Summer Gadgets and Gear that Raise the Bar on Seasonal Fun

Summer is well underway, and we thought we might help you make the most of it with some of the summer gadgets and gear we’ve been using. Whether you want to enjoy more time in the pool or eat some great food or getaway, there’s something for everyone!

Summer Gadgets and Gear from Gear Diary

If you see something that intrigues you, be sure to click the link as we list the regular retail prices, and many of these items are currently on sale.

Pool Candy Splash Runner Motorized Lounger

There’s nothing better on a hot summer day than lying on a raft in the pool or on a lake with a cold beer. The only problem appears when it is time to go in. Without a paddle, your only options are to cumbersomely try to paddle with your hands or jump in and tow the raft in. That’s where the $249.99 Pool Candy Splash Runner Motorized Lounger comes in.

The Splash Runner Motorized Lounger is a large, comfortable float. It has a high back, comfortable armrests, and excellent support for your lower back. Of course, it also has a cup holder. Can you say, “Hold my beer?”

What makes this raft special, however, are the motorized controls. Both the left and right armrests have handles that rotate a small propeller beneath the raft. A button on each handle turns each motor on and off, while the handles allow you to shift the direction of each propeller.

Depending on the direction of the propellers, pushing both buttons sends you forward or backward, while pushing one button or the other “steers” you to the left or to the right.

It took me a while to get the hang of controlling the raft, but once I did, I began to appreciate what it is like to have the Maserati of rafts.

You won’t have to worry about safety, as the propellers sit behind guards that will help keep fingers and toes safe.

ICECO VL60 Dual-Zone Refrigertator and Freezer

Summer Gadgets and Gear that Raise the Bar on Seasonal Fun

Judie and Kev recently returned from a week-long camping trip to Utah and are about to go on a weekend camping trip in Fort Davis, Texas. One thing that makes their travels stress-free and possibly less expensive is being able to bring their own cold drinks and food in the $849 ICECO VL60.

As Judie said in her review, the ICECO VL60 has surpassed her expectations; it is built to last, works perfectly whether it’s plugged into a wall outlet, a portable battery, or a camper’s on-board battery, and is large enough to hold a week or more of groceries — frozen and/or refrigerated.

While it might be a little bit larger than you’d need for daily commutes or short road trips, on longer camp-outs, or when overlanding, you’ll be so glad if you have it along!

Not having to deal with ice, the space ice takes up a cooler, and regular draining means there’s more room for food and less time worrying about whether your food and drinks are being kept at the correct temperatures. Having it with you on your summer camping trips will give you one less thing to worry about.

Aiper Seagull Pro Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner

We love having a pool but hate when it is filled with leaves, bugs, and other forms of debris. Sure, we have a pool company come once a week, but it isn’t enough to keep up with the amount of debris that finds its way into the water.

Aiper is like a Roomba for swimming pools; it is an amazing gadget if you want to swim without flotsam. While the company offers several different models of pool vacuums in various price points, the $899.99 Aiper Seagull Pro Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner is their top-of-the-line model, and it shows.

The pool vacuum offers various modes, so you can select whether you want it to focus on cleaning the bottom of the pool, need it to clean the sides, or need to do both.

Once you select the setting of your choice, you simply set the Aiper Seagull Pro Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner in the water and let it slowly drop to the bottom. Within a few seconds, the robot comes to life and begins its work; it will run for up to 150 minutes on a charge, and when the battery runs down, it auto-parks near a wall for easy retrieval, cleaning, and recharging.

I’ve been using the Aiper Seagull Pro Cordless Robotic Pool Cleaner this season and could not be more impressed.

ThermoPro Twin TempSpike Wireless Thermometer

ThermoPro Twin TempSpike Wireless Thermometer

What’s better on a summer evening than a meal prepared on the grill?
Tender, juicy corn that’s been grilled in its husk? Yes, please.
Zucchini grilled to perfection and sporting just the right amount of grill marks? Yummy.
And burgers cooked to the precise temperatures preferred by your guest? Now you are getting crazy.

The $199.99 ThermoPro Twin TempSpike Wireless Thermometer is a wireless system to monitor the temperature of two items simultaneously. That means you can make Mom her burger done medium rare while cooking little Joey’s well-done burger with absolute precision.

And with a wireless range of up to 500 feet, you can monitor the progress without being tied to the grill. Best of all, because the TempSpike comes from ThermoPro, you know it will deliver accurate readings.

