Riding in the Rain: Waterproofing your Phone, GPS, etc.
Now that I’ve talked about waterproofing YOU, the rider (It’s All About the Gear) - as well as things you can do to ride more safely in the rain (Traction & Tactics) - what about your motorcycle? Specifically, what about electronic devices you need to use, like a phone or GPS?
Our phones, in particular, have become an extension of us. We don’t go anywhere without them, and we use them for everything - from using a navigation/GPS app, to checking email, to taking photos - we even use them to keep track of our schedule and for updating our Facebook profile with pictures from our rides!
So it goes without saying that waterlogging your phone is a bad thing. Besides the inconvenience, these mini-computers are no longer cheap to replace!
So how do you protect your phone while using it on a motorcycle? Here are some ideas for waterproofing your phone.
Nowadays there are many waterproof phone cases to choose from; Otterbox and Lifeproof are two better-known waterproof phone case brands.
If you have a cover like that on your phone, it adds bulk (size) and weight. So when you consider mounting it on your motorcycle, it helps to know the total dimensions (width, height AND depth) of your phone in its case. Then you can choose a mount that accommodates that. (Helpful hint: check out our Phone Sizing Guide).
If you don’t want a bulky waterproof cover on your phone, here are several suggestions for keeping your phone dry. (BTW these apply nicely to GPS, iPods and other devices as well.)
Approach #1: Zip-Lock BaggieKeep a few zip lock bags in your saddlebag (or pocket) and simply slip one on over your phone. Make sure you get a high-quality brand so the ‘zip’ really ‘locks.’ This method has worked for me in light to moderate rain (although truth be told, I prefer one of our mounts!).
Approach #2: Caddy BuddyThe Caddy Buddy Waterproof Phone Mount is made of a vinyl material with a harder ‘backing’ sewn in for support. It has a slim, unobtrusive profile and the clear cover allows you to operate the phone’s touch screen through it. The back side features a swivel mechanism so you can tilt/angle the phone, with both vertical and horizontal options.
The Caddy Buddy fits phones up to 3-7/8 inch wide and 6-1/8 inch high. Depth capability depends in part on size of phone but is best under ⅝ inch. You can run wires out of it either at the top edge (it has a velcro closure) or by snipping a tiny hole in the exact place you need it.
Approach #3: Hydra Waterproof CaseIf you’ve got a large phone - or you have a thicker case or cover on your phone that you don’t want to have to remove every time you ride - the Hydra waterproof phone/GPS mount may be of interest to you.
The Hydra is a case with a zipper closure on three edges. It has a special waterproof ‘plug’ to run wires out if needed and is available in several sizes. Because it has a thicker vinyl front, it can be harder to use the touch screen functions (some phone screens are more touchy than others). The Hydra also has a swivel mechanism connecting it on the back so you can tilt/angle the phone, with both vertical and horizontal options.
Both the Caddy Buddy and the Hydra can be mounted in a variety of locations: handlebar, brake/clutch, mirror stem, windshield and more. So you can always get your phone in a position that is easy for you to see and read.
- Tracey Cramer