Best Waterproof Cases Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Kayakers, swimmers, boating enthusiasts, and paddle boarders all know the value of having waterproof storage. Campers and hikers, mud runners and all outdoor enthusiasts will also benefit from this type of gear. Even with improvements in our smartphones, increasing their durability and improving features that allow them to hold up better to some wetness, that doesn’t necessarily make them completely safe from destruction via water.
- Earth Pak
- Heavy-duty protection
- Pelican Products 1040
- Crush-proof enclosure
- Ergonomic case design
You could most likely use it in a little light rain or even if you accidentally drop it in the commode, and still be ok. However, if you are going to be in the ocean or a lake, swimming in a pool or fishing in a stream, it’s your best bet to have the proper protective gear for your phone. These are also situations and environments that call for protective gear for any of your other valuables that may be in jeopardy in these extreme environments. At the end of the day, you will enjoy yourself better if you have confidence that your valuables are safe. Don’t hit the rapids or dive into the waves without the proper equipment. In this guide, we reviewed the best dry bags and cases to keep your phones and valuables safe when you adventure outdoors. We took into account locking abilities, ease of use, style, and features when we compiled our list.
10 Best Waterproof Cases
1. Earth Pak
The quality and authenticity of this company deserve to be addressed. It was founded by lovers of the outdoors and aims to create products that will “inspire and guide” other nature enthusiasts and outdoorsmen. They understand the need for quality equipment when off-grid and in nature, and they make products that address these needs exactly.
The zippered, splash-proof pocket on the front of this bag is an awesome feature. It is such a helpful addition. When you want to get to something quickly, like your knives or a lighter and you don't want to go digging around in your bag but you still need the protection from wetness, it comes in handy. You don’t have to unroll your bag and waste time, it is easy to access and quick grab items that are expertly protected.
Cost and Value
It is hard to put a price on quality gear that protects and supports your things when you are far away from civilization. That being said, this bag is made by an authentic company who really pays attention to detail and quality. The design makes it easy to use and it comes in a variety of colors to please anyone’s aesthetic. All of this in one nice, moisture proof package that will secure your items and at a reasonable cost.
500D PVC material
Hardened D-rings for easy connections to boats, belts or packs
Convenient shoulder strap
Protects cell phones, wallets, toiletries, towels, cameras
Floating dry bag
Shoulder strap could be wider
Made with tough material, it is not soft
2. Pelican Products 1040
Ideal for smaller items, this product still works like the larger models. It is specifically made to protect phones, iPods, cameras, any of those valuable items that you’d want on your trip which require the most substantial protection. The impact resistance will absolutely do the job you need to take care of all your gadgets.
All around protection
Protection on the inside and outside, protection is all around with this item. It is airtight and cannot be crushed. The shock absorbent liner on the inside will ensure that if you drop it, for instance, your valuables won’t be destroyed inside the case. Nice feature!
Cost and Value
This is a strong, light and crush-proof case that is designed for your smaller items. It is well constructed and super tough. The price isn’t bad at all, you might buy a few. It won’t take up too much space or weigh you down and it is attachable.
Rubber liner for extra protection
Stainless steel hardware
Crush-proof and shock absorbent
Clear polycarbonate lid to see through box
Carabiner could be larger
Fairly tall design
There are many options to wear these bags and easily carry them with you. You can wear it as a waist pack, or across the body, or on the shoulder. Whatever is most comfortable for you works. They can hold all your valuables safely and they are designed to have a comfortable grab handle.
The importance of touch
The coolest thing about these bags is how practical and useful they are. You can keep your phone inside and actually be able to see your screen as well as use your phone. You get the full touchscreen ability so you can text and can make calls without having to remove it. Such a great feature. Just think about kayaking and seeing the sunset on the water and actually being able to effortlessly take that photo without worrying that your phone will be damaged.
Cost and Value
These are versatile in their look as they come in a variety of colors. They are versatile in how you choose to wear or carry, and you can be sure that their design will keep your valuables secure. They float, so if you are in the water you don’t have to worry about them sinking to the bottom.
