How To Keep Your Phone Dry While Kayaking?

How To Keep Your Phone Dry While Kayaking?

Most people don’t want to leave their phones in the car while kayaking, especially on long trips. In today’s age, being connected at all times is a priority for many people.

Besides, how else are you going to take pictures of your beautiful trip and the time you’re spending with friends and family? Not only that, but a phone can have helpful apps, such as maps and a compass, that can help you find your way and prevent you from getting lost.

In today’s article, we’ll be exploring how you can take your phone with you while kayaking and keep it dry.

The short version: Get a waterproof pouch or keep your phone in a drybag. You can also use a smartwatch or waterproof action camera, like a GoPro, to take videos instead.

For more information on how to keep your phone safe while on the water, read on.

How to Keep your Phone Dry on the Water?

It’s worth investing in some protection for your phone, even if you are going kayaking in light waters. These accessories aren’t too expensive, and they can go a long way in protecting your phone from damage that could potentially cost hundreds of dollars to repair.

Get a Waterproof Pouch

Get a Waterproof Pouch

Image Source: Shutterstock

A waterproof pouch is your best bet. These pouches are designed to hold phones and protect them from rain, splashing water, and even submersion (although not for long periods).

Many people also use these pouches on the beach or while riding motorcycles in rainy weather (when they need to view maps for navigational purposes).

These pouches come in many forms. There are some pouches that you can put in your pocket, while others are designed to hang around your neck or attach to your belt, so they are always within reach.

Yet others wrap around your arm, like an armband, meaning you can always keep your phone in sight. Since you’ll be paddling while kayaking, though, I would recommend getting the one that hangs around your neck to minimize exposure to water.

These pouches usually cost less than $10, so you can buy a whole bunch for you and your group.

Here’s one on Amazon that fits most iPhones.

This one is pretty good, as it has enough space for your phone, earbud case, and smartwatch. Furthermore, it has been thoroughly tested and is PX8 Certified Waterproof, withstanding depths of up to 100 feet.

Before you buy a waterproof pouch, though, make sure it will fit your phone. If you have a large phone, a small pouch might not work; if you have a tiny phone, a large pouch might be excessive.

You might also want to check if the phone will be usable through the pouch. Some pouches are designed so that you can use the touchscreen without taking your phone out of the pouch.

This one, for example, is created with soft material that allows you to use your phone to take videos and even check emails and text messages without removing your phone from the pouch.

Use Kayak Phone Holder

There are also phone holders that allow you to attach your phone to a kayak, similar to phone holders that let you do the same in your car.

These phone holders might not keep your phone waterproof, but they will secure it in place. If you are insistent on taking videos of your trip, holding your phone in your hand is a sure way to have it fall in the water.

The phone holder will ensure your phone stays in one place, freeing up your hands for paddling. If your phone will not be protected by a waterproof case, though, I would only recommend using this method in calm waters, where there is a low risk of capsizing; it helps if your phone is waterproof as well.

This flexible phone case can be installed and fastened into place with screws, and the holder itself has two silicone claws with strong grips that will keep your phone in place. The arm is flexible, allowing you to rotate the phone 360 degrees so you can take the perfect video.

If you have a friend who enjoys kayaking, a kayak phone holder is the perfect gift idea.

Wear Waterproof Shorts

Wear Waterproof Shorts

Image Source: Shutterstock

Waterproof shorts, you say? Does such a thing even exist?

Not many people know about it, but it does. There is a company called Dry Pocket Apparel that sells shorts with waterproof pockets, designed to help you keep your phone and keys safe while on the beach or while kayaking.

These shorts have been tested to be waterproof at 100 feet. For kayaking, they should be okay.

Not only do the shorts have waterproof pockets, but they are made of quick dry material, so if your shorts get wet, they will dry quickly, helping you avoid discomfort.

There are several styles of shorts, so check out the website.

Also, check out our guide on what to wear while kayaking in all weather conditions.

Get a Dry Bag

Get a Dry Bag

Image Source: Shutterstock

If you don’t plan on using your phone much, and you just want to carry it with you in case of emergencies, I recommend keeping it safe and secure in a dry bag. A dry bag is great for keeping your phone, other electronics, and clothes dry while kayaking.

Dry bags are designed to float as well, which is a big plus. That will ensure your phone stays safe even if your kayak happens to capsize.

