Best iPhone Cases for The Outdoors
In today's age, it is hard to find someone without their smartphone being too far from them, and that even seems to be the case when people leave for a weekend in the wilderness. Maybe this summer season you have some adventures planned with your friends and family and you have already decided you are bringing along your iPhone with you. Well if you have decided that you are bringing your iPhone along for the ride, so you can take pictures and stay connected to the outside world, you will probably want to be prepared and look for a durable and protective case. Do not get confused into thinking that a normal run of the mill case will offer the best protection while on an adventure, as when you are in the woods, your phone is susceptible to many unseen dangers.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
With a simple snap locking system, it is very easy to use
Universal design accommodates for many different iPhones
Can be used underwater
Top Ten IPhone Cases for the Outdoors
1. Frieq Universal
With a simple snap locking system, it is very easy to use
Universal design accommodates for many different iPhones
Can be used underwater
For the iPhone 7, it will not properly accommodate the Home button
Just like the prior waterproof cases on this list, the FRiEQ version is perfect for encapsulating your phone to protect it from various dangers.Read more
The case creates a secure seal around your phone and ensures it is safe from dirt, dust, water, and scratches. It is certified for up to 100 feet.
It is compatible with any phones that are up to 6” in size, this includes high-end devices such as the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and 6.
On both the front and the back, there is a crystal-clear window that allows you to access your phone without removing it (including touchscreen functionality).
It will easily attach to your wrist, making it perfect for outdoor swimming activities.
Just a few including light blue, pink and black.
2. Trianium Universal
It maintains waterproof capabilities for up to 100 feet
Trianium backs this case up with a one-year warranty
It can be difficult to open and close at times, thanks to the clips that seal the bag
The Trianium Waterproof case is eerily similar to the JOTO version. As terrific as that case is, that is definitely not an issue or concern.Read more
Composed of a highly-durable polyurethane material, this case protects your smartphone from bumps, grease, dirt, dust, water, snow and scratches.
Much like the JOTO, this is universally designed for smartphones up to 6” in size. This would include the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 6s and 6.
The dual-side transparent window allows you to function your smartphone as you normally would, even with the pouch equipped.
When opening, or sealing this pouch, a swivel lock design ensures a user-friendly experience (some of the time).
Not too many to speak of but you can choose between black, white, and white and pink.
3. Otterbox Commuter Series
Includes a one year warranty
The self-adhesive screen protector guards against scratches
The screen saver is a flimsy piece of plastic that does not fit snug and can scratch very easily when putting on
OtterBox sees another case make its way on this list and although it is not as great as the Defender, the Commuter Series is no scrub.Read more
The Commuter is a two-piece case that provides adequate protection against shock, dust, drops, and bumps. Plus, a self-adhesive screen protector guards against scratches.
It is designed for both the iPhone 6 and 6s, but not the Plus versions.
Due to the lightweight and slim design, it easily slips in and out of your pocket. In addition, it will not take up excess space in your carrying bags.
Included with the case itself are step-by-step instructions to allow for the easiest installation possible.
Quite a few are available including aqua sky, black, glacier white and ink blue.
4. Fitfort 2-pack
Includes a one-year warranty
Constructed with high-quality material
Can be used underwater
On a hot and humid day, it would probably cause your phone to overheat
Capping off this impressive list is the Fitfort Waterproof case and while it is not perfect, it is still a case that is well worth the investment.Read more
The premium hard PC mount seal provides adequate protection against water and the outside world; making it perfect for swimming and boating.
For up to 5.5” in size, this case will universally fit all smartphones. While a little smaller than other waterproof cases, this will still fit the iPhone 6, 6s and 6 Plus.
The material on the outside is super-thin, only 0.3mm, which assists in creating a sensitive touchscreen.
The swivel lock design ensures a simple open and seal.
A strong amount of options including black and blue, black and ocean blue, black and rose red, and black.
5. Mpow Universal
All-around transparent material does not block the camera
Designed for underwater use
Comes with two cases
Operating the touch screen can prove problematic at times
At this point in the list, to continue to see cases over 9.5 in the rating is astonishing. However, when the quality continues to be as amazing as it is, like with the Mpow Waterproof case, it makes sense.Read more
Designed for extreme conditions, this case is fully submersible and waterproof.
As with the other waterproof cases that have made their way on this list, it will fit any smartphones below 6” in size. This will include the iPhone 7 Plus, 7, 6s, 6s Plus, and others.
