If your travels this summer involve any sort of water activity, bring along gear that can withstand splashes or even dunks – whether it’s an action camera that can dive with you, an ebook reader that can survive spills, or bags that can shelter all your stuff from inclement weather. For 2016, here are our favorite weatherproof equipment (remember: waterproof is what you can submerge, while water-resistant handles splashes) for getting through a wet and hot summer.
The new Cargo Hauler Duffel is made out of lightweight, water-repelling fabric, while a foam bottom helps protect what’s inside from any impacts. We like the removable backpack straps for easy hauling, versus the over-the-shoulder strap of traditional duffel bags. Six lash points let secure it to a roof rack – yes, it’s that durable. It’s also the right size for carrying on a plane (we’ve never gotten any grief for bringing on a duffel), although Eagle Creek offers them in various sizes, including larger ones with wheels. Pack it with Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Sport Wet Dry bag to keep the wet stuff separate.
Electronics don’t exactly play nice with water, unless they’re sealed inside the Waterproof E-Case from Cascade Designs’ SealLine. They comply with the IPX7 standard, which means you can take your Amazon Kindle or iPhone into 3 feet of water, for up to 30 minutes. Better yet, the plastic not only lets you easily see what’s on screen, but also lets you access touch displays without removing. The SealLock zipper and RF-welded seams are guaranteed to keep water and dirt out. For years, we’ve used SealLine’s bags to keep our clothes dry while traveling; now, our gadgets can get the same treatment.
Since GoPro dropped the price of the Hero Session to a more reasonable $200, this tiny action cam should attract some new fans. It’s the first GoPro camera to be completely waterproof without a special housing, so it isn’t cumbersome to use, especially while you’re engaged in an activity like surfing or swimming. It’s not as feature-rich as the Hero4 models, but it more than makes up for it in ease-of-use and convenience. It’s also a strong performer that’s capable of shooting great-looking video. Pair it with GoPro’s Quik smartphone app and you can compile your clips into a cool video, in minutes.
Raden is the latest in smart luggage, but unassumingly so. The pullout handle doubles as a scale, while a battery can fully recharge up to four phones. Paired with an iOS app, it can even help you locate it through low-energy Bluetooth. But from a durability standpoint, Raden hard-shell luggage is made out of strong, lightweight, and water-resistant polycarbonate and waterproof sealing – able to take the abuse from inconsiderate baggage handlers. The A22 ($295) meets carry-on requirements, but it’s also available in a larger size (A28, $395) or as a set (A50, $595). Read more here.
As a rugged camera, the TG-870 is able to go under water without a special housing. It can dive down to 50 feet, allowing you to capture in-pool selfies (thanks to the 180-degree flip-up LCD) or exotic fish. It can also withstand drops, crushes, and dust, making it an ideal travel camera. The TG-870 replaces the TG-860 – a camera we enjoy using and subjected to many endurance tests – although the changes are minimal.
The Galaxy S7 Edge is Samsung’s most impressive smartphone, to date. It has all the trappings of a modern, high-end device, with an incredibly thin and sleek profile. But it one-ups most phones in durability, the iPhone included, thanks to its resistance to water. You can dip it into five feet of water for 30 minutes, although we wouldn’t recommend swimming laps in the pool with it. But splashes of beer or Mai Tai can be easily wiped off. Read our full review here.
For avid readers, the Nook Glowlight Plus ebook reader is completely waterproof, so you’re free to take the latest bestseller into the pool, tub, ocean, or finish that gripping chapter in the pouring rain. The high-resolution display makes text easy to read, and it lights up for nighttime perusing. It’s dustproof too, and will last six weeks before you need to plug it in. Read more here.
So, you have to be that guy during vacay. For some of us, work never stops. When duty calls, don’t put off the beach trip. Instead, tote along Panasonic’s Toughbook 54, a semi-rugged laptop that’s resistant to spills. Unlike other Toughbooks, the 54 is Panasonic’s thinnest and lightest, yet it runs a sixth-gen Intel Core i5 processor and Windows 10 Pro, and can be outfitted with various connectivity options, including 4G LTE. Read more here.
For the ultimate pool party without annoying the neighbors, set up two of the UE Roll 2. They can sync up to stream music from one Bluetooth source, or pair up to eight different Bluetooth devices so everyone can take a turn playing DJ. The company claims it delivers 15 percent more sound than the original, with a battery life of nine hours. With its IPX7 rating, you can even throw one into three feet of water, for 30 minutes. Read more here.
The AW1 is still the only interchangeable lens camera that’s completely waterproof. In addition to the choice of two waterproof lenses, you can get higher-quality images and videos than most rugged point-and-shoot cameras without needing to buy a special (and expensive) housing. For everyday use, the camera is compatible with Nikon’s lineup of 1 Nikkon lenses. Read our full review here.
This waterproof backpack has the capacity to hold a large DSLR and up to five lenses, making the DryZone 200 the perfect camera bag for photographers who like to shoot in wet environments or inclement weather. The zipper construction ensures water never gets in, while outer pockets are made of mesh for easy draining. There’s a tripod holder, and straps secure the bag to your back nicely. IPX7 rating means it can go under three feet of water for 30 minutes – perfect for the times you need to cut across a shallow river. If you aren’t carrying as much gear, Lowepro offers two smaller versions in this series.
Chances are, if you’re by the ocean or pool, you’re under plenty of sunlight. Use this opportunity to recharge your USB-powered phone, camera, or backup battery with the Nomad 7 solar panel. Its weather-resistant construction makes it durable to splashes, including rain. You can speed up the charging time by daisy-chaining it with up to four Nomad solar panels.
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We picked this simply because we’re always looking for any excuse to throw a bash. The Party Duffle is the ultimate beach tote. It has an insulated interior to fit several cans of beer or bottles of wine. A side pocket holds a portable speaker (like the UE Roll 2, above), and don’t worry about packing a bottle opener – there’s one built in.
To bring a high-end camera like the Sony A7 II, A7R II, or A7S II into the deep sea, you need a special underwater housing. Ikelite makes an affordable option (it also offers housings for other camera brands and models). It has exterior dials and buttons for accessing camera controls. At $1,500, it is pricier than a rugged camera with built-in waterproofing, but the Ikelite housing with an A7-series camera gives you the best underwater full-frame images and 4K videos that no rugged camera can deliver.
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