The warmer months are prime for BBQs, beach trips, and outdoor revelry. But they're also full of annoyances, especially if you live in a city: the heat, the maddeningly warm drinks, the fact that your shoebox of an apartment can barely fit a decent air conditioner let alone a grill. Luckily, some well-designed gear can help you avoid the season's woes and squeeze the most out of those long days. Herewith, 10 pro tips for mastering summer:
Problem: Packing for a weekend trip
Solution: Weekender, $188 from poketo.com
If you're still using your ratty college gym bag for out-of-town trips, it's time for an upgrade. Consider the Weekender from the L.A. design shop Poketo. It features handy compartments to keep contents tidy and its cushion pocket will protect your laptop (up to 15 inches) if you can't untether for a couple days.
Problem: You're sweating like crazy
Solution: AM09 Fan/Heater from Dyson, $399
Summer in the city is sticky. If your air conditioner isn't pulling its weight—or costs too much to run—you may need to call in reinforcements. This fan runs quietly, doesn't have blades so it's safe for households with young children, and converts to a heater so it'll take you through winter.
Problem: You need a stealthy grill to sneak onto your fire escape
Solution: Portable BBQ Suitcase from Kikkerland, $85
While it's no Weber, the BBQ Suitcase is portable, compact, and will get the job done. Plus, you can stash it in a closet before your landlord realizes what you're up to.
Problem: Picnic in the park
Solution: Utility Blanket from Scout Regalia, $175
Made in the U.S. from heavy-duty denier nylon, the blanket measures 60 inches by 78 inches so there's enough room for you and your picnic. It's water repellent, too. Those on the clumsier side of the spectrum needn't worry about spilling a beer. It'll work equally well on the beach.
Problem: How to safely bring tunes to the pool
Solution: Ultimate Ears Megaboom, $300
A splash of water won't wreck this speaker, which has 20 hours of playing time on a full charge. It weighs less than two pounds and blasts sound in 360 degrees. It connects via Bluetooth to pull music from your phone and the signal has a 100-foot range.
Problem: You're going on a camping trip and don't want to break the bank—or your back
Solution: Murphy Tent from Alite, $159
The tent sleeps two, weighs just five pounds, and is rated for three seasons.
Problem: Your busted patio chairs are too ugly to bear
Solution: Weekend Armchair from the Future Perfect, $375
The humble monobloc plastic chair wins in the affordability department, but loses everywhere else. The plastic is far from sturdy, it's downright ugly, and it proliferates the notion of disposable design. If you're ready for a serious upgrade, consider these vibrant chairs by Studio BrichetZiegler for OXYO. They're stackable, made from corrosion-resistant steel, and the powder coat comes in 12 colors.
Problem: You're bored
Solution: Indoor-outdoor Ping Pong Table from RS Barcelona, $4,150
It's a slow weekend and you need a distraction. This ping pong table can easily work on a roof deck, patio, or in your dining room. The structure is steel and the surface is high-density laminate, which means this table can take whatever you throw at it.
Problem: Summer nights with no light
Solution: Follow Me Lamp from Marset, $245
24-hour temperatures in the 80s mean more time outside, and it certainly helps to be able to see what you're doing if you're a night owl. Use this rechargeable LED lamp anywhere you need a bit more illumination—a backyard, patio, or balcony.
Problem: Keeping drinks cold
Solution: Whiskey Wedge from Corkcicle, $18
The solid block of ice will ensure your drink stays chilled without getting watered down.