We all know cell phones and water do not go well together, so how does one protect a cell phone for a whitewater rafting trip? Our best advice: You Don’t.
This is a bold claim to make, so let’s back it up. The reason I say don’t bother with protecting your cell phone is because there is no good reason to bring it along in the first place. When packing for your trip – ask yourself, “Why do I want this?”. Most folks don’t have the time to snap selfies while paddling (your guide will have a heart attack if you try and pull this off during a rapid). There are professional photographers posted up at the major rapids on our Arkansas River trips so you’ll still get your action shots. Slap a GoPro on top of your helmet or pick up a disposable waterproof camera from our gift shop and you’ll be set to capture the memories.
With the need for photos eliminated, and inconsistent cell service in most of the areas we raft in, my advice is to leave your phone in the car, but if you must, here are your options:
If this is your first time rafting, definitely plan on getting wet. Even your secret dry spot in the center of the raft is bound to get wet at some point. With this in mind, waterproofing your phone is a must. There are a few different approaches like waterproof cellphone cases or sealable waterproof pouches – just make sure you do a test at home first to verify water will not sneak in.
I almost always keep my cell phone in a pocket. Most of the time this approach is fabulous, except of course, on the river. For whitewater rafting, you’ll want to make sure your phone is physically attached to something else. For example, this can be something like a wearing a necklace style waterproof pouch (available for purchase at our gift shop). These work well because your phone is easily tucked into your PFD where it is both super secure and easily accessible. Another option is storing your phone in a drybag attached to the raft. The main goal is to keep your phone from being loose and easily tossed out of the raft as we go over bumps and rapids.
People often fixate on buying the best waterproof case and leave it at that thinking they prepared appropriately. This is only half the battle! What will happen if you drop your phone? Unless you are really lucky or have ninja-like reflexes, chances are it will sink. As silly is at sounds, attaching a floatation device could potentially save you hundreds of dollars. Something brightly colored is your best bet since it will easily stand out in the water.
If you can confidently say your phone is waterproof, secured, and capable of floating you will be in much better shape for bringing it on the water. Be sure to tag us in your Insta posts @WA_Rafting