Summer is just around the corner. Soon it’ll be scalding hot and the best place to escape the heat is the beach. These days, there’s plenty of tech to keep you from feeling like you’ve trekked into the wilderness to reach your sandy shore, even if you have.
Developed using military technology, Cgear Sand Free is a layered mesh material that allows sand to fall through it, instead of resting on top. For us civvies, that means we no longer have to suffer sand coating our towels or getting dangerously close to our food if we want to set it down. They make all kinds of things – including helicopter landing mats intended to prevent sand wear in hostile environments. OK, so Rockefeller Beach isn’t exactly Afghanistan, but with an extra-large CGear Sand Free MAT, you can make a peaceful island for yourself in the middle of the beach, free from those irritating grains that are damn near impossible to get rid of. Unlike the mats, which are more like ground canvas, the rugs are smooth on top, so you don’t even need a towel. When you get home, skip the washer and just hit them with a hose. Cgear even makes tote bags, in case you’re tired of using a beach bag with sand crusting the inside corners.
Music is required for fun in the sun. There are a few waterproof Bluetooth offerings out there that deliver, but maybe you don’t want to bring a large expensive speaker with mesh fronts to someplace known for sand, salt and extreme heat. Consider the Mighty Speaker instead. It’s made to keep out water and sand, and has a phone button and mic so you can take calls hands-free. It also comes with a suction cup so you can stick it to anything smooth, like your tablet, or even the hull of a kayak if you want to get out on the water. Fear not, it floats too. The Mighty Speaker may be little but it can take some abuse; check out the video where it survives a flush in the toilet. It was fully funded on Indiegogo in August of last year, and now it’s a featured campaign in the site’s Forever Funding pilot program.
Only the hardest of the hardcore hit the beach when it’s not even sunny, which means this solar-powered Bluetooth sound system is good for the vast majority of us. The solar panel can keep it running during the day and the battery will keep it alive once the sun goes down. It has a handle – it’s definitely heavier than the Mighty Speaker – is ruggedized and water resistant, but it doesn’t float and you can’t submerge it, so don’t take this one out on your board. You can, however, charge your phone from it via USB, so it’s not just a speaker; it’s like a battery bank for phone or tablet.
It’s so clutch to have some kind of shade if you plan on spending a full day at the beach. An easy-up beach tent is the perfect solution, especially if you want to avoid struggling to set up a regular tent. The newest Quick Shelter from Lightspeed is perfect; big enough sit in comfortably with pockets to hold smaller gear, vented to stand up to the wind, and the “porch” clips closed so it’s more like a full tent than a sun shelter that’s always open to view on one side. It’s definitely a must have if you’re hitting the beach with a new girl or guy in your life.
This cooler is the coolest one ever. It has everything: the obligatory bottle opener, stash spots for utensils, reusable plates, ceramic knife, a removable divider in the cooler compartment that doubles as a cutting board, a drain that lets you keep one side dry but still cold, a knife, waterproof LED lights in the lid interior and USB charger on the outside, bungie cord on a hand-truck like frame to help carry stuff besides the cooler, a removable waterproof Bluetooth speaker good at up to 30 feet, even – get this — a built in 18-volt rechargeable blender on the top of the lid. The Coolest raised more than $13 million on Kickstarter last year and the first backers are getting their orders now. Join the wait list if you want to grab one.
You (might) have the Apple Watch, or you might be waiting on Swimmo, but in either case, there’s no way you’re letting anyone under 10 wear it once you’ve bought it. Besides, those weren’t designed by Aquatic Safety Concepts LLC as drowning detection devices. Created by three fathers following a tragic drowning accident of a child’s classmate, iSwimband is perfect for your little ones (or stubborn old ones). It’s a sensor that works in conjunction with an app to alarm when a wearer has been under water too long, or when a non-swimmer goes into the water. This doesn’t mean you can just ignore your kids now, but it may put some worries at ease – let’s hope you ever really need it. The iSwimband comes with a headband or goggle strap, a wrist band and a sensor that attaches to either one. Up to 8 sensors can link to one device. The companion app is free, and works on Kindle Fire in addition to iOS and Android. There’s a sale on until May 10, so if you’re thinking about it, now’s the time.
It’s the 2GB iPod shuffle we all know and love, only waterproofed by Waterfi. The large clip makes it perfect for use in the water, as does the voice-over feature that tells you what you’re listening to. The simple control scheme with the circular pad and shuffle-play-off switch on the top edge makes it a breeze to use, and with a battery that’s good for 15 hours, it’ll last a day at the beach. If you have incredible lungs or like to jam while you dive, it’s waterproof down to 210 feet. The kit comes with Waterfi Waterproof Short Cord Headphones, and you can pick from a rainbow of colors.