Water proof phone case that also is tethered to me when i take the phone out to take pictures

I have a Pixel 6Pro in a rugged case (so it is quite large). I use the phone on the water to take an occasional photo, or look at the map/GPS. I use a paddleboard (also for kayaking). I only take the phone out when i sit and water is calm (but you never know when a wake sneaks up)

currently i use this water-tight case . But due to the plastic, i can’t take pictures or see the screen well. So, i have to take it out when i use it. The problem is, at that moment it isn’t tethered and it it would slip out of my hand, it may be gone.

To help this, I also have this tethered holder

I ended up putting the phone in that holder. And then the phone inc, that holder into the water tight bag. When i take the phone out of the watertight bag, i then attach the carabiner to my PFD. that way the phone still is tethered to me while i use it. So there is only a small second with the phone not tethered to me.

It would be nice if that carabiner could be attached to the inside of the water-tight bag. but it doesn’t have a provision for that. I actually displaced that holder and need to buy a new one. But i wonder if there is something better entirely?

Like a (large enough) water tight bag that has some better tethering already built in so my phone is there’d even when I take it out? Or a water tight bag that also allows actua phone use (screen, photos).

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For me, a phone on the water is a primary piece of safety equipment for communication that never comes out except for an emergency (or backup comms after a VHF if paddling in open water) .

For photos, look into a waterproof camera (have had two over the years for about $140 each, but you can pay lots more) that you can keep at the ready all day while paddling. Much cheaper than having to replace a phone, and your phone is still available for emergency use (which hopefully you never need to use in an emergency).


I just got a Pixel 7 Pro and the pic shows my system for canoeing. The case has holes so I just attached a metal key ring loop so the phone can be tethered. Then I use a floppy tether and either attach to my belt loop or day pack. Rests in top pocket of day pack so it’s splashproof but it’s going to get wet if the boat swamps. I believe these phones can easily handle brief/shallow submersion (my S7 could). So my phone is always tethered when paddling. If I felt the need for additional waterproofing I think I could still put the phone in a small waterproof (Pelican or Otter) box and squeeze the lid shut over the tether.

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My Pelican box is tethered to my boat. If conditions are a bit dicey, the phone stays in the box.

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Agree with @kayakhank re the primary purpose of carrying a phone, but I recently bought a dry pouch to see if I can ditch the separate beater camera and just use my Sony phone. The claims: (1) has enough buoyancy to float with phone inside; (2) touch screen is easily operable while in the case, and (3) good photo quality through the case.
Haven’t tried it yet.
Am a teeny bit skeptical, esp. of #3.
We’ll see.

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When i carry and use my phone (Pixel 6), i keep it in an Aquapac Waterproof Phone Case - 358. Touchscreen works, I can read screen, and can take photos right through the bag.

Don’t the pictures you take through the plastic not get distorted or fuzzy?

And do you have a screen protector, and the bag in addition. Does the touch screen still work well?

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The Pixel 6 Pro is IP68, which means you can submerge it, so there is no need for a water tight case or bag. You mentioned having a rugged case. Does it have an attachment point for a neck strap? If so, just get a tether and you’re done. If not, then you can either swap cases for one that has an attachment point, or get another one of those silicone stretch holders to go over your current case.

I am similar to @TomL except I keep my phone in a slim case for daily use and swap it into a rugged case with more corner protection when taking it on the water. When it takes a dunk, I just wipe it clean before putting it back in its normal case. One of my PFD pockets has a few molle loops. The phone case is attached to one by bungee tether, which stashes in the pocket with the phone so I never have to unclip it.

i don’t want to rely on the IP rating. and it is only up to 1m. the case I have doesn’t have an attachment point. It is this case and is 6.7"tall, 3.3"wide and 0.5" thick. so that excludes most water tight bags.

the above mentioned “Aquapac Waterproof Phone Case - 358” is rated for up to 6.3"tall phones only. Oh, they actually have a plus-plus size
but here the question, does it take good pics through the plastic and is the screen usable (map etc. ) while in the bag?

I’d be open to buy a different case (needs screen protector). tethering it to me could be handy in other life situations as well.

I just bought this waterproof one to try:

We have a GoPro but we use our iPhones quite a bit.

