Dry Case: Protect Your Gadget

This silly-looking contraption lets you use your iPhone on, or under, the water.

Sailing World

Dry case 368

Www.drycase.com

Are you looking for the perfect gift for the water sports enthusiast on your list? It may be too late to give them a Dry Case—the waterproof iPhone arm band—but there's always next year.

Unlike other waterproof cases for portable electronic devices, Dry Case lets you retain the use of your iPhone, iPod, etc. Developed by a company that makes waterproof coverings for casts and bandages, Dry Case is essentially a rubber bag with a vacuum pump. Place your gadget into the bag; seal the top by screwing the plastic clamps; pump out the air with the included yellow squeeze ball; strap the Velcro band around your arm. You're ready to get wet and wild, partner! Leave the squeeze ball attached for flotation, or remove it and replace the cap on the one-way valve. Through the clear, flexible membrane, you can tap away on your iPhone, scroll through playlists, or snap digital photos. There's even a headphones input.

I don't own an iPhone, so when the sample Dry Case arrived at the Sailing World offices a few months back, I brought it for testing to SW associate art director and proud iPhone owner Dave Norton. He popped his phone in the case and easily manipulated its features through the membrane. But he wasn't overly eager to participate in underwater testing. Smart guy, that Dave Norton. Now, I've already lost one phone to a watery grave this year, so I clearly don't share Norton's good sense. I sealed my phone in the Dry Case and dropped it into the bathtub. Because it's a flip phone, I was only able to talk using Bluetooth. But the phone stayed dry, and that's what matters. With the pump attached, the system floated; without the pump, it slowly sank.

For all of you saying, "Sure, Dry Case may work, but I wouldn't be caught dead wearing that thing," I offer the following examples of people way cooler than you and me who see nothing wrong with wearing a Dry Case while, A, doing this sweet move on a jet ski, and B, doing this even sweeter move on a wakeboard.

For racing sailors, I honestly can't think of a time during a race when you'd want to wear a Dry Case. During practice, however, you might try strapping the Dry Case to the mast and using it to display a sailing-related iPhone app. At the very least, use it to keep small items dry on board. The large, Velcro strap gives you some stowage options. In fact, once you get past its awkward appearance, you'll find Dry Case is actually pretty handy. Kind of like that special someone on your Christmas list.