Portable radio? Emergency device? Flashlight? The Eton Scorpion doesn't fit neatly into any one category - it is one serious multi purpose outdoor accessory.
The digital radio receives both AM and FM stations and 7 NOAA weather and emergency channels, so you'll be prepared for adverse weather reports or emergency alerts. The digital readout is clear and the settings are easy to use, with simple up-and-down arrows for selecting stations.
An external antenna pulls out for better reception – channels are clear in isolated locations. Fully charged, the Eton Scorpion nearly gets three hours of radio use before you have to touch the hand crank.
The external speakers have a wide volume range, and a headphone jack disables the external speaker. An auxiliary jack on the Scorpion allows you to connect an MP3 player to the external speakers, though a male to male plug is necessary, but not included.
The display also has a digital clock readout, but if the batteries are ever depleted, you'll need to reset the time as there is no backup battery.
The Eton Scorpion has a solar panel and will fully charge in about five hours – clip it on to your backpack to charge and listen to the radio while you hike. You can also charge the unit using the hand crank in about two or three minutes – about 500 cranks gets you full power.
The flashlight, controlled by a simple power button, consists of three LED. lights that illuminate 20-30 feet. On its own without the radio, the flashlight stays illuminated for more than 3.5 hours, and can easily be recharged with a few turns of the crank.
As a charger for small portable devices, the Scorpion is a bit misleading - the USB port can't charge your MP3 or smartphone using solar power. You have to plug your device into the USB port, use the hand crank, and after ten to fifteen minutes of cranking there is enough power to make a phone call of a few minutes. Definitely just for emergencies.
The unit is rated as IPX-4 Splashprof, which means it can handle some spraying water, but the instruction manual recommends it be kept out of steady rainfall or submersion. Rubber stoppers cover the input/output ports to protect from water damage. The antenna and hand crank shouldn't be used in the rain.
And if those aren't enough features for you, there's a bottle opener on the side of the Eton Scorpion. Crack open a cold one, turn on the radio, put your feet up and enjoy.
The Eton Scorpion has a suggested retail price of $50.
Sarah Klingler, a Pittsburgh, Pa native, was practically born on the snow. Before she was 18 months old, her parents strapped her into her first pair of skis, and she fell in love with winter.
She's a ski instructor at Seven Springs resort, but when Klingler's not on the hill with students, you can find her snowshoeing, cross country and telemark skiing, or hiking through the pow with her snow-loving Labrador, Emma.
When the snow melts, Klingler mountain and road bikes, hikes, horseback rides, whitewater rafts, and dreams about chairlifts.
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