Laptop rain jacket?
April 22, 2009 4:37 PM   Subscribe

Laptop rain cover/bag... does such a thing exist?

I'm going to be covering (live streaming in this case) some events outside, one or more of which could take place in light rain or during passing showers. I have a cover for the camera and can bring a small TV tray to elevate the laptop but I'm not sure how to waterproof it.

The only option I've come up with are the XXL Ziploc bags (2ft x 2.7ft) but would condensation be an issue? Would it impede my aircard signal?

Googling only turned up rainproof bags for transport, I'll need to at least be able to use the trackpad, ideally the keyboard as well. I'll be using a 15" MacBook Pro fwiw.
posted by asterisk to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well you can't really go wrong with a giant ziploc bag if you have one big enough. It's cheap enough, for sure. Maybe use clips to keep the plastic somewhat tight across the keyboard and screen, and fold it behind the bag? fwiw, i use my DS in in the bathtub all the time (inside a ziploc bag) and the touchscreen on the bottom works fine. Just now, I tried placing a napkin over the trackpad on my mouse here and then using the trackpad with my fingers, and the trackpad worked fine with that. So, I bet it will be peachy.
posted by lizbunny at 5:09 PM on April 22, 2009

I'd worry about the laptop overheating inside the bag. My macbook pro at least gets a wee bit warm without enough ventilation.
posted by TimeDoctor at 5:10 PM on April 22, 2009

*fold it behind the laptop, not bag. and condensation isn't a problem so long as you're not bagging the device in already very humid conditions... so maybe bag it inside your vehicle beforehand?
posted by lizbunny at 5:11 PM on April 22, 2009

A rain cover that is not made of mylar, metal, wood, or brick will not impede wifi significantly. The main danger with an improvised solution is that you will end up blocking air flow for the fans, so pay attention to the risk of overheating (a risk which many mac machines are historically prone to).

You may be tempted to use neoprene, but be advised that neoprene is not waterproof, and it is an insulator, so it is a bad idea for a running machine.

There is a bunch of stuff around under the name of "laptop skins" or "second skins", but they seem not to provide keyboard protection.
posted by idiopath at 5:15 PM on April 22, 2009

Portabrace's director's case is expensive, but designed for field laptop use in a variety of conditions. Their gear is made in the USA and lasts for freaking ever.
posted by dersins at 5:17 PM on April 22, 2009

Four words. Bed Bath and Beyond.

The comforters they sell come in these really perfectly sized rectangular shaped zip up clear plastic bags. Go in there and ask if they have an extra one that you can have or buy. I got my last one for free from them. Just find a sales person on the floor.

Also when using it, keep a towel on the wrist rests across the track pad or somewhere inside the bag so you can wipe your fingers off and use the track pad with dry hands.
posted by WickedPissah at 5:50 PM on April 22, 2009

my biggest concern is the laptop overheating and either melting or catching something plasticky on fire. any reason you can't just bring a small tent?
posted by lia at 7:48 PM on April 22, 2009

Do you need the power of a MacBook Pro, or could you perhaps instead opt for a netbook? If you get one that's fanless and has an SSD then it'll be far more robust in difficult conditions, and less expensive if it doesn't survive.
posted by malevolent at 12:10 AM on April 23, 2009

(Whatever you do, don't seal up your entire laptop; Apple don't put the ventilation features in because they like the whirr of the fan and the look of the vents)
posted by malevolent at 12:11 AM on April 23, 2009

Could you set it on a plastic crate and pull the extra large ziploc baggie down over the top of the whole thing but not zip it closed? The crate would allow ventilation while keeping the computer up off the surface.
posted by tamitang at 2:28 AM on April 23, 2009

I thought about the overheating issue. Gathering the plastic under the table rather than sealing in the laptop would help. I'll probably just go with an umbrella pulled low just above the computer for now.

dersins: That bag looks awesome and I could probably sell my boss on it in the long term, thanks!
posted by asterisk at 6:32 PM on April 23, 2009

So the bulk of the events are past (at least those in which rain was in the forecast.) I got by fine by placing the laptop on a small stand (aluminum camping table) and draping one of those bags used for storing clothing over the whole thing. During one afternoon there were passing showers so I left the plastic over it all day and checked iStat temperature menu occasionally and nothing was higher than normal.

Long term I'd still like to pick up one of those director cases though.
posted by asterisk at 10:07 PM on May 25, 2009

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