I do like your lanyard find and just ordered us a couple!

We buy our phones outright (no contract) and use a credit card that insures them. With everything in the cloud, it would not be the end of the world.

I think the iPhone takes pretty good images. If we have a reason to use the Nikon, we go in and take the specific shot we want.

San Juans


And the Pelican box floats high, mine is orange and has been around for a long time

So, if that case is water-proof, it means there is plastic covering the lenses. Doesn’t that somehow limit the amount of light going to the lense? And the plastic with a gap to the lense, also act like some lens and may not be perfect like the glass the lens has.

Did you ever take the same pic with and without the cover and compare? Especially under suboptimal lighting?

For on the water, picture quality is not 100% crucial since lighting is great, and those pics are just to share with people, not some sort once a lifetime professional shot.

I just retested taking shots with phone inside and outside the bag. The difference actually isn’t that great, but it is there. So, for the water it may be fine. But for everyday Inc inside under low light, it isn’t good. So a waterproof case for everyday use may not work? But please tell how yours works. I’m sure with good 99% transmission material it could be good enough.

I haven’t liked the bag/ pouches.

I only tried one when on our boat in Hawaii when we were the tender for a canoe race between the islands. I was worried about dropping the camera and the seas get big. The images were very distorted.

I think if it is in a loose bag (pouch) you do not have a tight fit over the lens and get more distortion.

This case (haven’t tried it yet) fits tighter so I’m hoping it is better.

We don’t get much distortion with quality underwater housings and lens ports.

There really isn’t an option. The reason I’ll switch back to my other case is that I’m sure the plastic waterproof one would get scratched up to some degree. So I plan to keep it in a pouch with the kayak gear and I’ll only use it when on the water.

You might consider a GoPro.

We use our phone for translating signs, Guru maps (no internet needed) and pictures, receiving work calls, so not having access isn’t something we would consider.

If one of us drops the phone, we can replace it and everything is in the cloud.

We don’t have the same case in the US. But there are some other “waterproof” cases. But i wonder, is the charging port protected with that case? I mean, it would have some flap to seal, but tha mya be a weak point. and shouldn’t the speakers be muffled?

My (non water rated) case has cutouts for speakers, camera and has a “plug-flap” for the charging port. but from use, that plug over time becomes less tight. so a case with IP rating, may lose that over time?

I haven’t seen a case for my phone that claims an IP rating AND has a hole or similar to attach a tether.

I don’t use a screen protector. I do have on it the Google silicone case, but that doesn’t cover screen/buttons/camera/etc

The pictures look fine to me, but YMMV. Here is a picture I took with phone through the bag, so you can decide yourself how it looks.

I also don’t trust waterproof ratings. Had a bunch of GPS units over the years that were listed as decently rated waterproof, but turned out not to be. Phones are expensive enough that I don’t want to risk it.

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You can use a wireless magnetic charging pad through a waterproof case, so you don’t have to plug it in.

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Most my charging points are wireless, but some still use cable like in my car. There isn’t a wireless solution.
and sometimes you need wired charging for higher speed. i also use the USB-C to transfer date to and from my PC.

Yes because it has an induction charger on the back.

You don’t want any moisture in the charging cord connection because it take every little to cause issues.

Get an induction charger for sure.

I have used Lifeproof, now Otterbox cases since I got my first smartphone in 2010. Have put the phone in the water many times, both intentionally and unintentionally. Only had a problem once, when the case (which was older) had a crack that I knew about and was planning to replace but went paddling anyway (complacency!) and of course that was the one time in 20+ years that I flipped accidentally.

The cases have improved considerably IMO since Otterbox took over Lifeproof. I would replace the Lifeproof case every 9-12 months but so far the Otterbox case seems to be holding up much better. There is a rubber plug over the charging port but I have not had any issues with it, and also no issues with the speakers.

After seeing TomL’s clever solution to a tether I just emailed Otterbox and suggested that they add a small tether point to their cases. Wouldn’t take much to get a 2mm piece of spectra line through a small hole that could then be clipped to a longer tether. We will see what they do.

I looked at OtterBox for my Pixel 6 Pro. But none said anything about waterproof or IP rating.