The rough n’ ready RokPak (Credit: RokPak).
Your smartphone likely has no difficulty keeping up with you during normal days in your home or at work, but how good does it do when you head off into the wilderness for some recreation or relaxation? Drops, mud and water tend not to be such good friends of electronics. If you cage them up in the now-being-Kickstarted RokPak though, they’ll reportedly be able to take the best that Mother Nature — or your own clumsy hands — has to throw at them.
The RokPak consists first and foremost of a tough waterproof case measuring 9.6 x 5 x 2.8 inches (246 x 128 x 70 millimeters). The case is lined with silicone, which makes a nice soft home for your delicate electronics; the makers told Gizmag that the RokPak can even take a fall from four feet (1.2 m) against a hard surface and still keep things safe. There’s a also a silicone net on one side that holds items in place. The case also floats and insulates against extreme heat (temps up to 176°F/80°C) and extreme cold (-4°F/-20°C).
So those are the mechanical specs of the box. What about its electronic profile?
Nearly one whole side of the RokPak consists of a solar panel that charges the onboard 12,000-mAh li-ion battery, so if you’re hiking you can clip the box to your pack to soak up the sun. If kayaking, just clip it to the top of your boat. Unfortunately, the makers tell us that it’ll take 24 hours to fully charge the battery through solar means, so that’s going to be tough when you’re being active out in the backcountry. You can however, also charge the device via a USB cable at home before you head out and then just use the sun’s energy to top it up in the wild.
Once charged, there are two USB ports inside the case you can use to charge your devices — even while it’s closed.
In fact, if you keep your phone plugged in while the case is closed, it’ll not only stay charged, but a built-in flashlight on the outside will flash when alerts come in. The flashlight can also serve as an emergency beacon; if you turn that functionality on, when the device hits water, it will blink for up to 200 hours. And, of course, you can just use it to light your way when nature calls in the middle of the night.
All that functionality in one single case doesn’t come cheap. Right now, you can get the RokPak for the early bird price of US$159. After those are gone, the price climbs to $169, then $179, which represents $50 off the eventual retail price of a whopping $229.
Keep in mind that you can get equally — or even more — powerful portable batteries for under $30, LED flashlights for under $10 and dry boxes for under $20, so you could easily assemble your own version of a RoxPak for a lot less. Also, this is a crowdfunding campaign, and things don’t always go as planned, so be sure you’re aware of any potential risks as a backer.
Still, if you like the convenience of all these capabilities packed into one device and don’t mind spending a bit to keep your electronics safe and sound, the RokPak certainly warrants a look.
The campaign, which has recently kicked off, still has 35 days left to raise its goal of $60,000. Once it’s completed, the makers — a father and son team — say the devices will ship by June of this year.