The 5 Toughest Hard Drives for Your Next Adventure

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We keep our cameras and lenses cushioned and protected, so it only makes sense that we take equal, if not more, care of our data. These days, the rugged hard drive market is booming, with new releases and new functionality arriving all the time. The best changes are that SSDs are now common, and those bring their own advantages in speed and durability. Many of these drives are designed to take a beating, making them perfect for travel and some more trying adventures. Here are five fast and durable drives we recommend.

G-Technology G-DRIVE Mobile SSD

Sometimes getting a drive that looks slick is a nice bonus. Fortunately, the G-DRIVE Mobile SSD from G-Technology is both cool and has serious specs. It packs an SSD encased in an aluminum core to help prevent overheating while the entire design offers IP67 water- and dust-resistance, 9.8’ drop protection on a carpeting concrete floor, and a 1000 lb crushproof rating. That’s very good as far as rugged drives go. It’s also fast. The USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gb/s) interface allows for transfer speeds up to 560 MB/s, meaning you’ll be fast to load up your photos and videos and can easily work off it. Get it in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities.

Worth a mention still was the previous holder of this spot, the ArmorATD. It’s a durable spinning drive, so if you need more storage space and not necessarily the speed it’s a more affordable option. We even did a hands-on review!

G-Technology G-DRIVE Mobile SSD

LaCie Rugged SSD

Ahh, the classic LaCie orange bumper that signifies their rugged line. Now, they have these excellent compact Rugged SSDs that are completely enclosed in the material. This setup grants protection for drops up to 9.8’, two tons of crush resistance, and an IP67 rating. To guard data, there is Seagate Secure self-encrypting tech as well. It’s a nice, ultra-compact drive thanks to the use of a Seagate FireCuda NBMe M.2 SSD and the USB 3.1 Type-C connection can transfer data at up to 950 MB/s. It’s a great, ultra-small and durable drive.

Want something even better? Well, LaCie does have a Rugged SSD PRO with a Thunderbolt 3 connection that enables speeds up to 2800 MB/s, which is insane. We reviewed both versions in a hands-on review.

LaCie Rugged SSD

SanDisk Extreme Portable External SSD

If one of these devices was meant to be an everyday-carry drive, it is the SanDisk Extreme Portable series, thanks to its pocket-sized design. But don’t let the small footprint fool you—this is a seriously fast SSD rated for read speeds up to 550 MB/s. These blazing speeds are made possible through a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C interface. For the rugged part, the drive is IP55 rated, meaning it will be fine in a water flow of up to 30 kPA for three minutes, will hold up to 1.5 kg of shock, and 5 gRMS of vibration at 10-2000 Hz. The drive’s small size contributes to this durability, and it will be fine even if you drop it from 6.5' onto concrete. If you are looking to pick up one of these you will be able to find it in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB varieties.

SanDisk 500GB Extreme Portable USB 3.1 Type-C External SSD

WD My Passport Wireless SSD

Protected by a rubber bumper and benefitting from the natural durability of its 250GB to 2TB SSD, the WD My Passport Wireless SSD is a great, super-functional drive befitting adventurous photographers and videographers. The great thing about this drive is its ability to perform backups on the go, thanks to a built-in SD card slot and USB port. It also has Wi-Fi so you can connect to the drive using a smartphone or tablet and access all your content. Essentially, it can help you travel without needing a laptop to protect your precious photos and video. Be sure to read all about it in our hands-on review.

WD My Passport Wireless SSD
WD 500GB My Passport Wireless SSD

GNARBOX 2.0

At first glance, the GNARBOX 2.0 seems like a regular tough drive, but hidden in that compact body is a complete portable backup and editing system for when you are on the go. Version 2.0 even has a screen right on the front to help you see the drive’s current status. Built-in processing, memory, and a mobile app let you offload data quickly from memory cards or other drives and then quickly review and even edit your footage. This is meant to join adventurous folk wandering the wilderness with GoPros and the like, but it works just as well with professional camera systems. For serious adventurers, the GNARBOX 2.0 boasts an IP67 rating that means it is waterproof to 3.3' for up to 30 minutes. An integrated SD card slot and two USB Type-C ports, make it compatible with a variety of equipment and, then, once everything is safe and secure you can review it on the app or play it on a high-res screen via a mini-HDMI port. Beyond this, there is even a complete video- and photo-editing suite so you can put together your Highlight Reel before you even get home. Every model comes with a fast SSD and you can find it in 256GB up to 1TB.

GNARBOX 2.0 SSD Rugged Backup Device
GNARBOX 2.0 512GB SSD Rugged Backup Device

What is your go-to portable storage solution? Any of these pique your interest? Make sure to talk to us in the Comments section, below!

Don’t forget to check out all of the hard drives and storage solutions available at B&H. Click this link for more information.

3 Comments

Been keen to buy the WD My Passport Wireless SSD for a while now. Very versatile having wi-fi and being able to download SD cards. Still waiting for the price to drop ...a lot!

IS there any device like these where you don't need Windows or Apple software.   Suppose I only have my camera and an Android phone and I like to back up the SD card.  What do I do in these circumstances.?

Hi Michael,

There are actually some perfect options coming out these days, the most recent one I tested is the LaCie DJI CoPilot (don't worry it's not just for drones). You can read the full review here: 

https://bhphotovideo.com/explora/video/hands-on-review/be-a-boss-with-the-lacie-dji-copilot-hard-drive

Also, I would say stay tuned as there is an article in the works that rounds up all these drives.

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