As in years past, this summer brings a new crop of gadgets aimed at helping us enjoy and survive the great outdoors. They ease the season's travels and help find your way, tap the power of robots to save your sweat, or mix a cool drink on the tailgate.
Nite Ize SpokeLit ($8): Warm weather means more bike rides, and maybe some after dark. This plastic diamond's LED lights spin with your wheels to alert drivers to your bike. Its clever design makes it easy to snap the device onto the standard spokes of a bike tire.
Gorillapod Go-Go ($30): The niftiest travel tripod for cameras now can handle other electronics, positioning them for easy talking, listening, or viewing. The Gorillapod's flexible legs twist into just about any shape needed, and the new Go-Go kit includes a suction cup and quick-release clips for holding cellphones, media players, and small cameras.
Coleman Portable Rechargeable Blender ($60): The margaritas can come along on your road trip thanks to the rechargeable batteries that power this 48-ounce blender. A pitcher of frozen drinks is done in 30 seconds, and the batteries can handle up to 30 rounds.
Liquid Image Underwater Digital Camera Mask ($80): Other cameras can now slip under the waves for shots of underwater life, but only this model keeps one hand free for holding the spear gun. The camera takes 3-megapixel stills (a 5-megapixel model costs $100) as well as video. The shutter button sits atop the goggles and a slot holds Micro SD cards.
Iqua Sun ($100): You can walk in the sun and never run out of talk time with this Bluetooth headset. A small solar panel charges the battery and doubles as the on-off and answer-hang up button. It also comes with AC and USB cords for conventional charging, for days spent inside or long chats after the sun's gone down.
Targus SonicPak ($100): Among the many speaker systems for MP3 players, this backpack has added usefulness. Stuff it full of lunch and toys for a day at the beach, or lug it along for a hike to the backwoods. Just keep the volume down on the speaker, which attaches with water-resistant zippers. Two AA batteries power the speakers for as long as 100 hours.
Polaroid Pogo Wireless Mobile Printer ($150): The venerable name in instant photos is now applied to a novel printer for the same purpose. The pocket-size Pogo takes about a minute to churn out a print the size of a credit card. It is designed to connect wirelessly to most Bluetooth cellphones or to digital cameras through a USB cable. The color is embedded in the special paper ($10 for a 30-pack), leaving no ink cartridges to change.
Garmin Colorado 300 ($535): GPS is standard equipment for outdoor adventures, and the Colorado series makes finding your way push-button easy. Only one hand is needed to work the innovative input wheel, which you can customize to your favorite activities. Pick from preprogrammed cards for maps, and don't worry about dropping it in a stream—it's waterproof.
LawnBott LB3500 ($3,250): Relax while this mower does the cutting and the pushing. The rechargeable robotic mower can be programmed via Bluetooth cellphones for three zones, such as front, back, and side yard. It can cut up to three quarters of an acre. The less expensive LB1200, due this fall at $1,300, senses when it's near flowers or sidewalk.
SunbriteTV 4610HD ($5,500): Weatherproofing no longer means compromising with this outside LCD. The 46-inch screen displays "full" HDTV of 1080p resolution. Watertight construction makes it safe next to the pool, while fans and heaters ward off extreme temperatures. Of course, you need a Blu-ray drive to display full HDTV. But if you can afford a pool and one of these TVs, you won't balk at another $500 for the disk player.