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Musical Backpack

Musical Backpack

Musical Backpack

Page Type: Article

Object Title: Musical Backpack

Activities: Hiking


Page By: BLong

Created/Edited: Oct 1, 2009 / Oct 4, 2009

Object ID: 559084

Hits: 2660 

Page Score: 77.58%  - 11 Votes 

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The Musical Backpack

You may have read about my use of the "Musical Backpack" in one of my trip reports. Well, here is a brief explanation of what it is and why we use it.

During an epic 7-day jungle expedition to a remote archeological site known as the Mirador, we decided to connect a set of speakers to an iPod (with a lot of AA batteries for reserve) and put the whole device inside the mesh pocket of a backpack. The tunes that the Musical Backpack produced set the tone for the entire week: it kept our energy high during a 15 hour push through relentless calf-deep mud on the second day, provided the impetus for a night-long dance party, and kept us smiling as we explored the ruins throughout our trip

Musical Backpack setup

Since then, the Musical Backpack has been toted along on treks in the Andes, carried up 14ers, and brought down a rafting trip on the Colorado River. Everywhere it travels people are impressed by its small size and big punch! I attach it to my iPod, which has around 80 gigabytes of music on it, so we can please almost any listener.

That said, it is often inappropriate to have music playing. It is important to mention that I never use it when there are other groups around. Also, I enjoy listening to the sounds of nature as much as anyone, but on big trips, or during tough pushes through inclement weather, the Musical Backpack can't be beat.

Here is the setup.


Musical Backpack speakers

We have a couple of different options regarding speakers.

The Musical Backpack in Use

Musical Backpack in use

Musical Backpack in use


Musical Backpack in useMusical Backpack in useMusical Backpack setupMusical Backpack speakers


[ Post a Comment ]
Viewing: 1-14 of 14    

BLongRe: Very cool!


Hasn't voted

Thanks! It's pretty affordable too (assuming you already have an Mp3 player). I have always found how listening to music can help push us in the outdoors. For example, I have tried this big bike ride several times and was never able to finish it. Yesterday I did it with some rockin' tunes playing (through my headphones) and got to the top!
Posted Oct 3, 2009 11:54 am



Voted 10/10

Now if only there was a way to utilize a solar panel to power the MP3 player to save the weight of all the extra batteries. Good read!

Posted Oct 4, 2009 9:06 am

BLongRe: Hmmmm...


Hasn't voted

It's definitely possible. Then again, a few AA batteries will last a pretty long time. I use a rechargable I pod battery and then bring a couple of extra sets of AA batteries for the speakers, depending on how long the trip is. Even on our 18-day rafting trip I think we only went through 3 sets of batteries.

Posted Oct 4, 2009 12:43 pm



Voted 4/10

Don't camp or hike around me!!
Posted Oct 4, 2009 5:44 pm

BLongRe: obnoxious


Hasn't voted

Right! That's why I specifically noted: "That said, it is often inappropriate to have music playing. It is important to mention that I never use it when there are other groups around"
Posted Oct 4, 2009 6:01 pm

hikineddGood design, bad idea


Hasn't voted

I'm more than twice your age. I spent 20 years as a professional drummer. I love all kinds of music, particularly rock 'n' roll. But, if I heard that blaring in the wilderness I'd be seriously pissed. It may be motivation to you but it's pollution to me. That's what headphones are for. And the way sound travels in the wilderness, you never really know if there are "other groups around."
Posted Oct 4, 2009 7:31 pm

Sarah SimonRe: Good design, bad idea

Sarah Simon

Hasn't voted

Ditto what hikinedd has to say.

I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I would find encountering a team with this device to be annoying, offensive and nerve wracking. Sound carries more than might be appreciated in the back country. This device could annoy folks who you weren't aware "were around."

Get some headphones. :)
Posted Oct 5, 2009 6:13 pm

FelisConcolorNot cool


Hasn't voted

Please keep your tunes to yourself.
Posted Oct 5, 2009 4:55 pm

rkymtnOut of eyesight doesn’t mean out of earshot


Hasn't voted

Out of eyesight doesn’t mean out of earshot. Furthermore, in practice with LNT (Leave No Trace) philosophies, which we should all be practicing as stewards to the wilderness, noise is considered a stressor for animals and annoyance for other visitors. While the speakers are a unique idea, headphones are the way to go.
Posted Oct 6, 2009 2:29 pm

HalikuRe: Out of eyesight doesn’t mean out of earshot


Hasn't voted

Maybe in griz country but otherwise LNT for me also. Of course cranking some tunes on a dig is a long observed custom as you have to keep the shovel bums happy.
Posted Oct 6, 2009 4:27 pm

chicagotransplantRe: Out of eyesight doesn’t mean out of earshot


Hasn't voted

I agree, stick with the headphones. From LNT's website:

"Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises"
Posted Oct 6, 2009 5:40 pm



Voted 1/10

Maybe if your rig was waterproof, solar powered, and shockproof it might be interesting - but even with all that aside, there is no information in this article. I mean, you plug an ipod into a set of speakers and carry it around it your backpack?

C'mon man! Give us something we can use :)
Posted Oct 6, 2009 6:56 pm

BLongRe: Huh?


Hasn't voted

You guys are funny. Honestly I had not intention of this article making the front page of SP (and I am not sure why it did...). I just wanted something to describe what the musical backpack was because someone had asked when they saw it in a trip report.

I'll write a decent article next week that will hopefully make you more happy taxinvestor.
Posted Oct 6, 2009 11:05 pm

rlshattuckkeep the bears dancin'


Hasn't voted

this sure would eliminate the need to make a lot of noise in bear country . . . no more whistling, or calling, 'here bear' or wearing the silly bells . . . but I'd sure be hoping that your loud music enabled mr & mrs. bear to sneak right up and eat your head off. I can understand the pump one might get from listening to music, but . . . there's music enough in the hills . . . there was a guy on whitney a while ago. Had his headphones up loud, off his ears and he was on his phone, yelling . . . I thought, if we just pushed him over the edge, how far would that sound travel . . . as they say, hike your hike . . .
Posted Oct 7, 2009 12:50 am

Viewing: 1-14 of 14