The phone cover is designed to not hinder the performance of the touchscreen functionality on phones, but it can be hard at times. In addition, you can use your camera while this case is installed.
It is easy to keep out of water, snow, dust, and sand with its simple snap and lock access.
Various options can be chosen including clear, pink and black.
6. Otterbox Defender
Protects against impacts, falls, drops, dust and scratches
Backed up with a one-year warranty that covers workmanship defects
Can be a major hassle to get it on and off
Deciding the top spot proved to be no easy task, but the Defender case from OtterBox beat out the competition. This is thanks, in large part, to its phenomenal protection and design.Read more
The Defender is a three-layer protective case that will withstand drops, bumps, and shock. In addition, there is a built-in screen protector that will protect your phone from scratches. Plus, the port cover keeps out any debris and dust.
This is specifically designed to work for the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus. Any other smartphones may not work appropriately.
No need for concern with ports and functions not accessible with the case on as it has proper holes cut out to accommodate all functions. Also, the Defender case will slide easily in and out of your pockets.
In the instance where you are using your iPhone to watch movies or videos, there is a belt-clip holster that works as a kickstand feature. Thus, allowing for hands-free viewing.
A decent amount of color options are available including an indigo harbor, black, Seacrest and glacier.
7. Joto Universal Waterproof
Completely encapsulates your phone to protect it from water and the dangers of the outdoor world
Universal design fits all smartphones up to 6” in size
Under water, the touch sensitivity is not very good
While the OtterBox defender is the best all-around iPhone case for outdoor use, the JOTO Universal Waterproof case is the best for water protection.Read more
While maintaining full functionality, the JOTO’s unique design completely protects your phone from dirt, snow, water, and scratches.
For any smartphones, up to 6” (measuring diagonally), this waterproof case is compatible. Making it suitable for iPhones and various other smartphone models.
On both the front and the back, there is a clear window that allows you to take pictures, videos, and check your emails.
It not only features a simple snap and lock access, but also a neck strap that allows for convenient carrying.
A strong selection of color options including green, white, camo blue, camo, black and blue.
8. Supcase Premium Clear
The case is slim and lightweight, making it easy to slip in and out of your pocket
Excellent technology for protection purposes
Pushing the buttons, while this case is on, requires a little more force than it should
Words can’t express how close all these smartphone cases are to each other, which reigns even more prominent when talking about the Supcase Premium case.Read more
This is geared to protect your phone from all dangers in the outside world including a scratch-resistant screen, high-grade TPU and PC materials to absorb shock, and an elevated bezel to prevent your camera and screen from touching any surface.
iPhone 7 Plus users are the only ones in luck, as this is compatible with this specific phone.
While the case is installed, all the features and buttons are easily accessible on the iPhone 7 Plus.
It also sports defined edges, a smooth transparent black finish, and a minimalist bumper design.
Just a few are available including navy, black, green and pink.
Advanced shock absorption technology and air cushioned corners provide maximum protection
Customize option allows you to create a unique case
There is no screen-protector
Outside of a few minor issues, you really can’t go wrong with the JETech Apple iPhone 6 and 6s case. Its protection capabilities and convenience more than makeup for any issues present.Read more
It is made from PC and TPU which offers maximum protection. Plus, it has air cushioned corners and advanced shock absorption technology.
This case is specifically designed for the iPhone 6 and 6s.
Already cut-out in the case are spaces for your speakers, camera and other ports for easy access. Plus, all the controls and features are available to you while the case is on your smartphone.
For user preference, there is a customize option that allows you to create a unique case for you.
Black, gold, gray, rose gold and clear make up a stellar amount of color options at your disposal.
10. Spigen Ultra Hybrid
Air cushion technology offers great protection against drops and falls
Constructed of a hard-fused back with a flexible TPU bumper
After several months, the edges of the case may experience discoloring
Next up, the Spigen Ultra Hybrid rears its beautiful face. Nearly perfect and phenomenal in every way, the competition is the only reason it is this low.Read more
For extra protection against drops and falls, the corners are equipped with air cushion technology. In addition, the raised bezels lift your camera and screen off flat surfaces.
Only a select few, unfortunately, will be able to enjoy this specific Spigen case. It is compatible with the iPhone 6s and 6.
