Option one: You could drop anywhere from a few hundred bucks to a couple grand on a summer vacation that gets you out of town for a week or two. Option two: You could use that cash to buy an outdoor toy that helps you squeeze the most out of all your summer evenings and weekends.
Ideally you’re flush, and both options are within your budget. But, if you have to choose, you’ll probably get more utility from one of the sweet suggestions on this list.
ORU BEACH LT KAYAK
If you live in a cramped city apartment, lack of storage space makes owning a kayak a non-starter. Not having a car to haul it around is another big barrier. The Oru eliminates those obstacles. This foldable kayak can go from your closet, to the back of an Uber, to your nearest body of water… in minutes.
TENTSILE FLITE+ TREE TENT
Part tent and part hammock, you can throw this “tree tent” up in your backyard or in the backcountry—any place you want to sleep, read or relax a few feet above ground with a little built-in shade.
CANNONDALE SUPERX FORCE 1 CYCLOCROSS BIKE
From off-road trails to smooth city avenues, cyclocross bikes are made to devour all varieties of terrain. Few do so with as much aggression and agility as Cannondale’s SuperX. If you need a ride that will help you escape the city and attack the country with equal gusto, this is your bike.
O’BRIEN SOMBRERO 4 TUBE
Bored with your old boat-towable toys? The Sombrero 4 is the tube for you. We’re definitely not suggesting this should be used for high-speed, king-of-the-tube grappling contests. But those would be pretty fucking fun on this floating neon eyesore.
HALA CARBON PLAYA
This 11-foot inflatable standup paddleboard is as versatile as it is good-looking. It can ride atop ocean waves as easily as it coasts over smooth inland waters. Its best-in-the-biz three-year warranty means you can count on having fun with it for years without worry.
LIQUID FORCE KEEN WAKESURF BOARD
Maybe the prettiest board we’ve seen, the Keen launches itself off waves as though it had built-in rocket boosters. At the same time, it offers the kind of forgiveness and stability that suits riders of all experience levels.
MICRO INTERLOCK SCOOTER
Yes, you’re going to catch some Hansel jokes from buddies who’ve seen Zoolander. And that’s all of them. But riding one of these is so fun you won’t give a shit. It’s crazy more people don’t use these to get around. They’re nimbler and more portable than bikes, and faster and more stable than skateboards. They also scream that you’re not secure in your skin (and probably well endowed).
ABITIBI & CO. PROSPECTOR CANOE
Quebec-based Abitibi & Co. derives its name from the Algonquin word for “the middle of water.” If that’s where you want to spend your summer, there are few nicer ways to get there than in one of Abitibi’s expertly crafted fiberglass or Kevlar canoes. The Prospector 15 model is an all-around performer.
Starting at $18,950, happiercamper.com
OK, this one’s a different kind of purchase than the rest on this list. But if you spend your lunchbreaks reading nomad blogs or dreaming about #vanlife, this customizable mini-camper is your gateway to a life on the road this summer.