A waterproof snorkeling bag or box is a really useful tool for protecting your valuables from theft. It is not a good idea to leave your keys, money, ID or cell phone on the beach or in your car parked at a beach. More and more beaches are having problems with car break-ins. Strap on a waterproof waist pack and you don’t have to worry about it.
We have used a waterproof box with a snorkeling belt for years whenever we are in public areas and entering the water from the beach.
These are the things we keep in our waterproof case:
- Small wallets
- Passports or IDs
- Rental car keys (the electronic ones are very expensive to replace)
- Cell phones
Just the small important stuff. We don’t worry about our snorkel gear bag, towels, clothes, sunglasses, etc.
We are fortunate that we haven’t had anything stolen on a trip. Using a waterproof snorkeling bag is probably one of the reasons we have been lucky. We highly recommend them for your peace of mind. Because if any of those things got stolen when we were on a snorkeling trip, it would really waste a lot of our travel time. We much prefer to take our valuables with us like this rather than leave them in the car or hotel.
So there are a variety of products you can use to do this. None of these products are perfect, but we have found that hard boxes or cases are more consistently waterproof. The seals are not flexible so are less likely to leak.
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Option #1 – Waterproof Snorkeling Bag
These are plastic bags with some sort of waterproof seal at one end. Don’t be tempted to use what is called a dry bag. The waterproof closure is made by folding over the top several times and attaching some sort of clip (or velcroing it down). These are not waterproof if dunked and they are bulky.
Get a waterproof snorkeling bag that has a belt and three ziploc seals like this AiRunTech waterproof pouch on Amazon.
You can also get this type of bag made specifically for a phone, but you can use it for your other items instead.
This company makes a number of sizes for different phones or for more or less stuff. Check out this AquaPac Waterproof Phone Case.
Dry Pak makes this waterproof cell phone pouch with good Amazon reviews.
The JOTO Universal Waterproof Pouch has tons of great reviews on Amazon.
Option #2 – Waterproof Box or Hard Case
This is what we use and recommend over a waterproof snorkeling bag, because it is very reliable. The one we recommend fits two small wallets, keys, and a cell phone. One option below is perfect for protecting an electronic key fob from your rental car along with some cash.
Waterproof boxes are proving to be more challenging to find. Of course there are always Pelican Boxes, but they are only rated water-resistant, which is not good enough, especially if you dive down at all while snorkeling.
Our favorite brand of underwater boxes, after a long hiatus, has finally released a new option. It is the Otterbox Drybox 3250 Series.
There are two things this box has that makes it worth recommending: the waterproofing seals are the type that have worked for us on our waterproof boxes and camera housings, and it has loops on it so you can easily and securely strap it to your belt while snorkeling. We like having clear plastic on ours so we can see if a leak starts, but that is not currently an option.
If we find better waterproof snorkeling boxes to recommend we will mention them in our monthly newsletter.
Another option for smaller items like a rental car key, is a DRYFOB. These are made of aluminum, like a diving flashlight, but without the light. The top unscrews, and it has a double o-ring system, so it is very waterproof and very tough, although a bit expensive.
We tested one out in Bonaire and liked it. You can either put one in a pocket, or they have two holes on the lid for attaching a lanyard or small carabiner. The company does not provide a lanyard, but they do provide an extra set of o-rings and 0-ring grease. We tested their DRYFOB_-L version, which was perfect for a set of keys, but not large enough for an ID. It was ideal for putting our room key in before hitting the water.
Option #3 – Waterproof Snorkeling Bag and Dive Flag
Here is another product you can use to keep your valuables with you while snorkeling. It attaches to you by a belt and floats on the water behind you. Because of its bright color, it doubles as a visibility marker. You should not dive down with one of these attached to you.
There are two compartments, one that fills with air so that it floats, and one for stashing your valuables.
New Wave Swim Buoys come in four colors, two sizes (15 and 20 liter), and are made out of two different materials, PVC and TPU. For snorkeling the TPU is more durable and is unaffected by sunscreen oils, but only comes in orange.
See our review of the New Wave Swim Bubble, which we use as a snorkeling dive flag for areas with boats.
Keep Your Stuff Dry
Once you have your chosen waterproof snorkeling bag or case, check your seals for any dirt or hair before you close it EVERY SINGLE TIME. A tiny thing in your seal can cause a flood and your stuff is ruined.
No matter what method you choose, do this… put everything in a good quality ziploc bag, and zip it closed, before putting it all in your waterproof snorkeling bag or box. We have taken to using a Sea to Summit Dry Sack, instead of a ziploc. We sized it so it holds the same amount as our box, four liters. We fill it up and use the roll closure to seal it and get out the air. It is very inexpensive backup plan so you won’t get ruined stuff if your box or bag floods. Be sure no part of your bag interferes with the box seal.
Other Tips for Using a Waterproof Snorkeling Bag or Box
We greatly prefer to strap one of these around our waist and wear it like a fanny pack. Putting things around your neck is not a good idea. It will hang in your way in the water and be a nuisance. The companies always have pictures of people standing on beaches with these around their necks, but that is not how we use them (we are laying down in the water).
So long as you don’t get too big of a waterproof snorkeling bag or box, you won’t even notice it in the water. Our box floats, so Nicole (she normally wears it) says she almost never feels it.