There are a few types of dry bags. Look for a standard dry bag that floats – there are some dry bags that don’t float; people usually attach them to the kayak using ropes.

I would not advise using a plastic garbage or Ziplock bag alone to keep your phone safe. It might work for simple splashes and are useful if your phone is already waterproof, but if your boat capsizes, or if the bottom of your kayak gets filled with water, the water will easily get through and damage your electronics.

Don’t know which size dry bag to get? Check out our guide.

Buy a Dry Box

Dry boxes are waterproof cases that you can use to store electronics. There are large boxes for big electronics like laptops and cameras, and there are smaller sized boxes that work well for phones and tablets.

They can be bulky and annoying, though, and they might not float, so you should secure them to your kayak. They might be preferable if you have a large canoe, but otherwise, I would generally recommend a dry bag instead of a dry box.

One advantage of a dry box is that it will make it easier to access your phone – if you keep it buried somewhere in your dry bag, it will be harder to get it out.

A see-through dry bag will make that easier, though. You can also have two or three dry bags – keeping your camping gear in one bag and your clothes and electronics in another one, for example.

Get a Life Jacket With Pockets

Image Source: Shutterstock

Searching for a life jacket with waterproof pockets is probably futile. I highly doubt you will find one, and even if you do, it probably won’t be as waterproof as you would like.

For some reason, they just don’t make life jackets with waterproof pockets. However, they do make life jackets with pockets that you can zip and seal, and these should offer some sort of splash protection.

The main idea behind putting your phone in a life jacket pocket is, so you don’t lose it if you fall into the water. However, you should first buy a waterproof case and put your phone in that before putting it in your pocket so that it doesn’t get damaged if you fall in.

In any case, wearing a life jacket, with or without pockets, is non-negotiable. It is important for your safety, and if you are kayaking with kids, you should insist that all of them wear life jackets.

Not wearing a life jacket might be against the law in some places and lead you to incur a fine or penalty. However, even if it is not illegal, it is unsafe- if you fall into the water, a life jacket can save your life, even if you know how to swim (some waters are choppy and difficult to swim in, or you might be far from shore).

If you think that life jackets are uncomfortable, we have you covered. Check out our article on the 15 most comfortable personal flotation devices for kayaking.

More Tips for Keeping Your Phone Safe

More Tips for Keeping Your Phone Safe

Image Source: Shutterstock

Following are some additional tips to keep you from losing or damaging your phone in the confusion of a capsized kayak.

Get Insurance for Your Phone and Other Electronics

Get Insurance for Your Phone and Other Electronics

Image Source: Shutterstock

I always recommend buying an insurance plan for your phone. While it might not be necessary if you have a cheap Android phone that you bought used for just $100 on eBay, more expensive phones should be insured in case of damage.

It’s important to understand the difference between a manufacturer’s warranty and insurance. The warranty comes when you purchase the device, but it doesn’t usually cover things like water damage.

Furthermore, warranties have many other limitations and restrictions. For example, getting a phone repair at a third party, unauthorized retailer can void the warranty.

Meanwhile, insurance is an additional protection plan that covers other types of damage. You may be able to buy it from your manufacturer or cellular provider, but many people purchase it from third parties.

It’s critical to note that many insurance plans will not cover water damage or only have limited coverage for water damage. Therefore, if you currently have an insurance plan, double-check the details.

Investopedia has a list of the best insurance providers for phones, but make sure to verify that the policy you are purchasing covers water damage.

Insurance also usually covers theft. On that topic, check out these tips for preventing kayak theft.

Make It Float

Make It Float

Image Source: Shutterstock

For extra protection, you can create a DIY flotation device for your phone. It’s as simple as sealing it in a Ziplock bag, putting that bag into a larger freezer bag filled with air, and adding a tennis ball or some other floating object to add buoyancy.

Another idea is attaching a piece of foam that will help it float.

While this shouldn’t be your first line of defense, it can help protect your phone from sinking if it falls in by accident. If your phone is already waterproof, for example, you might not need a waterproof pouch, but you do want to be able to retrieve your phone if it falls into the river.

Don’t Take It Out in Rough Sections

Don’t Take It Out in Rough Sections

Image Source: Shutterstock

Avoid using your phone when the waters get choppy – you’re just asking for it to fall in, regardless of how good you think you are at balancing and how tight you are gripping your phone.

