Let’s take a trip back to my childhood. The year was 1992, and “Too Legit to Quit” was still my favorite song. I had the stereotypical late ’80s boom box and carried the cassette tape (which I bought with my allowance, of course) around with me like a prized trophy. I even had a little dance to go along with song. I was cool (or at least I tell myself this), and life was good.
One hot summer day, my parents took me and my brothers down to the beach for some fun, and my music had to come along with me, despite my dear mother’s protests. The boom box was set down on the towel, and I ran off to play in the lake, kicking a plume of sand up behind me that went right into the boom box and ruined my precious childhood song.
The moral of this story? “Too Legit to Quit” was a terrible song, and I should have listened to my mother and not brought unprotected electronics to the beach.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep your electronics safe out on the sand.
Ditch your camera
While that fancy $600 DSLR camera sure does take nice pictures, hauling it to the beach probably isn’t the best idea in the world. Besides exposing it to the elements, you never know who or what you’ll come across at the beach—or rather, who or what will come across you. No need to let some random young surfer-wannabe splash water on your camera.
Instead, pick up a relatively inexpensive waterproof camera. A waterproof device will be able to withstand the punishment of a kid-friendly environment, while giving you the peace of mind that your expensive investment isn’t going to get damaged. Check out our advice on waterproof cameras for some ideas.
It might seem like overkill, but a waterproof case can be indispensible for a day at the beach. Not only is it going to protect your phone against those accidental swims in the ocean friends are often wont to impose, but it’s also going to make sure that no sand gets in your phone.
The best way to pick up a case is to hit your local sporting goods store for a quick fix, or hop on Amazon if you’ve got a couple days to wait for delivery. Just do an Amazon search for “waterproof cases iPhone” (or whatever your phone is) and you’ll get a bunch of great results.
A couple things to keep in mind though. First, be ready to spend between $35 and $50 for one. Any less and I wouldn’t recommend it, since you might be getting an inferior product (and you don’t want to take that chance with your $600 smartphone). You should also be willing to get a waterproof case that doesn’t exactly match your device, especially if you need to pick one up right now at the sporting goods store. There are cases which are waterproof that work just fine with an iPhone inside them, and generally run a bit cheaper than cases meant specifically for the iPhone.
An added benefit to the waterproof case is that you can—and should!—take your favorite gadgets hiking with you, safe and dry despite the elements.
Get some fresh air
We’ve all been there, out in nature with our cell phones when some dirt or other debris gets on it that we just can’t get off easily. When you’re at the beach, the key danger is sand, which isn’t a friend of any electronic device. It’s hard, coarse, and can easily damage fragile eletronics.
The best way to get sand out of your electronics is to blow your device clean with some compressed air. Don’t hold the air right up against your gadget. Instead, hold it back a foot or so; you want just enough air to be impactful but not so much that you’ll damage any sensitive components. You may have to give your device a couple blasts of air, but eventually, all the sand will make its way out—and onto your floor. (Another great tip: Do this outside in the garage.)
Remember the basics
And yes, the final item on our list is simply an umbrella. Why is such a basic item necessary for the high-tech aficionado? It’s simple, really. If you’re going to be out in the sun, then your devices are going to get hot—really hot. I recently found this out the hard way when spending the day relaxing by the pool with some co-workers. I reached for my iPhone, which despite being protected in a good case was not only burning-hot to the touch but also wouldn’t function. It even popped up an error message letting me know it needed to cool down.
When your phone is telling you to get some shade, it’s probably a good idea! So our last tip to protect your gadgets at the beach: keep ‘em cool and out of the sun!
And in case you you were wondering, my iPhone was so hot that we were able to watch a drop of water quickly evaporate off its screen. Now that’s a sunburn!
This story originally appeared on Tecca. More from Tecca: