Here’s the Outdoor Speaker You’ve Been Waiting For

Outdoor Tech’s Buckshot Pro will improve your mountain adventure groove.


Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, as Kevin Bacon urged us in Footloose, let’s dance our asses off. Can we go ahead and stop taking ourselves so damn seriously, please? Sure, we do some serious things in them mountains. We ski sketchy faces, we climb overhanging walls, we raft class V whitewater, we bike on knife ridges, but that doesn’t mean we have to wear a mean mug the entire time. At their core, all mountain sports and experiences are about getting a smile on our face. So do yourself a favor, get the Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro speaker, dance off your pants off, and prepare to grin until it hurts.

Until this ski season, I have been a strict “no music while slooshing” guy. Headphones are rude and dangerous. They keep you separated from the group you’re with, turn you into the silent weird dude on the chairlift, and, to me, make skiers unaware of their surroundings. But my eyes, or rather my ears, have been opened to a new mountain music experience, the Bluetooth speaker.

Now, this is not new tech. But speaker quality, battery life, and portability have drastically improved. A few years ago, my friend Tanya broke out her speaker for a campfire dance party during a Westwater float. We grooved and boogied in flip-flops and board shorts under a star-speckled Utah sky. But when her football-sized speaker died after a few hours, everyone either went to bed or spaced out while staring into the fire, aka caveman T.V.

The Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro has kept the mountain party alive for me. Its Bluetooth range is 32 feet. On/off, play/pause, volume control, and track skipping are all controlled by three easy-to-use buttons. There is a built-in microphone/speakerphone for chitchatting and the rechargeable lithium-ion battery is good for 10 hours of play. Plus, it comes with a flashlight attachment. And for a unit that fits into my palm, it packs a serious punch when it comes to sound quality and volume.

The BP is water resistant, and has a tough, rubberized, sleek design that easily fits in a pocket or, like my most recent excursions, the cinched-up hood of a ski jacket. It also comes with a bicycle handlebar mount accessory—a rubber band on steroids—that I have used to secure the speaker to my belt and backpack for general mountain activities, as well as on my townie’s handlebars almost everyday to improve my Main Street cruises. Chores, coffee runs, grocery pickups; just about everything is better with a soundtrack.

Not to get too out there, but I believe the mountains hold a sacred rhythm for us. They beg to be danced with. And dancing adds to the party atmosphere of mountain experiences, helps unify our collective outdoor community consciousness, and easily breaks down walls to connect mountain folks from differing backgrounds. Ok, that was kinda out there. But I grooved to Whitney Houston with complete strangers at Sun Valley. I saw a hardened Swedish mountain guide smiling and dancing to Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven on Earth” in Norway. I’ve watched the group dynamic during brutal uphill marches transform into an ascending dance party filled with laughter and smiles, rather than curse words and sweaty sadness. All it took was a little Huey Lewis and a dash of Mariah Carey. Don’t believe me? Cue up some lady pop or 80s synth or new whompy dance music, press play, and see what happens, my friend. I bet you’ll wiggle, jiggle, and giggle in them mountains.

$80 • BUY

Or keep the party going with these options

The Ultimate Ears Roll 2 is light, water-resistant, shock-resistant, looks cool, and sounds terrific. Available for as low as $55.

Great sound, bombproof build and decent battery life makes the Nixon Mini Blaster a personal favorite. You can pair two of them up for bluetooth stereo too. $80

Tiny, with a carabiner to clip it to whatever you like, and waterproof, the JBL Clip 2 is an affordable speaker at about $50.

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Showing 16 comments
  • Mike Curiak
    Reply

    Call me grumpy. Or old school. Or… whatever. But keep those things the eff away from wherever I am in the backcountry. If the magic of wilderness immersion isn’t enough stimulation that’s your problem — not the fault of those within earshot.

    • Sean
      Reply

      I agree with you, Mike. Far from “unify(ing) our collective outdoor community consciousness,” playing music of your choosing in an outdoor space is intrusive and obnoxious. Many people head to these places to experience the “sacred rhythm” of the mountains, which is already there; no Whitney Houston required.

  • Art Smith
    Reply

    Please don’t come within earshot of me with that thing in the backcountry. Keep it home. period.

  • DC Hyland
    Reply

    Um…yeah…I gotta agree with grumpy. Just want I don’t want. Another blaring, unwanted, distracting source of somebody else’s musical “taste” to harsh my nature buzz. No thanks.

  • old soul, young body
    Reply

    Was coming to say the same thing as grumpy. It’s one thing to be jammin’ to the bluetooth speaker on your commute through the city. But it was a pretty huge bummer trekking the Himalayas and hearing EDM blasted by some Americans a quarter mile up the valley.

    Around a campfire? Fine, whatever. But are headphones really more rude than forcing others to listen to your music on a trail?

  • Leslie
    Reply

    I am thrilled to read that 100% of commenters think this is horrible. Last year another magazine was pushing a speaker for your paddleboard so you could drown out the sounds of water and nature with your tunes. It astounds me that outdoor magazines think anyone who reads their magazines would want something like this.

  • Clayton
    Reply

    I was a no music person for the longest of times, but added the same brand earphones to my ski helmet and bike helmet this year and quite liked it. I don’t think tooling down the bike trail blasting speakers is kosher in the wilderness, but if you are eating lunch, dinner, camping and want to play some tunes at a reasonable decibel level then Im cool with that. Based on the description this unit doesn’t sound like it will replace some Marshall Stacks and blowout the quiet valley of tranquility for anyone a couple hundred yards away. So chill and be chill. Respect.

  • Kyle
    Reply

    A header photo for a portable speaker with a “protect our winters” sticker on it? Come on, guys. Meaningless consumption – like a speaker to provide a soundtrack to all things outdoors – is *exactly* just exemplifies our climate-unfriendly lives…

  • TK
    Reply

    gotta agree. One reason I have stopped going to most climbing areas – when other folks seem to think that sharing their music at full blast is what everyone wants. But then again I never agreed with Mark Twight about headphones in the mountains either.

  • BAT
    Reply

    Not even at the campfire or during dinner. People who feel they need to entertain the entire campground with their own brand of music are inconsiderate and obnoxious. I am there to hear the wind and the owls. Not somebody’s crappy playlist! Blast your “sub” in your import at a city intersection not in natures ampitheater.

  • chris
    Reply

    Yeah I’m with everyone else. I go outdoors to enjoy the sounds of the outdoors. I don’t want to hear music I like, nevermind music I don’t like. If you need music, bring earphones.

  • Swenson
    Reply

    Love that everyone is of a same opinion as me. Keep music to yourself. Or better yet, leave it at the trailhead, parking lot, wherever and let nature’s rhythm be the only thing you hear. I loathe being on trail and hearing some crappy music, or even a song I dig, coming up trail wrecking the experience.

    I think AJ had a poll last year about the most obnoxious things on the trail and believe music blaring was the top complaint.

  • Mark w
    Reply

    Boo to music. No music. I try not to be a “you’re doing it wrong” guy, but in this case, it affects others, so, “you’re really wrecking what almost all of us are trying to do here. (And by the way, you’re doing it wrong).”

  • Buster Cornelius
    Reply

    Yeah. I’m with the gang here. Keep that speaker away from me if you’re on the trail. By the sound of it, you can expect curses – silent or otherwise – from many people if you decide to turn that thing on in the holy sanctuary of the great outdoors.

  • doug moore
    Reply

    Keep your music to yourself: Earbuds are not rude or dangerous if used properly. And they only ruin the wilderness experience for those using them.

  • Jay Kerr
    Reply

    Pure noise pollution. Buster is right on… you will get an earful from me if I have to listen to your music when we meet on the trail.

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