Besides, if you’re in a group, it’s a great way to get your buddies to hate you. They’re hard at work paddling while you’re trying to capture the perfect picture for your Instagram reel – live in the moment, enjoy the action, and help them out!

Alternatives to Bringing a Phone

There are some other things you can take instead of risking your phone while kayaking. The number of people who thought their phones would be just fine only to have freak accidents is a bit too high, and if your phone isn’t waterproof, or you can’t afford a new phone, here are some alternatives to bringing your phone.



Image Source: Shutterstock

If you just want to take videos, why not get a GoPro? GoPros are great for taking videos while doing water sports and all other kinds of activities.

Newer GoPros are waterproof out of the box, but older ones are not, so it’s important to check the specs of any GoPro or GoPro knockoff you get. To be extra sure, you can get a waterproof casing to protect it.

You can even use the GoPro to take videos and pictures underwater if it is waterproof or has a waterproof housing.

If you can’t afford a GoPro, there are many alternatives on Amazon from other companies that perform similarly. Again, since they might not be waterproof, make sure to get a protective case.

Apple Watch

Apple Watch

Image Source: Shutterstock

An Apple Watch can be a good alternative to keeping your iPhone with you. You can keep your phone in your dry bag while keeping your Apple Watch on your wrist.

A smartwatch can allow you to answer calls, view maps, and use apps like compasses.

The Apple Watch Ultra is waterproof, and it is designed to be used safely during activities such as scuba diving.

The Apple Watch Series 2 and later versions are water-resistant but not waterproof. That means that if water splashes on your watch, it will stay safe, but submerging it in water is still a no-no.

In calm waters, though, it will usually be okay – according to Apple, you can use an Apple Watch Series 2 or a later version while swimming in a pool or other shallow waters, so even if you fall into the water, there’s no harm done.

For more information about using Apple Watches in water, check out this page.

The Apple Watch does not have a built-in camera, instead syncing with your iPhone’s camera and allowing you to control it from your watch.

However, there are various smartwatches on the market that do have cameras, with various degrees of camera quality, and you can use those watches to take pictures.

Dumb Phone

Dumb Phone

Image Source: Shutterstock

If you aren’t interested in taking pictures and just want a phone so you can call for help in cases of emergencies, you can consider taking a dumb phone with you. A “dumb phone” refers to an older type of cell phone, without internet (or with limited internet) capabilities – usually, all you can do is talk and text and perhaps play simple games like Tetris or snake.

Dumb phones are cheap and can easily be fitted with a prepaid sim card that contains minutes that never expire. Some dumb phones even come with cameras, and while the quality isn’t usually very good, they’re getting better.

What Not to Bring?

Even if you decide to bring your phone, you probably should avoid bringing some other electronics. Not every electronic is worth taking; there are some things that you would be better off leaving at home.



Image Source: Shutterstock

Do you really need to bring your laptop with you? Unless you’re on a long kayaking and camping trip and need to do remote work on your laptop, you probably don’t need to carry it with you.

The video editing can wait until later. While there are dry boxes that you can use to store a laptop, they can be bulky.

Your Kids’ Electronics

If you are going with the family, one camera is usually enough for everyone. There’s no reason all your kids should have their phones and electronics with them– that’s a recipe for disaster, as you can be sure that at least one of them will accidentally drop their phone in the water.

Wrapping It Up

I know how anxiety-inducing it can be to bring your phone with you on kayaking trips, and I also know how stressed out many of you become when you don’t have a phone nearby – you feel cut off from the world.

While leaving your phone on shore might be a good way to disconnect from the digital world and connect with nature, having a phone will allow you to find your way back if you get lost.

If you decide to take your phone with you, use the tips in this article to keep it safe from water damage.

Enjoyed How To Keep Your Phone Dry While Kayaking? Share it with your friends so they too can follow the Kayakhelp journey.

Share on Pinterest

How To Keep Your Phone Dry While Kayaking

Author: Peter SalisburyPete is the Owner of Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he grew up kayaking, fishing, sailing, and partaking in outdoor adventures around the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him skiing in the mountains, reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.

Welcome! I’m so glad you are here :-) I’m Pete. I am the owner of I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, I grew up kayaking, fishing, sailing, and partaking in outdoor adventures around the Great Lakes. When I am not out on the water, you can find me skiing in the mountains, reading my favorite books, and spending time with my family.