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7/16/2018 10:27 am  #1

Securing vehicle keys

I recall that when I was much younger, when camping I would slip my car's plain old flat ignition and trunk keys into a small pouch in my wallet and then wrap the wallet into a folded plastic bag and wrap that with a pair of big elastic bands. That would be secured in a buttoned back pant pocket. For 'insurance' I'd either let my buddy carry a spare set or I'd put a spare set in my pack's first aid box. There was no issue regarding the keys should they get wet.

Now-a-days I'm paranoid about keeping my newer car's fancy electronic key fob dry. I sequester it away in my pack's waterproof plastic first aid case. Over the years, I've been warned that even though the car door can be opened mechanically by the fob's 'key-shaft', should the internal electronics of the fob have been compromised by water, the ignition switch's recognition feature won't allow the car to be started. I've heard variations to that, that a water-damaged key fob won't even allow you into your car!

Can anyone give details regarding how these fancy key fobs react to water intrusion .. how that may vary from maker to maker .. and how you keep you vehicle keys safe during a canoe trip?


7/16/2018 11:07 am  #2

Re: Securing vehicle keys

I'm fortunate that my pick up has the code on the door and I just hide them inside and lock it up. 


7/16/2018 11:51 am  #3

Re: Securing vehicle keys

I usually just toss the fob into one of the big drybag backpacks when we leave the car; just have to remember to place it on top before the final day pack-up.  Don't do much else - the drybags are relied upon to do their job and I do make sure to seal them up properly when in the canoe or if rain is threatening.  

Per the real topic, I would expect a full submersion might mess it up, but would also expect that drying it out would render it operational.  Personally, it's not among the greatest concerns I've had while afield.


7/16/2018 1:38 pm  #4

Re: Securing vehicle keys

My key goes in a jack secret location beneath the car, hidden from view and protected from weather.   I'm more worried about my roof rack getting pilfered than I am the car being stolen or somebody going through in search of a wallet, though I'm certainly aware that is a possibility.  I could never feel comfortable about having the car key with me on the trip, I'd constantly be thinking about it, and I just know my trip report would have a sentence that says "and that's how we dumped the canoe in the middle of Ralph Bice, and that's how I watched backpack and all its' contents disappear beneath my feet, and that's why I didn't have a key when we got to the car...." 


7/16/2018 1:45 pm  #5

Re: Securing vehicle keys

You know, I've never done the actual test, but my expectation is that my fully loaded drybag backpack would float.  I guess I should do that test...then I would either have a problem to solve or be able to sleep like a baby.


7/16/2018 2:27 pm  #6

Re: Securing vehicle keys

PaPaddler wrote:

You know, I've never done the actual test, but my expectation is that my fully loaded drybag backpack would float.  I guess I should do that test...then I would either have a problem to solve or be able to sleep like a baby.

I have tossed a canoe pack in the lake to test it at the end of a trip. It floated just fine. The barrel will too. 

As for keys, they often go in a ziplock and live in the pocket of my PFD. 


7/16/2018 4:54 pm  #7

Re: Securing vehicle keys

I typically put my keys in a dry bag where my other electronics go. However last year I capsized in the water and accidentally left my car keys in my pocket. Needless to say they got completely submerged. Luckily when I returned to my car a day later, the keys were still operational. So either the water didn't damage the fob or having it dry off seemed to help.


7/17/2018 5:21 pm  #8

Re: Securing vehicle keys

Great question Barry...  I haven't submerged my keys, but am curious to know if it still work afterwards starting car (and if IPX rating would differ between brands)...

As far as how I keep mine safe - I either A) Keep in pelican case (most times), or B) Keep in drysac, then in my kayak's 'day hatch' (if kayaking)...  Have had no issues thus far (*knock on wood!*)


7/18/2018 6:07 am  #9

Re: Securing vehicle keys

As soon as I lock my car I throw my keys in a small pouch within my camera bag; I figure if s#!t were to hit the fan my camera gear is going to be priority 1 in almost any situation seeing as how its contents are worth as much as my car, and far much more than any other piece of gear.


3/20/2019 6:10 pm  #10

Re: Securing vehicle keys

I bought a small pelican case that is dedicated to my wallet and of course my truck keys . Works perfect, won’t get wet, squished, or lost .


3/21/2019 8:08 pm  #11

Re: Securing vehicle keys

Hey, I think I have the same case that wHiSkEy is referring to! I drive a beater with old-school keys, and don't know how such a fob would react to water submersion.
Having said that, when I last went canoeing I had a small SealLine bag attached to my life vest that contained waterproof matches and a SPOT. I didn't think to put my key in there though, as I was approaching it purely from a survival perspective. Going forward, I will likely put my key in the SealLine bag as well - and if I graduate from being a Luddite, I would seal the key fob in a ziploc within the SealLine pouch, although I am known to over-compensate at times...


3/21/2019 9:03 pm  #12

Re: Securing vehicle keys

   I'm with you Abe Froman! Lock my keys in the vehicle! Don't have to worry about losing-dropping them in the lake. Drive a ford lol

I'm just gone Fishin!

3/21/2019 9:35 pm  #13

Re: Securing vehicle keys

Am I the only one that puts my key in a ziploc and stashes it under a rock in an inconspicuous location adjacent to my parking spot of choice? Stashed many times. Never and issue. Just in case I do leave one hidden in car. Never had to break a window to get at it though.


3/25/2019 10:42 pm  #14

Re: Securing vehicle keys

I put a floating keychain on my keys while camping, as I'm more worried about having them fall out of something and sink to the bottom of the lake more than anything else.  I then put them in a little waterproof sac and it goes to the bottom of the bag.

If my keys aren't secure in a place where I know they won't be going anywhere, I won't be fully enjoying myself in the wilderness. I think I'll follow the advice of others here and stash an extra key in my bag from now on. 

For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.

3/29/2019 5:40 am  #15

Re: Securing vehicle keys

Having paddled back down the Tim in search of a set of car keys.  I endorse all efforts to keep them safe.  We suspected they may have been lost at a fishing hole that we had had good luck at.  We crossed paths with another group of anglers a little later, heading the opposite way, who hadn't had any luck, so we told them where to find the hole.  About 3 hours later we returned and they were still fishing the hole.  As we were approaching, scanning the ground with very little hope, one of the guys shouts "hey, you guys didn't lose a set of car keys did you?".  I like to think karma played a role in it.


3/29/2019 6:55 am  #16

Re: Securing vehicle keys

Chuck that is awesome!


3/29/2019 8:33 am  #17

Re: Securing vehicle keys

Just ordered an H2O Prospector. When I'm using that canoe it has hatch access to the float tanks. Keys and other priority items will go in a bag inside the hatch.Float tanks are obviously watertight so the ideal spot. 
Unless i lose my entire canoe I'm all good. 

Last edited by ShawnD (3/29/2019 8:35 am)

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 - George Washington Sears

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