Protecting my gear when I'm out and about

Mother Nature can be hard on electronic equipment, but with the right gear, you can take your tablet, smartphone, and camera into pretty much any environment and know it will live to fight another day.
By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
1 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes


Most people who know me personally quickly learn how hard I am on my electronic equipment. Pretty much everything I own — iPhone, iPad, notebooks, cameras, and so on — usually ends up running the risk of being rained on, washed away, blown away, eroded by Mother Nature, or otherwise trodden on or driven over by careless humans.

In other words, if I don't go to great lengths to protect my gear, it's not going to last that long. And I'm not alone here. Increasingly, people are taking delicate electronics in the form of smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and cameras, out into the elements and expecting them to work, day in, day out.

Since I've got a lot of experience taking my equipment out into the elements, I thought I'd share with you the kit I use to make sure my electronics live to see another day.

It is worth noting that the gear I list here isn't just stuff I've been sent to review in order to try to sell it to you. No, this is the gear that I use to protect my stuff. 

2 of 8 G-Form

iPhone: G-Form Xtreme

While I think that the iPhone is a thing of beauty, it's far too fragile to be allowed out naked into the world I inhabit.

To give my iPhone a fighting chance, I've put mine into a G-Form Xtreme case. This is manufactured from Reactive Protection Technology, a material that stiffens on impact in order to absorb over 90 percent of the force. The case also adds significant grip to the otherwise slippery handset.

So far, despite a number of close calls with gravity, my iPhone lives on!

Link: G-Form

Price: $39.99

3 of 8 Nutshell

iPhone: Nutshell leather case

Since I usually have too much junk in my pockets to fit a phone, I carry my iPhone on a belt pouch. Not the sexiest of things, I'm told, but it means that I always have the phone with me, and the leather case adds a great deal of much needed extra protection.

The leather case I choose is from Nutshell. This company makes cases for all sorts of devices. I've bought one for pretty much every smartphone I've owned for over a decade and they've never let me down.

My case is oversized in order to fit the iPhone 5 inside the G-Form Xtreme case.

Link: Nutshell

Price: $70

4 of 8 G-Form

iPad: G-Form Xtreme

Since I've had good success with the G-Form Xtreme case for my iPhone, I've popped my iPad into one, too. As long as I don't drop the iPad onto its screen, then it should service pretty much anything I throw at it.

Link: G-Form

Price: $79.99

5 of 8 SKB

Notebook: SKB 3I waterproof notebook case

While for day to day usage I'm happy to throw my MacBook Pro into an old Targus case, if I'm taking it outdoors, I need something more robust. This is when I turn to my SKB 3I waterproof notebook case.

SKB 3I is a mil-standard waterproof cases molded of ultra high-strength polypropylene copolymer resin, and featuring a gasketed, water and dust tight, submersible design that is resistant to corrosion and impact damage.

This case is designed to take notebooks up to 17-inch, and has space for other gear such as my iPhone, iPad, and my charger.

Source: SKB

Price: $199

6 of 8 Pelican

Travel: Pelican IM2500 Storm

Nothing is harder on tech than travel, especially when you have to hand over the care of your devices to people who don't care about them. This is why I like to pack my stuff inside a case that can take a significant beating, and in my experience, Pelican cases can take everything that airports, taxis, and hotels can throw at them.

My case of choice is the Pelican IM2500 Storm. This is a lightweight, watertight case with rollers and a strong telescoping handle. The case is not only robust, but it also meets carry-on requirements, which means less hassle at airports.

This case is super-robust. I've seen one after a bear attack, and apart from a few bite marks, it was still in excellent condition. I recently used this case to protect my photo equipment while doing a course on a windswept island with the great folks at Welshot Imaging. Despite the rain, salt-spray, and high winds, all my gear survived

Link: Pelican

Price: $175

7 of 8 Lowepro

Camera: Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW

Keeping a camera safe and yet close to hand is not easy, especially if you're dealing with a big DSLR. I've searched high and low for the ideal case, and I think I've found it with the Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW. Not only does it protect my camera from bumps, knocks, and scrapes, but it is also easy to access.

Make no mistake, this is a big case, suited to a DSLR — such as the Canon 5D mark III — with a big lens. It's also got space for some spare batteries and memory cards.

If you have a camera that’s a little more subtle than mine, then you might want to go for one of the smaller Toploader Pro cases. You get the same level of protection, but in a smaller package.

Link: Lowepro

Price: $99

8 of 8 Vortex Media

Camera: Storm Jacket camera cover

There's nothing I like better than to take my camera outdoors and grab a shot of some ominous clouds, lightning, or other extremes that nature can throw at me. While I'm pretty waterproof, my camera isn't, so I have to make sure it is properly kitted for the adventure.

The best way I've found to do this is to give the camera its own raincoat in the form of a Storm Jacket. These come in a variety of types, sizes, and colors, so you will need to choose the one that suits your needs. Personally, I like the Pro version because it adds the ability to pop the camera onto a tripod.

These Storm Jackets might seem expensive — and they are a tad pricy in my opinion — but they do the job asked of them well, and in the long run, it's a small price to pay to prevent your camera from getting hosed.

Link: Storm Jacket

Price: From $36

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