Ready or not, here comes summer. And with it, a whole new world of product possibilities: T-shirts, hiking boots, grills and lawn chairs.
Each year brings advancements in technology and manufacturing. Those grills get hotter, the T-shirts softer. It's a full-time job keeping track of it all — trust us there — and we've spent the last few months testing hundreds of products across every category you can think up. Someone has to do it.
At Gear Patrol, we believe everyone deserves the right product. So here are 72 of them — heavily researched, thoroughly vetted and ready for whatever warm-weather pursuit you've waited a whole winter to chase.
The Traeger 575 Pellet Grill is basically the best grill for most people. From the get-go, it's easy to assemble, and its heavy-gauge steel is durable and tough. For a grill that's under $2,000, it's surprisingly more precise than other pellet grills that cost double or triple its price tag. The fuel efficiency is a huge bonus, plus, if you find it on sale, you're getting a true steal.
The Genesis II E-330 is hot. No, literally. It's one of the rare gas grills that can hit temperatures above 800°F, and it does this thanks to a built-in infrared burner, which basically doubles its heat potential. Combine that screaming hot temperature with heavy-gauge, enamel-coated steel, plenty of storage, a side burner, foldaway warming racks and ample cooking space, and you've got yourself an all-around exceptional grill.
When it comes to grills, go Weber. It somehow manages to consistently combine high performance with affordability no matter the model. Its Original Kettle is made of a porcelain-enameled steel body, which is both sturdy yet light, which means you can easily transport it around. It features very few, if any, extraneous parts, and the best part is its low, low price.
If you love cold brew, make your own (even if the haters are gonna hate). Oxo’s cold brew coffee maker is a winner for the way it distributes water to the coffee grounds through a process that looks like literal rain. You get even extraction, and the whole contraption is very simple to use. Once the cold brew is done brewing, dispense your reward straight from the brewer.
The Airmega AP-1512HH offers some of the best air purification — with CADR ratings of 240 for pollen, 246 for dust and 233 for smoke — at its price point, and it does so in rooms up to 361 square feet. It has a triple filter system, a pre-filter, HEPA filter and activated carbon filter, plus an ionizer. A built-in air quality monitor tracks air quality and, when running in auto mode, will adjust the fan speed according to its readings (faster for low quality, slower when it's contented).
Eno's single-person hammock has a 400-pound capacity, and it's decked out in high-strength woven nylon, which uses triple interlocking stitching to make it crazy durable. The hammock folds up into the size of a softball, so if it's not a permanent fixture in your backyard, you can bring it to all your outdoor excursions.
The Bonfire from Solo Stove is the ultimate fire pit. There's virtually no smoke, and the minimal ash leftover makes cleanup a breeze. Set this up in your backyard or pack it with you on your next trip — regardless, it's going to be the center of attention.
No TV? No problem. The Nebula Capsule II Smart Mini Projector uses cutting-edge DLP technology, which projects a super-sharp 720p image. It's about the size of a tall boy, so you can easily bring this from hangout to hangout. It's voice activated with Google Assistant, and you can download over 5,000 apps, including Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime and Twitch.
Bring the beats with the Boom 3, which touts some of the best audio quality that money can buy. They're durable as hell, too, which is a must since you'll probably be bringing this all over the place during the summer. With up to 15 hours of battery life, you can keep the party going on all day and into most of the night.
When summer starts to feel like hell, bring out the big guns. This 10,000-BTU air conditioner for Midea is the "big guns." It'll keep you cool with four fan speeds, using 35 percent less energy than comparable AC units. It's wifi-enabled, compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and you can use it remotely so your space is cool as soon as you arrive home. While window AC units make you sacrifice a window for its installation, the Midea's U-shaped designed means you can still crack a window open even after it's installed.
Sunday is a new lawn care brand that eschews chemicals and harmful ingredients, instead opting to use nature to attack nature. Its certified-organic herbicidal soap is as easy to use as an at-home multipurpose cleaner: aim and spray. The weed killer is safe to use around kids and pets, and with results happening in as little as 20 minutes, it's a must-have for those dealing with an invasion of weeds.