With the ThermoPro Twin TempSpike Wireless Thermometer, the days of wishing and hoping people will be happy with your grilling will be a thing of the past.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3

Just because you might be on “vacation” doesn’t mean that there’s still no work that needs to be done. The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 can seem a bit outlandish at first, but if you are used to using a larger monitor at work or home, as Judie is, you’ll definitely appreciate it when catching up on your workflow.

This slim, 4.4-pound laptop has a large 129Hz 17.3″ 3K ultrawide display that can easily fit two documents side by side, which is huge if you’re used to using multiple monitors at your desk. This laptop is nimble and speedy, powered by up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, up to 32GB memory, and up to 1TB storage.

But to amp things up just a bit, on the right of the keyboard, there is a built-in secondary 8″ full-color, touch-enabled, 60Hz, 800×1200 display; with it, you can multitask!

That extra screen can be used for referencing other materials, for drawing, as a calculator, for mirroring their smartphone, or for secretly playing Minesweeper during video calls — the possibilities are endless! And with the built-in pen, there has never been an easier way to sign a document or mark up a .pdf file.

Video calls sound great over the Harman Kardon tuned speakers Dolby Atmos speaker system, and the physical slider guarantees their privacy on the FHD IR webcam.

The keyboard is spill-resistant, and even though the thin and light aluminum case screams premium, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 is certified as MIL-STD-810H military test passed. Judie won’t travel without it!

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 starts at $1,194.74.

Helinox Chair Zero Ultralight Compact Camping Chair

Helinox Chair Zero Ultralight Compact Camping Chair

I’m spending the month in an Airbnb two blocks from the beach in Tel Aviv. I like the beach but don’t love sitting on the sand. I also don’t enjoy paying through the nose to “rent” a cheap, uncomfortable beach chair for a few hours. My secret weapon this summer? The $109.95 Helinox Chair Zero Ultralight Compact Camping Chair.

This lightweight, compact chair is advertised for camping and backpacking, but it’s far more versatile than that; the collapsible frame is made from an advanced DAC aluminum alloy, while the seat and carry sack are constructed from machine-washable ripstop nylon.

The Helinox Chair Zero Ultralight Compact Camping Chair collapses into a small piece of kit that’s not much larger than the ubiquitous 1.5-liter water bottles you see at the beach! The chair is so small that I could pack the 1.1-pound chair in my luggage without issue.

When I headed to the beach for the first time yesterday, I threw it in my well-loved Tom Bihn day pack. The chair fits perfectly and leaves plenty of room for my towel, water bottle, and more.

Assembling the Helinox Chair Zero Ultralight Compact Camping Chair when I got to the beach took less than two minutes. I was surprised at how comfortable it was!

When it came time to return to the apartment, I removed the nylon seat, shook the sand off it, collapsed the frame, and threw it back into my daypack.

It’s truly the perfect beach accessory for anyone who isn’t a devout “towel layer,” so don’t let the “camping and backpacking moniker fool you —  this is a great chair for the beach too!

Gobam Bamboo Bath Mat

Gobam Bamboo Bath Mat

It might seem odd to mention a bath mat in a summer gadgets and gear guide, but hear us out. The Gobam Bamboo Bath Mat, which comes in multiple sizes starting at $34.99 for 19.7″ long, has become the perfect camping accessory when Judie and Kev take off in their Zion Off-Road Camper.

Composed of water-resistant and eco-friendly bamboo, this anti-slip and quick-drying bath mat will definitely give a spa feel to any bathroom, but it also shines when used in a makeshift outdoor campsite shower or as a mat that allows dirt and sand to fall off shoes before entering your camper trailer.

Judie has one in her bathroom, but she also brought two that she keeps in her camper, so sand and dirt are left outside when she or Kev get in on their respective sides. It’s also handy when they set up their portable shower, as it means no one has to get clean while standing on the ground.

If you’re camping this summer, you’ll be shocked at how many times the Gobam Bamboo Bath Mat comes in handy!

Colsen Tabletop Fire Pit

Imagine this: all week long, you’ve promised the kids that when the weekend arrived, you would make a fire in the firepit, and they could roast marshmallows. Unfortunately, the weather decided not to cooperate, and the thundershowers are expected to last until Monday. The kids are heartbroken, but what can you do?

That’s where the $100 Colsen Tabletop Fire Pit comes in.

Made for indoor use, Colsen offers several fire pits in different shapes and sizes. Each is safe for use indoors so long as it is used with rubbing alcohol with a flame arrestor. And while the company offers Colsen’s Fire Pit Fuel, you aren’t locked into using their product.