Triple closer strip seal
Secure swivel lock keeps the seal tight
Touch screen friendly
3 different sizes
5 color options to choose from
Can keep your items dry even submerged under water
Better if the hinges would stay on when unlocking
Stains can show up on some of the colored bags
This product fits all smartphones that are 6” and under. This includes many different versions of the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and Samsung Galaxy Note. That wide versatility is something that will make this an option that almost everyone can use.
The use of a secure snap-lock system so it will keep the wetness out. If you want to use your devices submerged, this system will allow you to feel confident that it will be secure. It is IPX8 certified so it will hold up in the most extreme environments.
Cost and Value
This is a great option that will meet all your outdoor needs. It comes in a variety of colors so you can choose the look you like the best. It has a 100% locking and sealing system that will keep your items extra safe. The universal design meets the needs of any outdoor lover.
Clear window on the front and back allow you to see your phone and use it
Snow-proof and dirt proof and can be safely submerged
Comes with a neck strap
Full touch screen abilities
Can be used underwater for photos but they may be blurry
Not a returnable item
If you want to have fun in the sun and in extreme environments. If you want to be active in the ocean or bay, the lake or the river this option will take the beating. It will not disappoint; it is a straightforward option that will perform exactly as you’d expect.
You can submerge it fully and hold it down with a weight to test it out. The only thing that will result is that your product will be wet but it’s components will be dry. Use it tubing, swimming, or snorkeling and enjoy the flexibility you get with being able to also have your device with you while you are having fun outside.
Cost and Value
This is an awesome and durable product that comes in a bunch of color choices. It is super affordable and has a customer service warranty to back it. You won’t have to worry about pictures being blurry or poor quality.
Has a lanyard for comfortable wearing
Can be submerged up to 100 ft
Some depths may cause your cell phone to experience hydraulic pressure
Design can cause drops to go into the case that will cause condensation
6. VK Voxkin
This product has been put through the ringer with all the testing it was put through before being released to market. The company wanted to make sure it was going to work well for people who love to be outdoors and also want to be able to use their devices easily while they are kicking it in the sun. the picture quality remains sharp and you can hear your phone clearly while it is still inside.
A really nice looking design. This product looks high-end and chic, but without the pricetag you’d expect of a well composed piece of protective equipment. It even comes with a built-in compass which is functional by helping you be able to understand where you are when you are submerged. Not to mention it adds an extra layer of class.
Cost and Value
An attractively priced and styled product. It has all the bells and whistles you could think of plus a compass. It will keep you from getting lost, that is for sure. It will also keep your valuables dry which is even better.
Floats, very buoyant
Transparent front and back
Awesome sound quality
Has a lanyard and built-in compass
Touchscreen even works submerged
When closed tightly sometimes performance can be hindered
Has sharp edges
Even with a heavy phone you won’t have a problem with floating. This product will definitely keep your device up which means it is less likely that you will lose it on the open seas. Heavy phones that are large can easily fit into this product and it won’t be too tight encasing them.
One of the best options on the market
You can feel good about this one. It comes with a neck strap and arm strap secured with velcro. It locks well and holds very tightly. You can do the testing beforehand, and you should, but this one will pass any test you put it through.
Cost and Value
Not much better that can tackle the outdoors the way this model can. The armband and lanyard it comes make it a terrific option for outdoor sports like fishing, or recreational activities like kayaking. It can take photos when submerged, and you can even check your texts and emails should you not be able to turn off your “connected lifestyle” while in your in the great outdoors.
Made using TPU and UV stable vinyl that performs well in extreme environments
30 day money back guarantee
Armband and lanyard
Touch ID function
Putting on wrist guards can be tricky for children to do correctly
Keep your phone next to a cool place when outside so it won’t overheat
There are no poor quality, harmful materials used in the build of this product that can be damaging to the environment. The materials used aren’t going to fail and leave you with a demolished device.
For a little carrying pouch, it will work and protect your device from being destroyed by the dreaded aqua. It is IPX8 certified up to 30 feet. Dive in and to any body of water and have no problem using your phone safely. Take all the videos and photos your heart desires.
Cost and Value
This model uses the highest quality materials and the company focuses on being environmentally conscious with their products. Not only are they made of responsible materials but the quality is almost unmatched. With a nice feel and texture, this super durable and secure item is a hit with anyone who needs protection from the wet.
