Where do I get a waterproof battery case?
January 30, 2008 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Where can I get compact, water(proof|resistant) and somewhat sturdy battery case?

Gearfilter: I've recently decided to stop using disposable batteries unless absolutely necessary, so I've started using low self-discharge rechargeable NiMH batteries to power the headlamp that I take with me on climbing trips. I usually keep an extra set of batteries in my pack because it would be Really Bad to be without light while wandering along a cliffside looking for a walkoff in the dark. I used to use a normal retail battery package with the cardboard bits torn off, but now that my spare batteries aren't single-use, I'd like to keep them in something sturdier. What I want is a compact case for at least 3 AAA batteries that will keep them dry and protect them from jostling around in a pack full of hard metal objects.

I apparently fail at Google on this one. I can't seem to find anything made for this purpose. Has anybody seen anything that would work?
posted by strangecargo to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total)
An Otter Box would be just the thing.
posted by autojack at 5:34 PM on January 30, 2008

I used to use a small shampoo trial-size type bottle in my toolbag - open the cap, you could load up 4 or 6 AAA's, dispense them one at a time, and the plastic was sturdy enough to stand up to the knocking against tools, but had enough give not to make TOO much of a din...
posted by pupdog at 5:37 PM on January 30, 2008

Otterboxes and Pelican cases are pretty strong and waterproof, but quite bulky. Why not just carry another headlamp that uses the same batteries? The Petzl Tikkina or the Princeton Tec Fuel aren't that much bigger than the three AAA batteries that power it, and will save you if you break your primary headlight. What's the saying, two is one and one is none?
posted by meowzilla at 6:00 PM on January 30, 2008

I use good quality food containers for carrying my camera, batteries, phone etc. when I am apt to get wet.

The more expensive ones tend to have clips on the side and rubber seals. I wouldn't stake my life on them surviving prolonged immersion, but they would more than keep out the rain and protect against jostling, particularly if you put a little foam or cloth in with the batteries to keep them protected. If you are really paranoid about water, a zip loc bag inside the container should make anything inside almost completely waterproof.

I also recommend carrying a second source of light if you aren't already. A dynamo powered device is good enough to get you out of trouble and you never have to worry about dead batteries. Dynamo headlamps are readily available and make a great emergency backup.
posted by tomble at 6:10 PM on January 30, 2008

Pelican 1010 case.
posted by mrbill at 7:24 PM on January 30, 2008

For AAA batteries I've used inexpensive 1 oz HDPE bottles ($1.40, $0.78, etc.).
posted by RichardP at 7:45 PM on January 30, 2008

My solution to the same problem was to get a Petzl E-lite. It weighs about an ounce and lives in the little zip-pocket of my chalk bag. I consider it a purely emergency item and, other than testing it to make sure it works, have never used it.

If I drop/break my main headlamp, I still have the E-lite to fall back on. Also, because it lives in my chalk bag, there is less chance of me forgetting to pack it. This way you don't end up looking for rap anchors in the dark because you forgot your headlamp back at the tent.
posted by skaffen42 at 8:43 PM on January 30, 2008

skaffen42: Do you think the E-lite would have enough throw to be useful for route/anchor finding purposes? I keep one in my car, but I'm not entirely convinced I could use it to spot rap anchors. Perhaps I'm spoiled by the long throw of my Tikka XP. I do like the idea of keeping an emergency solution in the chalk bag zip-pocket. Coincidentally, I recently ordered a larger chalk bag that has such a pocket, so perhaps I'll look at just how much I could fit in the pocket when the chalk bag arrives... tomorrow.

meowzilla (and skaffen42): Good point about having a redundant headlamp. I hadn't thought about that.

pupdog/RichardP: I had totally forgotten about bottles. I was too stuck on the "waterproof box" idea. I'll look into those Nalgene bottles next time I'm at REI.

Everybody who suggested a Pelican or Otterbox case: I looked at some of these cases at REI before I posted this question, but they're definitely overbuilt (and too big) for what I need.

I think what I may end up doing is stowing a redundant headlamp in my chalk bag *and* putting extra batteries in a bottle in my pack. That way, I have extra batteries if my headlamp isn't busted/lost, and an extra headlamp if it is. This will probably be enough to quell my paranoia. Thanks to everybody for the great answers!
posted by strangecargo at 11:24 PM on January 30, 2008

The E-lite is actually pretty powerful for its size. I have compared it to some of the earlier generations of full-size headlamps, and it comes off pretty well. It can't really compare to one of the newer lamps with the super bright LEDs, but it is certainly sufficient for what I need.

Look at http://www.psychovertical.com/?petzlelite for a good review from somebody who uses it for exactly the same purpose as you.

As an aside, if you do end up carrying spare batteries as well then think about making your spares a set of lithium batteries. They are lighter than normal batteries, but work much better in cold conditions. Just be careful of what brand of headlamp you use them in. They can apparently damage some of the Petzl and BD lamps with long term use, but the Princeton Tec lamps work really well with them.
posted by skaffen42 at 4:58 AM on January 31, 2008

I carry extra batteries in a Pelican case. Actually I carry pretty much everything in Pelican cases, they rule.
posted by bradbane at 7:27 AM on January 31, 2008

« Older 2003 or 2006 IRC?   |   Shakespeare isn't Old English, students. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.