Chaco’s most iconic sandal is also one of the most polarizing, largely due to the unique loop that helps secure the big toe. People either hate it or love it; we find that it provides the extra bit of leverage that’s useful when scrambling up trails and over rocks. The Z/Volv 2 is similar in that way, though Chaco shaved off 20 percent of its weight by using a different rubber compound. It's a welcome change given that the original can often feel clunky and especially because the super-supportive footbed is still in place. And if you hate the thought of that big toe loop, the Z/Volv comes in a version without it.
Salomon’s mid-weight X Ultra 3 is a best-seller among the company’s stock of hiking boots, mainly because it’s well-rounded for all types of use. The boot features a Contagrip rubber sole with an aggressive lug pattern that provides grip through varying surfaces and conditions and a Gore-Tex-lined synthetic upper. The X Ultra 3 Mid has a mid-height cuff that provides ample ankle support and stability, but note that it isn’t as tall as some of the other hiking boots on this list that might be preferable for long treks. In a way, that helps this boot to be more versatile — it wouldn’t be out of place walking around town or worn daily as a go-to shoe.
Kammok may be best known for its hang-anywhere hammocks, but the Austin, Texas-based outdoor brand hit a homer in expanding into camp bedding. The down-filled Bobcat is a lightweight, zipperless cover that's fit to fill in for any sleeping bag in warmer weather. Hidden in the side of the blanket's hems are tiny pockets that conceal button snaps and loops that allow you to connect one side to the other. That feature, paired with cinching top and bottom hems, enables the Bobcat to close up almost entirely and become a stand-in for a sleeping bag.
The amphibious, quick-drying Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoodie is tailored to multi-sport summer days that switch from trail to river and back again. Not only is the relatively affordable UPF 50+ hoodie treated with odor-obliterating Polygiene, but it’s also knit from Bluesign-approved recycled polyester and stitched in Fair Trade Certified factories. Combining style, comfort and safety, it's the best sun shirt of the entire batch.
A great beach towel should be more substantial than its bathroom counterpart; it should be oversized for laying on and thick for comfort (to say nothing of absorption). This one fits that bill and comes in a range of tasteful and timeless stripe designs.
Don’t have stacks of cash to shell out for a rotomolded ice chest? That’s understandable, and you can still get a great cooler for a lot less, like this 70-quart model from Igloo’s MaxCold series. The sacrifices you’ll make in choosing this cooler are mostly in durability and cold retention, and there’s no latch to keep the lid locked down, but it is much lighter and offers plenty of interior space. If you don’t anticipate putting your cooler through the wringer and only need it to remain icy for a day or two, this is the perfect option.
If Helinox's Chair One had been in the Three Bears's cabin, Goldilocks's choice would've been a cinch. It's the camp chair that sets the standard for all four-legged adventure seats, with its lightweight fabric and aluminum construction. It weighs in at just over two pounds and offers a seating height of 11 inches, which is plenty of space between your rear and the cold, hard ground. Not only does it collapse to a size small enough to carry in a backpack, but the Chair One is also extremely easy to set up: its frame is made from one tent-style, shock-cord pole apparatus and the seat itself is one piece of ripstop polyester.
The Talon was a solid hiking pack before Osprey's recent update, and the new features make it even better. Chief among them is a new back panel that we've found to be breathable on strenuous hikes even though it's still pretty minimal. It's also quite comfy and integrates well with the hipbelt. The Talon 22 also has pretty much every feature you could want on a hiking pack. It has stretchy side pockets for water bottles, a spacious main compartment with an internal mesh pocket for small items, another small exterior pocket, trekking pole and ice axe attachments, a spot for a hydration bladder and small mesh pockets on the shoulder straps that are handy for stashing a phone or snack.
This super-light three-season backpacking tent sets up with a single pole, but it still has room to sleep three. Dual doors each have gear-storing vestibules, and internal space is enhanced with structured foot-end corners for more usable space between your feet and the tent wall. Media pockets hold phones and other devices, while oversized additional ones hold everything else. The planet-friendly, solution-dyed fabric is UV fade-resistant, and all seam taping is waterproof and solvent-free.
