As a hiker, I am mostly against the use of headphones or music on the trail. Unless you’re doing an out-and-back and the way back is a bit on the boring side – or if you’re climbing up something like the 99 Switchbacks in the middle of the day and just want a bit of extra juice in your legs – I’m a big proponent of leaving the city noise in the city and just enjoying the sounds of nature instead.
Now, that said, if you’re camping with friends it’s a whole different story. That’s when the card games and tunes (at a responsible volume, naturally) come out – and let’s face it – you’re gonna want something with a little more volume than your smartphone’s built-in speaker.
Enter the NYNE Mini. This lightweight little bluetooth speaker has a great price point, is included with a padded cover so it won’t mind getting bumped around a bit in your pack, and has a solid battery life to boot.
The tiny NYNE Mini box comes with everything you’ll need to get started – including a micro USB cable to charge the unit and a 3.5mm auxiliary cable just in case you don’t have Bluetooth or don’t want to use up extra battery life on your phone for the technology. You’ll also get that padded cover – a neoprene-ish, tight-fitting fabric that provides protection from dust, sand, and dirt and also has an attached carabiner in case you wanted to clip it onto your pack. Just remember – don’t be that person who listens to music on speakers ON the trail. Nobody likes that guy.
The speaker weighs about 9.6 ounces, which is light enough that you probably won’t notice it unless you’re used to ultralighting. The unit delivers 5 watts of power via a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery that holds 10 hours worth of charge. The sound itself is good – although you do sacrifice a bit of bass in the small package. After testing this out on the trail, my NYNE mini has found a very happy home on our backyard table when we’re entertaining guests.
A lot of bluetooth speakers can be finicky to connect – I’ve got larger indoor models from Sound Freaq and Creative at my home and it seems like I’m always walking over to manually reset them when my computer wants to connect. The NYNE Mini has a manual on/off switch in the back but it will shut itself off after some inactivity to preserve battery life. I have found that if that’s the case, I usually have to turn the speaker on and off before I can connect – but once that’s done my phone connects very quickly and the tunes are out in a matter of seconds.
Overall I found the speaker to perform better than expected given its size, weight, and – especially – price. The NYNE mini retails for just under $50 and is available on Amazon. If you’re looking for an entry-level bluetooth speaker for your camping trips or other outdoor adventures, the Mini is an excellent way to start.
NYNE provided Modern Hiker with a unit for review but did not provide compensation or exercise editorial control over the content of this post.