With the case, fully on and secured, you can easily feel and press each button on the interface of your smartphone. Also, large cutouts will fit most cables and ports.
The intense transparency of the case itself flaunts the design of the iPhone 6s and 6. For added grip, there is a TPU bumper.
An adequate amount of colors are available including mint, crystal clear and black.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Above all else, smartphone cases should protect your phone from the dangers of the outside world. That is the overall purpose of their existence and without it, there nothing more than a useless accessory for your smartphone. However, protection can be broken down into several different subfields. Some of which are more important than others, but they all provide the one aspect that is vitally needed for a smartphone case. After all, many smartphones (specifically iPhones) are not cheap.
Perhaps the most common form of protection that iPhone cases provide is against drops and falls from a certain amount of height. They can accomplish this in different ways, and one is by implementing advanced shock absorption technology. When you drop your phone from a reasonable distance, say on the ground when you are holding it, there will be a lot of shock that is created when it contacts the surface. With a case built to absorb most of it, there is less of a chance that the phone itself will break or crack. Some other design choices you can look for are corners that are equipped with air cushioning technology and cases that are composed of highly-durable polyurethane.
Then, there is the convenience of having a screen protector attached to the case. Technology-based hardware, such as iPhones and tablets, nowadays put an extremely high emphasis on touch-screen capabilities. As such, the risk of damaging your screen is heightened. With cases that have a screen protector, you no longer need to concern yourself with accidental scratches or scuffs on the screen. Also, keep a special eye out for models that raise the bezels to lift your camera and screen off of flat surfaces.
Lastly, you can’t talk about the protection from iPhone cases without mentioning their waterproof capabilities, or lack thereof. There are a plethora of iPhone cases on this list that are designed solely for their waterproof nature. These types literally encapsulate your phone to prevent water from penetrating any portion of it. For boating, kayaking, or swimming trips, these cases will be perfect to protect your iPhone.
A smartphone case that does not fit your phone is like a pair of sneakers that do not fit you. No matter how well-designed and visually appealing a pair of shoes are, they are not very useful unless they are on your feet, huh? The same principle applies to smartphones cases, so be wary of this. As this list is aimed towards iPhones, every single entry is compatible with some sort of iPhone. However, each one will vary; even from different types of the same phone.
As the older iPhones are slowly becoming extinct, each entry on this list typically accommodated for either the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. If you have an older version of an iPhone, there is a good chance that these will not fit it. Thankfully, some manufacturers will make a case for each separate version of the iPhone. So, even if you have an iPhone 5 you should still be able to find one with the manufacturers above.
Of course, then you have the special smartphone cases that are universally designed. Typically, if a case is universally designed, the seller will specify when the tag “universal” no longer applies. For example, stating that smartphones up to 5.5” or 6” in size (diagonally) will fit properly. Not only does this adapt for multiple brands and different versions of the iPhone, for future installments (if they are under the maximum size) they will work as well.
Ease of Use
There are two huge aspects that iPhone cases, or any smartphone case, need to excel at to be considered elite. One has already been addressed, the protection and the other is how convenient they are while in use. Or, maybe more accurately, if they become a hindrance while they are installed on your iPhone. It would be counter-intuitive to remove the case on a phone to access its features and interface. They need to protect your phone but also not get in the way while you are using your phone.
Accomplishing this feat is not difficult and most designers will cut out holes that allow you to access cables, ports, cameras, and buttons on your iPhone. Even with the models that have a screen protector, it should be thin enough to not alter the experience when using your phone. Those that do, whether by making the buttons too hard to press or glitching the touch screen functionality, you need to be wary of. Besides this, extra-bulky cases can prove problematic as well. Most iPhones are already easy enough to slip in and out of your pockets, so you probably do not want that to be messed with. Keeping them slim, which does not mean they are cheaper, can be an advantage.
As far as the waterproof cases, they are a little special. These types are designed to allow your smartphone to be submerged in water, meaning they are encapsulated inside. While doing so, the primary functions of an iPhone still need to be accessible to you. Some will be a little harder to access than others, serving as better security measures than anything, and others will not properly accommodate the Home button for the iPhone 7 (which can be an issue for users of this particular iPhone).
The stressful aspects of an iPhone case are now behind you, as the previous three can either make or break it. Now, it is time to look at any additional features that are either included with the case itself or with your purchase. Typically, none of these will hurt the overall quality if they are not present. But, there may be a special feature that puts it over the top for you (as many on this list have). For example, here are several that you can look out for.
