To back up my digital library, including photos, videos, maps and text, I recently downloaded a large chunk of my hard drive to the Flash Survivor from Corsair Inc. This USB drive--a "rugged, high-performance solid-state storage device," according to the company--saves data via the proven magnetic flash format.
But what makes the Survivor unique is its case: The thumb-size cylindrical body is made of CNC-milled, anodized aircraft-grade aluminum. Rubber collars and the solid case keep the drive safe if dropped.
A screw-tight closure with O-rings provides waterproof protection to 600 feet in case you kerplunk the drive over the edge of a boat.
The company (www.corsair.com) sells the Corsair Flash Survivor in several models, including data capacities ranging from 4 gigabytes (GB) to 32 GB. The former will store thousands of documents and hundreds of photos; the latter size will manage endless files and videos.
The drives retail for between $50 and $250, depending on capacity.
But a quick web search yields deals from about $30 for the 4GB model to $190 for the 32GB iteration.
I went big with the Flash Survivor, ordering the highest-capacity model and performing regular backups of large portions of my hard drive. On trips--whether skiing or exploring a new city somewhere--I keep the drive in my pack and back up each day's digital photos from my laptop to the USB drive for safe keeping.
Beyond simple data storage, the Flash Survivor comes with a program called True Crypt, which is a data-security program for Windows. It encrypts the drive, keeping your data under password protection at all times.
Though True Crypt is for Windows only, the drive works on Macintosh and Windows computers and plugs in to any USB drive.
Corsair provides a 10 year warranty on the Flash Survivor.
Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eight U.S. newspapers; visit thegearjunkie.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog and an archive of Regenold's work.