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Approaches for phone protection while paddling

David Hooper
07/24/14 #16015

I need to get a new phone and am just entering the realm of smartphones. Very few of them are waterproof, and it seems that most of those that are can only survive immersion in less than 1 meter of water. Also, most are made with very sleek “stylish” bodies that seem particularly prone to slipping out of one’s hands when wet. Seems like there are a couple options out there should one want to take a phone along on a paddle:

- ziplock bag (not trustworthy - that’s how my previous phone died an early death);

- waterproof cases (Life proof, Otter box, etc.) that you just keep on all the time;

- electronics dry bags – something that you’d just use while paddling. Some even have buoyancy, so your phone doesn’t sink if you drop it (e.g. Dry Case)

- skip the phone and just take a radio (less handy if you just want to call home to say you’re running late ‘cause you’re having too much fun, rather than calling for rescue);

- others?

For phones, I’m leaning toward a Galaxy S5 or maybe in iPhone 5s.

Anyone have suggestions for their favorite approaches, or ones that particularly don’t work well?



07/24/14 #16017

I've had my iPhone in a Life proof for months in the front pocket of my Pfd. No issues. Doesn't float though so don't drop it. The screens on touch screens don't work when wet but you can hold the home button down and tell Siri to call your wife or the coast guard.

-Nick Cooksey

Kimberly Reeves

07/24/14 #16018

Hey David…
My iPhone lives in a life proof case and I have never had a water problem….

Rick Lingbloom
07/25/14 #16019

I have had a Lifeproof case for a couple years on my iPhone. I also bought the Lifejacket for it so that I can attach it to my PFD and it will float. I tested it out last winter by actually getting off my ski a couple of times in some waves and using Siri to call my wife. Worked great!

Rick L

Ted Scherrer
07/25/14 #16020

I just ordered a Dry Case - I wanted something I could attach to my spray skirt for a GPS training display. I'll let you know how it works.
Ted S

David Hooper

07/25/14 #16026

Thanks, all, for your phone thoughts. Sounds like there are a lot of happy iPhone + Lifeproof case users out there. I hear the Life Proof case for the Galaxy 5s doesn’t work very well, though. So maybe I’m starting to lean more toward an iPhone than I was originally. Just a little galled by lack of flexibility – can’t replace the battery, and can’t add SD cards for more storage. I like the smaller size, though.

Any happy Android phone users out there?


David Hooper

09/22/14 #16323


Did you end up getting a Dry Case? If so, how’s it work? Recommended?



Ted Scherrer

09/23/14 #16324

Dave, I did get the Dry Case - with it's vacuum seal it really keeps out the water and it's not something I have to live with. The trouble I'm having is it's hard to read because of glare and it's hard to swipe when wet… I'm still working on it…..I do think having a smart phone out there is the way to go to have both training gps and emergency phone.

David Hooper

09/23/14 #16326

Great, thanks for the input. I can understand both the glare and swiping problems – I wrestle with those just hiking in dry conditions with my Otterbox case. Seems like voice commands can help for the emergency phone part, but maybe less so for training apps (haven’t tried those yet).



09/23/14 #16327

FYI Having tried about all water proof cell systems, Epic make's the best and has a magnetic closing system. JD sells em about $35.00 or so. My 5 with a life proof case fit's, double protection, easy to use even without my reading glasses,in breaking seas about to go on the rocks, with a columbia river double grain barge bearing down on me.

David Hooper
09/23/14 #16328

Thanks for that input, Duncan. Yes, the Epic model was another one I was interested in. Good to hear reports from the trenches (or wave troughs, as the case may be) from someone who’s tried them all. One question: some models say you can take photos through the plastic. Have you tried that with the Epic, and if so, how’s the quality? Obviously, ability to take pictures goes well above and beyond mere safety, but what the heck – the more functionality the better, as long as it doesn’t compromise basic protection!


09/23/14 #16329

I've tried a few soft cases but the only one that takes a good picture is the lifeproof hard case.
The only problem is it bulks up the phone so all you hipsters will have to ditch the skinny jeans. The Motionx gps app has a voice that tells you speed and distance if you can't read the text.

-Nick Cooksey

phone_cases_2014.txt · Last modified: 2020/09/16 21:50 (external edit)