It’s that time of the year in the Lowcountry. When you walk to the mailbox, but it looks like you just ran a marathon. When you get in your car and acquire 3rd degree burns from your leather interior. When you have to dip into your life savings to pay for your power bill. Yep, its summertime in Charleston.
To escape the heat, many Charlestonians head to the beach or take the boat out to cool off. No matter which you choose, you’re going to have to deal with the familiar set of annoyances that the beach and boat inherently present, most notably sand and saltwater. Both of these are disastrous for electronics like cell phones, tablets and cameras.
Saltwater is especially corrosive when it comes into contact with electronic components and sand can not only gunk up your stuff, it can cause irreparable damage to cell phone and tablet screens. Sand tends to stick to these surfaces and when you go to use them you spread the sand across the screen with your fingers creating permanent scratches in the glass. And if you have a nice camera at the beach on a windy day, forget about it. I would know, I’m an expert at ruining all of the above.
To combat these annoyances, I’ve created a list of useful tech that can help you out whether you’re at the beach or on the boat:
1. LifeProof Cases for Cellphones – These cases are very popular and are able to protect cellphone screens from sand and saltwater. They come in several variations, some with screen protectors, some without. I highly recommend the ones with a screen protector, especially if you’re a frequent beach goer. They also make cases for Ipads and some Android phones.
*Alternate poor-man method: If you don’t want to spend the money on a case or already have a case without a screen protector you can easily use a small plastic sandwich bag. They’re a couple bucks for a whole box at the grocery store. Seal the phone in the bag and you can still interact with the screen and even make phone calls through the bag. The bag will provide protection from sand and water. I personally still use this method from time to time (I’m a poor-man).
2. Pebble Smartwatches – Instead of whipping out your phone in a watery/sandy environment to check notifications, you can have all of your notifications sent to your wrist instead. For just $99, it beats the heck out of getting a new screen on your phone. Pebble Smartwatches are truly waterproof (unlike the Apple iWatch), offering water resistance ratings of 90 to 150 feet depending on which one you get. These watches connect via bluetooth to your phone (iPhone or Android) and send notifications to the watch as long as you’re within 50 – 60 feet of your phone. This is perfect if you want to keep your phone in your beach bag or in a boat compartment while still staying connected.
3. Collapsible Folding Utility Wagon – These are very handy for transporting gear to and from the boat dock or beach. These wagons don’t require any assembly and fold down to less than a foot in width when not in use. In addition, you can avoid putting your beach bags in the sand by stowing them in the wagon while getting your Vitamin D on. They’re very easy to use, are durable and are easy to pack up in a car or boat for later use.
4. Mighty Mug Unspillable Cup – It sounds like BS, but after getting rave reviews on Amazon when it first came out, this thing is the real deal. Since it requires a flat, clean surface to work properly I recommend this more for the boat than the beach (or office or kitchen if you’re super clumsy). The bottom of this mug uses suction to stay gripped to the surface, yet when you pick it up vertically it’s like picking up a normal glass. For $20, its worth a go, right? Here’s a short demonstration on a boat:
If you want to see a full demonstration of the Mighty Mugs capabilities check out this in depth review: Mighty Mug Unspillable Cup Review.
5. Wireless/Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker – When you’re chillin on the beach or boat with friends you may want some tunes to jam out to. No problem. The “UE ROLL 2 Atmosphere” wireless speaker is one of the newest speakers to hit the market. It has a 100 foot Bluetooth range (substantially more than most), 9 hour battery life, is waterproof up to 3 feet, and has great reviews on Amazon. It sells for $99 on Amazon, check it out.