15 ways to make the most of the end of summer

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You've got a big weekend coming up, and it's not that you have anywhere to be. This Labor Day weekend, you owe it to yourself to make the most of your staycation or socially distanced camping trip. From skin-saving bug repellant to a backpack that'll fit everything but your kitchen sink, the best items to have on hand this long weekend will also save you the rest of the season.

1. Have happy hour in the pool

Credit: Jasonwell
You'll feel like you're literally floating on a cloud.

Complete with five drink holders and an ice bucket (that works double-duty as a snack bowl, small dog holder, or portable speakers surface—win!), this long weekend essential is the ultimate way to ensure you never have to get out of the pool, hot tub or lake. Thanks to its upgraded and widened valve technology, it inflates easily with a hairdryer on cold. Of its 900 ratings, many customers note how it’s a pure joy to have around: “Great drink holder for the pool. Very stable and holds cups, cans and snacks. Plus it's just fun to see the floating rainbow and cloud.”

Get the Jasonwell Inflatable Rainbow Cloud Drink Holder on Amazon for $14.99

2. Roast marshmallows and tell scary stories

Credit: Solo Stove
There's no better way to get lit.

Spend the weekend telling ghost stories, roasting marshmallows, and singing John Cougar Mellencamp. Easy to assemble, store, and use, the stainless steel Solo Stove generates heat with very little smoke. It burns wood so efficiently that reviewers claim you won’t be left with more than a fine ash, making cleanup as simple as discarding said ash. If you provide your own heat-resistant barrier or ranger stand, it’ll be safe for use on a wooden deck. One reviewer says “The best purchase I've made in a while. I love it and it’s so easy to clean, assemble, disassemble, and stow away.”

Get the Solo Stove Ranger Stainless Steel Wood Burning Fire Pit on Wayfair for $235.99

3. Sit back and relax

Credit: Coleman
Staying put all day is highly encouraged.

Whether morning, noon, or night, there’s going to be a lot of sitting this weekend (in the best way possible—you deserve a break!). Get comfy in this number one best-selling folding chair with over 16,000 reviews that consistently tops best-of lists across the internet. Featuring a cushioned back and seat, a four-can cooler, and two cup holders, you’ll love staying put for hours on end.

Get the Coleman Portable Camping Quad Chair with 4-Can Cooler on Amazon for $50.59

4. Enjoy the outdoors without the itch

Credit: Repel
Itchy skin can finally bug off.

We can all agree bugs are a pretty big, ahem, buzzkill. You don’t want to have to cut your night short because you forgot to bring your own bug spray (the best kind of BYOB—duh). This three-wick candle contains potent citronella that works to repel bugs and flying insects for a total of 40 hours. It comes in a portable container so you can take it with you wherever the weekend takes you. With nearly 3,000 reviews, reviewers say they make the perfect addition to camping trips: “They work! We take them on every camping trip—put them around the perimeter of the campsite and we're good to go! We have tried single-wick candles and they are a bust, with lots of wax ending up wasted. The triple-wick is the only way to go.”

Get the Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Candle, 20-Ounce Amazon for 24.99

5. Stay cool no matter your activity of choice

Credit: VersionTech
Pace yourself in the sun.

Getting overheated isn’t only uncomfortable, but it could also be dangerous. Take a personal three-speed fan for the ride if you think you’ll be outdoors for prolonged periods. It features a USB rechargeable battery and a unique design that allows you to hang it from your parasol or umbrella and fold it into your bag. Of its 9,000 reviewers, many say a single charge lasts a surprisingly long time: “At first I was charging it every day, but I haven't thought to charge it in at least four days and it's been helping me through 3-5 hot flashes a day, minimum. Still going strong.”

Get the VersionTECH. Mini Handheld Fan on Amazon for $13.99

6. Make an indoor "campfire"

Credit: Nostalgia
Turn up the heat with this impressive snack station.

If the weather is looking iffy, have a backup plan for indoor s'mores with this kit complete with four compartments for all your s’mores essentials, like graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate and. You get two forks for easy “roasting,” and an electric flameless heater that means you don’t have to worry about releasing your inner lumberjack and chopping down wood for a sweet midnight snack. Simply plug it into an outlet, and savor away. With nearly 3,000 reviews, many customers say it’s a great way to recreate the bonfire experience without the hassle and smell: “Right out of the box, it started heating quickly. After it was glowing red, we started toasting marshmallows! I was surprised how brown and toasty it was able to get the marshmallows, and so quickly. The time to get the marshmallow toasty was just about equivalent to a bonfire (minus the bonfire smell!!). The s'mores do even have that outdoor familiar taste. We love it and will be using it again and again! Great product.”

Get the Nostalgia Indoor Electric Stainless Steel S'mores Maker on Amazon for $17.99

7. Fire up the grill

Credit: Weber
Grill up some goodness for your guests.

Is it even a long weekend if you don’t eat tons of grilled foods? Keep your guests happy and full with all kinds of barbecued proteins, starches and veg. Perfect for feeding small crowds, our experts’ favorite portable gas grill from Weber lights up easily using a lightweight fuel canister, is easy to clean and maintain, and best of all, is compact in size and portable. Our experts note it provides “beautiful, well-defined grill marks” on burgers while cooking them evenly. Built-in side tables support full plates of food so your hands are free to entertain.

