A Camera for the Canyon

Next month, my family is taking a vacation that will include several days in Canyonland’s National Park and end with a 3 day rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. We’re really excited and have been planning the trip for almost a year now.

Of course I’ve been thinking about tech for the trip. There's no point in taking my tech along with me for the rafting portion of this trip. There will be no power and no cell service during the rafting/camping portion of the trip and lots of opportunities for electronics to be lost or damaged. My plan was to leave all electronics safely back at the hotel except for a Canon Powershot camera. I’ve had this camera for several years, it’s nothing fancy by today’s standards, only 8MP, but still takes pictures that are good enough quality to make large prints. If something should happen to the camera, I wouldn't really care, I haven’t used the camera in almost two years, when we took our last family vacation to Alaska.

Earlier this week when I was checking my gear I discovered the Canon camera was broken. It would power up but photos were blurry and it made a grinding sound when trying to focus. Clearly something mechanical was broken inside. 

This raises an interesting question, what do I do about a camera for the Grand Canyon? If I act quickly, I still have enough time to buy a replacement camera, but should I? I’m not a camera expert, so have not fully researched the options, but a replacement PowerShot on Amazon runs about $150. Do I buy an inexpensive replacement point-and-shoot knowing that I will likely only use it on this trip? (I haven’t used my PowerShot in over two years.) I’m traveling with family members who have decent cameras so it will be easy enough to share photos (and my mom will happily let me take her camera and be the photographer). Do I just rely on family cameras? Or, do I perhaps reconsider my decision not to take my iPhone into the Canyon and purchase a waterproof and shock resistant case? The LifeProof FRE (Available on Amazon for around $65) is the highest rated iPhone 6 Waterproof case by the Wirecutter. I also have AppleCare+ so as long as I don't lose my iPhone, I can get a replacement in the event it's damaged for only the deductible.

Right now I'm leaning towards either taking no camera and relying on family or perhaps taking the iPhone in a LifeProof case. I don't want to be "penny wise and pound foolish" but cost is a consideration.  I’m open to suggestions. Please feel free to drop me a note on Twitter (preferred) or send an email with longer comments.