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HolidayBuyer's Guide
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Using waterproof gadgets while traveling

Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing gadgets to withstand the elements.

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Having the right gadgets suited to holiday fun is important if you want them to last the distance. From waterproof cameras to solar charging stations designed to soak up the sun, there are plenty of ways you can feed your tech addiction with summer-ready gadgets.

Click through the gallery below for a few of our top picks.

Not all gadgets are made equal though. To make sure that a device is suitable, try and find out if there is an IP rating, or information on its water and dust resistance.

Understanding IP ratings

You may notice that certain gadgets designed to withstand the elements come with what's called an IP code. This is a standard that helps determine waterproof and dustproof capabilities with a simple rating.

The first number determines how dustproof the device is, while the second number relates to the waterproof rating. There are 7 levels of dust protection (rated from 0-6) and 9 levels of water protection (ranging from 0-8).

For example, an IP67 device such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 is totally dust proof and can be immersed in 1m/3.2ft of water for a maximum of 30 minutes.

If there is an X in the IP rating, this simply means that there is only one level of protection. For example, an IPX4 device is protected against water splashes from all directions, but not protected against dust or solid objects.

IP ratingProtection against solid objectsProtection against water/liquids
0No protectionNo protection
1Protected against solid objects over 50mmProtected against vertically falling drops of water or condensation.
2Protected against solid objects over 12.5mmProtected against falling drops of water up to 15° from vertical
3Protected against solid objects over 2.5mmProtected against sprays of water from any direction up to 60° from vertical
4Protected against solid objects over 1.0mmProtected against splashes of water from any direction
5Protected against dust with no harmful depositProtected against low pressure water jets from any direction
6Totally protected against dustProtected against high pressure water jets from any direction
7N/AProtected against short periods of immersion in water between 150mm to 1 metre
8N/AProtected against long periods of immersion in water at a specified depth

Maintenance

Many devices with an IP rating -- or classified as water/dustproof -- require some sort of maintenance to maintain their resistance to the elements.

Specific information on maintaining your device will usually be found in the instruction manual. As an example of the sorts of things you need to do, if the device comes into contact with anything other than fresh water (such as sea water), you will need to rinse the device thoroughly and then dry it with a soft cloth.

It is also important to check that seals and gaskets are firmly closed before dunking waterproof gadgets. Some manufacturers also recommend replacing seals once a year to preserve waterproof features.

Cheap solutions

Let's be honest, buying new gadgets just for travel purposes is not always practical. To protect your existing tech, you have a few options such as waterproof cases for smartphones and tablets, or a product like the Loksak. This is a cheap ziplock-style plastic bag that fits a number of different devices and protects against water, dust and provides an airtight seal.

As always, it pays to research whether these solutions fit your needs. Be aware that you may void your warranty if you expose any device to a situation outside of its specifications.