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The 12 Best Product Steals of Summer 2021

You don't need to drop a ton of green to make the scene.

gear patrol summer awards
Gear Patrol

This story is part of the 2021 Summer Gear Awards. To see the full list of winners, click here.

The summer's meant for cheap thrills and blind enjoyment — sunshine, water, and the open blue sky. Whether you're looking to gear up ahead of a season of travel following COVID-induced confinement or to throw a BBQ with 20 of your closest friends, you don't need to spend a ton of money on the necessities. From affordable, portable power banks to cheap aviator sunglasses to rough and ready rubber watch straps, here are the cheap summer buys that'll set you on the path toward summer fun.

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Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 PD

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). 


Tropic Rubber Watch Strap

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.


Knockaround Mile Highs

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.


Gerber Compleat Onyx

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.


Hanes ComfortWash Tank

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.) 


Lavatools Javelin

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.


Uniqlo Airism Boxer Briefs

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. 


Spindrift Half Tea & Half Lemon

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. 


Pioneer Carry Ion Bifold

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 No. 08

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.


Graf Lanz Bierfilzl

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. 


Kitch Silicone Ice Tray

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. 


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