During the typical British summer, rain is par for the course, and keeping your kit dry is absolutely essential. This is both for kit that will be ruined in the wet, and to keep your spare clothes and camping kit dry.
1 – Buy Waterproof kit. If the kit most at risk from water damage becomes impervious to water, then that’s the problem solved. While you can get fully waterproof cameras, some of the top-end DSLRs such as the Canon 6D, are ‘weather sealed’. You’ll need to ensure that both the body and the lens is weather sealed, which means you should be safe to use the kit in the damp. It’s still putting a lot of faith in your kit when using over £2000 of camera in the rain as weather sealed isn’t the same as waterproof. Get a GoPro if you want a camera that’ll survive really wet conditions.
We’ve used waterproof phones as standard for years, and the Xperia Z series meant we could get a flagship phone that was also reasonably weatherproof. Despite that, six hours in a wet pocket was too much for ours, and water got in. Keep your money dry with a waterproof wallet, though we’d rather just use a standard wallet inside a Ziploc or dry-bag.
2 Waterproof Packs – They’re waterproof, but generally they’re not the most practical packs, can be heavy and less comfortable.
3 Pack Covers – While we wouldn’t recommend you rely on them alone, they’re definitely one of the essentials that slow the ingress of water into your pack. As a bonus, many packs come with one built in or free.
4 Pack Liners – Along with a pack cover, once your pack gets wet, these will keep everything inside bone dry. They’re effectively a really large dry bag!
5 Dry bags – Got something in an outside pocket? Like a belt and braces approach? Put them in a dry bag as well. We think that a dry-bag should be the standard stuff sac for any down bag as well.
6 Heavy duty Ziplocs– call them what you will, these bags come in all shapes and sizes, and keep smaller items safe from water. Ideal for phones and wallets. Here’s a Loksak, reasonably tough and waterproof.
7 Purpose-built Phone and Camera cases – These are available for phones and cameras, but limited in choice. As usual, you’ll be ok if you’ve got an iPhone, but you’ll struggle to find a decent case for all but the top few selling phones. Soft cases are more universally available and have the advantage of being able to use the device inside the case over just using a heavy duty Ziploc.
8 Silica Gel – If you’re keeping sensitive kit inside a dry-bag, then you may consider adding a sachet of silica gel. This absorbs excess water vapour and may be a cheap and useful precaution to take if you’re carrying lenses.
9 Bin bags or plastic bags. Better than nothing! We used a bag that a review jacket came in when we wanted to keep a camera dry, and it worked. Though it can thankfully be difficulty to find plastic bags these days as people move to reusable options, or you may just have hundreds of bags for life you need a use for.
Using a combination of as many of the above as possible (with the exception of 9!), you should cope with anything the uk can throw at you. In fact, if you’ve got items inside either two of pack liner, dry bag or heavy duty zip-loc – you could probably fall into a river and your kit would still be bone dry. They’d probably be OK in one of these, but as dry bags will eventually fail, you’ll have a second layer that’s still waterproof, or ideally a third one. It may be overkill, but it’s cheaper than replacing your expensive kit.