If you enjoy using your iPhone as a means to watch movies or videos, it is extra convenient if a belt-clip is included that creates a kickstand for your phone. Thus, allowing you to kick back and relax without having to struggle trying to prop your phone up on its side. How about cases that have a TPU, or any other stiff material, bumper for an added grip. iPhones can be slippery and even though cases will provide protection, it still is not good to drop your phone too many times. But, the grip can also simply provide a better feel for your hands.
For people interested in waterproof cases, there are special features for them as well. Some will come equipped with a neck or wrist strap that will easily allow you to secure it to your body. Others will be designed with a simple snap and lock, or swivel-lock, for an easy open and seal.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When looking for an iPhone case, check to see if the case you are interested in comes in a silicone option as silicone is usually a lighter material and wraps tightly around your unit, which will provide impact protection as well as heat and water protection. Silicone material also offers a great natural grip, which will ensure you have a good grip on your phone and it will be less likely of slipping out of your hand.
When looking for a case for your iPhone as you will be heading out into the wilderness where you need to protect your phone from the weather, falls, fire, and dust and dirt, you want to make sure that the case will protect your phone from all of these things. You do not want a case that simply covers the back of the phone, you want a case that offers full coverage and will protect your phone no matter what situation you find yourself in.
Phones these days are not only an accessory but for most of us is a tool we can not live without as it keeps us connected to the social world. When we are looking for a case for our phone, not only do we want it to protect our phone from anything that may harm it, but we also want the case to add a sense of style and personality to our phone. This is why when looking for a phone case, not only ensure that it will offer the protection you need but that also it will offer some style as well.
Other Factors to Consider
One of the biggest reservations that people may have with owning a case is that the natural design and color of their smartphone is perfect. While this will vary from person to person, this is a valid argument. But, if you have this doubt, just know that most sellers will include multiple color options for you to select from. A lot of them, to be honest, enhance the overall look of the iPhone (no matter the type). You may even get to the point where the color and design become the most important criterion.
Everyone should be able to find a color that suits them, even if it requires you to choose a different case altogether. Unfortunately, the ones that do not offer many color options may not suit you very well. The same goes for waterproof cases, as even they have different types of colors that may end up swaying your decision. You are going to have to stare at the case every single time you use your phone, give or take, so you better like the design!
Not only is the protection of your phone important but another factor to keep in mind is that the case is durable as well. What good is a case to protect your phone if it is not even made to protect itself? The first step to ensure that the case that you have your eye on is durable and will not only hold up to anything that is thrown at it but also keep your phone completely safe is to ensure it is made from tough material and comes from a reputable brand.
The brand is important as there are many cases on the market and all may say they are the best at protecting your phone but when it comes down to the case in action, does not do the best job. If you decide to get a phone case from a reputable brand, you will end up getting better quality and durable case as they are a reputable brand because their cases have been put to the test and have done a great job at protecting their customer's phones.
Another way to ensure that you are getting a durable and protective case is to check the customer reviews. The customer reviews will give you an inside look at how the case worked and protected their phones as they decided to go ahead with the case. This way you can see how the case will perform and if it is the right phone for you and your next adventure.
Another factor to consider is the price of the case you are looking at. You want to not simply make a decision due to the price of the case but rather weigh what you are receiving, the customer reviews, and how well it will ultimately protect your phone compared to the price. When looking at a case such as Otterbox, they will have a higher price tag but for good reason, as not only do they guarantee that their cases will protect your phone but if they do not, they will cover the cost of the case and a new phone. The old saying comes into play when looking for a phone case which is, "you get what you pay for". So make sure to do the research and decide on a durable and protective case that will not break the bank but will protect your phone, because spending a little more on a case is better than having to buy a new phone.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Will an iPhone Case Fit an iPod?
Some cases are specifically designed to fit a certain type of iPhone, for example, the 6 Plus or 6s. But, what about iPods, will they properly fit them? For each specific iPod Touch, it will vary. There really is not a yes or no answer to this question, but let’s address the iPhone 5 and 6 for an example. If you have an iPod Touch 6th generation, then you should be able to fit an iPhone 5 case on it with little to no issue. Although, it may take a little wiggling on your part. But, if you try the to put an iPhone 6 case on this exact same iPod it would not fit as iPhone 6 cases are larger and have different dimensions.
