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Reviews > Communication Gear > Accessories > ECase eSeries 9 > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

Real package, I swear

E-Case eSeries waterproof smartphone case ray estrella review


NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 54
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 213 lb (96.60 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.

The Product

Manufacturer: E-Case, a division of Cascade Designs Inc. Yep, that's my green E-case
Web site:
Product: eSeries 9 smartphone case
Year manufactured: 2014
MSRP: US $27.95
Weight listed: 1.5 oz (41 g)
Actual weight: 1.23 oz (35 g)
Dimensions listed: 4.5 x 7.28 in (115 x 185 mm)
Verified accurate
Color reviewed: Green
Image at right courtesy Cascade Designs

Quick & Dirty, Nitty Gritty

The E-Case 9 works exactly as advertised. It fit my phone well, was completely waterproof in heavy sustained rain storms, and even was useful for protecting my maps. The color even matches the ferns I was hiking through… Please read on for the details.

Product Description

font and back

The E-Case eSeries 9 waterproof smartphone case (hereafter referred to as the E-Case or just the case) is a waterproof case made to protect smartphones. The 9 that I have is for larger smartphones like my Samsung SIII. It is made in two versions, one for headphone jack use or, like mine, with no jack port.

The case is made of tough 600 denier polyurethane coated polyester with clear urethane windows making up most of the body, front and back. On my case the polyester is bright neon green. The case is glued together with RF (radio frequency) welded seams. This cool (pun intended) way of welding uses no external heat. The easy explanation of RF welding is that the material is placed between two electrodes that use high frequency radio waves to agitate the molecules in the materials. The molecules themselves create heat during the moving and banging around. The materials then flow together and join creating a very strong weld.
Zip it
The E-Case is accessed by way of a 6 in (152 mm) opening along one of the long sides. The opening seals with an awesome zip-type closure that the E-Case folks call SealLock. (A Cascade Designs NomenClature if I've ever seen one. ;-) The dual-track SealLock is, in the words of the manufacturer, a "self-energizing zipper, meaning it seals tighter with increased pressure both from air inside the case and from water pressure outside. The zipper tracks are built into material that hinges, so the increased pressure forces the teeth to seal tighter". It really is the most aggressive zip-lock I have ever seen and it works very well.

There are two die-cut holes on the edge of the E-Case meant to accommodate a lanyard or carabiner. These let the case be hung from a pack, tree branch, or car mirror. Wait, strike that. Don't hang the phone from a car mirror...

The clear urethane windows let the phone be seen while inside the case, and it lets it be used too. The material lets fingers do their thing on my phone's Gorilla glass. The urethane is also clear enough to let the smartphone's camera be used too.

Field Data

I used the E-Case on all of my hikes from the end of summer (I think I started using it at the end of July) and fall. This was about four overnighters in Minnesota, three of them on the North Country Trail mid-state and one was on private land north of Halstad.

I also used it for six days of backpacking in Oregon. Four days were spent in the Three Sisters area on parts of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and about nine local trails. The last two days were further north on Scott Lake trail and the PCT. The hiking there was mountainous with elevations visited of 3500 to 7000 ft (1000 to 2100 m).

Temps have run cool at night all summer, hitting as low as 42 F (6 C). Highs have run the gamut with days that were 82 F (28 C) and humid to one that never went above 48 F (9 C) and rainy. The Oregon trip saw rain of some amount every day, with day three being a doozy. It started in the morning right as I was heading out and didn't stop until 6:00 AM the next day. That was the coldest day I used it this fall saw a low of 25 F (-4 C). Below is a rainy day picture taken in Paul Bunyan State Forest.

Rainy MN


For most of my hiking life I have never bothered carrying my cell phone with me while backpacking as I couldn't get a signal in mountainous California. But as I am in hiking in flat Minnesota and North Dakota now I just about always have a signal. And my boss knows it and calls me at least once per hike with some job related question. I tried carrying my phone on my side but it catches too much brush, plus it isn't protected from weather. (It rains a lot here.) Carrying it in my pack protects it but I can't hear it well, plus it is hard to get to quickly.

The E-Case works great to alleviate all those problems. I carry it clipped to my pack up high so that I can hear the single "ding" chime I use as a text and email alert. (My kids think that texting is WAY better than having to actually talk...) I keep the face turned towards my pack to give it a bit more protection in the case of contact with trees. Like the ones I'm hiking through here on my way to Pine Island Lake in White Earth State Forest.

plodding through the pines

The seal works very well. One of my days in OR I had it rain from about 7:00 AM as I was starting out and it did not stop until 6:00 the next morning. My camera got soaked from just trying to use it a few times while hiking and finally got wrecked. My phone traveled just fine all day long and when I made camp and sat out the storm in my tent the phone was my only way to take pictures for the rest of the trip. No moisture made it inside the case.

Since I usually have a dedicated hiking camera I don't need to use the transparent window on the back of the case. Instead I found a great way to use it. All of my maps of MN trails are paper. Non-waterproof paper as I was made painfully aware of on a trip up the Superior Hiking Trail. I waded into a river and only later realized that my maps were ruined. With the E-Case I either fold my maps to fit in the case or make a copy and cut the area I need to fit the case. Now I have a waterproof map. Below are a couple of my NCT maps, one a pretty primitive freebie of the Chippewa National Forest section, and the other a nicer map of the Tamarack National Wildlife Refuge and White Earth State Forest sections.

with maps

I really can't find anything to complain about with the E-Case. I see that I need to clean it as it has been picking up dirt from crashing through brush or when my pack falls over. In fact after typing that line I took it to the kitchen and washed it. It cleaned up well with just a bit of dish soap and water. Holding it up to the light I see that it has picked up a few light scratches and one very small abrasion mark. Not bad.

Until I get back to a drier locale I am sure that the E-Case will see a lot more action with me. I leave with a shot taken in Oregon heading northwest from Lava Lake.

Oregon trail

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Reviews > Communication Gear > Accessories > ECase eSeries 9 > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

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