Whether rocking out while tossing back a few cold ones with your buddies on a sunny afternoon or paddling solo and enjoying a serene sunset with your favorite podcast, listening to music on your SUP, kayak, or canoe has, until now, been risky business. Fusion’s StereoActive Waterproof Stereo ($277 at Jet.com) has eliminated that risk.
This IPX7-rated Bluetooth device can be held a full meter underwater for 30 minutes without sustaining any damage. However, it’s doubtful you’ll ever get the chance to test that out because this sweet piece of audio engineering floats. That’s right: Toss it overboard, drop it in the hot tub, let the tide wash it ashore — you’re not going to lose this baby to the depths. If you’re especially worried, snap on the tether or use one of the available bombproof mounting systems to attach it directly to your SUP, kayak, or other water vessels. The StereoActive’s robust “Puck-It” locking mechanism also integrates with RAM and Railblaza — mounting pucks commonly found on boats and kayaks.
On top of all that, the stereo is designed to take a beating. The rugged casing is made with UV-rated plastic that’s not only capable of being dropped and banged around but will ensure your device remains white a year from now, rather than morphing into a crusty, weathered yellow.
The device, which has a 20-hour battery, goes beyond streaming. It’s equipped with AM/FM radio and plays MP3s via a waterproof housing just big enough for a USB thumb drive. With two 20-watt custom speakers and a Class D amplifier, it delivers stellar sound quality.
Although recently acquired by Garmin, New Zealand-based Fusion has a long history in the marine audio industry, on display in many of the device’s more nuanced features aimed directly at water enthusiasts. For example, rather than full surround sound, it features directional audio aimed up at the paddler, so you can hear it while you cruise without bothering other water-goers. Similarly, the scalloped buttons perfectly cradle the curve of the paddle, so you can adjust the dial using the paddle without having to bend over. If you don’t want to touch the buttons at all, sync the stereo to your Garmin watch, or the FUSION-Link app on your smartphone.
The StereoActive also has a flattened surface to attach a Garmin Virb, GoPro, or other mountable sports camera so as not to compete with action cams for space at the front of the board. To keep your phone secure and dry, there’s an accessory called the ActiveSafe — a waterproof vault that clicks onto the bottom of the stereo to store your phone, keys, and other small objects.
Bottom line? Whether you’re paddling, camping, tailgating, barbecuing, or just cruising around in your car, the StereoActive will make a fantastic copilot.For more than 25 years, Men’s Journal has been the expert in all things gear — from mountain bikes to fitness trackers, blenders to watches, and drones to cars. We take pride in a rigorous review process that includes testing and torturing. While our standards remain high as ever, our site now includes affiliate links, which means that if you buy something using these links, we may receive a commission.