12 beach gadgets and gear to upgrade your summer vacation
For many travelers, a day at the beach requires little gear. A chic swimsuit, an oversized beach towel, and a reliable sunscreen are essentials, of course. But even the most modest, hassle-free beachgoer might discover that the right gadget can seriously upgrade — and even simplify — a weekend by the shore.
Take the Yeti Hopper Cooler, which (despite a $300 price tag) is becoming something of a cult favorite. Instead of fishing drinks out of a lukewarm puddle in your cheap lunch bag, the Yeti Cooler will keep them cool for more than 48 hours of sunbathing and tide-chasing.
And instead of your standard shades — which you were going to bring anyway and probably lose or ruin— travelers can opt for a pair of anti-scratch sunglasses made with 100 percent UV protection and a lightweight, TPX material that enables them to float.
Of course, there’s no end to the number of always fun, usually practical gadgets to bring with you on your next ocean outing. Turn your phone into an underwater camera, track your swim strokes with a fashion-forward fitness tracker, and keep your beach blanket (and bag) completely sand-free.
This is the high- and low-tech gear that will change the way you spend your summer. And we’re willing to bet these accessories will quickly feel like must-packs.
Kobo Aura H20
Skip the paperback this summer and bring all of your favorite beach reads with you in one seamless device. The Kobo Aura H20 is glare-free and can be submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
To buy: amazon.com, $178
UE Roll 2
Of all the wireless speakers on the market, this is the only one we really can’t leave home without. Despite its small, lightweight design (less than a pound), it plays your favorite tunes at up to 85 decibels. You can play the Beach Boys for nine hours without charging, and it comes with a mini float so you can take it with you from the beach to the water.
To buy: amazon.com, $100
Audio Bone 1.0 Headphones
Advanced bone conduction technology means you can listen to music using your bones without jamming something in your ear. These headphones are completely waterproof, and the functionality means the water won’t interfere with sound quality.
To buy: audiobones.com, $139
Canon PowerShot D30
Don’t bring a camera to the beach unless it’s a waterproof and shockproof version like the compact Canon PowerShot D30. In addition to being lightweight and easy to pack, this camera is optimized for shooting in direct sunlight.
To buy: amazon.com, $225
YETI Hopper Cooler
Have we mentioned how obsessed people are with this cooler? The YETI Hopper Two portable cooler has a waterproof shell that’s virtually indestructible and a HazMat suit–inspired zipper that’s fully leak-proof.
To buy: amazon.com, $300
LifeProof Frē Waterproof Cases
LifeProof’s scratchproof, waterproof, and almost-all-other-accident-proof cases are available for basically every iPhone and iPad, as well as Samsung Galaxy phones, the new Google Pixel, Droids, and the LG G5. Even if your phone is already waterproof, this case will keep out sand and dust.
To buy: lifeproof.com, from $89
CGear Sand-Free Mat
Made from a one-way sift material originally designed for military use, this mat is perfect for beach picnics. It dries almost instantly and has D-Rings so you can fix it to the ground. The days of sandy, windswept lunches at the beach are over.
To buy: amazon.com, from $47
Fitbit Flex 2
We love Fitbit’s most fashionable fitness tracker yet, which is also completely waterproof. Swimmers can even track their strokes in the app.
To buy: amazon.com, $100
Sapelos Floating Polarized Sunglasses
Admit it: the waves have washed away at least one pair of sunglasses in the past. Instead of sinking to the bottom, these sport shades by Sapelos will float back to the surface, thanks to an ultra-light TPX frame. Other beach-worthy benefits? The lenses have anti-scratch and anti-glare coatings, and they offer 100 percent UV protection.
To buy: nordstrom.com, $50
Quirky Shake Tote
Swap out your old beach bag for this coated-canvas tote, with a bottom flap that flips out to release sand sifted through an interior mesh netting.
To buy: amazon.com, $90
Pacific Breeze Pop-up Beach Tent
Shade-seekers will love this easy pop-up tent, which is lightweight and designed to offer UPF 50+ sun protection. You and two to three guests will also love this beach tent during unexpected summer storms.
To buy: amazon.com, $150
Mophie Powerstation Plus XL
Keep all of your devices, including your waterproof phone and e-reader, fully charged with the Mophie Powerstation Plus XL. Designed to work with both Apple and micro-USB devices, this portable back-up battery offers up to two days worth of charge, depending on the device. Twin USB ports let you charge two devices at the same time.
To buy: amazon.com, $100
Watershot SPLASH Housing Kit
Turn your iPhone into a serious underwater camera and video recorder with this housing kit. Special lenses, like a flat port and a wide angle, help ensure you get the best photographs from your underwater adventures.
To buy: amazon.com, from $130