Summertime is here, and for my family that means camping, boating and cookouts. We usually reserve screen time for rainy days or when it is just too hot to play outside. Typically, if we CAN spend time outside, that is what we do.
As someone who is a self-proclaimed geek and enjoys technology, I also appreciate nature and the simplicity of enjoying what summer has to offer. I am always trying out new technology that compliments outdoor activities. For me, summer technology needs to balance between functionality and transparency. It should make traditional summer activities more comfortable, efficient or convenient without being a distraction. Let’s look at some summertime technology that you may want to consider utilizing this year.
Bluetooth speakers have been around long enough that everyone should have one by now. They are convenient, take up little space and allow you to bring favorite tunes wherever you go. With so many options, it’s hard to choose. Bose, UE, Altec Lansing and JBL all make great Bluetooth speakers. I usually look for something with good audio quality that produces big sound with minimal footprint, which is hard to find for less than $100. It’s also a good idea to choose one that is waterproof for those days at the pool, lake, boat or for the occasional pop-up storm.
LED technology is being used in more innovative ways and is a low energy consuming technology. If you need flashlights for this year’s camping trip, make sure you buy LED, which tend to be brighter and last longer than a traditional flashlight. One of my new favorite tech toys happens to be an inflatable solar-powered LED lantern which we took on a recent camping trip.
I always pack my standard Coleman propane lantern, but we decided to try out these inflatable LED lanterns. While they didn’t last quite as long, they provided brighter light, covering more area. We left them in the sun the next day, and they were ready to go again that night. These are now a go-to lighting solution for our camping trips, but you could use them by your pool, for night grilling or accent lighting around your patio. You can find them online or in stores by searching for inflatable solar light, PackLite, LuminAID or MPOWERD Luci. They run between $15 and $30.
When it comes to grilling, I am somewhat of a traditionalist. This usually means you will find me hovering over the grill like a hawk to make sure the food comes out just the way I like it. This works most of the time, but sometimes I get distracted and you know what happens. Weber has come out with a product called iGrill Mini. This is a wired probe for your meat that measures the temperature for that perfectly cooked piece of steak. Go ahead and visit with your family or mingle with your friends, the iGrill connects to your phone to let you know when your food has reached your desired temperature.
Whatever you do this summer, take the time to get outside and enjoy it. Take a break from your screen technology and enjoy the benefits of summer technology.