Can I Bring My Smartphone on My Tubing Trip?

Tubing down the river can be both an exciting and relaxing experience. If you’re the type of tuber that wants to stay in touch with loved ones, get some awesome pics of your trip and keep an eye on the time, you might want to bring your smartphone too. But how safe is bringing a smartphone on your tubing adventure? Is it better just to leave the modern world at home or in the car?

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If you’re dying to bring your smartphone on your tubing trip, fear not. There are plenty of ways to safely transport your phone and keep it by your side throughout your adventure.

1. Ziploc Sandwich Bag

If you’re low on cash and really want to bring your smartphone on your rafting trip for very basic tasks like checking the time or texting your friend to meet you at the mid-river rest stop, go with the Ziploc baggie method. Simply place your belongings into a Ziploc sandwich bag (you may want to double up the bag—just in case one rips). While this method protects against water damage, you might want to double up with other methods, using one of the tips below so you don’t lose the phone.

2. Waterproof Smartphone Case

For those who have a little extra cash to burn, a waterproof smartphone case is the way to go when you’ve just got to keep your phone nearby in case of emergency, snack run or contacting friends on a raft trip. A waterproof smartphone case will allow you to stay in touch, play games and keep an eye on the time. You can use your phone for any activity without the worry of it falling in the water. These cases are only around $35 and will even protect your phone if you drop it in the river. Again, you’ll need to ensure you phone doesn’t get lost too, so keep an eye on the ideas below for keeping your smartphone from ending up at the bottom of the river or lake.

3. Phone Leash

The best way to keep your phone close to your body is to purchase a phone leash. You can buy these at pretty much any outdoorsy store, like REI or Eastern Mountain Sports. The leash attaches to your cell phone case, and you can attach it to your person in several ways. One way is to wear it around your neck like a lanyard. Some phone leashes work like surfboard leashes, too. You keep the strap Velcroed around your wrist while the other end attaches to your cell phone case.

4. Fanny Pack

A waterproof fanny pack is another great way to keep your phone close to your body—and out of the water. Since your waist will probably be submerged in water, you’ll still need to keep your phone in a water proof case. Fanny packs now come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can help you keep track of not just your phone—but also a waterproof pouch with money, keys and identification too. Most outdoor stores carry these as well as large department stores too.

5. Smartskin Phone Condom

Now that you’ve protected your phone from the water and gravity, you’ll need to protect it from the sun too. Smartphones can get overheated extremely fast—especially when you’re out on the water all day in an inner tube. Should your phone be exposed to the sun too long, it can become unusable until it cools down again. The Smartskin phone condom (as silly as it sounds) can help protect your phone from the blazing heat of the sun. The condoms are easy to slip on and off and can protect your equipment from heat and light sweat.

6. Rent a Locker

If all the above options seem a little too high maintenance for you, or if you want to spend your time on the river phone free, simply rent a storage locker at the beginning of your trip or keep your electronics in the car. You won’t be able to communicate with anyone else during your tubing trip, but you’ll be able to have a great time without the added stress of losing or damaging your smartphone.