The Best Things Come in Affordable Packages
For people living anywhere near the thousands of miles of coastline in this country, the sun means one thing: beach getaways!
Of course, there aren’t many outlets out on the beach (an extra bonus for some vacationers). However, there are some great gadgets that can help you make the most out of your beach vaction and pass the entire day in the sun and surf in style.
Photo Credit: SMN
The Solar Charging Station
Voltaic, a New York-based company that offers a range of solar-powered products, has a lightweight compact charger that can recharge most portable products including your cell phone, iPhone, camera or portable video game player for up to 19 hours of talk time and 45 hours of music playing time. It puts out a charge of five to 5.5 Volts and connects through a USB charger, all in a device that’s lighter than a pack of cards – and thinner too, according to the company’s website.
Photo Credit: Voltaic
Make Your Touchscreen Beach-Proof
To some tech addicts it may seem like the end of the world to have to part with a cell phone or iPod to go frolic in the surf. Waterproof protection for electronic gadgets has been around for a while, but the increasingly common touchscreen has rendered those solutions somewhat useless.
Thankfully, a company called Gadgets and Gear offers a cell phone and camera case ($29.95) that is not only water- and sand-proof, it also allows you to use the touchscreen on your device through its protective screen. Plus its awesome floating capability will save your phone if it goes overboard or even let you just have it float nearby when you’re in the water. But be careful it doesn’t get taken away by the current – or a curious seagull.
Photo Credit: Gadgets and Gear
The Umbrella Chair
No matter how much you layer the sunblock, sometimes it’s still just not enough to block those vicious rays from turning you into a lobster, and increasing your chance of getting skin cancer. If you want to keep those rays away and also sit comfortably on the beach, the Sport-Brella Chair ($49.99) may be just what you need. This portable device prides itself in giving its users 360 degrees of shade thanks to a detachable umbrella, that can be propped on either side to the back of the chair.
Photo Credit: SPORT-BRELLA
The Beach-Friendly Cup Holder
Spending the day at the beach will dehydrate you even if you aren’t swimming and playing, but drinking lots of fluids doesn’t mean you have to eat sand too. The Kaz e Kup ($14.95), created by a small-time developer in Connecticut, is a cup holder that is elevated on a pole to keep your drink stable, out of the sand and above the fray of errant Frisbees that may knock a handful of sand into your lemonade. It can also carry your sunglasses and lotion, and accommodates bottles of all sizes. Another plus to this useful gadget is that it prevents spilling in cars and is easily transferable from your vehicle to the beach.
Photo Credit: Gifts by Kaz
The Beach Safe
The U.L.O. Beach Safe ($24.95) is a nifty gadget that will alleviate your paranoia of getting things lost or stolen. It is an 8-ounce, opaque, and indestructible receptacle that locks onto a beach umbrella and keeps it open as a failsafe.
"Your umbrella is your alarm," explains John Parlapiano, creator of the safe and managing partner of Montclair Beach Products. "It is impossible to close the umbrella with the U.L.O. Beach Safe in place. Therefore, a thief would have to take your open umbrella to steal any valuables locked in the U.L.O. Beach Safe. Try fitting that into a getaway car."
The Beach Safe is designed to fit your cell phone, MP3 player, digital camera, keys, wallet and more and is protected by a metal Transportation Security Administration-approved combination padlock.
Photo Credit: George Kamper
The New Beach Blanket
No day at the beach is complete without a proper blanket to stake out your territory, but those soggy blankets that get tossed in the trunk can get real nasty real fast. The DropZone blanket ($44.95) is a perfect way to do that; handcrafted from the same material as a nylon parachute, this is a multipurpose blanket that is both quick-drying and breathable. It has a zippered pocket to stash your belongings and comes with its own sack, which it can compactly fit into, and you can also keep this blanket in place when the wind kicks up using its four corner sandbag pockets.
Photo Credit: Eagle Nest Outfitters Inc
Keeping Things Cool
Why not hit two birds with one stone and lessen your load with a Picnic Plus Cooladio ($34.99), the classic radio-cum-cooler that is now updated with iPod capability. The Cooladio has an 18-can storage capacity and an insulated compartment for other food and drinks. In addition to the built-in radio, it also has an audio jack that allows you to plug into an MP3/CD player as well as a speaker/headset jack. You don’t need to carry around two big clunky things and you can sip on a drink while jamming to your favorite tunes on the beach.
Photo Credit: DICK's Sporting Goods
Measure the Sun
You’ve probably heard that even cloudy skies let some UV radiation through, so to know exactly when the cancer-causing rays are at their peak you’re going to need more than your intuition. The Dakota Watch Company has developed a watch ($49.95) that can not only tell time, it can detect the ultraviolet rays and temperature around you. The watch helps cover a wide range of uses for water lovers as well, offering a tidal function for surfers, and it can go as deep underwater as 165 feet for scuba divers.
Photo Credit: Cooper & Company