For some people, spending time outdoors is a perfect excuse to disconnect from technology entirely. For others, there’s nothing better than reading a digital book and listening to your favorite music in a quiet campsite. So how do you protect your gadgets from the elements when you go camping?
First, recognize the value of preparation. If you only think about the safety of your gadgets after you arrive at the campsite, you may lack certain items or strategies that could otherwise keep your devices safe. On the other hand, proactive planners can identify the biggest risks of using their devices at the campsite, they come prepared with everything they need, and they’re in a much better position to maintain the integrity of their devices.
Keep a List
Before leaving on your trip, make a thorough list of all your electronic items. This includes not only your devices but also any accessories associated with them. For example, you might list your phone, your tablet, your charging cable and car adapter, your earbuds, and your portable speaker.
This list can help you better conceptualize how you’re going to use your devices on the camping trip, and more importantly, it will help you keep inventory throughout your trip – and ensure you don’t leave anything behind.
Invest in Better Cases
A durable, high-performance phone case can make your phone much more resilient in the face of camping conditions. If you drop your phone while hiking, it might not be that big of a deal. If your phone becomes temporarily submerged in water, it might survive. And if your device gets tossed around the campsite by negligent family members or friends, you won’t have to panic about it.
Obviously, no phone case is completely protective; it’s still necessary to exercise caution when bringing and using electronic devices on a camping trip. But cases can give you a little extra insurance and a little more peace of mind, even in nerve-wracking conditions.
Lock Up Everything That’s Not Attended
If you’re going to leave the campsite unattended for any length of time, make sure you lock up any valuable devices that you have. Depending on your circumstances, that could mean locking everything in a portable safe, locking your devices in the trunk of your vehicle, or avoiding the situation entirely by keeping your devices with you at all times.
Keep Items Waterproofed
When camping, water damage is a significant risk. Even if you don’t plan on swimming or being near large bodies of water, you’ll need to consider the possibility of rain. Waterproofing cases and accessories can make a huge difference, but it’s also a good idea to bring along completely waterproof bags so your devices can stay completely dry in any situation.
Avoid Using Gadgets in High-Risk Activities
For certain camping and camping-adjacent activities, it’s best to leave your phone and high-tech gadgets out of the mix entirely. For example, we’d bet that thousands of people regretted bringing their phones with them while whitewater rafting. It’s also valuable to leave your phone behind when participating in these activities so you can enjoy them in the moment much more thoroughly.
Understand Local Security
Make an evaluation of local security. Are there any security officers onsite? If you are involved in an altercation, who would you contact for help? Are there any dates, offenses, or other security features? Is there a neighborhood watch-style program in which you can participate?
Clean Up Your Camp
If you aren’t diligent and hygienic in your campsite, you could end up attracting local wildlife – and not in a fun way. While bears and raccoons probably won’t be interested in consuming content on your device, they may inadvertently damage it, so make a proactive effort to keep your campsite clean.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
Before you leave for your camping trip, take a moment to review your insurance coverage, if you have insurance on your electronic devices. Would you be covered if these devices are lost, damaged, or stolen on your trip? Does it make sense to increase your coverage?
Bonus: Leave the Gadgets at Home!
The safest place for your gadgets is probably at home. If you can stand it, you might be better off going on your camping trip without any electronics whatsoever (save for a device that allows you to communicate in an emergency). It’s the best way to enjoy the great outdoors!
Going camping with electronic devices will always be somewhat risky. But you can make this activity much safer for yourself and your electronics by following these strategies. A bit of proactive planning and intelligent device management can spare you from a device-related disaster.