Lightweight and comes with a lanyard
Clear windows on front and back
Eco-friendly TPU materials
Exceptional build quality
Tabs need to be aligned before you can get the seal, sometimes it is tricky to do
Maybe you're not one who wants to take your phone on a swim, but you love a good, long soaking bath. Many people read their books, or get their news or answer emails and do work remotely with the assistance of smartphones. If you want to sit back and relax and safely use your device in the tub, poof! Here you go, here is how you accomplish that without any worries that your device will be impacted negatively.
This is a very pretty case. The flexible option of the adjustable lanyard provides tons of practicality. The updated case has a sleek, slim composition that is very good-looking. The silky consistency and smoothness of the materials give it a pleasant feel.
Cost and Value
It works; that is the most important part. It has really pretty colors to choose from and is easy on the eyes with a handsome design. The lanyard will allow you to wear it around your neck or across the body so you can take it anywhere and not have to worry about it feeling awkward when you have it on.
Made of TPSU+ATBC-PVC
Works well 30 meters in diving
Lanyard is adjustable
Easy to unlock home button, sensitive tough
Secure locking system
Fits tighter with larger phones
Can fog up
Lock, seal and secure your devices that is incredibly important. This device utilizes a neat on/off seal lock that is a very intuitive to use and an overall friendly experience. When it locks, it secures tightly and will protect your device. And when you are ready to get in there, it is not hard to get it opened up and get to your device with ease.
Sensitive touch screen
Even when you are swimming, if you want to dive deep you won’t have any problem seeing your device’s screen and using it. There is very clear transparency with the incorporated window. The extra sensitive touch quality makes it practical to use anywhere.
Cost and Value
The price is really great and the functionality is there. You will be able to clearly use it under water. It is well sealed, as one of a couple of updated features that this 2018 model offers. This is a terrific option for wet environments and swimming.
Specifically designed for iPhone
Super sensitive to touch
Tons of clear transparency in the window
Secure locking system that is easy to use
Lanyard makes wearing it simple
Great features but durability could be improved
Moisture can sometimes form inside but not enough to cause a problem
You invest a lot in your phones and if you are an active outdoors person, you probably do engage in a lot of things that can cause wetness. Wetness can affect the quality of some of our valuables and even destroy others, including our phones. The phone manufacturers are always throwing out new features they are designing their devices with that will allow them to be more waterproof or resistant. So far, it is not 100% safe that any device isn’t susceptible to the degrading effects of H2O. Something to consider is that even if you purchase one of these devices for this property in specific and think that you are good to go to have your device on you always without extra protection, you may be a bit misinformed. The testing done to these devices is done in well regulated ”laboratory conditions” and with fresh water alone. That means, don’t think that all other liquid substances, including saltwater, won’t have an effect on your phone.
There is a reason why there are solid manufacturers of protection offered that will add additional securities for your precious devices. Smartphone manufacturers have made improvements in the abilities for their devices to handle some light wet interactions. They have done this by reducing ingress points, as well as with the use of rubber gaskets to cover those that are left. Unfortunately, rubber wears over time and becomes less effective at offering protection. Meaning as time progresses, your phone will become less and less resistant. This is a huge problem if you are not careful about where you use your phone. Many times, liquid damage is not going to be covered in your warranty even if your phone is labeled “water resistant.” In the long run, it is best to always be vigilant and proactive with your valuables. If you are planning a fun trip of rafting down the river, you will be sure to enjoy it the most when you know your valuables are safe.
Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Waterproof Cases
Once you have your dry bag or case, you want to know that it will lock tightly. Some products to a snap lock system that generally works fairly well in keeping a secure seal, and is generally easy to lock and unlock. Others use velcro or multilayer sealing system. There are folding options available just as there are splash-proof zipper designs.
Ease of use
Specifically for products that are made for smartphones, there is nothing nicer than the ability to actually see your screen clearly and use your phone functionally while it is still being encased in its enclosure. Many of the options on the market today, provide clear and transparent windows to see your screens. They offer touch sensitivities so you can use the phones. They design their products to be used while submerged and have the ability to take clear pictures. The ringtones and reminders are also easily heard while encased.
