Music on the Beach

Checking out Eton's splash-resistant, solar powered Rugged Rukus


I’m old enough to remember boom boxes at the beach, enjoying a surf safari to the music of the Beach Boys.  No, I’m not old enough to have played Beach Blanket Bingo with Frankie and Annette, but it was fun to hear music of that age for my own beach party.  But these days, boom boxes are few and far between — almost as rare as the cassette tapes you’d stuff into them.  That’s not how it works these days:  instead of the tunes blasting across the sand, you either wear ear buds and enjoy your music by yourself, or you try cranking up the speakers on your smartphone and hope it can be heard to the far end of the beach towel.  Fear not, the creative folks at Etón have come up with a solution.


They recently sent me their Rugged Rukus for me to tell you about.  About the size and weight of a hard cover book, the Rugged Rukus is a portable, solar-powered wireless sound system for the outdoor life.    The speakers blast out the Beach Boys loud enough to spark your own beach party.  And it does that for hours.  And hours.  In fact, the solar panel on top of the Rugged Rukus keeps the juice flowing to the speakers as long as the sun shines, then the batteries keeps the sound going well into the night.

Of course, the beach suggests the risk of being splashed, either by the rising tide or an accidental dunk into the ice chest. The Rugged Rukus features an all-terrain, IPX-4 splash-proof design, where every port is secured behind flexible seals.  The ports include a USB power-in port, for rapid charging while the sun is down, a USB power-out port, and a stereo port for bringing the music into the device.

But you don’t need to use a cable to bring the music into the Rugged Rukus — this is, after all, not the 1990’s.  The Rugged Rukus can stream tunes through a Bluetooth connection.  This keeps the ports sealed and splash resistant.  Now I have to admit, I’ve never actually tried using Bluetooth before. For anything.  Ever.  So I wasn’t sure what I’d have to go through.  It turns out, it wasn’t that difficult, I just turned on the Bluetooth function on the Rugged Rukus, then a few setting buttons on my cell phone.    In a moment, I was playing Rod Stewart.  It turned out I didn’t have any Beach Boys tunes — but then I flipped on I Heart Radio and the beach party had begun.

And I was even more pleased to discover that the USB power out could be used to recharge my phone or power other USB devices like fans or lights.  That means that the Rugged Rukus isn’t just a music machine for the beach, it’s also a backup power supply for my outdoors adventures.  The corner loops let me hook it with a carabineer to catch the sun and charge the internal lithium ion battery for hours of backup power.

The Etón folks have long had my respect for rugged solar-powered radios, but now I’m also a fan for them putting powerful speakers on a practical and useful solar power backup.

To learn more about the Rugged Rukus and other Etón product, visit them online at



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