Amazon
Amazon

17 Smart Products for Better Beach Trips

Amazon
Amazon

It wouldn't be summer without a trip to the beach! Stock up on the right gear to maximize your fun while playing in the waves this season.

1. BOOMBOTTLE+ WATERPROOF WIRELESS SPEAKER; $179.95

Tunes are a must for days on the beach, but it can be tough to find the right speaker to bring with you. The boomBOTTLE+ is shaped just like a water bottle, so it fits in cup holders and bottle cages on bicycles, and it's durable and waterproof, making it perfect for situations involving sand and surf. The Boombottle+ charges via USB cord and is compatible with Bluetooth.

Find it: Amazon

2. GOMATE WATERPROOF SMARTPHONE CASE; $12.99

When you’re playing in the water and sand, technology is always at risk of getting ruined. Protect your phone with this special case that keeps out water, dirt, sand, and mud. Phones held in the case can stay dry in water up to 20 feet deep. The front screen is touch sensitive so you can still use your device, and the back has a transparent panel that lets you take pictures. It even comes with holes for lanyard if you want to wear it around your neck; you can also consider attaching a floaty in case your phone gets swept away. Once you leave the beach, you can easily slip your phone back out.

Find it: Amazon

3. OUTDOOR TECH KODIAK PLUS, $80

If your phone dies at the beach, you won't be able to listen to music, post Instagrams, or get in touch with friends. So make sure you have this external battery—which is waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof—on hand to keep you powered up.

Find it: Amazon

4. IGLOO TRAILMATE JOURNEY COOLER; $262

Lugging a cooler over sand can be next to impossible. Enter the Trailmate, which has wheels that can handle almost any terrain and an ergonomic handle for easy hauling. The 70-quart-capacity cooler can hold 100 cans; it has bottle openers on each side, a "butler tray" with cup holders that sits on the handle, cords to hold towels and chairs, a water-resistant pocket, a "media holder" for your cellphone, and slots that hold umbrellas or fishing poles.

Find it: Amazon

5. BAREBONES MAVERICK COOLER; $120

If the Trailmate is bigger than what you're looking for, consider this backpack cooler, which can hold 50 cans and has a removable liner for easy cleaning.

Find it: Barebones

6. ALITE DESIGNS WATERPROOF LOUNGER; $65

The struggle is never realer than when you're trying to pick the perfect beach spot while lugging a bunch of cumbersome chairs. Avoid that entirely with this waterproof lounger, which weighs under 2 pounds and breaks down into a small sack that makes it easy to carry. (The sack, attached to the back, can also double as a pillow.)

Find it: Alite Designs

7. SLAP SUNGLASSES; $21.69

Remember slap bracelets? That technology is back in the form of fun sunglasses. These shades—which have a hinged nose-bridge that allows them to fold up into the perfect bracelet size—easily wrap around bicycle handles, wrists, and umbrella poles, so you can slap them on and forget about them without losing them. 

Find it: Firebox

8. MATADOR POCKET BLANKET; $24.99

Beach bags are big, but most of their space is usually taken up by one very necessary thing: the beach blanket. Instead of a regular blanket, try the Matador pocket blanket. When unfolded, it stretches out to 63 inches by 44 inches; folded up, it's the size of your palm.

Find it: Amazon

9. WATERPROOF NOTEBOOK; $19

Some people have their best ideas in the shower; some have them waist-deep in the ocean. Most notebooks don’t fare well when they come into contact with water, but not this one—it's waterproof! Best of the all, the durable pages are also rip-proof in case you run into a shark.  

Find it: Firebox

10. WATERPROOF HEADPHONES; $39

Don't want to share your music with everyone? Don these waterproof headphones and jam out alone. They come with a built-in mp3 player, so you don’t have to worry about finding a waterproof music player to go with it. It even comes with 4 GB of memory so you can fit all your favorite songs.

Find it: Amazon 

11. WATERPROOF DRY BAG; $16 - $23

If you really want to keep your belongings safe from the water and sand, try this durable dry bag. The waterproof sack, which has been tested and approved by dive and sailing teams, comes with a carrying strap and a bonus smart phone dry case that floats.

