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Essential and Affordable Summer Tech Toys

Posted by cfeehan on July 14, 2016

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Summer. The days are long, the sun is intense, and the heat can occasionally become too much to bear. But rest assured, this summer has the potential to be incredible – as long as you have the gear to keep you calm, cool, and…actually, mostly cool. Whether you’re the outdoorsy type, prefer to lounge by the pool, or get your kicks from cooking up the perfect backyard barbecue, we have a gadget for you.

LifeStraw Go

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This incredible invention is perfect for explorers who are always on the go. Hiking in the middle of nowhere, and your water bottle is empty? Canoeing the Grand River and too busy to make a pit-stop for refreshments? There’s no need to worry, thanks to the LifeStraw Go. The original LifeStraw is a powerful water filter in the form of a drinking straw, and the Go combines this technology with a classic water bottle design. All in all, you’re left with a water bottle that will filter any water, making it completely drinkable. Yes, that means lake water, puddle water, water from a random stream in the woods…it’s all safe. The filter removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, including E-Coli, and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites. All of the reviews are great (a.k.a. no one is catching terrible diseases from unsafe water), and for every unit sold, a child in a developing country receives clean drinking water for an entire school year. PLUS it’s only $29.95 USD. There really is no downside to this one.

Kisha Smart Umbrella

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No matter how much we wish for every day to be a sunny pool day, there’s bound to be rain at least a few days this summer. This is why the Kisha Smart Umbrella made our list. But this isn’t just any umbrella; it’s the smartest one I’ve ever encountered. You connect it to your phone, where it then provides you with helpful notifications. 

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For example, it lets you know if you need to bring your umbrella based on the weather forecast, alerts you if you ever lose your umbrella, and even helps you locate it on a map so that you can find it quickly if it is misplaced. The price comes in a little high at $99.95 USD, but for a high-quality umbrella that you literally can’t lose and has a two-year warrantee, that’s a small price to pay.

Ambi “Electronic Ice Cube”

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I can only imagine what must be going through your head. What on earth is an electronic ice cube, and why would anyone need one? Well, the name is a bit misleading. This product isn’t an ice cube at all, it’s actually a handheld personal cooling device with a metal plate that cools down to 10 degrees Celsius within 25 seconds. It’s advertised to treat migraines, minor injuries and more, but in the middle of the summer, I’d be most likely to use it whenever the temperature outside gets too high for my liking (so, most of the time. If you couldn’t tell, I don’t handle heat well). The price of personal comfort is only $49.99 USD.

SpinChill Portable Drink Chiller

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I must admit, I was a bit skeptical of this product at first. The concept is that you attach your lukewarm drink (pop can, wine bottle, etc) to the SpinChill device, put it in a cooler of ice, and let the device do its thing – spinning the drink around and around in the ice until it’s cold, which takes from 1-5 minutes, depending on the size of the beverage. Sounds crazy, right? My skepticism was turned around by the device’s 4.5-star review from over 100 customers. I assume they know what they’re talking about, so why not give the SpinChill a try? At only $24.99 USD, it might just be worth it.

Weber iGrill Smart Meat Thermometer 

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If you’re a master of the grill but also like to take time to socialize, you’re going to love the iGrill 2 meat thermometer from Weber. At first, it appears to be a regular meat thermometer, but looks can be deceiving. It’s another smart device that connects to your phone, so it obviously has to have more cool features. You insert the provided thermometers into the meat you’re grilling, then simply walk away. Your phone will alert you when your meat has reached the desired internal temperature, letting you know that it’s time to take it off the grill. This means no more waiting around the barbecue or checking in on your food every couple of minutes – now, you can peacefully enjoy the rest of the gathering while your iGrill does all of the work for you. Smart devices: making your summer less stressful, one app at a time. You can get the iGrill 2 for $99.99 USD.

Big Blue Mini Wireless Travel Speaker 

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Ah, an oldie but a goodie. The waterproof Bluetooth speaker isn’t anything new, but if we’re going for an inclusive list of summer tech here, it cannot be forgotten. The Big Blue speaker is waterproof, wireless, and compact. It is also Bluetooth enabled, meaning that you can connect it to any smartphone or other compatible device without any annoying cords, and play your music directly on the speaker. It’s simple, but it’s a classic. This device has great reviews and comes in at $49.99 USD.

Super-Softie Floating Cooler

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Have you ever been lounging in the pool or lake and thought, “I would love an ice-cold drink right about now”? Well, you’re not alone, and the popularity of the Super-Softie floating cooler proves that. This cooler floats along in your pool (or lake if you’re feeling adventurous) until you get thirsty. At this point, you can wade over, reach into the cooler compartment which holds 40 cans, and grab your drink of choice. And it can’t float far, as it has tethers at the front and back ends for tying it down. Laziness has never been this luxurious. Get it on the Brookstone website for $67.19 USD!

I hope we’ve made it clear that thanks to technology, summer comfort is something that everyone can achieve, no matter your activity level, heat tolerance, or hobbies. Make this summer one to remember, and don’t forget to wear your sunscreen!

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Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor


Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.