Ad­ven­ture Gear

Pro­tec­tive Equip­ment for the Ac­tive iPhone Owner

iPhone Life Magazine - - Great Gear - by Chris Vasques

Itook a four-month trip to the is­land of Hawaii last Oc­to­ber for a univer­sity re­search pro­gram. Dur­ing that time, my iPhone 7 had some close calls with wa­ter, rocks, sand, heat, and yes, even a vol­cano. We risk our com­fort, our san­ity, and some­times our safety to take these ad­ven­tures. Hav­ing been through this ad­ven­ture with my iPhone 7, I came back to the main­land with a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what rugged iPhone gear I could have brought with me. Here are the top five rugged iPhone ac­ces­sories I will bring on my next ad­ven­ture and rec­om­mend you pack too.

Ren­ogy Phoenix Gen­er­a­tor 20W All-in-One So­lar Kit

($699.99)

In Hawaii, find­ing power was a con­stant strug­gle for our team. With no short­age of sun­shine on the Big Is­land, we could have been saved a hun­dred times over if we'd had a bet­ter so­lar charger.

That's where Ren­ogy's Phoenix Por­ta­ble Gen­er­a­tor So­lar Kit comes in. This matte-black suit­case looks like an item Moneypenny would carry in a James Bond film. In­side is a pair of 10-watt monocrys­talline por­ta­ble so­lar pan­els and gen­er­a­tor. At 12.8 pounds, this case might be too heavy for a hike but would be an ab­so­lute hero as a base­camp power source. You can charge the Phoenix Gen­er­a­tor with the sun, with a stan­dard wall out­let, or from the power socket in any ve­hi­cle. One charge can power your iPhone up to 32 times and your iPad up to 8 times.

Ol­lo­clip Ac­tive Lens Set for iPhone 7/7 Plus ($119.99)

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus al­ready have the best smart­phone cam­eras avail­able. Ol­lo­clip's high-qual­ity lens col­lec­tion builds on the strength of the iPhone's cam­era, pro­vid­ing users with even greater ver­sa­til­ity. I was able to try out Ol­lo­clip's Ac­tive Lens Set from its new­est line of iPhone cam­era at­tach­ments. The set of­fers a 2x tele­photo lens and a 155-de­gree ul­tra-wide lens. Car­ry­ing Ol­lo­clip's lenses with me was no in­con­ve­nience at all, and the ben­e­fits of be­ing able to eas­ily cap­ture wide-an­gle shots and zoom in on sub­jects are worth it. I should note that the Ol­lo­clip mount is a very snug fit though and does not work with a case on. It took me five min­utes to re­move the Cat­a­lyst Case and safely se­cure the Ol­lo­clip. Ol­lo­clip of­fers a spe­cial case to solve this prob­lem, but if you want to con­tinue us­ing your fa­vorite case, be pre­pared for setup to take a lit­tle ex­tra time. The mount also blocks the flash, so plan for that as well.

Since I have the iPhone 7, not the Plus, I en­joyed the clar­ity of the 2x tele­photo zoom. There is a marked dif­fer­ence be­tween the 2x zoom with the lens ver­sus dig­i­tally zoom­ing in within the Cam­era app. The 2x zoom lens is much clearer. With the wide-an­gle lens, I found my na­ture shots to be richer and more pro­fes­sional look­ing. If the iPhone is your main cam­era, these lenses are cer­tainly an investment worth con­sid­er­ing.

Cat­a­lyst Case for iPhone 7 ($79.99)

A re­li­able pro­tec­tive case is the first line of de­fense to keep your iPhone safe on se­ri­ous treks—and the Cat­a­lyst Case is one of the most re­spected on the mar­ket. The IP68 rated Cat­a­lyst is sub­mersible up to 30 feet, adding a sig­nif­i­cant boost of pro­tec­tion to the iPhone 7, which is sub­mersible up to 1 me­ter for 30 min­utes. When trav­el­ing near or through rivers in Hawaii, I found my­self wish­ing I had cho­sen a bet­ter case. There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing 99 per­cent sure your iPhone is safe in its pro­tec­tive case and 100 per­cent sure. To test the Cat­a­lyst, I ran the iPhone 7 un­der wa­ter in my sink from ev­ery an­gle, took it in the shower while play­ing music, and shook it in a five-gal­lon bucket. Even af­ter tak­ing a fairly sig­nif­i­cant beat­ing, my iPhone 7 re­mained dry and un­scathed. I even tested the Cat­a­lyst case with co­conut oil. Un­like my Spi­gen case, the Cat­a­lyst main­tained a grippy feel. The Cat­a­lyst did not al­low any dirt, sand, or mud to en­ter ei­ther, and once rinsed, it did not al­low any de­bris to stick around. The Cat­a­lyst case also claims to pro­tect against drop dam­age. I tested this out in a few dif­fer­ent ways: For starters, I stuffed my phone in my back­pack with books and of­fice sup­plies and then dropped the back­pack from about 10 feet. I also threw my phone down a flight of stairs, cartwheeled it across some pave­ment, and mashed it into a steel grate. The Cat­a­lyst Case it­self was still in fair con­di­tion af­ter this, and my iPhone re­mained un­harmed thanks to Cat­a­lyst's war tank of a rub­ber­ized shell and bumpers. The pro­tec­tive iPhone 7 case adds bulk for sure and is one of the most ex­pen­sive pro­tec­tive case op­tions. How­ever, it's worth it for me, as I forego phone in­sur­ance in lieu of a strong case.

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