Finding isobutane canisters can be challenging when you’re traveling. That doesn't matter for this stove, which burns white gas, kerosene and, in a pinch, even unleaded. It's fast too — boiling a liter of water takes just 3.5 minutes. At 10.9 ounces, it’s sized for backpacking, with wide pot supports that fold for transport. Plus, it’s one of the most efficient stoves in cold temperatures, which has earned it wide trust amongst mountaineers.
Patagonia’s jack-of-all-trades rain shell, the Torrentshell features a classic construction that includes hand pockets, an adjustable and stowable hood, and zippered underarm vents for when things get warm. Patagonia made the latest iteration with a three-layer construction — the same that you find on ski outerwear — that includes a recycled nylon face fabric, a waterproof membrane and a soft interior lining. It’s an upgrade over the older 2.5-layer model and one that significantly ups the value ante as Patagonia stuck with its already-low $149 price.
The Bond is Leatherman's newest full-sized multi-tool, and it's also a callback to the very first model that the company started with. While some multi-tools jam as many implements as possible into a set of plier handles, the Bond is more sparse, delivering a 14-tool set that's more widely applicable to everyday needs. That list includes a knife blade, wire cutters, screwdrivers and more. Because there are fewer tools in the Bond, it maintains a highly pocketable form that's just four inches long and half an inch thick when closed.
Unstructured shorts aren't it! Yes, they're comfortable, but they pair well with very few tops. As such, opt for something sturdier, like Alex Mill's Pull on Button Fly Shorts. They're made from 97-percent cotton and 3-percent spandex (for some stretch) and feature five pockets — two big ones on the front, two on the back and an extra snap closure on just below.
These iconic board shorts feature Birdwell's tough double-layered SurfNyl nylon fabric. They come with a button fly, adjustable nylon drawstring waist, snap back pocket with a key loop and top-notch triple-stitch construction throughout. After wearing for many seasons, these only get better.
A lightweight lotion, this face sunscreen makes an invisible, breathable shield over top of your moisturizer. It won’t clog your pores, or feel like a big greasy film over top the skin. It’s topped-up with Vitamins E and B5, which together prevent inflammation, soften skin and keep it hydrated. Don’t mistake this one for a moisturizer per se, though it’s my favorite hydrating SPF for a midday sunny-weather refresh since it packs both nourishing and defensive ingredients.
These mid-weight trousers fit in a relaxed way, with room in the crotch and calves but no synthetic stretch. There's an internal drawstring that eliminates the need for a bulky belt, stash pockets on the front and two buttoned flap pockets on the back. Best of all, they've been dyed a rich, deep designer blue hue dubbed Linton Ink Blue.
We've been big Nano fans ever since meeting the shoe a couple generations ago, with 2019's Nano 9. Billed as "the official shoe of fitness," its grandchild boasts a number of upgrades: an even more breathable flexweave knit upper, a comfort collar for a secure fit and best of all, the brand's signature Floatride Energy Foam in the forefoot.
Most of us don’t have the budget — or time — for 12 different pairs of shorts for 12 different activities. We’d prefer one pair of shorts we can wear for virtually every athletic pursuit. If that describes you, the Interval is perfect. Featuring a thick no-pinch waistband, a few well-placed pockets and an ultra-wicking shell (plus a comfy liner for $10 more), these shorts easily accommodate kettlebell swings, med ball tosses, box jumps and bench presses. Also: tennis.
Just released in June 2021, the Vista 2 are the next generation of the Vista, which were our previous pick for “best overall” wireless earbuds for running. The Vista 2 look basically identical to their predecessors, but Jaybird made them better in just about every way. They have noise-cancellation and transparency modes, improved battery life and they’re even more rugged; the Vista 2 have an IP68 rather (instead of IPX7), making them fully dustproof and fully waterproof. Jaybird made the charging case more durable (IP54 rated), too. Like before, the Vista 2 are compatible with a companion app that allows you to change the EQ settings.
A decade after the original Kinvara appeared, this shoe is still a favorite for the Saucony Racing Team — and ours. "They offer enough support that my feet feel cradled," says one tester. The 12th iteration is a little lighter and more flexible than the previous one and has a more responsive blend of PWRRUN cushioning. One tester liked the past Kinvara for quicker workouts and tempo runs, and the new version is still great for that. Even though we have it in our easy run section, the Kinvara is a solid all-rounder, and you can consider it for long runs too.
