Jungle-proof iPad case and accessories for the Amazon?

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories' started by anthrovisual, May 25, 2012.

  1. anthrovisual, May 25, 2012
    Last edited: May 25, 2012

    anthrovisual macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    I might be taking a long trip to the Amazon jungle and was interested in hearing others' impressions and comparisons of cases and accessories that are useful for venturing in places like the Amazon jungle (so humidity and rain is definitely a concern casewise).

    My list is currently:
    - Griffin Survivor
    - Gumdrop Drop case
    - Trident Kraken (just released???)
    - Hardcandy Bubble 360
    (I removed the Defender because it leaves some parts open)

    I have read a lot of posts here about the Defender, Survivor, and Drop case, but I haven't heard much about the Kraken or Bubble 360.

    I am leaning towards getting whichever case is most protected from humidity and "the elements" while also be as light as possible (turns out that the Kraken weighs in at 9 oz., almost half the tougher cases and more protected against drops than the Bubble 360, might be the winner).

    And are there other accessories I should look at for using an iPad in the jungle?

    Thank you for your help :)
  2. tygrubb macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2010
    The LifeProof case for iPad 2......whenever it comes out. Probably by the time iPad 4 is released.

    Until then, perhaps it's an Otterbox or Kraken inside one of the sealable/waterproof boating bags?

    Seriously, the LifeProof on my iPhone does wonderfully (with a few trade-offs). Until they get the iPad version on the market, there really isn't anything comparable that I'm aware of.
  3. bhags8 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2012
    Gumdrop Drop Tech Military Edition. Best case ever.
  4. anthrovisual thread starter macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    What are the advantages this case has over the Survivor or Kraken?

    I'm leaning away from the survivor because of the flaps which might come loose and then anything can get into the case.

    What about the Drop Tech ME case versus the Kraken?
  5. Gol27 macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2011
    Slightly off topic I know but I'm curious.. Why are you taking an iPad into the jungle an how on earth are you planning on charging it?
  6. anthrovisual thread starter macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    When traveling on rivers, I agree that I would like to use a water-tight bag and will likely use one that fits the case. Otherwise, I think it would make the iPad cumbersome to use on land.
  7. Haesslich macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2012
    I don't see the advantages there - as far as I can tell, bhags8 is just posting about how great the case is, when it's only got dust-filters and an open camera area.... in other words, places for water to get in. The Survivor's splash-resistant, but definitely not waterproof.

    From what I've seen of the Kraken II case (as far as I know, they don't have the iPad 3 one ready), it leaves the camera and speaker areas exposed.

    In your case, I'd be shoving the iPad into a waterproof 'bag' like the Aquapac or Over-Board, which will let you use the touch-screen but maintain a water-tight seal. Then shove it into a padded case for further protection.
  8. anthrovisual thread starter macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    I will spend probably 80% of my time in places around the jungle than in the depths of it, but I want to be prepared for that 20%. So most of the time, I will be able to charge it, and I am also looking into solar chargers as well.

    As far as why, I'm thinking of trying out the iPad as my main device for media creation (photo, video, and drawing) while traveling, as well as navigation and information assistance (GPS, mapping, notes about locations and what I am capturing).

    I might switch to just using paper but I thought I would give the iPad a try since it has become my main computer in other realms, particularly when traveling.


    I thought the military edition of the Drop Tech case covered up the camera hole?

    The Kraken (III) case seems to be out now for sale and also sports a dust filter over the speakers and also redirects the sound to the front. I just emailed them about whether the rear camera was exposed.

    I might forgo the rugged case and simply get a water-proof bag, but I'd still be concerned with drops, particularly when others use the device (I share it with my partner who has been using it more and more), and it would suck for it to break in the middle of the jungle. Not exactly close to a repair shop or Apple Store.
  9. anthrovisual, Jun 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012

    anthrovisual thread starter macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    Update: Kraken is off the list

    If I do seek a jungle-case, I am still considering:
    - Griffin Survivor (most sealed, but leaves parts exposed when in use and question security of flaps)
    - Gumdrop Drop case Military Edition (no flap interference on speakers and camera when in use, but still some vulnerability with speaker and mic)
    - Hardcandy Bubble 360 (least bulk/weight, not protected from drops, speaker and mic exposure?)
    (I removed the Defender because it leaves some parts open. I also removed the new Kraken case as it also leaves the camera open)
  10. Haesslich, Jun 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012

    Haesslich macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2012
    Per the iLounge review of the regular Gumdrop Drop Case:

    While the official site does mention the microfilm dust filters and 'Extra protection for the front and back camera', I've not seen anything on the page there that specifies protection against water intrusion or splash resistance. I've sent an email to see if they'll confirm one way or the other. I'll post an update once I get a reply.

