Do It: Make the Most of Your Phone
Pick the right case to shield your device, never lose touch, boost your juice, and conserve battery power with these tips and tricks.
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Protect Your Phone
Pick the right case to shield your device from falls, rain, and dirt, whether you’re a…
Weekend warrior LifeProof cases (iPhone 5: $80, 1 oz.; iPad: $100, 11.6 oz.; lifeproof .com) are waterproof (up to 6 feet for 30 minutes), shockproof (up to a 6-foot drop onto concrete), and dustproof. The slim profile makes the phone case easy to stash in a pocket, and the responsive touchscreen helped it earn a 2013 Editors’ Choice Award.
Gear abuser Otterbox’s Armor Case ($100, 3.9 oz. for iPhone 5; $100, 4.8 oz. for Galaxy S3; otterbox.com) uses heavy-duty plastic to protect from submersion (6 feet for 30 minutes), drops (up to 10 feet), and pressure (4,000 pounds).
Power user The Mophie Juice Pack PRO Outdoor Edition case ($120; 2.5 oz.; iPhone 4/4s; mophie.com) is splashproof (not submergible), dustproof, and shockproof, plus it includes a rechargeable integrated battery pack that can store 1.5 iPhone charges. A standby switch lets you control when the juice is on.
Never Lose Touch
Roughly the size of a beefy smartphone case with an antenna, the Thuraya SatSleeve ($499 for iPhone 4/4s, $599 for iPhone 5; thuraya.com) turns your iPhone into a satellite phone at a fraction of the price of many traditional sat phones. (We can’t wait to field-test one.)
Conserve Your Phone’s Battery Power
Shut off all unnecessary signals. Your phone will continuously try to connect to a cellular or data signal when you’re out of range, draining the battery fast. But be wary of airplane mode: On some Android phones, this shuts off the GPS signal. GPS Airtime (free; gpsairtime .com) helps overcome this.
Power down at night.
Don’t collect a battery-gulping tracklog on multiday trips. Disable the tracklog in your GPS app’s settings, and mark waypoints only at important spots. Or increase the spacing between breadcrumbs (from 10 feet to up to 1,000 feet) on the tracklog.Boost Your Juice
Revive dead batteries by harnessing the power of…
Solio’s Xcellerator + Hub package is a trail-worthy solar panel and external battery that charges both standard and Mac devices ($100; 9.5 oz.; solio.com). Your gadget runs on AAs? Goal Zero’s Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit powers four rechargeable batteries ($120; 6.4 oz.; goalzero .com).
The PowerPot charges devices by converting heat to energy while you cook, then connecting to your device via USB cord. It works with any stove and 20 minutes of cooking fills your phone 30 percent. ($149; 1 lb. 2 oz.; thepowerpot .com)
The nPower Peg takes kinetic energy from your movement and stores it as a charge in a battery (a day of hiking yields a 20 percent charge for your phone). Stuck in camp? Shaking the peg for 10 minutes builds up enough juice to make a short call. ($200; 14 oz.; npowerpeg .com)