Dry bags incorporate similar features. Many have those same windows so you can see easily where your items are. That makes it substantially easier for you to get to what you want with ease. Some incorporate extra splash proof pouches for easy access to your most important go-tos.
This isn’t as important as the ability to lock tightly and provide a secure seal. But it is hard not to also want whatever gear you have to also look good and be stylish. Manufacturers understand that and they have catered to that desire in their customers. Color options are one way they have accommodated the consumer. Sleek, slim designs is another. Materials that have a nice smooth feel is also something that you will see in various product lines.
While the main purpose of your product is to keep your valuables safe, many manufacturers have added some additional, low-key options to make their products more practical and easy to use. The addition of lanyards or armbands to make them more wearable and easy to pack. Lightweight designs and small additional pouches for extra storage work well. VX Voxkin for example actually incorporates a compass in their design. Pretty neat. The other nice feature that is offered in some models is impact resistance. So if you drop your bag the contents inside will be less likely to be crushed, cracked or broken.
Other Important Factors to Consider
Believe it or not, the only option you have for protecting your phones from wetness. If you aren’t into getting a bulky encasement or a dry bag, then you actually have alternate options. There are ways to treat your smartphones with liquid-repellent coatings. This provides a bit of built-in protection from spills and splashes. There are companies that sell kits to do this. Just remember, that while this will provide a nice layer of protection from rain or spills, it doesn’t provide the amount of security when submerged that the bags and encasements will. Meaning, you will ruin your device if you dive into those waves with your phone if it only has this repellent treatment on it.
The bottom line is if you love the outdoors and you spend enough time adventuring and being active outside your risks for injuries or accidents increases. Your best defense against accidents is to go out with the best gear. Protect yourself and your gear and be smart in the wilderness. Know where you are going, have a plan, and make sure not to go alone. Protect your body with the right equipment and your valuables as well and you should be able to bounce back from minor accidents well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where are the best places to kayak?
A: That is a hard question because there are so many beautiful places to explore. It is best to look into local information regarding the top spots. That being said, remember safety. Even though you might get up early in the morning on a beautiful day and just want to hit the water it is always a good idea to paddle with another person and not go it alone. If you ever need help, having someone else there is invaluable. Additionally, exploring remote locations isn’t the best idea even if the adventure provides a neat experience. It is actually safer to paddle in areas that are more populated for the same reason. If you ever need something, there is a greater chance someone can be easily located and offer help.
Q: How are oceans and lakes for sports?
A: These environments can be fun, relaxing and challenging. It is a wide range of experiences you can have. The thing to remember is, that while there are times they can be so calm and enjoyable to paddle or swim or canoe on they can be incredibly unpredictable. The weather can have a huge impact on these environments and quick changes in the weather can have big impacts on the way these environments behave. Always check the weather before you go out to have the best knowledge of safety when you hit the high seas. Keep a close eye on it so you can be proactive in making proper decisions about your safety before storm clouds roll in. This is why it is such a great feature that the products listed have the ability to be used while they are in their enclosures. You can use your weather apps and keep an eye on the day while still protecting your devices.
Q: When should someone get rescue training to go out in the ocean?
A: When you decide to be adventurous and go out into more extreme environments and more remote locations it is so very important that you have the proper safety gear with you and the right amount of training. If you are going to venture into the ocean and go far out where the shoreline becomes invisible to sight you need to be trained in a rescue course. A great rule of thumb is to never go out farther than you are comfortable swimming back. It can be very disorienting to be on the high seas when you don’t have a point of reference as the shoreline disappears. Keep a navigational tool with you and it is a good idea to be trained in how to properly use it especially in stressful situations.
Q: What should you wear to paddle on a lake or in the bay?
A: It is always a good idea to overdress. You should always plan on being warmer in layers than lighter with few options. Carrying extra layers in a dry bag is a great idea because if the weather changes and you get super wet and then cold, wet clothing isn’t going to do you much good. But clothes to change into that can keep you warm and are dry, will be a heaven sent.
- Do you Still Need A Waterproof Case for your iPhone 7?, Lifestyle Magazine, ,
- Gear Up: 9 Kayaking Essentials, Science and Technology Magazine, ,
- Kayaking Safety: The Essentials, Kayaking Resource , ,