Nothing ruins a rafting trip like watching your camera sink into the depths of a churning river. Follow these tips for capturing memories and bringing them—and your electronics—home safely.
Try a waterproof case
Here the difference between water-resistant and waterproof becomes pretty key. Get something sturdy like a LifeProof phone case, GoPro dive housing or a Pelican waterproof hard case. Your local marina or scuba shop should have a good selection,
Get some swimmies
TravelOn makes a waterproof pouch with a built-in inflatable portion that will keep your phone afloat if bumps send your belongings into sink-or-swim circumstances. Bonus: the pouch is touch-screen compatible. To shock-proof your belongings, try a floating, foam-lined hard case.
Stow when not in use
Protect your electronics in a roll-top drybag when they’re not in use. That keeps your hands free to hold on tight through rough sections of river and protects your machine from an unexpected dunking. Consider using a length of marine rope and a carabiner to clip your belongings to the side of the raft for longer or more dangerous trips.
Consider a disposable camera
If you can live without your phone and you’re not dead-set on lugging your DSLR with you, try out a disposable, waterproof point-and-shoot. If the worst happens, you’re only out a few bucks.
Many cameras come with attachments to hook them onto your pack or belt. The clip won’t protect electronics from water damage, but it will keep them on hand in case of a photo op and prevent you from throwing them overboard. Make sure it’s compatible with your particular camera before shelling out.
Try a waterproof coating
Some companies make solutions that coat electronics with a thin, water-repellent layer. While these help defend phones and cameras against errant spray, you’re better off with a case or a waterproof device if you’re worried about going for a swim.
If you spent all your money on a rafting trip and are willing to take a few risks, it’s hard to beat the old double Ziploc for cost-effectiveness. Don’t expect to do any texting through the plastic, and make sure you bring a spare—even freezer bags are prone to snags.
Cut the cord
The best way to ensure nothing happens to your electronics? Leave them in the car, safe and sound. For a multiday float, bring a pencil and a Rite in the Rain waterproof travel journal instead. You might find going unplugged gives you a chance to relax and soak it all in. Whether or not you document them, memories from your time on the river will last a lifetime.