Summer is here, a time to savor the great outdoors relaxing in a backyard, traveling to the beach or getting away for a weekend at a waterfront cabin or cottage.
You don't need to leave your gadgets behind to enjoy time outside. Many high-tech toys can enhance your outdoor excursions, such as waterproof ebook readers, rugged Bluetooth speakers and smart lighting for a backyard deck or garden.
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.
High-tech grills can help you prep a delicious meal, too, even if you're a novice cook. Happy with your existing barbeque? Accessories also can turn a regular grill into a smarter one.
Don't hover over your gas grill
Weber-Stephen Products is turning 70 and is on the cutting edge of outdoor cooking.
Weber's smart grills, such as the Genesis line starting at $1,029 and Spirit models starting at $849, include meat probes that will wirelessly show you real-time information on its Weber Connect mobile app. The grills support both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and the app is available for both Android and Apple smartphones and tablets.
Insert the probes into your food, choose your customizable grilling program, check the desired doneness of your meat, see your grill's temperature and track the progress of the meal. That way, you don't have to lift the lid of the grill more than you need to, and you don't need to be in the backyard.
"If you're lookin', it's not cookin',” a grill master once told me. You'll also receive notifications on the app that give step-by-step instructions from grill setup to when to flip your food or change the temperature. And the app has a collection of tips and techniques for perfecting your meal.
Along with support on the app, an LED display is located in each grill's side table.
If you're happy with your existing grill, the Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub also is available as an accessory to make any grill more intelligent. The $129.99 gadget is a 4-in-1 thermometer that communicates to the Weber app. It allows you to select doneness, estimates cooking time, tells you when to flip the food and notifies you when dinner is done.
Try wood pellet grills for flavorful food
If you prefer wood-fired flavor, Traeger has a few smart models in its wood pellet grill family.