If you close your eyes, you can probably feel the rush of jumping into a pool for the first time this spring. We are so, so close. Your gadgets, however, will not enjoy this jump in the pool. Unless they are waterproof gadgets.
We love rugged, durable things, and waterproofness in general. Everything should be waterproof, but especially gadgets that contain irreplaceable things like photos. Here's a batch of gear that'll enhance your outdoor adventures.
Note: If you have any waterproof gear you like, let us know in the Kinja below.
Waterproof(ish) speaker: Logitech UE Boom
Logitech is a fine maker of quality inexpensive electronics. If you don't want to spend a lot but want to get a lot, the company is a reliable bet. Back in the days of iPod docks—remember those?—I loved the company's portable guy. Now that we're in the portable Bluetooth speaker age, I'm willing to bet that the UE Boom speaker recommended by our friends at The Wirecutter is great. It's only "splashproof" and yes, there are waterproof speakers out there, but I think something you can safely keep by the water is good enough. I'm a nerd about this kind of thing. The other available waterproof options suck.
Super cheap waterproof camera: Nikon Coolpix S31
You hand your tiny camera to your kid, your kid drops it in her glass of Pepsi. EVERYTIME! If you drop a $150 Coolpix S31 into Pepsi—or the pool—it survives, because it's waterproof down to five meters. It's not the fanciest camera in the world, but it'll get your snapshot without costing you a month's rent. Plus, it's teensy and cute.
Tough camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5
Wanna step it up from a cheapo camera? We love Panasonic's waterproof/dustproof shooters. The Lumix DMC-TS4 cleaned up in our round-up of rugged cameras a couple of years ago. Besides standard specs like water resistance down to 40 feet, the newest Lumix DMC-TS5 ($350) is outfitted with Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS. Don't care so much about the latest and greatest? The $200 TS-4 will do you just fine.
Action camera: Any GoPro
These days, seems like every damn company in the world is making an action camera with mounts and other accessories. GoPro is by far the best, which is why it's used by everybody from surfers to dancers to skaters to skiers. Get the best. You might not need the latest Hero 3+, so don't be afraid of slightly older models.
Smartphone dive housing: Watershot
This serious underwater housing for iPhone and Galaxy S4 is designed for hardcore divers who want to take photos and video of clownfish or whatever. That's good because it means it's definitely suitable for splashing around in the pool and taking photos of your friends doing underwater gymnastics. I had the chance to play with one of these last summer, and it's really fun. At ~$150 Watershot housing isn't a bargain, but it definitely works and you don't want to take any chances with your phone.
Journal: Rite in the Rain
Forget gadgets—you want to disconnect, man. I like Rite in the Rain's waterproof journals for jotting down the brilliant, life-affirming ideas you'll have while sitting by your own private Walden Pond. I took one of these on a long backpacking trip a few years ago, and it definitely, definitely works in the rain. The paper isn't super wonderful to write on, but at least what you do write won't get destroyed when the clouds unleash their soaking wrath.
Tablet/Smartphone Case: Otterbox
Here's my laptop recommendation for traveling in the wilderness, or even just hanging outside: Don't bring it. Leave it at home. A tablet or smartphone, on the other hand—I can get behind that. Don't want your gadget to die when your friends grab you and toss you in the drink? An Otterbox will save you. I would never use one of these bulky brick cases in the real-world, but in the adventure world, it's pretty much indispensable.