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If you like working outside, you should know about this portable laptop shade

It opens in seconds and makes it easy to get work done.
Courtesy Jillian Ortiz

Just a few weeks ago, I woke up to a beautiful day and decided to set up shop outside with my laptop while I was working from home. However, I only lasted a total of 14 minutes before I needed to head back inside — my laptop immediately started to overheat and the glare from the sun made it hard to see anything on the screen.

I know that working outside — let alone still being able to work remotely — might not be something everyone can do right now, but I'm trying to take advantage of it while I can. In that moment, I wish I had something to help me keep my outdoor office dreams alive.

As luck would have it, as soon as I went back inside, I received a message from a co-worker who said their friend discovered the "most ridiculous, but also, most necessary product for working outside in the sun." It was like the universe was listening. So, of course, I had to try it.

Vatalyst Laptop Sun Shade

Portable: Yes; carrying case included

Device compatibility: Laptops and tablets up to 15 inches

Attachments: Pullover head cover

Don't get me wrong, it's not something I absolutely need, but it's a great hack that I find myself reaching for every time I want to sit outside and get some work done.

It reduces glare and keeps my laptop cool

The shade comes packaged in its own case and pops open in seconds, so it doesn't require any tools for assembling. Immediately after opening, I placed my laptop inside and noticed that the glare from the sun was basically non-existent, and my device didn't heat up as fast as it usually does. The little alcove inside the "tent" is like a hideaway for my computer, and despite the cover being black, it doesn't get hot on the inside either.

Editorial assistant Jillian Ortiz using the Vatalyst Laptop Sun Shade
Enjoying a glare-free outdoor workday!Courtesy Jillian Ortiz

The inside of the sunshade also features several elastic pockets to hold pens and headphones, as well as side slits where chargers and cords can fit through. Since I'm only in my backyard (and just a few feet away from an electrical outlet), I don't need to use them often, but I think they'd come in handy for anyone working on the go.

It also comes with a cover that you can stick on the top, so you can work through less-than-ideal weather or use it for added privacy. However, I'd probably stick to just using the shade as is, since it makes me feel secluded enough.

It's portable and easy to stow away

If you work outside often, you most likely don't want to invest in something that is clunky and hard to stow away. That's why I love that this cover can fold into itself (if you can't figure it out, the brand offers a brief, easy-to-follow tutorial), and you can tuck the edges into the included carrying case to bring it practically anywhere with you. It's also super lightweight, so carrying it isn't a hassle. It folds so flat that you could even stick it in your suitcase or a drawer at home if you wanted to, or you can hang it using the handle if you want it accessible at all times.

It includes side slits for easy charging.
It includes side slits for easy charging.Courtesy Jillian Ortiz

It makes for a great gift

While it might not seem like the most practical purchase, I can almost guarantee that it would make for a great gift for anyone who travels for work or needs a regular escape from their cubicle. For me, after spending nearly 40 hours per week working inside in the air conditioning, I appreciate having the chance to enjoy some fresh air without my computer flatlining from heat exhaustion.

At $50, it's a little expensive, but I'm not the only one who admits it's worth it. One Amazon reviewer who gave it a five-star rating also called it a "great hack" for working outdoors. "[It's] Lightweight and folds up easily so it doesn't take up much space," they said. "I've been outside in 90F sunny days, and it keeps my laptop from overheating."

Whether you're over the 9-to-5 indoor office life or prefer to enjoy the comfort of your own backyard while working, this might just be the end-of-summer, outdoor hack you didn't know you needed.