Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Otterbox 3250 Review

One of the issues with being a nerd who likes the outdoors is that I have a lot of small electronics that I don't want to get wet if I'm camping near a lake or out on the water. Camera, phone, thumb drives, batteries, it all adds up. Even if I try to trim it down to just the bare minimum for a day outing.

Some people put those little items inside a sealed plastic bag. That's not a bad solution, but I wanted something a little more uber-nerd. Plus, I'm very clumsy, so getting my small, sensitive electronic items is just half the worry. There's also a very real chance of me crushing those items as well.

There's too many ways to count the possibilities of me doing something clumsy, stupid or criminally negligent that will result in the (usually spectacular) demise of my sensitive devices.

Enter the Otterbox 3250. I searched for a couple days for the right waterproof box that was also hopefully shock-resistant. It's really confusing because it's very hard to get a feel for the size of the box. Most of the ones I looked at were way too small once I tried to conceptualize the dimensions. Some, like the Otterbox, have a layer of foam inside the box, so the dimensions don't tell the whole story. Finally I decided on the Otterbox 3250, which I purchased from Amazon for around $17.



















The box looks to be well made and has a really durable feel to it. They advertise that the box is waterproof up to 100 feet, and I believe them. Why it came with an attached lanyard is beyond me, but it looked cool so I left it there. Normally the last thing I want with my small electronics is to flop around, so I won't be attaching the lanyard to anything or carrying it around like that.

In the bottom picture you can see there's a spot on each side to tie it down to something, which might actually be useful some day. There's also little rings to on each side of the latches to put a small lock. I guess it could be useful, and the box is certainly rugged enough. to be tamper resistant with a lock on it. My only problem with this reasoning is that the box is so small that I would be just as worried as someone stealing the box - contents and all!

The latches have a really good feel to them. I get the impression that I could latch them thousands of times and they wouldn't fail. The single hinge runs almost the whole length of the unit and also gives me a great impression of durability.The foam insert is just about the perfect thickness to keep my items safe without taking up too much of the volume.



































Inside the box is plenty of room to hold an assortment of small electronic items. It has plenty of room to hold my camera, old man cell phone, some batteries and small items like thumb drives. Even my TomTom GPS too when I bring it. I also usually keep a couple small flashlights in it. They are waterproof but expensive, so I try not to temp fate. Just the bare minimum.

When I began my search I envisioned this huge box that would hold all my electronics. But it wasn't realistic or even necessary. I'm a nerd, not a Navy SEAL. If I'm not walking distance from the truck (which usually keeps my electronics safe) then I shouldn't be carrying that much!

Since I bought this case, I've seen some of those huge suitcases, and that's not what I want. I also hear that they have a harder time keeping your items dry. I quickly gave up on the expectation that I could keep even my small netbook dry realistically.

So, leave the laptop at the camp site and take just what you need in this Otterbox. It's not what I originally envisioned, but that wasn't Otterbox's fault. They've obviously put quite a bit of thought into the design of this box.

I bought it during the winter, so I can't wait to get out into the wilderness and not drown my phone!

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