Not to let road runners monopolize the carbon fiber market, The North Face recently unveiled the Flight Vectiv, the first trail running shoe to utilize the tech. It's doing so differently, though — the patented 3D Vectiv Plate sits just underfoot and curls up on the edges to provide stability in addition to spring, which is ideal for uneven trail surfaces. The Vectiv line includes new trail running shoes with plates made of other materials for shorter distances and more casual runs too. You can pick up a pair by joining The North Face's VIPeak program (it's free) or wait for the wide release.
This Patagonia tee is deceptively lightweight at 2.6 ounces, and its 100 percent recycled polyester fabric fights stink far better than other synthetic shirts thanks to a HeiQ odor control treatment. It's also great at wicking away sweat and drying quickly and has a closer fit than some of the other shirts on this list, which make it ideal for a wide range of activities. Thankfully, all of these features come at a an easy-to-stomach price.
One big reason some people still think twice about getting a helmet is cost. Sure you can snag one for cheap, but will it look good and actually protect you? Doubtful… unless it’s the new Specialized Align II, which packs loads of style and safety into a product that costs just $50. Along with understated, commuter-friendly good looks, the Align II is smartly vented with three available sizes, no-fuss straps and a dial at the back for a customized fit. Best of all, it features the game-changing MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System).
Therabody's Theragun PRO is the ultimate recovery tool. Its percussive therapy allows you to recover quicker, and the Pro is both powerful and quiet. The Theragun PRO pairs with the Therabody app, allowing you to further customize the vibrations, selecting any speed between the scientifically 1,750 to 2,400 percussions per minute (PPM) range. If gorgeous design and unmatched customizability are paramount, the Theragun PRO is your choice.
Miir’s 23-ounce insulated bottle brings a design-forward approach to the simplest type of water bottle without using gimmicks or a fancy paint job. The bottle is made from 18/8 medical-grade stainless steel and doesn’t retain flavors; there’s no metal aftertaste either. The bottle’s cap is leak-proof and uses a unique handle design that makes it easy to grab and clip to bags, unlike those of many other small-mouth bottles. The less-bulky body size means it’ll fit in a cup holder too.
With a silky texture that blends well with water or almond milk if you prefer, this great-tasting protein powder is certified gluten- and dairy-free with 14.5 grams of protein per serving. It's made with sprouted and bio-fermented pea and brown rice proteins, and includes prebiotics, probiotics, calcium, iron, selenium, vitamins C, D, E, folate and other B vitamins.
As with yoga, the features at play in yoga mats operate according to balance. A thicker mat provides comfort but typically sacrifices stability, for instance. We've found that Decathlon's Kimjaly 8mm mat offers the best of all worlds, particularly for more casual yogis but certainly not excluding seasoned pros. Its thick, textured foam is comfortable and supportive, even during fast-paced flows, and grippy even when things get sweaty. The mat also has a grooved line running down the middle, which is a nice visual aid for alignment, and it's lightweight at just over four pounds — it even comes with a shoulder strap.
You don't garner 400,000-plus ratings on the App store (average score: 4.9 out of 5) without being one hell of a download. While it certainly helps to pair with a Peloton bike or treadmill — as thousands of this brand's most fervent fans do — the Peloton app alone grants you access to loads of awesome live and on-demand strength, running, cycling, yoga and HIIT workouts, many requiring minimal equipment. Of course Peloton is probably best known for its charismatic instructors and competitive leaderboards, qualities that helped its popularity only grow during the pandemic. Call it a cult if you want — or join up and get fit AF.
This PowerCore Sim checks most of our boxes. It's super thin and can easily fit in your pocket. Two, it has a fast and powerful 20W USB-C port that's capable of charging your iPhone 12 to about 50-percent in 30 minutes. And its 10,000mAh capacity is enough to charge whichever smartphone you have several times over (and it's actually more than many other super slim portable batteries).
