When most people get a packet of silica gel in a shoe box or beef jerky packet, their instinct is to toss it. But savvy DIYers have long known that the omnipresent desiccants are good for a lot more than keeping jerky dry. Here are a few uses, including some great tips sent in by readers.
Underwater camera casings are great fun, but even if stray moisture and condensation don't ruin your camera, they can fog or streak across your lens. Fight this by stashing a packet or two of silica gel in the underwater casing, along with the camera.
Put two desiccant packs per drawer in your toolbox, it is just enough to dry them out and keep your tools from oxidation.
If your phone becomes the unfortunate victim of a spill or swim, you can still rescue it—you just need to act fast. Remove the battery and any memory cards from the phone, then toss it in a bowl filled with silica gel packets (dry rice will work, too, in a pinch). Leave it there at least overnight before powering it on again.
It is understood that oxidation on razor blades causes premature dulling. I keep a Tupperware half full of silica gel in my medicine cabinet. After each shave, I blot any residual water off the blade and store the razor in the Tupperware with the silica gel.
If you're taking your camera out into the cold, it can face serious condensation when you bring it back into a warm room. Remove the battery and memory card, and place the camera in a bowl of silica gel to suck up the moisture.
Being an avid fly fisherman, use silica to dry out my flies when fishing on a favourite stream. Crush or ground the silica into powder form, then place it in a film canister. When your fly becomes waterlogged, place it into the canister, put the cap on, shake it for a bit, and voila
Toss a few packets of silica into a Zip-lock bag to make an instant travel gadget bag, with enough water fighting ability to withstand accidental luggage spills.