Whenever the weather gets warm, people love to flock to the water. It makes the air cooler, you can go for a dip when you get too hot, and the kids can amuse themselves for hours on end. In this world of the future, you don’t have to be stuck with beach balls and sand castles though. There is more for you to do to have fun.
The team here at CNET is not immune to the water’s wiles, so we’ve put together our favorite things that make beach and pool visits a much more enjoyable experience. Some of these picks are technology, but a lot are just cool gear that makes our lives easier or more fun.
JBL Clip 3 is a portable speaker that packs a lot of sound in quite a small device. Whether you’re laying by the pool or driving to the beach, this speaker is compact and easy to carry. The sound is impressive and will help you get into a leisurely head space.
If you’re hosting a summer party and want to stand out a little, this battery-powered dispenser makes a big impression. You drop the tube into a pitcher of your favorite water jug, cocktail or mocktail, plug the other end into this dispenser, and for the duration of the party you get perfectly portioned drinks with every button press.
It’s dead simple to use, and for $27 you’ll be sure to impress everyone at the function. And if you get more than one, you can get them in different colors and make it clear one is for kids and the other for adults. Any way you mix it, there’s a lot to like.
— Russell Holly
The reversible tote from the Aloha Collection is far and away my favorite beach bag. While you may not be able to totally submerge the bag in water, you don’t have to worry if you spill something on it or if a little rain mars your beach day, because these bags are splash-proof. After a long day at the beach or swimming in the pool you can throw your wet bathing suit in it and not have to worry about the bag being destroyed.
Founded by two native Hawaiian women, 5% of Aloha Collection’s annual profit goes back to local Hawaiian conservation organizations as a way to give back to their homeland. A bag from the Aloha Collection make not just the best beach accessory, but also one of the best ways to give back to the ocean this summer.
— Charlotte Maracina
In all the years I’ve been taking my kids to the beach, I’ve never thought to buy a wagon to carry all our stuff. This makes me a fool, but a fool that can save you from making the same mistake. This wagon was able to accommodate everything I needed to take to the lake with me this summer, and I do mean everything. Blankets, an umbrella, towels, a black tote full of floaties, foldable chairs, iPads, and even a solar panel and power station.
The wide wheels made pulling it across the sand a breeze, and once unloaded it served as a great place for my 5-year-old to nap in the middle of the day. Don’t be like me — get one of these as soon as you can. You won’t regret it.
— James Bricknell
The Anker 622 MagGo battery pack is an ideal travel companion. It lets you juice up any MagSafe-compatible iPhone while also doubling as a pedestal stand — great for watching video hands-free on the plane’s tray table, for instance, or FaceTiming from poolside. Fold the stand down, and the 5-ounce battery stays securely on the iPhone’s backside, even as it slips into pockets or purses, charging the phone all the while.
Having some power at the poolside is amazing. If you spend a day with your friends or family, then your phone (or someone’s) is likely to die before the end of the day. Using a solar panel like the SolarSaga helps keep both of you charged the entire day as it has two USB-A outputs.
The panel is 100 watts and capable of charging a large power station, but really, who needs a heavy battery bank at the beach? Just using the solar panel is good enough.
Pool parties are always a great time, but if you’ve ever been in a pool with a cabana bar you can swim up to, you know it’s an even better time. I can’t build a cabana I can swim up to in my pool, but I can use this neat floating cabana. It’s a simple inflatable that’s wide enough for two ice chambers and four drink holders, so you can fill it up with whatever you and your friends are drinking that day and continue to hang out in the pool for longer.
It’s not cheap, but if you’ve got a pool big enough to justify it you can have a lot of fun for $80. Just keep that one friend from doing a cannonball too close to the floating cabana. You know the one.
— Russell Holly
For as long as I can remember, playing with a flying disc at the beach has been a part of my family traditions. In the ’80s we used to play with a standard Frisbee, but as the years went on we switched to the Aerobie. It flies much farther than a standard flying disc, is much easier to get the hang of, and can be tuned to fly straight no matter how you throw it. I love it, and it’s a staple at every beach trip I go on.
Swimming in a lake or at the beach is made infinitely more enjoyable with a mask and snorkel. This full-face mask lets you breathe more comfortably as you snorkel and gives you a lot of viewing angles to see underwater as you swim.
My son and I always use ours when swimming in the lakes, trying to see any fish in the deep and lost items in the shallows. It also has a GoPro attachment on the front so you can record your dives.
More stuff we use every day