You’re addicted to your phone. You know it, I know it, we all know it. But you also happen to like going outside, kicking up dirt, getting wet, and generally doing things that can be unkind to your favorite piece of portable technology. You also like to be able to use the darn thing in less than climate-controlled circumstances. You outfit yourself for the outdoors, so why not your phone?
With that in mind, we collected a dozen accessories to bring your smartphone’s functionality with you wherever you go. Some of our picks even take your phone to the next level: they convert your device into an action cam, heart rate monitor and satellite messenger.
When choosing the items on our list, we considered a few main factors. First, we wanted these add-ons to be compatible with the latest smartphones on the market. In some cases, the deciding factor was whether or not an accessory works with the iPhone 5/5s/5c, Galaxy S3/S4, or other late model Android phones. We chose the OtterBox Preserver protective case, for example, over the company’s nearly indestructible Armor series because the Armor cases haven’t yet caught up to the technology.
We also wanted, when possible, for the accessory not to be platform specific. There were a couple exceptions to this—the Trimble TopoCharger and Hitcase Pro—that we thought were too good to leave out.
And finally, we wanted these picks to be ready for anything: a Bluetooth speaker that can handle jets of water and still sound great; an external power pack that can take a beating; a tripod that can stabilize your phone on any surface.
These accessories also make great stocking stuffers for the fitness and outdoor junkie in your life. Take a look at our list for some great gift ideas.
Braven BRV-1 Bluetooth SpeakerTake the party with you wherever you go. This portable Bluetooth speaker can withstand both jets of water and bumpy rides while continuing to deliver quality sound for up to 12 hours. Also doubles as an external battery pack. $139 on Amazon
While it can’t touch the GoPro Hero 3, the heavy-duty Hitcase Pro does a respectable job of turning your iPhone into an action cam. The case, with a built-in wide angle lens, is shock-absorbent, drop-proof to 2 meters and waterproof to 33 feet, all while giving full access to the phone’s normal functions. It comes with a GoPro-compatible mounting system. Available for iPhone 4/4s and 5/5s. $130 on Hitcase.com
Don’t worry about forgetting to pack a power cable. This stylish credit card-sized “cable” fits in your wallet and will connect your smartphone to any USB port for charging or syncing. Available for Android, late model iPhones and iPads. $25 on HelloNomad.com
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