Using phone touchscreens in the rain

Hey all

I tried to find a reply to my question in the archives but somehow was only able to find entries about what waterproof pen and paper to use as a log in the case of rain.

I’m not looking for a solution for paper logs, I’m looking for a solution to use the phone in the rain - if only to send out the spot over the internet or sms to then log on paper. The problem today was that I didn’t have anything with me to dry the phone screen that wasn’t already soaked - the only thing I managed to keep dry was the KX. In the end I had to cancel the activation because a thunderstorm was approaching and I couldn’t get a spot out in time due to the wet touch screen of my phone.

So, are there any waterproof pouches for phones that let you use the touch screen in the rain? Or are there any specific phones that still work when the touch screen is wet from the rain?

Thanks and 73


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Decathlon sells one. I tried it and it works okay.


@BX2ABT I guess that’s the one you’re referring to. Thanks for the tip, I think I’ll give it a try.


Yes, that’s the one. The price difference between you over there and me in Taiwan is astounding! I paid only 5 euros for it. But then again, your income will probably dwarf mine.


Yeah, it’s both prices and wages that are higher here in HB-land. I usually just pay the HB premium. In some cases it’s worth ordering from abroad, though.

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For me and phone logging, if I can’t keep myself, my phone and my radio dry then the activation is not going to happen.

Shelter may take the form of a tent, a tarpaulin or a bothy bag.


That’s exacly why I’m asking for a way to keep my phone dry. As of my experience today apparently my activations are not going to happen if I can’t keep my phone dry, either. I’ve got rain gear to keep myself dry, a small tarp, an umbrella or an extra rain jacket to cover my radio, so I’ve got the radio and myself covered, all I need is a way to keep my phone dry.

I prefer this to using a tarp or a tent for all the equipment including myself because

a) its deployment is a lot faster, especially since I’m most likely already wearing my rain gear from the hike. If you have to act fast because of the weather turning this is a huge advantage.

b) space constraints on the summit might not permit the setup of a tent or a tarp but you can fit a KX covered by a rain jacket anywhere.

Additionally, if the temperature is high enough keeping myself dry is optional.

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In my SOTA bag emergency kit I always carry a large supper market carry bag.
It has a small hole cut in one of the bottom corners. If it rains expectantly I can poke my coax lead in through said hole place a stone on it to stop it blowing away and closing up the hole. Then I place my radio battery and log book inside and make an open ended shelter from the rain. You could probably put your phone in there too I guess. I have only been caught a couple times but as I had Alerted my activation chasers knew I was going to the summit and they spotted me. I always use a pencil to write my summit notes and keep everything abbreviated to save writing stuff. eg 7cw, suffix only of the stations worked only write full utc time for first QSO then just the minutes for that hour. Don’t bother writing RST its not a requirement for your SOTA log it’s only a required exchange out on the Summit.I write the Summit reference on top of my notes page at home before I go out incase someone asks me my ref?. I write up a proper log in a note book once home before doing the csv file to upload so I got my story straight. The least amount of writing or attempt to write on wet/damp paper stops it looking like the dog chewed it.
vk5cz …


I investigated bothy bags because I was only familiar with tents and tarps. I must say this might also be a solution to consider. However bothy bags seem to be a uniquely British solution, it’s hard to find a seller around here. In the Nordic countries they have a similar concept of bags against the wind but with those you stick out your head which make them useless to operate a radio in its cover.

There are several also types of emergency bivouac bags you get around here - I carry one of those with me in winter - but none of them seem to be as practical or durable as uk bothy bags.

EDIT: Found one RAB Group Shelter 2 Biwaksäcke Bächli Bergsport

Hi Beni,

I tried the Terra Nova bothy 2 that weights 370g. It’s OK for one person with radio gear, but not for two people IMHO.
You can see how I activated with this bothy bag in this video (1:19 to 4.21):

I also use my smartphone for logging and spotting (when there is mobile network coverage).
The problem I experienced in the bothy bag was condensation water that drops down. But that and rain on the screen never was a hurdle to use my simple stock Android smartphone that has no IP rating. You just have to wipe the screen from time to time and somehow try to protect the screen from getting wet too quickly.

73 Stephan


I have an aquapac waterproof pouch for my mobile phone and you can still use the touch screen (and make phone calls!) while the phone is in the pouch. It’s worked very well so far, even if you have to flick off the water every so often to see the screen properly in heavy rain.

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That’s interesting, I just tried to check for shipping costs to Switzerland. It seems that Switzerland is the one country that they don’t ship to, they seem to have a hard time even finding Switzerland.


That’s odd! You could also try amazon (if there is one that delivers to you) or your bigger outdoors gear chains.

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Apparently knows Switzerland. Anyhow, I’ll first give the Decathlon pouch a try, that I can get from a local Decathlon shop. If it doesn’t work out I’ll look for the aquapac one.


We use Zebra toughened android phones at work as gps dataloggers and they work on the rain. So it is possible. But my standard samsung android phone in an OverBoard dry pouch is only barely usable when the pouch is wet and only when wiped repeatedly dry.

Are there still different touchscreen technologies (didn’t they used to be capacitive vs resistive?) out there? And does one work when wet?

Intestesting. Wonder if the Zebra has option 3 - self-capacitance.

Reason I wonder is the works-when-wet touchscreen only works when you are holding the phone, not when its lying on a table (for example).

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Mine simply cannot be trusted in the rain, as it has an irritating way of interpreting a drop of water moving over its screen as some sort of significant gesture.

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Bought these for use when out on my Kayak. Works perfectly.

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