Cameras took an evolutionary leap forward into the aquatic world with the release of the GoPro and its waterproof case. Suddenly you could hike a 14er in a rainstorm and document every tortuous minute.
Next step: Smartphones. The mobile devices have become important backcountry tools, but they’re victims of the elements. Forget to wrap your phone in plastic during a river crossing and the piece of high tech technology becomes nothing more than dead weight in your pack.
In July, Samsung unveiled a new phone aimed at recreationists playing outdoors. The Galaxy S4 Active is “sealed” against water, says Samsung Mobile spokesperson Wendy Dominguez. Phones sealed against the elements still occupy a niche market in the U.S., but that might be changing, albeit slowly. And if you can’t wait for the technology to catch up, there are a handful of waterproof cases that will do the trick.