Though it’s technically not summer in the U.S. for a couple more weeks, many of us consider the recently long holiday weekend as the jumping off point for three months of sun and fun anyway. As you’re dragging out tiki torches and festooning your patio with umbrellas and lawn chairs, here are five solar-powered gadgets that can add flair to anyone’s summer.
Helios Solar Grill Slap some garden burgers and skewers of vegetables on this sun-driven oven set-up and skip the lung-irritating charcoal. We’ve mentioned the Helios before, and as long as you don’t mind looking like you’re trying call in alien spacecrafts as you cook, the Helios is a great way to get your grill on.
Solar Ant Charmer Any ant can ruin a good picnic, but if you live in a region prone to fire ants, you know they’re more than just a nuisance – those little buggers hurt! Stab this little gadget into a fire ant hill, open the solar powered top, and let the little beasts drop into the cone. The Charmer emits a small electric charge that keeps the ants busy squirming as it fills up with their partners in crime. Once you’ve collected a nice batch of ants, dump in some warm, soapy water and send them to their watery graves. An ant killer with no harsh chemicals.
The Loon This 22-foot solar-assisted electric pontoon boat carries eight people and runs up to six hours on a charge. At a top speed of almost 10 MPH, you can put about 50 miles on this party barge without leaving a trail of emissions and other nasties behind.
Solar Powered Golf Cart If you’re a land lubber, tool around your neighborhood in this golf cart tricked out with 72 photovoltaic cells built into the roof to collect solar energy. Its maker claims the cart runs 33 percent longer than typical battery-powered golf carts and can tote you and your bags around the greens for a full ten rounds of golf before needing a recharge.
Juice Bag This beach tote has solar panels to recharge your mobile devices while you catch some rays of your own. Just plug your phone, camera, iPod, or GPS into the bag’s adapter, and the 52 waterproof micro solar cells will continue to charge your stuff as long as the bag is exposed to sunlight. The solar panel pops off for cleaning, and the bag itself is made from recycled PET products.