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Car keys and salt water

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Car keys and salt water

Postby davedej » Fri May 03, 2019 8:09 am

Source: ... alt-water/

Imagine yourself on a perfect day on a ideal spot. On a holiday with 25 knots, waves, sun and you brought all your kite gear. In your rental car. Oh what a feeling! But just when you are about to walk to the beach you realise you haven’t thought about where to put your car key. Full of electronics. Your friend did bring a pouch but when you look at the plastic bag you are in doubt. It seems to be made for it. But when you look at it more closely the closure system depends literately on a few millimeters of plastic that is pressed together.


The most obvious choice to keep your keys with you while kiteboarding is using a pouch. If this is a good choice for (electronic) keys that are vulnerable to water is a more difficult question than you would think. This is because there are so many pouches on the market. And they are not all as waterproof as a kiteboarder would need.

There are two things we can elaborate about it. One: yes we experienced it ourselves. A leaking pouch. Resulting in a broken car key. And a hour of drying to -luckily- get the immobilizer to do its job again. A 50 euro fine from the rental company and a lot of stress could have been prevented by using a better key holder. Two: A lot of people had the same issue.Those leaking experiences -from often very disappointed and even angry people- can be read by clicking on the review 1-star ratings. Remarkably even IPX8 rated pouches have too many leaking examples to trust your key to it. In fact over 70% (12 out of 17 randomly chosen) of the pouches we checked for sale at Amazon seem to have leaking issues. Enough reason for us to avoid those pouches.
So to be prepared for taking a car key with you while kiteboarding we tested two universal waterproof key holders: the Keebunga and the (new) Keyfender. Quite similar products but with some delicate differences. For example how it is produced (the Keyfender is made locally in Germany by disabled persons). Or the 10 euro price difference. Of course more important is how they actually function.

The Keebunga comes without a rope or key cord. It does provide an internal rope to hang your key. But to use it is often too much hassle. The Keyfender however not only comes with several options to wear it but also with cushions so your key won’t be moving around in the holder. The flexible window part in the Keyfender -really handy- makes it possible to use the Keyfender while it is still in the holder. Which isn’t the case with the Keebunga.

The Keyfender has a higher (8 over 7 for the Keebunga) IPX rating. This is an interesting detail because it means the Keyfender should be able to withstand more water pressure before it starts to leak. As we mentioned before we have seen pouches with similar IPX ratings which are not as waterproof as we need. So an IPX rating is a nice to know. But only actual usage can show if a product is really as waterproof as these ratings try to tell us.

The verdict
So what would we choose? Although we have a clear preference there is one more thing we need to address.Something which doesn’t show by just looking at them on a web page; the Keebunga and Keyfender both are bigger and fatter than you would expect. A bubble in your wetsuit will be visible. Like an impact vest it is something to get used to. Surfers would need to wear them on the back for obvious reasons.The Keebunga has quite a delicate system to open and close. It has two folding clips which we don’t really like. Too fragile.
In fact right from the first time we used it the clips completely came off while opening or closing it. Putting them back on isn’t difficult. But it is annoying. The Keyfender on the other hand is
a bit more difficult to open but at least it doesn’t fall apart. And yes everything stays perfectly dry inside. These facts including the ability to use the remote inside the Keyfender are the two major differences why we prefer the Keyfender over the Keebunga.


By far the best option is a separate -non electronic- key. But usually that isn’t something a rental company provides.There are also several products to leave your key attached to your car. For example the 40 Euro Northcore Keypod. We didn’t test this product. The main reason for not testing it is that we don’t know anybody that is into the burglary business to test its major achilleshiel (everyone knows where your key is when you are out on the water). The possible theft of your car by breaking into a Keypod is something to worry about since it isn’t included in your car insurance.

List prices

Keebunga 40 Euro or £30 GBP

Keyfender 30 Euro

Reaction from Keebunga:

We do offer a no quibble parts replacement service if users have any difficulties. And we are currently working on a more robust clip mechanism. Car keys come in many different shapes and sizes so we are also working on a more compact version. Mark 1 has been sized to fit as many keys as possible. The elastic tie enables you to permanently attached your key to the cap, which in turn becomes your key ring, so it’s easy to detached and assemble with the lower case.

