Burton, a company known more for snowboards than iPod accessories, pays homage to the time-honored bond between music and alcohol with their affordable and adorable Lil Buddy speaker system and beverage cooler ($50). The insulated bag measures just over a foot wide, 7 inches high, and 10 inches deep (perfect for 12 cans or short bottles), and includes a front zipper compartment that conceals a battery-powered speaker system.
While the Lil Buddy has an inherent gimmick factor, Burton still goes the extra mile by giving it a sturdy construction and details such as a bottle-opener zipper pull, all-metal hardware, and a padded shoulder strap. The speaker system is tucked discreetly inside the bag's front pouch and uses a universally compatible stereo minijack cable connection. For those rare moments when you don't require a soundtrack for your liquid-fueled festivities, the speaker system can be detached from the bag by pulling it from its Velcro base.
Make no mistake; the Lil Buddy's sound system is nothing to brag about. The two 1-inch speakers, powered by four AA batteries, have a sound quality reminiscent of a dollar store transistor radio. The small amplifier/battery pack offers a power switch and an external 6-volt power jack, but it lacks an LED power indicator, volume knob, or auto shut-off function. At under $50, however, there's little we can complain about. The sound might not be great, but it's good enough for playing some classic rock in the background while cracking open a few cold ones.