Find it: Amazon 

12. QUUT BALLO BEACH TOY; $20

Anyone who has ever watched a small child struggle while transporting ocean water knows the bucket is a flawed design. This sleek toy makes carrying and pouring water easy for little hands. It prevents spills and has a smooth design to keep children from scratching themselves.

Find it: Amazon

13. ICORER CABANA BEACH SHELTER; $40

Shield yourself from the sun with this nylon cabana, which pops up instantly when you're ready to use it and folds down small for easy carrying.

Find it: Amazon

14. AVEX STAINLESS STEEL WATER BOTTLE; $26

It's important to stay hydrated in the sun. Avex's stainless steel water bottle keeps drinks cold for up to 29 hours, has a protective cover to keep sand out of the spout, and locks to prevent spilling.

Find it: Amazon

15. THE BEACH GLASS; $10.50/EACH

You won't spill your drink when using these glasses, which have a patented stem and ball to keep them upright in sand and snow. Another benefit? You won't be using red plastic cups, which will help cut back on waste.

Find it: Beach Glass

16. SANDHOLE; $25

It's corn hole for the beach! This set comes with two targets and stakes to keep them in place, eight sandbags (which can be filled with sand at the beginning of the day and emptied when you're ready to leave), and two cups.

Find it: Amazon

17. SNOWPEAK PACK AND CARRY FIREPLACE; $110

When the sun goes down, things can get pretty chilly at the beach, even during the summer. If you're on a beach that allows fires, use this stainless steel fireplace—which folds flat and comes with a carrying case—to build a small blaze, then make yourself some s'mores.

Find it: Snowpeak

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Arthur Shi, iFixit // CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
The New MacBook Has a Crumb-Resistant Keyboard
Arthur Shi, iFixit // CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Arthur Shi, iFixit // CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Soon, you won’t have to worry about ruining your Macbook’s keyboard with muffin crumbs. The 2018 MacBook Pro will feature keys specifically designed to withstand the dust and debris that are bound to get underneath them, according to Digital Trends. The keyboard will also be quieter than previous versions, the company promises.

The latter feature is actually the reasoning Apple gives for the new design, which features a thin piece of silicon stretching across where the keycaps attach to the laptop, but internal documents initially obtained by MacRumors show that the membrane is designed to keep debris from getting into the butterfly switch design that secures the keycaps.

Introduced in 2015, Apple’s butterfly keys—a change from the traditional scissor-style mechanism that the company’s previous keyboards used—allow the MacBook keyboards to be much thinner, but are notoriously delicate. They can easily become inoperable if they’re exposed to dirt and debris, as any laptop is bound to be, and are known for becoming permanently jammed. In fact, the company has been hit with multiple lawsuits alleging that it has known about the persistent problem for years but continued using the design. As a result, Apple now offers free keyboard replacements and repairs for those laptop models.

This new keyboard design (you can see how it works in iFixit's very thorough teardown), however, doesn’t appear to be the liquid-proof keyboard Apple patented in early 2018. So while your new laptop might be safe to eat around, you still have to worry about the inevitable coffee spills.

[h/t Digital Trends]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
A New App Interprets Sign Language for the Amazon Echo
iStock
iStock

The convenience of the Amazon Echo smart speaker only goes so far. Without any sort of visual interface, the voice-activated home assistant isn't very useful for deaf people—Alexa only understands three languages, none of which are American Sign Language. But Fast Company reports that one programmer has invented an ingenious system that allows the Echo to communicate visually.

Abhishek Singh's new artificial intelligence app acts as an interpreter between deaf people and Alexa. For it to work, users must sign at a web cam that's connected to a computer. The app translates the ASL signs from the webcam into text and reads it aloud for Alexa to hear. When Alexa talks back, the app generates a text version of the response for the user to read.

Singh had to teach his system ASL himself by signing various words at his web cam repeatedly. Working within the machine-learning platform Tensorflow, the AI program eventually collected enough data to recognize the meaning of certain gestures automatically.

While Amazon does have two smart home devices with screens—the Echo Show and Echo Spot—for now, Singh's app is one of the best options out there for signers using voice assistants that don't have visual components. He plans to make the code open-source and share his full methodology in order to make it accessible to as many people as possible.

Watch his demo in the video below.

[h/t Fast Company]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios