Picking smartphones for each category would be just a bit over the $50 requirement (OK, that’s an understatement), but we chose to pick some cases out instead to help protect one of the most interesting items of your EDC. We’re fully aware that many don’t need, want or own a smartphone, but we think it’s pretty awesome to have such a powerful technological tool in our pockets every day. Phone cases are also a great way to inject some personality into your EDC through color, pattern and texture. We purposely sought out companies that created phone cases for both Apple and Android devices. (Apologies to Windows Phone users, although some of these companies also make cases for those, too.)
Incipio Feather Case, $24.99
A smartphone is likely the most important item in the urban explorer’s EDC–it’s used to document, plan and help keep life productive and entertaining. Incipio makes minimalistic cases in a variety of colors, so for urbanites, the Feather case is jut protective enough to keep a phone from being damaged during everyday use. But it’s also simple and clean, not detracting from the design of the smartphone for those keen to the aesthetics. (I have a similar case, and it’s amazing how, despite the thinness, the phone feels much more secure and protected without adding any bulk.)
Ballistic Tough Jacket, $34.99
Not only does this case sound tactical, but it’s been designed to withstand a significant amount of wear and tear. Each case is made with HEXTEC protection, which ensures protection from dropping on nearly all angles of the phone. This particular case is designed to protect phones dropped from 6 ft. Despite the layered case, it’s not too bulky, and won’t prevent you from carrying your phone in your pocket. This case is available in three color combinations, including a cool purple and blue combo, but the black is certainly most fitting for a strategist.
Otterbox Commuter Series, $39.90
Otterbox makes cases for people who often identify as sporty adventurers, and that’s evident even in the Commuter series cases which are a bit less bulky than their more heavy-duty offerings. The Commuter case can be customized in different color combinations, and the cases are designed to keep dust and dirt out of the phone’s ports. An inner slip cover hugs the phone tightly, and a polycarbonate shell locks it in, preventing any grime or moisture to creep into the case. While this isn’t entirely waterproof, it will still do a good job of protecting your phone from many damaging elements.
Speck GemShell, $29.95
This category should be a familiar one for techies, but instead of finding a case that adds a bunch of gizmos and gadgets to a phone already equipped with plenty of features, we took the opposite route. This simple and clear case shows off the device, which we think is great for techies who appreciate the design and feel of their devices but still want to protect it while carrying it in a pocket or bag. This clear case fits snugly against a phone, and protects it from the damage of from everyday spills and drops. There are also GemShell color versions for select phone models.
Woodchuck Adventure Case, $49.99
Once again we picked a wood choice, but it’s just so versatile, and Woodchuck’s gorgeous cases are hard to resist. These cases look like the handmade selections found on Etsy, but are a bit more in our price range. For the iPhone, there are many selections featuring unique patterns and images. All cases are made from wood, and often recycled elements, too. This company strives to make even the most innovative devices as organic as possible–even their lookbook shows people exploring nature with iPads and iPhones in hand. Nice to see companies find a balance between the old and the new.