MTBBritain Home

Routes  Tips  Features  Video  New  Links  Letters  Editor  Search  Shop  Reviews  FAQ  Forum          

Aquapac Classic Review

Aquapac Classic waterproof PDA bag £20 

Aquapac Connected Bag £40 

The Aquapac Classic waterproof PDA bag allows you to take your expensive pocket computer out in the wilds, even on rainy days.

The Aquapac Classic Bag

Review Aquapac Classic
Since our first review of GPS electronic maps, things have moved on a bit. Prices have come down and the software has improved. You can now get a Bluetooth GPS which frees you from the encumbrance of a cable running to your pocket PC. One thing which might put some people off is keeping their investment safe from the weather and this is where the Aquapac comes in.

The larger, Connected Bag

These bags seal your electronics off from the elements completely, yet still allow use of the stylus and of course, present no obstacle to Bluetooth reception. We've made most use of the Classic PDA bag, it's a good fit for the Ipaq but would suit pretty much all of the flat rectangular pocket PC's and Palms. The bag works with two rotating catches. These hold the waterproof seal at the top of the bag tightly closed and short of puncturing the bag (unlikely!) seem infallible.

Which way now?

We worried that the bag would steam up on the inside but this never happened, even on a really dank and foggy ride. Another seemingly groundless concern was that we might puncture the bag whilst using the stylus. With the Ipaq the 'File Close' button is in the top right corner and because the screen is inset this means some pressure has to be applied to the plastic membrane to operate it. The bag remained undamaged by our constant stylus stabbing abuse.

Aquapac Connected Bag
We also tested a bag with a clip which allows a cable to be connected if you don't have Bluetooth. The bag worked perfectly well, but is bulkier and less convenient in use than the Bluetooth Classic bag. We would however recommend this to anyone who already has a GPS (for example an Etrex) and a PDA without Bluetooth. The bag has a separate side clip with a foam rubber insert which allows a cable to pass through whilst keeping water firmly out.
If you've never tried computer mapped navigation it is quite simply a revelation.

Closing the rotating clips

It's not just being able to see on the map exactly where you are at each moment, the line of your course on the map clearly shows your direction as well, making a compass pretty much obsolete. The combination of these makes it possible to follow even indistinct rights of way across open Mooreland without a chance of getting lost or missing that jungle covered turn. This gives you the freedom not only to follow routes from websites and magazines, but also to re-trace routes you're guided along and plan your own routes on your PC in areas completely unknown to you. That's a level of freedom even die hard technophobes wouldn't sneer at.

Touch screen works through the bag.

Counting the cost: Wired Connection
Pocket PC from: £200 (TotalPDA do amazing deals on factory refurbished Ipaqs).
GPS: £120 (e.g. Garmin eTrex)
Connector Cable: £20
Aquapac Connected: £40
Memory Map Navigator: (Pocket Navigator included) plus UK South Map £160
Total £520

Counting the cost: Bluetooth Connection
Bluetooth Pocket PC from: £300
Bluetooth GPS: £230 E.g. EMTAC BTGPS
Aquapac Classic: £20
Memory Map Navigator: (Pocket Navigator included) plus UK South Map £160
Total £710

Yes, I know it's all very expensive. There are fringe benefits though, Pocket PC's are amazing organisers and can revolutionise your life if you're forgetful. Your pocket PC and GPS also make the basis of an excellent in car navigation system. We especially like TomTom Navigator II, which talks you smoothly to anywhere in the UK. If you're an information freak like I am, you can combine Navigator with a traffic camera warning system like Trafcam, an invaluable aid to safe overtaking and a potential license saver. Verdict: amazing if you can afford it.

Print Text! the whole review in text only form.



  Routes  Tips  Features  Video  New  Links  Letters  Editor  Search  Shop  Reviews  FAQ  Forum