The fire produced by the Colsen Tabletop Fire Pit is smokeless and odorless but delivers the ambiance of real flames. Easy to light and simple to clean, the fire pits are a great conversation starter.

Best of all, with a Colsen Fire Pit, you can make s’mores even when the skies force you and the kids inside. Of course, please always supervise children when in the presence of an open fire!

Maxxeon WorkStar LightVisor Rechargeable Headlight

Maxxeon WorkStar LightVisor Rechargeable Headlight

Whether you enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, working on DIY projects, or reading in low-light conditions, you will appreciate the $54.95 Maxxeon WorkStar LightVisor Rechargeable Headlight. It provides convenient hands-free illumination, making doing all of these activities (and more!) much easier and safer.

Rather than a single center beam, the LightVisor has a nearly 7″ long strip with two rows of LEDs on the front; they cast a 130° beam angle that’s bright enough to illuminate everything to the front of him and on the sides. Your comfort while wearing it is assured by the adjustable, elasticized headband.

Powered by an encased USB-C rechargeable 4,000mAh Lithium-ion battery with four charging indicator LEDs, you can easily tell how much power you have left or when it’s time to recharge.

You can turn the light on or off or change the intensity by tapping the large, integrated rubber buttons conveniently placed on each side of the light strip; there’s no penalty or learning curve if he’s left-handed.

Built for everyday use, the LightVisor is shock-resistant up to a 6′ drop, and it’s IP65 dust and water-resistant, and you get the choice of setting the headlight’s beam to high (600 lumens) with a runtime of up to 3 hours or low (300 lumens) with a runtime of up to 6.5 hours.

The LightVisor is rechargeable, comfortable to wear, non-cumbersome, and ready to work or play; Kev won’t camp without it!

Shokz OpenFit True Wireless Headphones

Shokz OpenFit True Wireless Headphones

Summer means more time outside walking, hiking, and enjoying nature. If you enjoy listening to music while walking but don’t want to be isolated from your surroundings for social and safety reasons, you have a few options.

First, you can simply leave the earbuds at home. That “works” but kind of misses the point. Second, you can use earbuds like Apple’s AirPods Pro and activate their HearThrough functionality, but the ambient sound you hear is filtered electronically and never sounds quite right.

Third, you can buy the $179.95 Shokz OpenFit True Wireless Headphones. Like Shokz bone conduction headphones, the OpenFit delivers music without blocking your ear canal. That means you can listen to music or podcasts while still hearing the world without it filtered through electronics.

I love Shokz Bone Conduction headphones for swimming and bike riding and appreciate how far the audio quality has come in recent years. Still, bone conduction can never deliver the high fidelity of actual speakers.

OpenFit takes everything Shokz has learned and applies it to their new DirectPitch technology. It allows them to deliver “real” high-quality audio without blocking the ear canal. I am amazed at how good they sound and, increasingly, find myself reaching for them when I want to listen to music.

MonsterDNA Max Wireless Speaker

MonsterDNA Max Wireless Speaker

If you’ve been looking for a mid-size portable speaker that you can bring outside for all-day pool parties, listening to the game, or for backyard BBQs that can also be used inside for background music at home, the $179.99 MonsterDNA Max should be at the top of your list.

The DNA Max is available in black or white and offers omnidirectional, 360º sound and up to 20 hours of playback time.

Worth noting is that the speaker is IP67 waterproof, which means that it can be immersed in water up to three feet deep for 30 minutes, so you won’t have to worry about bringing it outside, even when it’s raining!

Inside the speaker are four evenly distributed drivers that can push out 30 watts of sound, and the MonsterDNA Max can be synchronized with up to 99 other DNA One and/or DNA Max speakers for full sound throughout the home, pool, or patio.

The DNA Max uses an included Qi wireless charging base for hassle-free, fast-charging convenience; you can just set it back on the base when you’re done listening to it elsewhere, and the speaker will recharge for the next time you want to take it along!

Judie and Kev keep this speaker in their camper, and they love how flexible it is to use and how good music sounds from it!

NAVISKIN Men’s Rash Guard ShirtsNAVISKIN Men's Rash Guard Shirts

I enjoy time at the beach or pool but hate having to slather suntan lotion all over myself. So, in preparation for my current vacation on the beach in Tel Aviv, I decided to try something new. I went on Amazon and purchased a few shirts designed for sun protection.

I opted for the $20.99 NAVISKIN Men’s Rash Guard Swim Shirts, and so far, I could not be happier. The shirts are well-made of 100% polyester, with raglan sleeves for increased comfort and range of motion, and, best of all, they really work.

