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Apps and Gear for Summer (2016 Edition)

Apps and gear for summer 2016

Summer’s in full swing here in the US. Whether you’re trying to make memories while traveling, enjoying food and drink with loved ones, or even if you just need ways to pass the time while you cling to your blessed bubble of air conditioning as much as possible, we’ve got some app and gear suggestions that may help you out.

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Travel / Outdoors

  • Foursquare (Free): For the time being — that is, until we’ve done more extensive testing and reviewing of the field — Foursquare is our favorite tool for finding restaurants and coffee shops in a given area. Not only are the recommendations top-notch, especially once you’ve added a variety of “tastes” to your profile, you can save places to custom lists (for example, “Places to Try,” “Favorites,” or “Best Pizza We Ate in NYC”).

  • Luminos ($15): If you plan on doing any camping or you simply enjoy clear summer nights, you should take the time to do some stargazing. Luminos is a fantastic astronomy map for iOS and Apple Watch that lets you visit objects within our solar system, “land” on the surfaces of planets and moons, fly along with the Hubble telescope as it orbits Earth, view which satellites and celestial objects (including constellations) are currently viewable overhead from your location, and much more.

  • Will Leather Grady Dopp Kit ($88–$195): This small, handsome bag offers travel storage for your cables, adapters, earbuds, and other small items on the go. It comes in leather and canvas + twill versions, both of which feature a brass-studded leather base, a fabric-lined interior with plenty of room to carry most grooming tools, gadget accessories, or what-have-you, plus an exterior zipper pocket and small interior pocket.

Making Memories

  • Day One is the best journaling app for iOS ($5) and Mac ($30). There’s simply no better way to capture important moments in your life. Record your thoughts, attach a photo if you like, and Day One does the rest by auto-adding your current location, activity, music, and even local weather conditions. Entries are taggable and searchable, and if you’re in a sharing mood they can even be published to the web.

  • VSCO (Free): With their recent 5.0 update, our favorite iPhone photo editor got an interesting facelift. Not many people seem to like the new UI, and we’re still trying to get a feel for things before we pass judgement ourselves, but we still feel VSCO is home to the best filters and editing tools for getting that timeless summer photo look (or any look, really).

  • Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer ($130): Ever taken an incredible photo on your iPhone somewhere and thought to yourself, “Man, it would be nice if I could print this off right here, right now”? This nifty little gadget lets you do just that. It uses ZINK (zero-ink) photo paper (a 10-pack comes with the printer) to produce high-quality, borderless, full-color photo prints (2″ x 3″) wirelessly from your iPhone or iPad.

    This special paper is smudge-proof and resistant to fading, even from exposure to heat, light, and humidity, so the photos should last a good while. The back of each sheet can be peeled off to reveal a sticky side, so you can stick the photo wherever. A full charge of the printer’s internal 500mAh battery (which takes 1.5 hours) lasts about 25 prints — plenty for most occasions.

Food / Drink

  • Paprika is our favorite recipe manager for iPhone ($5), iPad ($5), and Mac ($20). It lets you easily import recipes from any website, then automatically creates grocery lists based on ingredients you need for recipes added to your Meal Plan. While you’re cooking, tap whichever recipe step you’re working on to mark your place.

  • Highball (Free): The premier way to save and share cocktail recipes, made by our friends at Studio Neat. Create and edit recipes to your heart’s content (including name, ingredient quantities, and directions), customize each recipe’s image and background color, and even add a credit to any recipe where credit is due.

    Once a recipe is stored in the app, it can be shared as a “card” image with a tiny QR code at the bottom. Once someone imports that image into their own copy of Highball, the QR code is interpreted such that the cocktail is stored in their list and can be edited to their heart’s content.

  • Neat Ice Kit — ($80): Speaking of Studio Neat, their ice kit is a neat system for creating a block of perfectly clear ice. Combined with their Simple Syrup Kit, you’ve got the basis for serving up some great cocktails and coffee beverages.


  • Kindle app (Free): Amazon’s Kindle e-reader enjoys the largest ebook store in the world, and we love it for that, but the iPad is a far more versatile device. To save room in our bag, we just bring along the iPad and use Amazon’s free Kindle app. It works quite nicely and uses the same Whispersync service to sync your progess and content across devices.

  • Overcast (Free): Our favorite podcast client for iOS is the best way to manage your favorite shows.

    Its “Smart Speed” feature saves you literally hours of extra listening time, despite being nigh-unnoticeable during playback. Its “Voice Boost” feature dynamically normalizes audio volume so it’s easier to listen even in noisy situations (while you’re driving, etc). You can download episodes for later listening, or if you’re in a hurry, simply stream them on the fly. Discovering new podcasts is also easy, thanks to built-in recommendations from Twitter friends and the “Most Recommended” section.

  • Instapaper (Free): The venerable service is our go-to choice for bookmarking articles, videos, and more for later. With its ability to save text offline for a beautiful reading experience, Instapaper is a great way to consume your favorite content all summer long.

  • UE Roll 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker ($100): The original UE Roll (tiny sibling of the UE Megaboom) recently got a successor that looks exactly the same, but is 15% louder and has an increased wireless range of 100 feet (up from 65).

    As before, the Roll 2 is waterproof up to a depth of 1 meter (30 minutes max) and the perfect size, shape, and weight for travel purposes.

    Prefer keeping your music to yourself? Check out Bang & Olufsen’s BeoPlay H7 wireless headphones.