In response to the growing popularity of the vintage rubber straps, various companies have resurrected the design and begun producing their own variants. In recent years, however, Tropic returned as a brand produced by the Synchron Watch Group which also makes Isofrane straps and Aquadive watches. Available for 20mm lug widths in black, brown, navy and olive colors, the straps are made in Italy from vulcanized rubber which is hypoallergenic and resistant to temperature changes.
Want the classic aviator look but don't want to drop serious cash on a pair of shades that you're just gonna sit on? Go with a pair of Mile Highs from Knockaround. They hit all the classic aviator notes — think tortoiseshell accents and gold-colored frames — without breaking the bank. Of course, they still come with UV400-level lenses for serious sun protection. And at $30, you won't have to freak out if you leave 'em at the beach this summer.
Instead of combining fork and spoon into one ineffective tool, Gerber kept them separate to perform at their individual best. The spoon is slightly angular, while the fork is spork-reminiscent, but its longer tines keep it just forky enough for stabbing hunks of food. The Compleat also comes with a small tool that works as a bottle opener, a can opener and more, as well as a multi-use spatula that has a rubberized edge. The other end of this spatula is where the Compleat all comes together, literally: all three of the other utensils nest neatly together to form one compact tool.
It's summer — you're gonna sweat through everything, so go with as little shirt as possible. And you don't need anything fancy: these 100-percent cotton numbers from Hanes will do just fine. They come with a ribbed neckline and armholes and in more sizes and colors than you can safely shake a stick at. Most of all, they're extremely affordable at less than $10 a pop. (And of course, the white versions can double as undershirts beneath dress shirts in cooler weather.)
Get your summer BBQ game in order with this handy, easy-to-use thermometer from Javatools. It's got a super fast response time of 3-4 seconds and an accuracy of ±0.9°F. Plus, it's fitted with a magnet for convenient storage on a fridge, oven, or outdoor grill. Javatools backs it with a 3-year warranty, so you can be confident in years of grilling, baking, frying and more.
Just trust us: these are some of the most comfortable boxer briefs out there. They're "anti-microbial, odor-controlling, and odor-eliminating," according to Uniqlo. Most of all, however, they're super soft and great for working out or otherwise sweaty activities — such as simply venturing outside in mid-summer.
Like the label says: it's half-tea (black Argentinian tea, to be more specific), half-lemon. It's also really freakin' tasty — perfect for a summer's day at the beach or a neighborhood block party. And at $26 for a 24-pack, they're cheap enough to outfit the entire crew with. What's more, if you're a Sprindrift fanatic, you can order them on a subscription basis.
This card holder is cut from 10XD nylon ripstop fabric, which is made from a polyethylene yarn that, per weight, is ten times stronger than steel. The material is incredibly durable and lightweight, and it repels both dirt and water. Utilizing FutureForm core technology, the finished wallet keeps it shape without conventional stitching. It’s just the right size for daily necessities — it holds between four and six cards or folded bills in three slots.
Opinel's folding No.8 is about as simple as a pocket knife gets: it has a 3.25-inch steel blade, a wooden handle and a rotating collar that locks it open or closed. Nevertheless, the knife has become an icon since its release in 1890 and is remarkably handsome despite an apparent lack of over-the-top features. You can get one with a carbon steel blade or with premium wood handles — all of them are nearly as affordable.
Since the 19th century, Bavarian beer halls have used felt pads as coasters, absorbing condensation and spillage, and protecting wooden surfaces. Los Angeles-based company Graf & Lantz has updated the bierfilzl, or beer felt (the Bavarian catch-all term for coaster), for contemporary homes. They come in over 30 colors and are sure to add a contemporary vibe to any home.
This is a no-brainer: larger ice cubes take longer to melt, saving your cocktail from turning into a sad, watered-down mess. These silicone trays are also easy to wash in the dishwasher, come in a two-pack, and are cheap enough that you could kit out an entire party with extra-large ice cubes in their Negronis.
Weighing in at 37 pounds (8 less than the second lightest) and offering a 40-mile range, the Levo SL is a true unicorn. It looks and feels like a pedal bike and almost creates a new category as the first eMTB with a custom-engineered motor and battery. Specialized realized many riders don’t need massive batteries and would rather save the weight. If there is one bike that will convert diehard enduro riders into e-bike junkies, the Levo SL is it.
