It’s time to break out the bikinis and budgie smugglers, because summertime is here. Whether you’re heading for a poolside party or plan to surf in the sun, some things are universal: you’re going to need some kind of refreshment, you’ll probably want to capture the best moments for posterity and sooner or later something’s going to end up underwater by accident.
Have no fear, because T3 is here and we’ve found the very best things to take with you when you hit the water. From phone protection to swimming trunks that don’t harm your reputation, we’ve looked at the products that promise to make every trip better. The only thing we haven’t included is sunscreen.
Water means sun - and that means a decent pair of sunglasses to filter the UV light and make you look even more mysterious and sexy than you do already. Our pick is the Ray-Ban Clubmaster, which you can personalise via the endlessly entertaining Ray-Ban Remix: it enables you to choose from some of its most iconic designs and mash them up to create something personal and special.
Best action camera
When you’re taking a camera near water it helps if it’s water resistant - and when you’re carrying a camera anywhere light weight, easy operation, video stabilisation and good battery life are important too. Our favourite action camera, the GoPro Hero5, ticks all those boxes and more: it’s good for a couple of hours recording, it shoots in 4K with stabilisation and it’s superbly well screwed together. This version is waterproof to 10m without a special casing, and it’s our go-to camera for pretty much any outdoor recording.
Best reusable water bottle for the beach
Is there anything worse than lukewarm water? On the great scheme of things yes, but when you’re dying for a cool drink the answer’s a firm no. Hurrah, then, for insulated water bottles that can keep your drink cool no matter how hot the sun. We’ve looked at the best reusable water bottles for all kinds of activities, and we reckon any of the insulated bottles would be ideal for the beach - although the enormous Camelbak Chute is probably overkill unless you’re planning to stay out for days.
Best waterproof phone protector
Few phones are water resistant, let alone waterproof, so it’s a very good idea to invest in protection if you’re going to be taking your smartphone to the beach or poolside. We really rate the Lifeproof Fre waterproof case, which is available in a variety of sizes to fit all the major smartphones and which manages to keep water and dirt well away from your most prized possession.
Best beach gadgets
From solar panels to digital wind speed gauges, jet-propelled surfboards to kid-proof tablets, if you can have fun on the beach with it then we’ve got it in our round-up of the best fun gadgets to take to the beach this summer. We’ve even included kit that can make you fly - albeit with the help of a lot of pipework and a jetski.
Best portable waterproof speaker
Electricity and water don’t mix very well, so we’re very glad that audio firms are making speakers that are water resistant or waterproof: when you’re partying near water or just chilling out with your favourite tunes it’s a case of when the speaker will get splashed, not if. Our favourite right now is the UE Wonderboom, which is just as good as its name: it’s very rugged, very waterproof and very nice to listen to. Other speakers may be louder, but this is the one we’d stick in our beach bag.
Best swimming headphones
If you prefer your audio to be personal, you can get waterproof headphones too: the Finis V2 Neptune MP3 Player uses bone conduction technology instead of traditional earbuds, and it holds enough songs to get you across the English Channel. That’s not the only cool product in our wearables round-up: we’ve got sun-protecting goggles and smart wetsuits for when the water looks a lot warmer than it actually is.
Best swimming trunks for avoiding shrinkage
Do your swimming trunks ensure that your silhouette is as impressive as possible, or do you suffer from the dreaded “shrinkage”? Canadian brand “Swam” has decided to, ahem, tackle the issue in a kind of reverse Battle of the Bulge. Like wetsuits the trunks are lined with neoprene, and that traps warm water between your skin and the trunks. No cold water = no shrinkage or unflattering silhouettes.
Best sports sunglasses
How are you going to relive that classic beach volleyball scene from Top Gun without a good pair of sports sunglasses? Exactly, you won't. Instead of looking cool, ripped and skillful, you'll instead be squinting around looking for the ball in the intense sun and being laughed at by all assembled. We think the best pair of sports sunglasses right now is the Oakley EVZero Range Prizm Trail - for more information about them, as well as many other top models, make sure you check out our buying guide below.