A few years ago off road touring wasn't known for the technology involved. Apart from the vehicle itself the most sophisticated thing most 4wd drivers took with them was a flashlight. It's a bit different now of course. Nobody leaves home without their phone, anyone that doesn't have a GPS built into their vehicle carries a hand held unit and tablet computers are becoming common. Modern devices brings a lot of advantages; you can stay in touch with people back home, check your navigation against the map, keep track of vital sports news and of course call for help in an emergency.
Taking your expensive electronics gear on the trail with you does have some challenges of course. Apart from a few military-standard GPS handsets most of it's a lot happier when it's clean and dry. It doesn't work so well when you drop it in sand or you and it get soaked by a sudden rainstorm. If you want your stuff to keep working you have to protect it properly, and most of the cases you'll find just aren't up to the job.
Of course at Tough Toys we like to do better than most, so we've found some cases that will protect your phone or tablet from just about anything. We were looking for a rugged case that can take a few knocks, seals well enough to keep out water and dirt but still lets you use your device. What we discovered was the Aricase range from Aryca.
You can get an Aricase in a variety of models to take different devices – they're available for iPhones, Blackberry devices and most other common smartphones, as well as larger versions for iPads and Android tablets. They're all built the same way though. Each has a hard plastic shell with a waterproof seal, which keeps your device safe from scrapes and knocks as well as making sure water, sand and dust stay outside where they belong. Of course a hard plastic case makes it hard to use buttons or a touchscreen, so the front panel has an insert made from a tough silicone membrane that lets you use most of your device's functions – even under water. For phones the case lets you talk and listen, and your cameras will work just fine.
The sealing on an Aricase is impressive. All models are completely sealed against sand and dust. The larger tablet size ones are also waterproof to three feet, so they'll easily keep out even heavy rain. The smaller phone-sized ones will submerge a lot deeper. Currently they're marked as good to 20 feet, but Aryca have just had them recertified to 99 feet. That makes them good enough for most divers, and they'll certainly be fine if you drop them in a puddle.
Aryca also have a range of accessories for their cases. You can get mounts to fit them on a bike, dive mask or helmet, so you can record video as you do crazy stuff. One we like is a floating lanyard which loops onto your case, and gives it enough buoyancy to keep your phone afloat next time it falls in a river. There's even a chest harness to keep your phone handy while you're working. With these great cases you'll be able to use your devices effectively outdoors without worrying about wrecking them.
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