Also, an iPod Touch 5th generation will fit inside of an iPhone 5 case. As there are so many different versions of each phone and music player, this question can be answered in so many different ways.
q: Will an iPhone 6 Case fit an iPhone 6s and Will an iPhone 7 Plus Case fit an iPhone 6 Plus?
These are extremely similar questions, so they might as well be addressed in the same section. When sellers specify that their case is only designed for, as an example, the iPhone 6, it can lead to confusion. Even though they do not state it, will this type of case fit on a 6s? The simple answer is yes it will and even if a seller does not specify it, it will fit. The iPhone 6 and the 6s are the same sizes, with the primary difference being the 3D Touch technology.
But, it gets a little trickier when talking about the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 6 Plus. It seems illogical, but a 6 Plus case will not fit an iPhone 7 but an iPhone 7 Plus case will fit an iPhone 6 Plus (with some drawbacks). Because the camera and the speakers are different on these phones, an iPhone 7 Plus case will not fit naturally on an iPhone 6 Plus. With the speaker, it will be touching the rear camera lens and the 3.5mm jack will be covered by one of the cutouts.
q: With Waterproof Cases, Can You Take Photos with Them?
As the waterproof cases are a different design entirely, this question is specifically addressed to them. For most, the front and back are clear so you can still take photos and shoot videos with them on. Depending on the model, some actually will take and shoot fantastic photos and videos. But, the true adventure is taking photos and videos while submerged in water. As these are designed for underwater use and protection against it, you can pull it off.
Honestly, this may be the biggest selling point for them. While submerged in water, you can shoot a video of the wildlife that lurks under the surface. Be wary, though, the quality can alter from brand to brand. But, through it all, each one should allow you easy access to your camera lens.
q: Are Glass Screen Protectors Better Than Plastic Ones?
First off, you should know that even if a case comes with a screen protector you can always install a different one (if the case allows it). But, should it be a glass version or a plastic one. There are some advantages to plastic variants, but glass screen protectors are better. One of the main reasons why is the toughness that tempered glass provides. At typically the same price, they are much sturdier and are less prone to scratches. Even though they are designed to protect your smartphone screen from scratches, it is nice if the protector itself does not get scratched.
Also, modern-age smartphones are adapting their design and adding more glass. For these types of phones, there is a noticeable difference when you install a plastic screen protector. In terms of how smoothly your finger glides, it may feel very rough. With a tempered glass protector, it will mirror the image of the smartphone itself and offer a smooth gliding motion. Finally, glass protectors are generally easier to install. As opposed to plastic variants, they use some sort of adhesive (whether bezel or full) for easy installation.
q: How Do You Clean the Sticky Side of a Screen Protector?
Speaking of screen protectors, here is a question that often gets tossed around in the world. There may come a time where you deem necessary to clean your screen protector. In specific, the sticky side is prone to all kinds of dirt and smudges. Thankfully, this is a very easy process and does not require too much physical labor. To start, gently peel off your screen protector from your phone or case.
From there, go ahead and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. But, do not do so with any harsh chemicals like bleach. When handling the screen protector, you want your hands as clean as possible. As a matter of fact, if you want, you can do this before you pull off the adhesive. Next, you will want to run the screen protector under water to rinse off the sticky side. Then, it is time to wash the screen protector with soapy water. In the meanwhile, be gentle with it and do so until all the dirt and smudges have subsided. Finally, rinse off the protector once more and set it in front of a dust-free fan and room to dry.
q: Do Waterproof Cases, With Your Phone, Float While in the Water?
Obviously, the biggest benefit to waterproof cases is their waterproof nature. But, this begs an all too important question, will your phone and the waterproof case float? The process of how objects float can be a little tricky to wrap your head around. They need to have positive buoyancy (being less dense than the fluid in which it is sitting). You probably already know the answer to, “do cell phones float”. If you have ever dropped yours in a pool, you know they do not have positive buoyancy and do not float.
With waterproof cases, you can actually get them to float, however. If you place a few pieces of toilet paper inside of the case, without obstructing the view of your screen, it can create a density that is less than the water. But, this will not always be the case. There are a lot of factors that go into play, but you can test it out at your home. Be wary, though, that water density can alter based on the temperature. This means that just because it floats in your bathtub, it may not in the ocean. So, test different water temperatures to see if it indeed floats.