How to Outdoor-Proof Your Smartphone
July 25th, 2018 by Curtis Condon

Water is one of a smartphone’s worst enemies, especially saltwater. Even if your phone is in a waterproof case, manufacturers don’t recommend allowing the case to come in contact with saltwater or briny beaches. If that happens, rinse it with tap water and dry it with a soft cloth. Avoid pushing any of the buttons while rinsing or when the case is still wet.
© iStock/tuaindeed

Let’s face it. Your smartphone is a tenderfoot outdoors. Dangers abound, ready at any moment to turn it into a handful of worthless e-scrap.

To protect your phone, consider these five tips to safeguard it from moisture, dirt, sand, sunlight and heat.

  • Cover it. Invest in a waterproof case, which also protects the phone from dirt and sand getting inside. Even something as simple and cheap as a zip baggie or freezer bag provides a basic level of protection.
  • Up-armor it. For a few dollars more than a mid-range waterproof case, you can get one that also protects the phone from drops. Stick with name brands, such as Pelican, Lifeproof and Otterbox.
  • Hide it. The sun and extreme heat can wreck havoc on the screen and inner workings of your phone. Keep it out of direct sunlight and off of the ground—such as in your pocket or backpack—to avoid these hazards. Better yet, a dry area in a cooler provides the perfect refuge for a phone with a waterproof case.
  • Love it. A little TLC goes a long way. Use screen protectors to avoid scratches. Perform regular maintenance, such as cleaning the outside of the phone and blowing out hard-to-reach places with canned air.
  • Leave it. Do you really need to take your phone? Only you can make that determination. If the answer is no, leave it at home and avoid the hazards that lurk outdoors.

Get the Mud Out
Ever notice how catfish caught in summer have a somewhat muddy taste? The best way to eliminate the taste is to cut out the band of reddish dark meat—often called the mud vein—that runs through catfish filets. Then, soak the white meat of the filets overnight in the refrigerator in water and a little lemon juice or vinegar to remove any residual mud taste before cooking.

Three Tent Camping Comfort Hacks

  • Take a cue from RVers: Pack an old carpet to roll out in front of your tent or where you congregate. Consider bringing a second one for inside your tent. Your feet will thank you.
  • Bring toilet paper from home. It is sure to be softer than the sandpaper-quality TP found at most campgrounds.
  • If you sleep on the ground, put a closed-cell sleeping pad under your egg crate or air mattress. It will insulate you from the ground better, keep you warmer and inhibit condensation on your mattress.

Special Days in August

  • August 1, National Mountain Climbing Day
  • August 4, Campfire Day
  • August 4, U.S. Coast Guard Day
  • August 10, National S’mores Day
  • August 18, National Honey Bee Awareness Day
  • August 20, World Mosquito Day
  • August 31, National Trail Mix Day

Got a Tip or a Whopper?
Send us your favorite outdoor tip, photo or story. If selected for publication, we will send you $25 for one-time use. Tell us the story behind the picture, and remember to identify people and pets. Email your submission to moc.stnerrucadirolfnull@ofni.

Many of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird-watching along the Gulf Coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.