It’s beach time! Having grown up on Lake Erie, summertime brings back memories of E. coli alerts for me, but hey, we still have the best sunsets! Bacteria aside, this time of year is all about finding the best gadgets for the pool, beach and heat. Here are some of my top picks, as showcased on TODAY live from the Jersey Shore.
Giant inflatable beach balls, prices vary
The standard beach ball has received an upgrade. A big upgrade, that is. Want to throw this at someone’s face? Well, good luck with that. At 10 feet in diameter (when inflated) and weighing in at 14 pounds, you might be better off rolling this one— just make sure to get a pump. Available from Thinkgeek.com, $150.
For a smaller version, this 40-inch, 7-pounder can be monogrammed and touts a “heavy duty construction” that “withstands rough-and-tumble play,” selling for $90 on Frontgate.com.
Electric Amphibious Vehicle, $99, frontgate.com
If there was ever a Mission Impossible movie where the mission involved getting a cold drink in your hands via a robotic hybrid that went on both land and sea with aone-button push, this electric amphibious vehicle is the device producers would use. At sea, use the remote control options for 360-degree navigation. On land, take advantage of its rugged ability to hold up to four beverages. And don’t forget to use the on-board water cannon, should any enemies (or random cousins) try to grab one of your cold ones.
Big Bobber Cooler, $30, target.com
Hey, it’s a giant fishing bobber? No wait,it’s a cooler full of booze! Even better. We all know that the best part of the summer is getting into the pool. That, in turn, makes getting out of the pool the worst part of summer. Now Big Bobber Cooler can save you a trip to the fridge by keeping up to 12 drinks cold and within reach. Why get out of the pool? This cooler floats.
Cooler Couch Pool Float, $80, brookstone.com
With the Cooler Couch Pool Float, the party goes with you. Just like the Big Bobber, this creation minimizes beverage refreshment trips in and out of the pool. The comfy lounger has a compartment for storing beverages and ice, along with two beverage holders. Float holds up to 245lbs.
Beach Lounger Pack Chair with Speakers, Brookstone.com, $300
You know how the Transformers could really save planet Earth this summer? By transforming into a portable beach chair equipped with everything you need for a day of relaxation. The Beach Lounger Pack Chair has you covered. Call it the ultimate lounger:In 10 seconds, this sucker unfolds like Narnia, revealing seven different functions, including an SPF 35 umbrella, two attached thermal coolers with cup holders (one even holds a wine bottle), atote bag for carrying stuff, storage compartments, removable leg support and two waterproof speakers that can connect to your smartphone or tablet. Plus, the chair has six positions for added relaxation(max capacity in a vertical position is 245 pounds and in a horizontal position is 245 pounds), and you can transport it on wheels or like a backpack. Never struggle and bumble your way to the beach again. No assembly required.
Portable mister fans, amazon.com
O2cool Battery operating misting fan
$9Mist Hydration Bottle, $10
We’ve all been there. We start to overheat summer-style, like Excitebike. Weget cranky, start to melt down, scarf down six Chipwiches and then yell at people for throwing the Frisbee anywhere within 10 yards of us. No? Ok, just me then. But I’ve found a remedy: you can pretend your own personal butler is cooling you down with these misting devices. Instant refreshment. If only this thing could feed me grapes, there’s a good chance I’d marry it.
Solar-powered fan hat, $16 spencersonline.com
Otherwise known as The Only Thing You Need to Survive Waiting in Line for Every Disney and Universal Trip This Summer, this standard baseball cap is equipped with on-board solar panels that juice up to power a fan that blows in your face. Super nerdy, but hey you won’t pass out. Add a couple of misters to the mix and you’re set for the season.
Katie Linendoll is an Emmy Award-winning technology expert contributing to ESPN, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. She hosts a tech show on Spike TV and can be seen as a tech expert on TODAY. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.