This tiny tune-cranker has smooth, clear sound, intuitive controls, and an impressive battery life (14 hours off of one charge, and it’s compatible with the Powermonkey, above). Best of all, it’s only 40 bucks for the 2GB version, which holds about 500 songs.
There’s a built-in FM radio (great for in town, but I couldn’t get reception in the mountains) and a voice recorder, which comes in handy for trip notes—whether you’re a field tester or just keeping a diary. $40; .85 oz.; sandisk.com.