    But, for the record, I own the Survivor and would not trust it to keep out jungle humidity. The flaps can and do pull open, or don't stay shut - while it might keep out a light rain if you don't let the back half get exposed, it doesn't seal perfectly. I definitely wouldn't take a Defender out there.
  11. bhags8 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2012
    Quit deleting my replies!!! The effin Military Edition covers the camera hole with a clear plastic.
  12. anthrovisual thread starter macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    I'm not deleting anything. Is there a moderator doing that?

    How safe is the Military Edition case against humidity do you think? I keep looking at the water proof options and don't like what I see. But I guess I can't be choosey.

    There is something called iOttie skin, but I'm not sure if that is something that stays on or something you use then take off, sort of like a one-day use contact lens.

    There is also the LifeEdge case but I'm not confident of the quality compared to the cost.
  13. Haesslich macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2012
    Still waiting on the reply from Gumdrop support. As noted before, they don't advertise the case as water-resistant, so I'm not sure how much good the microfilm dust filters will be against water. Ditto the area around the screen protector, which appears to just pop into the opening in the silicone/rubber.

    The Bubble360 at least mentions some spill-proofing around the screen, but I don't know about the camera or speaker areas. The Survivor's flaps, and the way there are openings in the plastic polycarbonate shell beneath the silicone (and how the silicone doesn't form a very TIGHT seal around the edges of the screen or around the back part) mean it's splashproof... if you define that as being 'water hits the screen and rolls off'.
  14. MimiHome macrumors newbie


    Jun 8, 2012
    When using LifeProof, what are some of the trade offs?

    I have not used any of these accessories because I did not realize they even make them. They sound very useful and you have my undivided attention.

    Which version is the most popular among travelers?
  15. ReallyBigFeet, Jun 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012

    ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    You really need to quit arguing with your other personalities. They are making you angry.

    To the OP, I've spent six months on a medical boat going up and down the Amazon river. I would be surprised if you need anything more than a good backpack and some large ziplock freezer bags. I carried a Thinkpad with me that whole time, including several weeks off the boat in several different jungle villages. In fact, I'd trust the freezer bag far more than any case for waterproofing and humidity protection. I threw a few silicon absorption packs into the bag with the laptop....available from any sporting goods shop. Humidity and crushing heat is going to be your biggest issue. My laptop would often be so hot the LCD would get all wonky.

    I had access to a generator about every third day or so but really was otherwise too busy with my work or just interacting with other people to use it more than necessary.

    Enjoy your trip, get all your shots and FaceTime the old fashioned way. Even in Manaus, connectivity is scarce and the Amazon isn't that interested in the Internet.
  16. Haesslich macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2012
    That pretty much describes those rafting bags I mentioned - very durable Ziplock bags with the ability to operate a capacitative screen. The silica dessicant packs are probably a good idea, but I wonder how they'd affect the iPad if a pack broke or leaked.
  17. anthrovisual thread starter macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    I'm keeping Lifeproof off the list until they produce an iPad case. I feel like they should have one by now and am getting skeptical the longer the wait.

    Unfortunately, this is the exact thing I am looking for. A rugged waterproof case that protects the iPad from humidity and drops but also allows me to still use it (otherwise, what's the point of bringing it).


    I've seen the latter, but not the former. The problem here is that the iPad will be exposed to humidity while I use it, which for any length of time might be a problem. Otherwise, this would work for transporting the device but not much else.
  18. anthrovisual thread starter macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    That's the kind of experience I was looking for. So it looks like my best option at the moment is to get a zip-lock type bag and maybe throw in some silicon packs (though, I would be concerned if one broke, as Haesslich stated).

    I do not look forward to using it through a bag, but I suppose if that is what it takes to keep the thing running, then I'll have to compromise. I still hope to see something come out before I go this fall, maybe Lifeproof will pull through (or something like it).

