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We take a look at the Aquapac waterproof case
It’s a common thought to anyone about to venture into the outdoors, especially in the UK – how will my phone/camera/wallet/GPS stay dry? For me, the phone is the most important thing, it’s a safety item and extremely useful in an emergency (and for tweeting that summit photo immediately). I’ve tried a lot of different methods for keeping my phone dry, from plastic bags, to several plastic bags, to ‘dry bags’.
Of course ‘dry bags’ don’t claim to be completely waterproof, especially when the bag is immersed. Immersion includes a puddle forming in the top pocket of your bag and then the ‘dry bag’ sliding into it. It was on a trip up Ben Nevis in May when I pulled my soaking wet (and unusable) phone out of my bag, needing to contact the minibus driver of our National Three Peaks Challenge. I decided then and there that I needed something that would keep my phone dry 100%, preferably so I could use it at the same time, be light-weight, and not look at stupid as wrapping the thing in a huge bin-liner.
Enter Aquapac and the refreshingly simply named ‘Waterproof Phone Case – Small’. When I saw it in the shop it seemed obvious, but it really does do the trick. They have several ranges, for different purposes, but for this review I’m interested in the transparent waterproof pockets for those small electrical items you need to stay dry in the hills, one of which is Waterproof Phone Case – Small. It’s lightweight, has a double-clip system for opening and then locking the bag closed, and claims to be able to withstand immersion up to 50m. More than enough for a puddle.
I tested it on a trip that turned out to be a perfect trial, the Lake District 24 peaks challenge on a set of very rainy days in September. Water got into the top of my bag as expected, but my phone, secured inside the aquapac, stayed dry. Even in my jacket, pressed against my cold coat, the phone was dry in the aquapac. Water simply runs off the sides, and there’s zero leakage so far on the edge with the clips. The beauty of the transparent coating is that you can use the phone just as well as if it was outside.
The first few times I used it I was a bit worried by the flimsy look of it – as if one careless scratch of a nail could rip it in two. I haven’t tried to tear it in half, but it’s survived next to keys and zips so far. The weakest part seems to be the edges of the waterproof plastic when the clips are open, where the seam comes to an end. But simply taking care of it when you open and close the bag should ensure that it stays whole and without tears. As a general rule if you treat it as gently as you treat the expensive electronics inside it you’ll be fine.
Since that September trial I’ve used it many times, and since keeping my phone dry is vital when guiding groups, it’s become part of my general safety kit. The next step is to see how it performs when cold and wet, so it’ll come to Scotland this winter and spend a night or two in a snow hole.
Aquapac have been around for a while, and have a large range of other items, so it seemed strange to me that after years of mountaineering and walking I hadn’t thought to get one before. But sometimes there’s so much kit out there the good things can pass you by in the rush.
So now you know, don’t spend another minute worrying about whether you’ll be able to call home while your phone’s getting soaked inside a plastic bag, have a look at the aquapac and concentrate on enjoying the rain.
Author: Alex Kendall
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