Saying you want to make something ‘great again’ is enough to make surrounding parties sick up their ice cream. We can’t think why. But with outside time scarce (particularly in the UK), making the summer months great again shouldn’t be shameful.
Whether you spend yours snorkelling in the Medes Islands or soaking up the sun in Miami, summer is the time to embark on those expeditions you’ve been putting on the long finger, and make some memories while you’re at it. (Even if your idea of an ‘expedition’ is sauntering five minutes down the road to the park with a bottle of Pimm’s.)
Since every adventure requires its own quality set of equipment, we’ve assembled a list of the tools that’ll work hard this season, so you don’t have to. Read on for our list of the best gadgets to make this summer your best yet.
Fitbit Charge 2
Summer bodies might be made in the winter but, on the off chance you very understandably swapped 6.30am fasted cardio sessions for an extra bit of kip in bed, there’s no time like the present to get started. Fitbit’s Charge 2 monitors your heart rate, tracks calorie burn, helps you optimise your cardio workouts and even reminds you to move when you’ve been stationary for too long.
Available at Boots, priced £119.99.
GoPro Hero 5
Forget polaroids: the only acceptable way of documenting summer exploits in 2017 is with 4K Ultra HD video. GoPro – the American action camera company that’s made possible videos of everything from synchronised skydiving to first-person views of extreme parkour – should be your first port of call. As well as being Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled, you can control it with your voice and use it underwater (not at the same time, mind).
Available at John Lewis, priced £359.
Philips PicoPix Portable Projector
Rather than spending your time complaining about how everything is getting smaller these days (we’re looking at you, Cadbury), be grateful that the move has resulted in pieces of kit like this. A pint-sized projector, the Philips PicoPix is capable of blasting out a 120-inch image straight from almost any device including smartphones and tablets over Wi-Fi. So all you need is a wall, a few deckchairs, some beers and you’ve got yourself your own outdoor cinema.
Available at Currys, priced £319.99.
Le Creuset Wine Cooler Sleeve
Summer is a time for sun, sand and spontaneity. And you know what’s not spontaneous? Prepping a cool box. That, and lugging said cool box half a mile from wherever you parked your car to a picnic table or sand dune and then promptly collapsing into a sweaty heap. Save yourself the hassle and imbibe in style with this svelte and smart instant-cooling wine sleeve from French culinary experts Le Creuset.
Available at Not On The High Street, priced £30.
Kobo Aura H20 Waterproof E-Reader
Armed with the waterproof, sandproof and dustproof Kobo this summer, there’ll be little that can stand between you and Ernest Hemingway (okay, Lee Child). With Wi-Fi connectivity, an internal memory of 4GB (enough for around 3,000 books) and battery life of around 1,400 hours, it’s a trusty travel companion. Plus, its 6.8-inch e-ink front lit touchscreen reads like print on paper, so no more enlightening yourself at the expense of your eyesight.
Available at Argos, priced £139.99.
Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Print Digital Camera
Like vinyls (and not like bucket hats), Polaroid cameras are one retro throwback we’re happy to see return. But no one wants to walk around a festival clutching a wedge of printed photos. And worse yet, a boozy night can easily leave you with a load of duff, blurry, off-centre rejects. Polaroid’s Snap Touch hits the middle ground between old and new, acting as a digital camera that can be printed from straight away or after the photos have been edited.
Available at Amazon, priced £159.99.
B&O Beoplay P2
The soundtrack to your summer is only as good as the speaker you play it from. The trouble, however, is that heading outdoors means you can’t haul your at-home surround system with you. Which is where Bang & Olufsen’s new touch-sensitive speaker comes in. Unlike many of its competitors, which are a) ugly, b) heavy and c) just not really very good, the Beoplay P2 is none of those things. Crafted from leather, aluminium and polymer, and boasting a rich, warm and surprisingly bassy sound, it’s a pocket-sized party waiting to happen.
Available at Selfridges, priced £149.
Biolite Camp Stove 2
You don’t need us to tell you that a BBQ is a summer essential. After all, if it ain’t grilled, it ain’t food in the warmer months. But can fire and wood really be classed as a gadget? Probably not. Unless, of course, it’s fire and wood that features an LED display and can also charge your phone while preparing your morning espresso. The Biolite Camp Stove promises to make your Glasto set-up fest in class.
Available at Amazon, priced £171.51.
Samsonite Digital Luggage Scales & Torch
With the pound-to-euro exchange rate plummeting, the last thing you need before jetting off on holiday is to be hit with overweight bag charges. Take the guesswork out of packing and invest in some pocket-sized scales that not only measure precisely to the gram, but come equipped with a handy tape measure and torch, too. (Someone on Amazon has also used it, in combination with a cloth sack, to weigh their newborn baby. But don’t do that.)
Available at Amazon, priced £30.
Philips Norelco Total Bodygrooming System
This summer, do yourself and your fellow man a favour: manscape. Not only will you tan better and move more ergonomically through whatever body of water you find yourself in this season, but you’ll also be less sweaty and less smelly. Which is music to everyone’s ears (especially the guy sat next to you on the beach bus.) The best tool for the job? Philips Total Bodygrooming System that trims at one end and shaves at the other. Fitted with five integrated length settings up to 11mm, this grooming gadget also got rounded blades and combs designed for a smoother, scratch-free shave. And you can use it in the shower.
Available at John Lewis, priced £64.99.
Keychain Bottle Opener
You might think that as scrupulous commentators on all things style, we at FashionBeans might be too sophisticated in our tastes to appreciate something as basic as a keychain bottle opener. But you’d be wrong. Because not only do we appreciate them (especially ones like this discreet key-shaped model from Topman), we live for them and their immense usefulness. Equip yourself with one of these and not only will you never get waylaid on your path to drunkenness again, but you’ll also be the most popular guy in the park.
Available at Topman, priced £5.
Whether you’re trawling the sights in a foreign city or attempting to find your mates at a music festival, a portable battery pack ensures you’re never caught without juice. Which is considerably more fun than spending your weekend break scouring cafés for power sockets or, in the case of the latter, curled up alone in the corner of a field for five days trying desperately to find your tent.
Available at Amazon, 10,000 mAh model priced £18.99.
Waterproof iPhone Case
Made for #squadgoals selfies, this drop- and waterproof phone case is the perfect safeguard for when vanity strikes on a beach, boat or by the pool. It’s also a must if you are planning on attending a festival this summer; and/or are one of those people prone to clogging up everyone’s Facebook newsfeed with the ‘news’ that you’ve dropped your phone in the toilet. Again.
Available at Lifeproof, priced £79.99.
Master & Dynamic MW50 Headphones
Never let a stag party wreck your flight zen again. With all the sound performance of a pair of over-ear headphones, but the easy portability of on-ears, Master & Dynamic’s new MW50s are the stylish cans you can’t be without this summer. Sure, they probably cost as much as the holiday, but their wireless connectivity is up to three times greater than the industry standard (about 100 feet in range) and unlike some of their cheaper, more plasticky competitors, using the MW50s is like hooking yourself up to a luxury car interior.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £400.
Igenix USB Desk Fan
Here’s a riddle: what’s cool but not at the same time? You, if you insist on sitting at your desk holding a plasticky fan. Take the hands free route and, you know, get some work done with a more stylish desktop version. Built with high quality aluminium blades this USB powered option is guaranteed to help you breeze through the 9-5.
Available at Tesco, priced £8.99.