Nature is swell, but you know what makes the great outdoors especially great? The gear. Check our picks for the best gadgets, technologies and tools that make communing with nature slightly less one-sided.

Kensington FX 500 Speaker To Go

A rugged set of iPod speakers, encased in vinyl and foam, survives splashes and falls. $50;

Mountain Hardwear Stimulus Jacket

To make the lightest waterproof jacket around–a mere five ounces–Mountain Hardwear adhered a polyurethane laminate to a near-weightless tricot mesh.** $175; **

MSR Reactor Stove System

This stove won’t blow out in high winds because it premixes air and fuel and doesn’t require open air at the burner. As the fuel canister empties, a built-in regulator maintains consistent gas pressure, and thus a consistent–and quick–boiling time of three minutes per quart. $140;

Bushnell Onix 400 GPS Receiver

Real-time weather fronts roll across maps on this handheld GPS unit, the first with Doppler-radar feeds from XM satellite radio, plus XM’s music and sports. The display also layers trail routes on top of aerial photos, satellite images and topographic maps. $500;

Specialized S-Works Epic Carbon Disc

This ultralight mountain bike instantly adapts to trail conditions. Fast-flowing compression fluid lets the rear shock automatically switch between a cushy, loose suspension for passing over rocks in comfort and a stiff, fast mode for zooming across flat spots at top speed. $6,500;

Kestrel 4500 Weather Meter

Know which way the wind blows with a meter that shows both gust speed and, with its digital compass, direction. Attention, meteorology geeks: It stores up to 2,000 measurements, including humidity, temperature and pressure, that you can upload to your PC. $400;

Olympus 770 SW camera

This impact- and crush-resistant digicam works under water up to 33 feet deep and tags pics with the depth and pressure at which they were snapped. Outside the water, droplets won’t stick to the lens. An LED illuminates close-up shots and doubles as a flashlight.** $380; **

Eureka N!ergy 1310 Tent

You can see in the dark with the first electric tent, but you can’t see the wires–they’re built-in and hidden under fabric sleeves. Power flows from an eight-pound, detachable, 12-volt DC battery that charges from your car. Plug lamps, cellphones–anything with a 12-volt adapter–into the tent’s three glowing sockets.** $300; **

Gregory Z30 Pack

Save your joints: This daypack adjusts its frame depending on how much you carry. The heavier your load gets, the more the weight pulls on two crisscrossed, flexible steel rods on the back. As the rods tense, they provide more support and distribute weight evenly. $120;