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Waterproof Speaker - Say It Isn't So

This is what the younger crowd (example: my 2 daughters in their 40’s) likes, It’s the take your music everywhere ethic.
 
Back in the early 1980s, my tandem partner and I paddled some popular and highly populated section of the American River in northern California. It was a zoo, but a fun zoo. There were all sorts of boats and floating contraptions on the river. This was the era of boom boxes, and many of the floaters had them blasting. One canoe had a particularly sophisticated sound system: a pair of quality stereo speakers inset into the float tanks of an aluminum canoe. That sucker was LOUD.

No, this wasn't a wilderness nature trip, but some of it was au naturel. We helped one couple fix a leaky inflatable craft with duct tape.
 
Friends of mine in and around the town of Ely call Piragis, Piranhas, none shop there, I do go in to look at their books, make notes of titles that I later check out at home from the public library or order on line. Never spend any money to support them. Ely Surplus a few doors down the block has most of the stuff I want to restock up on.
The BWCA is not much of a wilderness anymore. It is wild, just too accessible to the maddening hordes. Loud music and too many people drove me out years ago. It is a wonderful place to get your feet wet canoe camping. The real wilderness is outside the bdub where you don’t need a permit and don’t see any tourist canoeists.
Just say no to waterproof speakers! If you must have your music, use something to plug it into your own ears. You will of course not hear Sig Olson’s SINGING WILDERNESS ever, because you have permanently damaged your hearing.
 
I saw that ad also and was very disappointed that it was offered. Last year I was in the BWCA at this time and one morning before we broke camp three people went by, paddles flailing with music blaring from one of those speakers. Not my idea of the Singing Wilderness at all.
Heading back this year at the end of the month, hoping for some quiet solitude.
Jim
 
I absolutely abhor those "outdoor speakers", I already live in a very noisy area with a major truck route, industrial use, and a popular plaza less than a block away, none of which existed when I moved here over 30 years ago, The bush is where I go to get away from that 24/7 racket and preserve my sanity. Piragis seems to have sure lost a lot of business by this move, including mine.
I've had to cut more than one trip short because some yahoo blares their "music" from dawn to the wee hours of the morning, totally preventing me from de-stressing and hearing nothing but nature, the whole reason I go to the woods in the first place...
 
I love these Bluetooth speakers. I own one and use it daily, but only in my kitchen where I listen to audio stories and music. I don't share it with the neighbourhood. That isn't cool. For rambling round the yard listening to tunes while I work I have a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Again, I keep it to myself. But what these outdoors kids really need for the sake of all our respect and sanity are pairs of Bluetooth ear buds. On a recent trip to foreign parts I spent the first few days walking city streets and wondering what the passerby were mumbling to me. I finally realized they had AirPods in their ears probably talking on their phones or listening to music. The silence was golden.
 
The technology is nothing new, back in the 90's a friend was coming up for a trip and said he had a surprise for me. It turned out the surprise was a music device with little speakers. I wasn't too impressed. I guess it's possible to listen to music at a low enough volume as to not disturb your neighbors, but unfortunately people aren't that considerate. Playing music in the back country should come with the responsibility to not disturb others and should at least be mentioned in the marketing.

I'm curious to know if BWCA rules say anything about it, or at least have a "quiet time", like no music after 10 PM.


40 some years ago I used to do solo overnight backpacking trips on the weekend and took a transistor radio. I enjoyed listening to Casey Kassem and an oldies show, so I wouldn't say that there is no place at all for music in the bush. People just need to be considerate and respectful.
 
Those JBL speakers are nice, but weigh over two pounds. During my one and only BWCA excursion, we averaged 8 portages a day. If a two pound music device is being carried over 8 portages/day, I want to stop and visit with those guys. They’ll likely be young, strong, and carrying a big cooler with ice and beer. I’d be happy to sip their beer, but I wouldn’t want to camp near them.
 
When I took up sea kayaking in 1996, I bought a VHF radio for safety communication reasons. The model I bought had lots of channels, including marine, aviation, weather, citizens band, and AM and FM. I took the radio on canoe trips, too.

I'd occasionally enjoy listening to local AM or FM stations in camp at night, always alone. Very occasionally I'd play the radio when paddling when I was totally alone somewhere.

I haven't done that in many years because I stopped kayaking in 2004 and eventually stopped taking the radio, and don't even know where it is anymore in my cathedral of entropy.
 
I’ve never understood the need to have noise at all times. Runners, bikers, skiers, paddlers….all with ear buds in, missing everything around them (including hazards). I like the sounds of nature, and to hear other people’s music ruins that for me. If I’m in the house, I sometimes have the radio on, and usually do in the car. But not outside unless I’m painting the garage or something tedious like that. And our closest neighbor is 1/4 mile away.

I know a lot of people have their TVs on all day long. Hubby’s brother-in-law, especially. Has to have that constant sound, even if not paying any attention to it (including one night when I couldn’t get any sleep at the in-laws, because there was a TV on somewhere in the house ALL NIGHT, including the frequent bleeps during the late-night shows. Turns out it was in the room next to ours - BIL uses it to fall asleep, and SIL is just used to it). When it isn’t the TV, he has music on, sometimes pretty loud, even if others are trying to read.

Why is there this need for constant distraction? Plus, why do people think others want to hear their choice of music? Ear buds are one thing, making everyone else listen to it is cruel. Then you have a river with tons of floaters, each group blaring different music, sometimes a matter of feet apart. Plus yelling. My family has a camp on one of those - I just try to time my paddles for mornings, when they aren’t out yet. It’s lovely on weekdays. Friday afternoon through Saturday night is to be avoided.
 
I decided to call Piragis this morning and express my disappointment that they even sell those speakers. The woman I spoke with was very understanding, she said they were a Labor Day closeout sale item. I didn’t think to ask if they were going to restock with next years new and improved model with extended battery life. For what it was worth she said she would pass my feelings on to the marketing team.
Now if everyone called and supplied 8x10 glossy photographs with circles and arrows showing the garbage then we would have a movement.
Hope most get the reference.
I just thought it would be more useful than carrying on here.
Jim
 
BIL uses it to fall asleep

On a totally unrelated off-note, there is one sound that I have found deeply soothing and sleep inducing, and, surprisingly, it's the sound of a running fission reactor:
Can't say much about why or anything. It just works with me. Nothing else does, btw.
 
I decided to call Piragis this morning and express my disappointment that they even sell those speakers. . . . I just thought it would be more useful than carrying on here.

Be prepared to play whack-a-mole HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and ad infinitum.

While we're bashing this JBL product, I got curious as to how well it works. A review:

 
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I own a Bose portable speaker and use it in the garage, in the backyard while weeding, at family vacations to the beach (in the condo), places like that.

I abhor portable speakers on the river, always have. As several have mentioned above, for me, the river is a refuge of natural sound, away from, as Abbey wrote, "this new America of concrete and iron which none of us can quite understand or accept or wholly love."
 
I wonder why the need for "waterproof" speakers at all. It seems to me they would be an easy thing to keep dry in camp. Do people want to strap them to their paddle boards or use them in their boat while underway in the rain.

A good friend that was attacked by a grizzly would play a radio at night to keep them away on subsequent trips. He floated remote rivers and I doubt anyone else heard it outside of his group. I guess if he had waterproof speakers he could have left them outside of his tent, which could have mattered if there were multiple tents.
 
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