Thanks to the tight weave of the fabric, the NAVISKIN Men’s Rash Guard Shirts offer the same UPF 50+ protection the suntan lotion I’m using on my face provides.

The relaxed fit is comfortable and looks decent, and the combination of lightweight, breathable material and moisture-wicking fabric is enough for me to recommend these shirts.

When I wore one the first time, I discovered one additional feature that makes them even better —  after coming out of the water, the wet shirt keeps me cool as the moisture evaporates in the sun.

I now find myself just jumping into the ocean every fifteen minutes or so to help stay cool, which is saying a lot since there is currently a heatwave.

I’m sold on these sun shirts and would encourage anyone who loves the sun but hates suntan lotion as much as skin cancer to check them out.

Shibumi Shade

Shibumi Shade

No summer is complete without spending some time at the beach, and nothing is better than a portable shade when the sun is really blasting. Bringing a beach umbrella is bunglesome; four-point beach tents can be heavy and a pain to set up.

But if you have the $270 Shibumi Shade, you’ll not only have an SPF 50 sun shade that won’t blow away or tumble down the beach but one that’s also large enough to make the experience enjoyable for the whole family!

The Shibumi Shade arrives in a portable carry bag that weighs just four pounds, and it is made so that one person can easily set it up in only a few minutes.

Once set up, the Shibumi Shade floats effortlessly above as long as there’s at least 2-3 mph of constant coastal breeze.

To set it up, you simply connect the pole pieces, thread them through the canopy, plant the poles in the sand, fill the carry bag with sand to act as an anchor, and then wrap & snap the straps.

Your beach chair, cooler, and other items will be covered when you’re swimming, and you can enjoy the shady spot when you’re not in the water!

With the Shibumi Shade, you’ll get 150 square feet of shade without a hassle; there’s even a convenient shoulder carry strap built right into the bag if the beach requires a bit of a walk from your home or car. The package is so easy to carry that the kids or grandkids will want to help if they’re along!

Each Shibumi Shade is made from 40% ocean-bound recycled plastic, so we’re positive you’ll not only appreciate how convenient the Shibumi Shade is, you’ll love that buying one is helping to keep the ocean clean.

If you’d prefer something that’s not quite as big, there is also a $190 Shibumi Shade Mini made for one to two people that offers 75 square feet of coverage while weighing just two pounds. It’s also perfect for air travel to beaches in other locations, as it easily fits in a carry-on suitcase.

BN3TH 2-in-1 Agua Volley Hybrid Shorts

In recent years I’ve become a huge fan of BN3TH’s offerings. Their boxer briefs are made from high-quality materials, are well-crafted, and offer a range of styles with an ever-evolving range of fun designs.

What makes BN3THs products especially great is their patented 3D MyPakage Pouch Technology. I thought the MyPakage Pouch was a gimmick until I got my first pair go BN3TH boxer briefs. Now it’s all I wear.

The company took their MyPakage design, built it into a liner made from their recycled polyester Entourage Lite liner is made with EcoDry fabric, and combined it with a lightweight short made of a recycled poly stretch woven exterior fabric to create the $75 BN3TH 2-in-1 Agua Volley Hybrid Shorts.

The result is a short that looks great, feels amazingly comfortable, and can be worn in and out of the water. Available in both 5″ and 7″ inseams, the Aqua Water 2-in-1 is a great pair of shorts with a pair of BN3TH Entourage boxer briefs built in; they’re pretty much all I’m wearing this summer.

Try a pair. I bet you’ll agree they are worth every penny and then some.

SockWell Compression Socks

SockWell Compression Socks

Do your ankles need some extra support? Or have your feet and lower legs swelled or felt “heavy” at the end of a long day? If so, you’d likely benefit from a pair of SockWell Compression Socks!

Made from a blend of American-grown fine Merino wool, bamboo rayon, stretch nylon, and spandex, SockWell Compression Socks come with either moderate (15-20mmHg) or firm (20-30mmHg) graduated compression in their longer styles and moderate graduated compression in their shorter style.

What’s so great about compression socks? They fit a bit tighter around the foot and ankle to help give support, and they intentionally relax a bit up through the calf of the sock, which is what they mean when they say graduated compression.

Graduated compression gently massages your muscles, which helps keep your blood flowing throughout your legs; this is beneficial whether sitting, driving, traveling on a plane, or standing all day, but there are many other benefits.

Compression socks can also provide relief and support for medical issues like varicose veins, post-surgical recovery, poor circulation, edema, lymphedema, and more.

