USB flash drives are a convenient way to carry and transfer data. Even with the cloud storage options of today, USB drives may be preferable due to security and privacy concerns. While there is an abundance of USB thumb drives on the market, only a few of them offer extreme ruggedness and waterproofing for active lifestyles. Those who are exposed to extreme conditions may find the following rugged and waterproof USB flash drives useful. Keep in mind that flash drives have a finite lifespan so be prepared with a proper backup plan.
Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth Rugged USB Flash Drive
The Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth is an extremely rugged USB 3.0 flash drive with waterproofing up to 200 meters with the use of a EPDM rubber seal. Housed in a CNC-milled, anodized aircraft-grade aluminum structure with a molded shock dampening collar, it is also resistant against impact and vibration. The design has a tough-looking military style with a stealth black exterior. The Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth comes with a limited 5-year warranty. It is available in 16, 32, 64, 128, and 256 GB. Based on its positive user reviews, the Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth is our top pick for the best rugged and waterproof USB flash drive.
Lacie XtremKey USB 3.0 Rugged Flash Drive
The Lacie XtremKey USB 3.0 has a refined, modern look designed by Constance Guisset but it is extremely rugged. With its ZAMAC metal alloy construction and hermetic rubber O-ring, the XtremKey is IP-68 Level 8 waterproof to 200 meters and resistant to shock, drops, pressure, heat (392°F), and cold (-22°F). The XtremKey doesn’t sacrifice performance for its toughness, with transfer speeds up to 230 MB/s. It also offers AES 256-bit encryption software to protect your data from prying eyes. The XtremKey is available in 32, 64, and 128 GB. While Lacie has been an innovator in rugged storage solutions and the XtremKey appears to be the top rugged USB flash drive on paper, there are a number of negative user reviews.
Samsung USB 3.0 Rugged Flash Drive
Unlike the top two choices, the Samsung USB 3.0 Flash Drive has a one-piece metal case design with a built-in large key ring hole. It features NAND flash technology with transfer speeds up to 130 MB/s and a 5-year warranty. Despite its sleek look and normal size, the Samsung USB 3.0 Flash Drive is billed as “waterproof, shockproof, temperature-proof, magnet-proof, and X-Ray proof.” While there are no official specifications as to the degree of its water-resistance, one user review stated that it survived being in a washing machine for almost a complete cycle. The Samsung USB 3.0 Flash Drives comes in 32, 64, and 128 GB.
EP Memory Gorilla Ruggedized USB Flash Drive
The EP Memory Gorilla Ruggedized USB Flash Drive is a USB 2.0 drive which prevents it from being a top pick, but it does offer extreme durability. Its exterior is made of a rugged silicon casing and a large metal attachment loop. It is resistant to impact, heat, and pressure (250 psi) resistant and is waterproof to 65 meters. The Gorilla Ruggedized USB Flash Drive is available in 16, 32, and 64 GB.
Verbatim Dog Tag Rugged USB Flash Drive
Verbatim Dog Tag Rugged USB Flash Drive is a USB 2.0 flash drive featuring a unique dog tag case, metallic bead chain, and protective rubber border. While it’s the least rugged USB thumb drive on this list, it is a fun design and an affordable option for those who would prefer to wear their USB drive around their neck. It can also be attached to a key ring. The System in Package design provides resistance to water, dust, and debris, though it’s uncertain if it can handle complete immersion in water. Verbatim Dog Tag USB Flash Drive comes in 8 and 16 GB and includes a limited lifetime warranty.