If ruggedness is your primary consideration when buying a camera then by all means, look no further than Olympus' latest lineup of Stylus (AKA, Mju outside the US) shooters. The $300 Stylus 790SW is the most like, totally extreme of the bunch dude, offering waterproofing up to 3-meters and shockproofiness from a height of 5 feet. Oh, and it also just happens to include a 7.1 megapixel sensor, 3x non-protruding zoom lens, 2.5-inch LCD, a 30fps VGA video mode, and ISO sensitivity up to 1600. Olympus also rolled out a trio of less rugged, "weatherproof" cameras: the 12 megapixel Stylus 1200 ($350); the 8 megapixel, image-stabilized Stylus 830 ($350), and 8 megapixel Stylus 820 ($300) with 5x zoom. All loose on the mean retail streets starting in September and October.
Read -- 790 SW
Read -- 1200, 830, 820