From fan-cooled pith helmets to beer scooters, the year’s top 10 travel gadgets are designed to thrill, reports James Jeffrey
GIARDIA, cryptosporidium and tapeworms are completely passe as holiday souvenirs. Keep your digestive tract fashionably intact with a SteriPEN Adventurer ($279), a portable water purifier that uses UV light to leave assorted aquatic nasties scarcer than the Australian Democrats. More: www.paddypallin.com.au. THIS pith helmet with a solarpowered fan fuses old-fashioned, machete-wielding, G&T-sipping adventure with the low emissions, Kyoto-ratifying future. At only $US29 ($33), a finer way to keep cool with a touch of derring-do is hard to imagine. Its maker suggests it “requires the kind of damn ‘em personal style seldom seen since Teddy Roosevelt”. If you’re not taking the pith, you’re not taking a holiday. More: www.sun-mate.com. STEP beyond the bullbar mentality and avoid adding to Australia’s breathtaking road-kill statistics with ShuRoo ($495). Attached to the front of your car, ShuRoo creates a “forcefield” of sound at a frequency that’s beyond human hearing but sounds like a siren to kangaroos and other wildlife. Protects humans and beasts alike. More: www.shuroo.com. SIDESTEP the holes in Australia’s broadband coverage with the Thrane & Thrane Explorer 110 ($1995 ex GST), a lightweight satellite terminal that allows you to log on to the internet, Skype and the like in the middle of nowhere. Satellite coverage will include the entire continent from mid-2008. More: www.asta.net.au. ON nights when the mosquito net or the Aerogard lets you down, avoid unsightly scratching with Mosquito-Click ($19.95), which uses a small electrical current to stop mozzie bites from itching or swelling. Also recommended after encounters with sandflies, midges and jellyfish, but not if you’ve got a pacemaker. More: www.mosquitoclick.com. THE SOL8 ($US139) looks and feels like a 4.4kg briefcase but expands into a pair of solar panels that can generate enough power to run anything from a laptop or global positioning system to a small refrigerator. All but useless somewhere like England, it’s a portable powerhouse in Australian conditions. More: www.ramseyelectronics.com. WHY get stuck choosing between land and water when you can get a hovercraft and have both. Built by Mariah Hovercraft on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the Mariah 425 ($55,000) has room for six adults and has a top speed of 110km/h, trailer, GPS, VHF radio, a compact disc player and a fetching 69-segment skirt. More: www.mariah.com.au. THERE are few things less conducive to the holiday spirit than getting into a large spot of bother - say, on a sinking cruise ship off Antarctica - and discovering the mobile phone’s not getting any reception. It’s moments like these when the MT410 personal emergency beacon ($499; $649 with GPS) comes into its own. More: www. gme.net.au. A BEER scooter makes it easier to get there, get festive and not get on the wrong side of your green mates. The 14mph Cooler ($US499) has a 500W electric motor that keeps the emissions right down while propelling you and a good load of food, bevvies and ice at a shade over 22km/h. It can cover 24km between recharges. More: www.hammacher.com. GO like the clappers in complete style with an Aerion Supersonic Business Jet. It looks like a winged arrow on the outside, a posh hotel suite on the inside. More important, it can happily cruise at 1.5 times the speed of sound. With a price tag of $US80million, it’s no surprise to learn the first buyer is Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed. More: www.aerioncorp.com.