    Since you mentioned it, ReallyBigFeet, what really good backpack would you recommend?
  19. ReallyBigFeet, Jun 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012

    ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    Most of the dessicant packs sold at gun stores are mil-spec.....Tyvek packaging with either a gel or clay dessicant inside. If its good enough for combat duty I don't think you'll have too many issues. Its been a few years since my trip but I didn't have any of the packs break and again...I was seriously going native for a few weeks at a time. You do have to replace them frequently and carry your spares in another sealed ziplock bag or literally one hour into your trip they will be all used up. I can't begin to describe how humid its going to be. Miserably humid. As in you will feel like you are standing in a shower of your own sweat 24/7. Just be prepared for everything being wet all the time. You will not get used to it. The deeper you go into the jungle the worse it will get. Since I was on a med boat for much of it, the docs had a good supply of sleeping pills. Without them, I'd just lie in my bunk and sweat like a human meatloaf. While my Thinkpad survived the ordeal, I had tons of issues with my digicam (a Canon Powershot at the time) and my 35MM SLR. I just could not keep the lenses fog free. Nothing worked. I'd have the camera out and find myself having to wipe down the lens before every single shot. Did I mention the humidity? LOL.

    As for backpacks, depending on your plans, you may want two. I had a full frame backpack for our jaunts into the jungle. We camped along the way (harrowing experience in and of itself). The laptop came with me even for those...it was used to run our diagnostic equipment for patients. For shorter trips off the boat, around Manaus, etc. I had a daypack from Kelty. I really don't remember which one anymore and its long since been replaced. For cushioning of the Thinkpad, I used a padded nylon sleeve that I inserted into a home-made sleeve of bubble wrap. That kept it safe.

    Speaking of safe, when carrying any backpack around Manaus, you are an automatic target for thieves, and they are plentiful. Be very, very careful about displays of the iPad or any kind of wealth, always travel in a group (buddy system isn't good enough) and I invested in one of those steel mesh nets to cover my daypack to prevent the quick slash-and-grab biker thieves. I had a buddy that was less than 4 feet in front of me when two kids (couldn't have been more than 8 yrs old) came running between us kicking a soccer ball. Literally in a flash one of them sliced his pack open and the other snatched his stuff before it even hit the street. They are very, very good at this and will disappear into the alleys and sewers before you can even react. Manaus was becoming then, and is now, the hub of the cocaine trafficking activities (mostly operated by the cartels based out of Rio on the other side of Brazil).

    The local law enforcement was highly corrupt when I was there. I would imagine with the 2014 World Cup they are doing some "relocation" of the local petty criminals but just....be careful. Given the current surge in "eco-tourism" Brazil and the various travel groups that reap a lot of income from Amazon tours have tried to downplay the crime issue telling you to just avoid the Favela's and the "East Side" of town. But I still correspond weekly with friends I made down there and they tell me that both petty and violent crime is only getting worse, not better, largely due to the aforementioned drug trafficking. Even the city judges travel to/from work under heavily armed escort at all times. So take precautions, get your street smarts, and be careful.
  20. Haesslich macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2012
    I just got an answer from Gumdrop - here's their reply:

    So there you have it - Gumdrop notes there's 'filters' for the camera area to cover it, but don't guarantee perfect clarity of the screen. They also explictly say it's not water or splash-resistant; I'd probably rule this out for your jungle trip, based on how they phrased it.

    What it will do is make the iPad more shockproof, and add something to keep stuff from the screen. But I'd probably go with ReallyBigFeet's suggestion to use milspec dessicant packs, to prepare to have to change packs frequently, and to look out for issues with the device.

    Might want to keep Apple's operating specs in mind, though:

    • Operating temperature: 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C)
    • Nonoperating temperature: -4° to 113° F (-20° to 45° C)
    • Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing

    I'd... probably be careful with the iPad, given the heat and humidity down there. At least, when you're not in an air-conditioned and controlled area.
  21. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    Seconded. Never actually looked at the iPad recommended operating specs before (thanks for posting).

    Average highs in the Amazon when I was there were about 80 under jungle canopy, but on the river it was more like 95F. With an average relative humidity of 90-95%, it felt much warmer thanks to heat indexing. Once you get off the river and out of the jungle, the humidity drops to around 85%. Still very wet, but since this is during their "dry" season, I didn't have any issues with the laptop other than when working in villages along the river in the jungle (most are). There, my screen would act up on occasion due to a combination of extreme heat and humidity.

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