Every trip invites the possibility of a holiday-altering tech accident including, but not limited to, dousing your fragile smartphone in a body of water. So it’s nice to have a few tricks up your sleeve. We’ve heard that desperate times have called the use of hair dryers, bowls of rice, or even kitty litter to bring certain non-waterproof devices back to life. But those home (or rather, away) remedies are unreliable last resorts at best. Instead, check out these simple products that can help ensure you and your gadgets come home not so worse for wear.
1. Gear Aid Tenacious Tape
Why We Like It: Nothing puts a damper on a camping and hiking trip like a leaky tent. For that reason, this rugged, flexible adhesive is a must-have. Available in either clear or several common outdoorsy colors, it stops rips from tearing into your tarp, tent and other gear and ruining an otherwise lovely trip.
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How Much: $4.50
Buy It: Visit REI.com.
2. BiKN Starter Kit
Why We Like It: This system uses your iPhone to help track your most important stuff. Conversely, because it’s self-powered, it can also help you find your iPhone—even if it’s turned off or the battery’s dead. It uses radio frequency rather than GPS or Bluetooth, so it’s not constrained to a 30-foot radius. It works up to 100 feet away inside buildings and stretches out to a 500-foot radius outside.
Plus, it works both ways. You can also specify a certain distance beyond which you don’t want your keys, camera bag, or kids wandering off. It all starts with choosing the base (black or white) and highlight (black, white, gray, green, purple, teal) colors for your case and tags.
How Much: $130
Buy It: Visit BiKN.com.
3. Womens Fuse-ion High Performance Shoes
Why We Like It: These water shoes combine Teva’s super-clingy Spider Rubber and JStep outsole, and look more like a regular sneaker than a lot of other options out there. In addition, this fantastic footwear is specially treated to not only repel water, but designed to drain it too. So assuming you go sockless, your tootsies will stay light and dry, no matter how splashy the trail gets. What’s more, these shoes—available in black, grey, and red—are a much better off-trail style choice than other sporty sandals to wear in restaurants, stores, and about town.
How Much: $90
Buy It: Visit Teva.com.
4. LifeProof iPhone 4/S Colored Case and LifeJacket Float
Why We Like Them: Since we last checked in with LifeProof five months ago, they still offer the toughest, thinnest iPhone case on the market. It allows you to use all your phone’s features, while shielding it from shocks, water (down to 2 meters), dust, and drops. But now this ultra-protective shell is available in three new colors: blue, red, and teal.
And it has its own accessory: Made from tough but light foam, the buoyant, highly visible and durable LifeJacket offers enhanced protection on both sea and land for your phone’s screen and body. But it still leaves your phone’s microphone, speaker, and buttons accessible. It comes with a quick release lanyard and wrist strap that may be mounted to the eyelets on any of its corners. And it’ll be available starting in mid-July on their site—and to the lucky winner of this month’s travel tech sweepstakes—and to purchase in October at Best Buy.
Buy It: Visit LifeProof.com.
5. Zomm Wireless Leash
Why We Like It: With a Bluetooth connection to your phone, this cool little keychain gadget (less than two inches across) has a built-in speakerphone that lets you chat hands-free in and out of the car. And it offers one-button access to emergency assistance from a personal safety concierge. So you can have that much more peace of mind when traveling—especially on your own. To control both of these features, along with its namesake leash functionality, an app on your Android or iPhone, Mac or PC empowers you.
How Much: $90
Buy It: Visit Zomm.com.
6. The Tina Tablet Bag
Why We Like It: No need to sacrifice style for function here. This tech-friendly purse has several handy interior pockets, including a nicely cushioned pouch for your e-reader or tablet, in addition to its two quick-access exterior pockets. Plus, this chic carryall–available in mustard or black—has lots of room for all that other stuff that finds its way into the main compartment. These bags for the modern (not too geeky) tech maven also come in three other styles, each in additional colors.
How Much: $125
Buy It: Visit KabooBags.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.
Photo credits: 1. REI; 2. Treehouse Labs; 3. Teva; 4. LifeProof; 5. ZOMM; 6. Kaboo Bags