasses. Today's high-tech electronic devices are small, lightweight and durable -- making them easily portable, even on daylong bicycling or boating excursions. And they can provide outdoor enthusiasts with an unprecedented range of helpful features and tools. Here's a closer look at some of the more popular outdoor electronic products.

Never Get Lost Again

Once reserved exclusively for use by the U.S. military, today's handheld global positioning system (GPS) devices have made the world's premier navigation system available to everyone. GPS devices receive radio signals from a network of 24 satellites to determine a user's exact location on the globe. The sophisticated devices can accurately pinpoint your location by altitude, latitude and longitude to within just a few feet.

Fishing enthusiasts can bring handheld GPS devices on the boat to find elusive fishing holes, get to the perfect location on the lake or even mark the spot where they caught that big lunker last summer. Recreational boaters can use GPS units to navigate lakes, rivers and coastal waterways.

Outdoor lovers who enjoy bicycling can use GPS devices to measure speed, calculate how long it will take to get back home and even track how far they've traveled. Like boaters, cyclists can pinpoint their position at anytime -- even on remote trails and pathways -- so they'll never have to worry about getting lost.

Two-Way Radios: Out of Sight Doesn't Mean Out of Touch

Forget about the walkie-talkies you might have used as a kid; today's advanced two-way radios use new technology to help outdoor enthusiasts stay in touch within distances up to two miles. Two-way radios using the Family Radio Service (FRS) band are ideal for bicyclists, boaters, golfers and other recreationalists who may find themselves separated over short distances.

FRS radios are particularly popular with families because there is no monthly service fee, as with a cell phone, and they're inexpensive enough to give to children, without having to worry about loss or breakage. Several FRS radio models are even equipped with "subchannels," also known as "privacy codes," which can block the voices of other users.

Digital Assistants Lend a Helping Hand

Today's personal desktop assistants (PDAs), such as Palm Pilot devices, are rapidly outgrowing their roles as digital rolodexes, traditionally used primarily by students and office workers. Outdoor lovers are finding an impressive array of uses for PDAs, using the handy devices to carry electronic maps and travel guides, keep up with sports scores, check snow conditions in a favorite snowmobiling area or even send e-mail to friends and family.

For anglers, PDAs may soon be able to make a precise operation out of their relaxing hobby. National Geographic Maps is working with partner companies to deliver fishing maps and related data to PDAs. The new service, which is scheduled to begin in 2002, will allow users to make customized notes on their fishing maps and even plot where they've previously caught fish on a body of water.

Cell Phones Improve Outdoor Safety

The thought of making a phone call while bicycling through a secluded forest path isn't as outrageous as it might have sounded a decade or so ago. Thanks to expanded coverage areas that include even remote locations, outdoor enthusiasts can use their cell phones for a wide range of purposes, over an ever-increasing area.

While some recreationalists may use their cell phone to simply stay in touch with loved ones from the comfort of a backwoods retreat, others are finding that a cell phone can be most valuable as a safety device, enabling the user to call for assistance in the event of an emergency. In fact, the American Red Cross even recommends bringing a cell phone along for added safety while camping or hiking.

Bring It Along While Biking or Boating

Wondering how to bring today's handy electronic gadgets along on an outdoor adventure? One Minnesota company may have the perfect answer. Minneapolis-based Good-to-Go Products offers a handy product that provides a stable platform to attach portable electronic devices to a wide range of recreational equipment, including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), bicycles, boats, golf carts and motorcycles.

With the ClipMount cell phone holder, users can quickly and easily secure their handheld devices on a stable platform, using the simple belt clip or swivel clip found on the back of most electronic products available today. Compatible devices include cell phones, GPS devices, electronic compasses, pagers, two-way radios and PDAs.

The ClipMount holder comes with a number of different mounting options:

* handlebar clamp, which can be affixed to handlebars on equipment such as bicycles, motorcycles and ATVs.

* powerful suction cups, which form a firm bond on boats, golf carts and automobile windows -- virtually any area with a smooth mounting surface.

* mounting screws, which fasten the holder to most standard automobile brackets.

To purchase your own ClipMount holder or to find out more about the product, call toll free (877) 998-TOGO (8646) or visit the company's Web site at

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