A year after the release of the full-size Forge, Tecnica brought its custom heat molding to the hiking shoe category with the low-cut Plasma. The process is entirely the same: there are two rounds of heat molding, one for the insole and a second for the upper. It uses the same machine, which is available at retailers where the shoes are sold, and takes less than 30 minutes. (While the Plasma is not the most expensive shoe in this guide, the real step-up is this extra step involved in getting it.) As with the Forge, the result is a hiking shoe that fits immediately — no break-in period.
After sleeping on a number of rough and scraggly linen sheets, I found Cultiver's sheets had a shorter break-in period, thanks to a pre-enzyme wash, compared to comparable linen sheets. Cultiver offers its linen sheets in a wide array of muted and understated colors, which is the result of a first-rate dye process. The weaving, sewing and dyeing are all exceptional, a given considering the price point. At $385 for a queen set, they’re certainly an investment, but they're still nowhere near as expensive as other linen sheets that are of a lesser quality.
The direct-to-consumer "we cut out the middle-man!" bit is tired, but in the case of quality blackout blinds and shades, it's still relevant. Mesken's shades can be ordered in a variety of colors and materials, and the size is completely customizable to fit your window situation. Finding sturdy, good-looking blackout blinds is a smart investment, too; when drawn in the height of summer, they significantly reduce outdoor heat making its way inside, which results in a smaller A/C bill for you.
The most affordable smartwatches are all around the $200 mark. That’s about how much the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 costs. It connects seamlessly via Bluetooth to your smartphone apps, and automatically tracks your activities and exercises. With an aluminum or stainless steel case, it will stand up to daily use but can also track your sleep patterns.
The AGV AX-9 is made from lightweight carbon fiber, bringing the weight down to just 3.69 pounds and making it more comfortable for long road miles. It also includes some added features to extends its versatility for ADV riders. The helmet integrates a multi-modal mouth port, which allows you to remove the standard screen at the front of the helmet, allowing up to 300 percent more airflow front to back.
A splurge is not a matter of need, and you don't need a Looft Lighter, but you should want one. It is essentially a super-charged hair dryer that, in 60 seconds or less, brings a cold brick of charcoal to grilling temperature. If you've ever grilled with charcoal you'd know that is a modern miracle, given the task typically requires 15 minutes. Because it doesn't use gas or a flame, it's also a pretty safe tool.
Made for fish in the six- to 18-inch range, this supple 12-foot rod can take on even the most finicky of trout. It's light, playful and responsive, doing everything you want it to — and then some. An extra $30 will net you a furled line, spool and three hand-tied flies to go with it.
The Inlet is smaller, lighter and cheaper than any of Oru’s other kayaks. It weighs 20 pounds (six less than Oru’s previously lightest model), but it packs down into a polygonal box that’s nearly half the size of the company’s other boats. To get there, Oru’s designers created an all-new folding pattern. Compared to Oru’s other kayaks, the Inlet is significantly easier and more intuitive to transform from box to boat and back again thanks to this new design. (Oru boasts it can be done in less than five minutes with some practice, and we can confirm that claim.)
This box-pressed cigar was designed to cater to the European profile — it’s milder than many Americans prefer — and it was named for the famous Champagne region. Just like a bottle of bubbly, it might be best saved for special celebratory moments.
You want the Storz & Bickel experience in the palm of your hand? Look no further than the Mighty. The battery-powered Mighty uses a combination of full hot air convection heating and additional conduction, which ensures an efficient vaporization from the first draw. Like the Volcano Hybrid, it has an LED screen for precise temperature control. It has 500 reviews and is rated at five stars for a very good reason.
How to make an entire room as cool as the other side of the pillow. While it's more common to throw money at a Dyson vacuum, its air purifying fans are excellent at what they do in their own right. The Pure Cool air and deletes 99.97 percent of pollutants within it as small as 0.3 microns in size, or about 2 percent the width of a grain of sand, then accelerates the clean air into a cool, slowly oscillating breeze. It also shoots air quality data to your phone, and lets you control it from the app if you want.