Get the Weber Q 1200 Propane Gas Grill at Amazon for $209

8. Stay warm while checking out the starry sky

Credit: Hampton Bay
Outsmart the weather.

It’s that time of the year when the days are sweltering and the nights are nippy. Not emotionally ready to bust out your chunky knits? No problem. This heater lights up and adjusts easily while adding a sleek and modern look to your patio. Of its 800 reviewers, many say how simple it is to use: “I love my patio heater. its the best thing I could of bought. so I bought two lol. it was easy to assemble and had all the parts. also very light to tow around of course with the propane tank. I like the stainless color over all it has met my expectation.”

Get the Hampton Bay 48000 BTU Stainless Steel Patio Heater at Home Depot for $149

9. Make—and preserve—the best memories

Credit: Urban Outfitters
Disposable camera, permanent memories.

You might be tempted to live-tweet your super-fun weekend or Insta Story your every move (which you should totally do to feel connected to folks you haven’t seen since the beginning of quarantine!). But a better way to disconnect and live in the moment is to grab a disposable camera that’ll leave you with lasting hard copy memories. Because you can’t see the photos before developing them, you’ll be looking forward to them that much more. With a 4.5-star rating, this best-selling gadget available in six stunning styles is sure to make this weekend one for the (photo)books.

Get the Disposable Camera at Urban Outfitters for $15

10. Stay comfy

Credit: Parachute
Lounge around in style.

Look, sometimes we all need a weekend off from the scorching sun and loud music—even if that means fireworks are going off outside. There is absolutely no shame in spending your weekend wrapped up in this Turkish cotton robe from Parachute that includes two front pockets, a waist tie, and shawl collar. As one of the home décor brand’s top-rated items with over 1,500 reviews, customers note its material is solid and durable enough to last several years, and feels incredibly soft on the skin after a shower.

Get the Classic Bathrobe from Parachute for $99

11. Go on an all-day adventure

Credit: Eddie Bauer
Save your back and your sanity.

Whether you’re going hiking, camping, or simply heading out for the day, this spacious Eddie Bauer backpack is a must. I’ve used it consistently over the last three years, and I’m always in awe of how well it keeps all my belongings organized. It has a protective laptop pouch, several exterior pockets for easy reaching (some of which are fleece for delicate items), and feels like pillows against your shoulders thanks to high-quality padding and adjustable straps. It’s waterproof, so you can feel confident it’ll keep your belongings safe.

Get the Eddie Bauer Unisex-Adult Adventurer 30L Pack at Walmart for $69.99

12. Play a new sport

Credit: Baden
Release your inner gym class hero.

A little friendly competition is the ultimate way to spend time outdoors this weekend. Featuring a three by 32’ tournament-quality nylon net, you can easily switch back and forth between badminton and volleyball in your own backyard or park. Reviewers say the badminton rackets are sturdy and well-stitched, and the poles hold up to even the most aggressive plays.

Get the Baden Champions Volleyball Badminton Combo Set at Dick’s Sporting Goods for $149.99

13. Stay warm and stylish

Credit: Adidas
Whether shorts, pants or skirts, this hoodie pairs with everything.

Cropped hoodies are the top of the moment because they allow your midsection to breathe while also keeping your shoulders comfy and cozy. Adidas’ best-selling cropped hoodie with a nearly five-star rating is made of ultra-soft cotton French terry, and includes a hood drawstring and ribbed cuffs. Reviewers love wearing it all day because it still provides a modest amount of coverage while offering a laid-back, ‘90s baggy look.

Get the Cropped Hoodie at Adidas for $60

14. Sip some trendy canned drinks

Credit: White Claw/High Noon/Truly
Ready-to-drink canned beverages are the drink of the summer.

Look around the beach, and you’ll notice canned beverages everywhere. As the drink medium of the moment, they’re easy to pack in your bag, and offer that same relaxed, refreshing feeling of popping open a can of soda. My friends and I always make sure to have brands like White Claw, Babe and High Noon on hand—they’re relatively low in alcohol volume, so you can savor a couple throughout the day while still remembering what happened.

Get the White Claw Hard Seltzer Variety Pack, 12-Count on Drizly for $18.99
Get Truly Hard Seltzer Berry Mix Pack Spiked & Sparkling Water, 12-Count on Drizly for $16.79
Get High Noon Grapefruit Hard Seltzer on Drizly for $11.19

15. Have a picnic

Credit: Coleman
Keep your cool no matter your plans.

Now you need somewhere to store said cans. Seriously, how much longer are you going to pack your drinks into your beach bag, hoping you find a tree or umbrella for shade so they don't overheat? There's never been a better time to invest in this top-rated Coleman cooler that keeps ice frozen for up to 24 hours in 90 degrees of heat. It holds up to 30 cans, and features several zippered compartments for easy access. One reviewer (of nearly 1,800!) says the cooler does such a great job of keeping food and drinks frozen that when they lost their luggage on a flight, everything was still completely frozen 40 hours later. Pretty cool!

Get the Coleman Soft Cooler Bag on Amazon for $20.81

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