But even if you don’t have a medical reason to wear graduated compression socks, you’ll still appreciate how they improve your everyday wellness and prevent potential future issues because they actively help to ease fatigue and reduce normal swelling.

If you’re physically active and like to run, hike, or ski, compression socks can also help to enhance your muscle recovery and performance.

SockWell Compression Socks’ longer styles, which are available in quite a few fun styles and colors, like the $29.99 Men’s Road Trip, cover the calf and are especially helpful if your legs sometimes swell from circulation issues.

Shorter socks, like the $29.99 Men’s Foothold 2, are great for stabilizing foot muscles and tendons. In fact, Kev loves wearing them on hikes because they’re so supportive!

Because of the graduated compression SockWell offers, their socks won’t slip or slide on your feet. Since they are made with merino wool, these socks will also help prevent blisters, regulate foot temperature and act as a natural odor control!

Owala FreeSip Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with Straw

Staying hydrated is more important than ever during the summer months, and I’m convinced the Owala FreeSip Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with Straw is one of the best ways to make that happen.

Available in 24, 32, or 40-ounce sizes, these water bottles are fully insulated and BPA-free. Thanks to the double-wall insulation, beverages stay cold for up to 24 hours.

What makes these water bottles different, however, is their FreeSip lid, which, when closed to prevent accidental spills and, when opened, offers you a choice. You can tilt the bottle back and swig the liquid inside, or if you prefer, you can use the patented, low-profile straw integrated into the cap.

I love being able to flip to cap up and take a sip without having to throw the bottle and my head back. And as an added bonus, the locking mechanism that keeps the cap closed can be flipped up and used as a carry loop.

I added a carabiner to mine and have it hanging from my backpack most days.

Prices start at $26.98,  and while you can get an insulated water bottle for less, I think the extra money is more than worth it. I like them so much that, despite having numerous bottles in the cabinet, I immediately ordered a new one when mine got lost.

NOMATIC Travel Pack

NOMATIC Travel Pack

Summer is a great time for day and weekend trips, and the $299.99 NOMATIC Travel Pack is ideal for both.

Made from quality materials with clean lines, the NOMATIC Travel Pack is both durable and water-resistant. Organizational pockets and features abound, and there are magnetic water bottle pockets that stay closed and out of the way when not in use.

Best of all, this well-built travel pack works well as a 20L pack for day trips but, when you’ll be gone for longer, unzips and converts into a 30L pack. It’s an impressive bag that’s ready for your next adventure.

Forloh Men’s SolAir Technical Hoodie

Forloh Men’s SolAir Technical Hoodie

Summertime. Sometimes it’s cool. Sometimes it’s hot. Either way, the $149 Forloh Men’s SolAir Technical Hoodie has you covered.

The Forloh Men’s SolAir Technical Hoodie looks like a “normal” high-end hoodie, but it is much more than that. Sure, it is well-constructed and has a full zipper, open side pockets, and a zippered chest pocket, like “normal” hoodies — but this hoodie is made from a material that drys incredibly fast and wicks sweat rapidly.

Better still, we don’t understand how but the fabric can offer a surprising amount of temperature regulation, but you’ll stay cooler if the temperature heats up thanks to the specialty 7oz brrr Pro treated Polyester and Spandex fabric.

The hoodie also offers UPF 50+ sun protection, so you can go out without sunscreen and not burn.

I love how it looks and feels, but I especially love the sun protection and magical cooling it offers.

Fellow’s Carter Cold Tumbler

Fellow’s Carter Cold Tumbler

There’s nothing better than a solid way to keep your beverages cold — at home and on the road — and Judie loves her $35 Fellow’s Carter Cold Tumbler. She uses it just about every day, and it’s fantastic!

A reimagined take on the brand’s Carter Move Mug for hot beverages, the 16-ounce Carter Cold Tumbler looks great, is spill-resistant (Judie can attest to that!), insulated, includes its own straw, and it’s perfect for cold-sipping on the go. It even feels great in hand!

The Carter Cold Tumbler has a slim, double-wall stainless steel vacuum design, so it can fit just about anywhere while keeping your drink cold for up to 18 hours.

Available in eye-catching colors, including Matte Black, Matte White, Matte Grey, Stone Blue, Peri Twinkle, and the Mint Chip shown here, one of them is sure to fit your style, whether you’re sipping on the back patio, in his car, or at the beach!


So that’s some of the gear we’re are using this summer to make the most out of the longer, hotter days. What are some of your favorite go-to summer gadgets and gear? Let us know in the comments.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.

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