Reaction from Keyfender:
There is one ore two things you could ad; visibility: Keyfender is colored to have a chance to find it back. striking colour. sizes:yes they they reflect the key sizes that we have on the market. Car keys nowadays get even bigger than smaller. But keyfender is less weight. accessories: foam pads, belt, lanyard and that little band that we deliver for attaching the key inside the case (that’s a hey there is this little wall with the hole) environment:keep the oceans clean and avoid plastic. that’s what we did with the package.
20190419_152552 (Medium).jpg

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Re: Car keys and salt water

Postby dejavu » Fri May 03, 2019 1:22 pm

Place you key in a Loksak 3"x 7" and seal. Then place this in an Aquapac waterproof pouch. Been using for 7 years. Replaced as they wear but never had a wet key.

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Re: Car keys and salt water

Postby br44 » Sat May 04, 2019 2:18 am

Rental cars can be a pain, but some designers thought of this issue already. My key detaches from the electronic piece, and I take it with me in the water. It's just a simple key, only opens the door but that's enough. The electronic key stays in the locked car.

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Re: Car keys and salt water

Postby BWD » Sat May 04, 2019 1:19 pm

Problem is the newer ones from some brands that will not allow doors to lock if the electronic key is inside an unoccupied car, and other stupid “smart” features...

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Re: Car keys and salt water

Postby Kamikuza » Sat May 04, 2019 1:37 pm

BWD wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 1:19 pm
Problem is the newer ones from some brands that will not allow doors to lock if the electronic key is inside an unoccupied car, and other stupid “smart” features...
Oh what fun we had with our first rental card that had a smart card...

"Ok I'll push the button to lock the car..."
CLUNK go the locks
" check the doors are locked HEY what the?"

Repeat until frustration.

Walk over to wife.
"I can't lock the car doors. I push the button on the card but then they open."
"What? That's weird..."

Wife walks over to car.

"What're you talking about? Car doors are locked."

I walk over to car.
Door opens when I try it.

"Ohhh, I wonder........."

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Re: Car keys and salt water

Postby Greenturtle » Sat May 04, 2019 2:14 pm

Yep. These modern keys can be a pain.

Double bag in ziplock, then pouch.

Simply hide the key somewhere safe on land. Far enough from car that it cannot transpond. What I normally do.
This way others in the group can easily go back to car any time. And no chance of getting wet.

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Re: Car keys and salt water

Postby deniska » Sat May 04, 2019 2:39 pm

BWD wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 1:19 pm
Problem is the newer ones from some brands that will not allow doors to lock if the electronic key is inside an unoccupied car, and other stupid “smart” features...
I had a fun day with my ML350's keyless entry. In theory (and most of the time) it does not let you to lock the car when the key is inside.
Apparently there is a blind spot in the trunk area in the back. So I drop the kite bag with the key in the cargo area, press the "close door" button and head to the driver side door.
Well the door is locked and I just heard the beep confirming that the trunk door is locked too..
I am alone in a wet suit on a remote beach :-)
Also had one close call when the battery in the key almost died while from the cold (after staying in a cold bag on the beach for 2 hour in near 0C degrees).
Took me a few tries to open the car and I had to warm up the keys in order to start it...
God help you if you lose the damn key - my local dealer charges $600+ to get and program the replacement..
I hope someone sues Mercedes for this shit.. I miss the days when you could start a car with a metal dumb key.

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Re: Car keys and salt water

Postby Dave_5280 » Sat May 04, 2019 4:34 pm

I use one of those waterproof pouches and haven't had a problem. When I was more paranoid about it I used to also put the key in a balloon and tie a knot on the open end. I got them cheap by the bag at Walmart.

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Re: Car keys and salt water

Postby ELI » Sat May 04, 2019 8:05 pm

I leave mine on a lanyard over the stick shift, I can reach them through the open window.Keep the gear in a pile in the back of the pickup for ease of access .

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Re: Car keys and salt water

Postby BWD » Sat May 04, 2019 9:16 pm

Forgot to add i have a friend who literally used to wrap his key in foil so he could leave it in or near the car...

While we’re at it, how about integrated screen for nav, a/c, radio, engine diagnostics, kitchen sink.
Shouid not exist.
Best nav is an ipad with a velcro strip on the back. Relaibly works and replaced from any store for a few hundred instead of a week at a dealer and $1000+

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