Gear Guy

What’s the Best Smartphone Case?

My girlfriend is looking for a new phone, and she’ll be using it outdoors a lot this summer. Which one has the most protective case available?

What’s the Best Smartphone Case?

Photo: Daniel D. Snyder/Zimand/Shutters

Phones are becoming more useful in the outdoors for tracking routes, documenting rare finds, and predicting dicey weather. Of course, around our campsite, simply using one to natter into is still highly verboten. But who can forgo a slim gadget that bridges a camera, GPS, compass, and heart rate monitor?

If you carry a phone in your pack, protect it with a case that’s rugged or waterproof. According to a study by insurance company Squaretrade, 30 percent of phones break after a fall from the hand, and 18 percent meet their death when immersed in water.

In picking our favorite tough cases for the top three new phones, we deliberately chose those that were over-engineered (don’t try to stuff them in a jeans pocket or you will definitely draw attention). But for backpacking or kayaking when your phone is apt to be perched over sharp rocks or water, these cases will have you covered.

Urban Armor Gear for Samsung Galaxy S4
Eco-Fused White Waterproof Case Cover
Innovez Eco Friendly Interchangeable iPhone 5 Case
OtterBox Armor Series Waterproof Case for iPhone 5
Ballistic SG Maxx Series for HTC One
DryCase for HTC One

Subscribe to Outside

Outside Magazine Latest Issue

Save 66% and get All-Access: Print + iPad