On a dusty hike in Sedona, you spot a cool, inviting creek. You peel off your boots and dip your paddies in the water. All is calm and serene in the world…until you slip on the rocks and fall face-first into the drink. As you arise with bruised ego, you extract a sopping wet cellphone from your left pocket and an equally soaked camera from your right. This is one of many reasons why gadgets don’t like to travel—and why we’ve rounded up these seven trusty products, to give you and your gear the best protection possible.
1. 15L Noatak Wet & Drybag
Why We Like It: The next time you’re on one of those boat tours riding through the heavy mist of a waterfall and everyone else is wearing those silly plastic ponchos, this is the bag to have strapped on. It’s specially coated to keep out that magnificent spray of water. And it’s got different sections inside to separate your wet and dry articles…which will come especially in handy once you’re back on dry land. Also available in 25L ($45), 35L ($50), and 60L ($60) sizes, it works just as well for a variety of other moisture-ridden travel activities
How Much: $40
Buy It: Visit Aquapac.net
2. SLR Camera Case
Why We Like It: You don’t have to leave your sophisticated SLR at home just because the conditions might get damp or dusty. This case—which will float if you drop it in the water—will protect your fancy-schmancy photo apparatus for up to half an hour at a depth of five meters. Up front, it’s made of a hard plastic that protects your lens. And in back, the soft material allows you to operate your camera’s controls. So no matter how close you are to that stream or how windy it is on that dune, you can take high-quality shots without worrying about your equipment.
How Much: $140
Buy It: Visit Aquapac.net
3. Magellan’s Aluminum Wallet
Why We Like It: This water-resistant brushed aluminum wallet—available in a bevy of colors—protects the info on the chips in your bank cards from falling into the wrong hands. And in case this slick, slim, and stylish case falls out of your hands, all the contents in its seven expandable sleeves won’t spill out onto the sidewalk. When you’re ready to open it, just press a button and you’ve got your cash, cards, and receipts at the ready.
How Much: $30 for 1, $25 each for 2 or more
Buy It: Visit Magellans.com
4. Extreme Portfolio for iPad and 10" Tablet
Why We Like It: While on vacation, you’re probably not planning to launch your tablet from a slingshot, toss it from a speeding car, or drop it from a weather balloon 100,000 feet up. Good thing, because as you can see in their videos, the folks who make this super-shock absorbing tablet holder have already gone to those great lengths to show the kind of extreme protection their sleeves offer. Just know that whether zipped open or closed, your iPad will have all the padding it needs.
How Much: $90
Buy It: Visit G-Form.com
5. Pelican 1560LOC Laptop Overnighter Case
Why We Like It: This strong, sleek, and sturdy two-wheeler features three removable accessory pouches and a padded removable laptop sleeve. Plus, it’s got room for up to five days’ worth of travel outfits. Clamp it shut and you’ve got a crushproof, watertight valise with a valve for automatic pressure equalization. Although AirTran and JetBlue will let you roll it on, you won’t hesitate to check it for a second, knowing how much it’ll get bumped around in the other airlines’ cargo areas.
How Much: $436
Buy It: Visit Pelican.com
6. Women’s BugsAway Ziwa Convertible Pant
Why We Like It: Treated with a special odorless insect-repellant, these moisture-wicking, quick-drying pants also feature a UPF 30+ rating. Plus, they zip off into shorts, giving you just the versatility you need for a sunny day spent by the lake, followed by an evening next to a crackling campfire. They feature a drop-in gadget pocket, partial elastic waistband, and two security zippered pockets. And they’re available for both men and women in green and light khaki, plus cigar for men.
How Much: $100
Buy It: Visit ExOfficio.com
7. iPhone 4/4S Ballistic Hard Core (HC) Series Case
Why We Like It: First, this water-resistant case offers five layers of protection from scratching, marring, dropping, and denting your treasured iPhone. Second, c’mon, nothing’s hotter than hot pink! Whatever color you go with and wherever you go with it, you’ll have peace of mind that your mapping, app-ing, texting, and talking machine will keep on keepin’ on.
How Much: $50
Buy It: Visit GoBallisticCase.com
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Fodors.com Travel Technology Columnist Scott Tharler is an expert in gadgets, gambling, and travel. He’s written four books, plus hundreds of mobile and wireless tips for Sony and PC World. In addition to his daily Discovery News gadget blog, you can find links to other gadget articles, social feeds and lists of his current favorite gadgets at about.me/gadgetfans
1. Aquapac International Ltd.; 2. Aquapac International Ltd.; 3. Magellan’s Travel Supplies; 4. G-Form, LLC; 5. Pelican Products, Inc.; 6. ExOfficio LLC; 7. Ballistic