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iPods for pools and other cool waterproof gear

If you plan to get wet this summer, check out  “Today” tech editor Paul Hochman’s top water-friendly  products.
/ Source: TODAY

We’re on the Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, as part of the “Today Sets Sail” special, and everyone on board is getting wet — and getting wild. So it's no wonder that we’re thinking about waterproof products for you and your family. The show’s tech editor Paul Hochman is here on the ship with us to tell us about the coolest new gear and gadgets. Here are his top choices:

H20 Audio’s waterproof iPod headphonesMost swimmers want to die after a long swim, and it has nothing to do with fatigue. They’re just bored out of their minds. Listening to music during that hour-long workout would be wonderful, if not miraculous. But there have been no waterproof high-fi options — until now. Consider this breakthrough product from H20 Audio — a totally waterproof set of headphones that work with your iPod down to a depth of 10 feet. Ingenious silicone earplugs lock out the water, and the waterproof speakers are able to be completely submerged. The headphones' “neckwrap” design keep them from being dislodged, even during dives. But they must be attached to a waterproof housing for your iPod.$39.95; www.h20audio.com

L. L. Bean's Stowaway Gore-Tex waterproof jacket
One day, WL Gore founder Bill Gore got so frustrated with a rod of polytetraflourethylene (a.k.a. teflon) material, he yanked it until it stretched. And that was how Gore-Tex fabric was born. Yes, out of frustration came waterproof breathable fabric, and one of Gore’s lightest fabrics is in L. L. Bean’s Stowaway jacket, which Gore guarantees will keep you dry. With taped seams and venting, it also keeps you cool. Best of all, it folds away into its own pocket for easy travel.$149: www.llbean.com

Vibram's Fivefingers water and beach shoeVibram, famous for its hiking boot and mountaineering treads, has created a shoe that is, well, just tread. The shoe looks like no other and is essentially a hybrid of a flip-flop and a glove. What it allows is the total freedom of going bare foot (or as the company calls it “barefooting”) — whether it’s on a boat, on the beach, in a pool, or even diving among sharp coral — without worrying about stepping on sharp objects. Tiny slits sliced in the rubber, similar to what you’d find in a snow tire, help with wet-deck traction. And if you’re into being the first on the block to do something, this should do it.$70; www.vibramfivefingers.com

Mizuno Breath Thermo's body-heated blanket
For those who don't want to get out of warm water on a cold, windy day, consider this high-tech garment. Called Breath Thermo and invented by the world’s largest sporting goods manufacturer, the Japanese company Mizuno, this fabric technology gets warm when you’re wet. How? The fabric absorbs body moisture (your skin is wet even when you’re cold) and converts it and reflects it back to you as dry heat. So your body stays dry, and your body temperature is maintained, which stops the chills that ensue when the body struggles to stay warm. Add some anti-bacterial and anti-odor functions, and you’ve got a great wet-weather layer.$49; www.mizunousa.comAquapac's waterproof technology bagAnybody who has hopped on a boat or even walked onto a sandy beach has gone into the high-tech danger zone. Indeed, for almost any silicon-based gear, including cameras, cell phones, camcorders and even chip-based key fobs, the water and dust will kill a product faster than you can say, “Oops.” The British company Aquapac makes a huge variety of cases in all sorts of shapes and sizes for almost any tech toy. The soft, clear plastic case not only keeps out water and sand, but it also lets you continue to use your gadget. The key is the so-called “aquaclip” on the top of each sack, which has v-groove that seals out water. Most of the Aquapac products are tested safe to depths of 15 feet, although the Keymaster goes down to 150 feet.$15-125; www.aquapac.netOlympus Stylus 720 SW's waterproof and shockproof cameraFor clumsy folks who kill their digital cameras by dropping them onto the pavement or fumbling them overboard, think about the Olympus Stylus 720 SW, which is not only water resistant up to depths of 10 feet, but it is also shockproof for drops up to 5 feet. The 7.1 megapixel camera has a special vibration-absorbing chassis that protects the electronics in sudden drops and an exterior sheathing that seals out water. It even has digital image stabilization for shaky-handed shooters and 28 different automatic shooting modes for a huge variety of picture-taking situations.$399; www.olympusamerica

Zig Zag Racer's electric remote-control boatsThe new Zig Zag Racer 2 from HobbyZone has what most remote-control hobbyists crave — an internal radio system that rejects interference, so multiple boat races won’t result in engine shutoffs due to radio frequency conflicts with other racers. The boats even come with screw-on buoy bumpers for playing water soccer. These boats have great agility and speed.$79; www.hobbyzone.com