The good people at Lifedge, a UK-based company that “aim[s] to inspire and enable everyone to engage creatively outside,” were kind enough to send some handy products our way for us to try our hand at just that: engage creatively outside.

Specifically, I tested the iPhone bike mount, the Waterproof Case for iPhone5, and the float accessory.

The mount arrived in sleek packaging, complete with easy-to-comprehend directions. Attaching it was quick and simple. Once I fastened it to my handlebar, I simply popped my phone into the Lifedge waterproof case, which then attached directly to the mount. Snapping the case into the mount on either side, I had no doubts that my phone was secure.

Gear Review: LifeEdge iPhone Bike Mount, Waterproof Case, & Float Accessory

I tried it out on Charlotte’s legendary Plaza-Midwood Tuesday Night Ride—a weekly event where roughly 75-100 people gather for a two hour bike ride around the city, followed drinks at a neighborhood pub. Even though it was my first time on the ride, I felt like a total pro with the mount; fellow riders were asking me for updates on our mileage and peering over my shoulder to check the map to determine where we were in the city. I was also able to respond to two time-sensitive text messages that I received while on the ride; clutch.

Plus, I could take cool pictures like this:

LifeEdge iPhone Bike Mount, Waterproof Case, & Float Accessory

While my slower pace was not really conducive to capturing crazy cool video footage, using the mount would totally give you the capability to get some sweet stuff on film. The holder itself is ball and socket-type of contraption that allows for a 360-rotation, so you really could get creative using different angles to capture a variety of images. While the case was a little bulky, the mount itself was compact and unobtrusive and it never interfered with the ride. The screen was easy to view and access when necessary (though I wouldn’t recommend texting while riding… safety first!). Just as the mount was easy to attach, removal was also a quick and simple process, making any sort of transfer to another bike perfectly feasible if it were being shared between two people.

Gear Review: Bike Mount

If you ride often, this would definitely be a handy tool to have, particularly on longer rides. It was easy to attach and use and the sleek, modern design is also a plus. One major downside is the cost of the mount (£34.99, which, at the time of this writing, translates to approximately $58). While it is incredibly durable and would certainly withstand wear and tear, it designed to fit the Lifedge waterproof case only, so that would be a required accompanying purchase as well which would cost users another £74.99 (approximately $125). So, it’s an investment. Frequent riders could justify these expenses, as they would prove quite useful in many different circumstances; if you don’t bike often, however, it would be a little harder to cough up that large of a sum. Also, keep in mind that it only fits iPhones 5/5s—not the 5c, thus potentially limiting long-term functionality down the road. Of course, that the mount is easy to detach makes it quite possible to share with others, making communal payment an option and thus a way to cut down on costs.

 


 

Ok, so let me switch gears now (no pun intended) to the waterproof case and life float. As an avid swimmer, I really did enjoy using these tools—I felt like the opportunity to bring my phone into the ocean with as I swam and rode waves added a whole new dimension to my beach experience. I tested these out at Folly Beach, just outside Charleston, South Carolina.

I’ll admit, it was a strange feeling at first bringing my cell phone into the wild crashing waves, but having the Lifedge float was reassuring. This brightly colored device clips around your wrist and tethers a small but strong string through a loop on the waterproof case, making it nearly impossible to lose your device to the depths of the sea (or lake, pool, river, what have you). It was not incredibly comfortable and was a little stiff around my wrist, but I’m sure several uses would help break it in more. The float did not exactly have the most aesthetically pleasing design, but certainly the bright green mesh is practical, making it easy to spot. And while I did not try it out at night, the reflective strip makes for strong visibility in any type of light (or lack thereof). The wristlet float also provides buoyancy if the phone were to accidentally drop in the water unattached from a person or thing, making for a speedy recovery back to its owner.

The case itself—available in four different colors (I chose the sea green)—offered incredible protection. My phone fit like a glove, and the snaps on each side and the small screw on cap at the bottom tightened it in to where I had no hesitation bringing into the water with me. It was safe and sound, free from the harmful grip of sand, saltwater, sunscreen, sweat, seagull poo, and all other dangerous substances lurking around beaches.

I found myself using it primarily to capture pictures and videos, including a few epic selfies:

Of course, a phone in the water could easily be used to track mileage or help navigate if traveling by boat or canoe, or if on a rainy run or ride, among other things. And I’m not gonna lie, it felt a little surreal checking my Twitter feed while treading water in the waves of the Atlantic, surrounded by a small crowd of surfers. But seriously, though, how badass do I feel posting pictures like these to my Instagram feed while dodging some fierce waves? Pretty badass, let me tell you.

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Perhaps not too surprisingly, there were a few times when the screen was soaked that it had difficulty responding to my touch—nothing that some good old fashioned “just blow on it” couldn’t fix, though. It’s quite feasible to text and even make calls from the case.

As with the bike mount, the biggest con is the expensive cost (case is roughly $125 / float is roughly $58). As the case only accommodates iPhones 5 and 5s, at which phone technology is rapidly changing, I would worry that the case would become obsolete with the introduction of the iPhone 6 or beyond.

Gear review: Waterproof iPhone Case and Float

Pricing aside, I was quite impressed with the products and could see them being a worthy investment for people who embark on different water-based adventures on a regular basis. I definitely felt like these two products captured Lifedge’s mission of giving me the chance to “engage creatively outside” in a new way.