For the past two years bank holidays have led me to write up gift guides designed to have a hi-tech barbecue or garden party. This year I decided to be a bit different, because I can't be doing with writing up the same post for a third time. So what else do people do on bank holidays? DIY, obviously, sleeping (that's a personal favourite), and take advantage of their free time by going somewhere nice with family and friends.
You can't really techify sleep, but if modern life has taught me anything it's that our tech struggles when we stray more then five feet from the nearest power socket. Do you really want your day out to be as low-tech as possible? Maybe, but if that sounds like torture here are some things you might want to think about buying.
Portable Battery Pack
If you want a hi-tech day out, the first thing you need to take care of are any batteries that might die in the time you're away from home. There are a lot of options here, but if you want something small and big enough to fully recharge your phone at least once try this £8 cylindrical battery pack with 5,000 mAh of charge. It has a single USB port with a 2.1A output, and is shorter than your phone - meaning it'll easily fit in your pocket and/or bag.
If you want something with a bit more heft to it, make sure to check out this 25,000 mAh pack. It's not got the biggest capacity out there, but at £23 it's got the best cost/power capacity that I've seen. It has two USB ports for charging various devices, an LED torch, and is about the same size as an iPhone 7 Plus (though it is quite a bit thicker). Maybe not one for the pockets, but it should fit in any decent bag.
Solar-Powered Battery Pack, £18.88
Now what if you're outside all day, and need to keep topping up various gadgets? Uncle Jeff is always forgetting to plug his phone in after all. Should you run out of power, this solar powered battery pack should keep you topped up long enough to get home. It's got a 20,000 mAh capacity, two USB ports, an LED light, water and shocking proofing, as well as a clip to attach it to your person. As the name suggests it's solar powered, so, as long as the weather is good, it'll keep topping itself up throughout the day. [Buy it here]
GoPro Hero Session, £150
You don't want to be wandering around with a camera in your hand all day, so you might as well buy a device that attaches to your person and does any filming or photography for you. Doesn't matter what you're doing, the GoPro Hero Session should suit your needs. It records in full HD at 30 frames per second, and has various different modes including burst photography, time lapsing, and slow-motion video. Most importantly small enough to go mostly unnoticed and has waterproofing, so it should be safe from any nasty accidents. [Buy it here]
If you want 4K video (or Full HD at a higher frame rate) for the same price, and are willing to have to rely on a case for protection, make sure to give the Olfi one.five a go. It's not waterproof, but a waterproof case does come bundled with the camera. [Buy it here]
Parrot Mambo Quadcopter, £100
If you're going outside you might as well use the free space to have some fun with your very own quadcopter. If you want a bit of fun, and none of that filming nonsense, give Parrot's Mambo a try. It comes with a foam ball canon and a grabbing claw, so you can have a bit of fun playing with your kids (or friends, I'm not judging) by chasing them down and trying to hit them with the foam balls. Battery isn't very good, though, so make sure you're prepared. [Buy it here]
If you have a bit more money, and want something a bit more advanced, give Parrot's Bebop 2 a try. It's not cheap (£539), but it has a 14MP camera capable of recording full HD video, smartphone connectivity, and even a VR-headset for vomit-inducing first person views of it in flight. [Buy it here]
Pokemon Go Plus, £36.25
If you're one of the few people that still play Pokémon Go, a Go Plus can keep yourself on top of all the monsters you might encounter without having to stare at your phone all day. Not only does that mean you can concentrate on whatever it is you're doing, you can save the battery on your phone. [Buy it here]
The Ikea App
What better day to look at some furniture and eat some meatballs than a bank holiday? It's easy to get lost inside Ikea, so you need a whole day set aside just in case. The Ikea map doesn't have a map of your local store inside it, but it does have a bunch of features that make sure you don't end up losing track of the outside world once you go inside. That includes a shopping list, stock information, and details on where you can find the products you need. [Android | iOS]
Nintendo Switch, £279
You can't mention being hi-tech out in the big bad world without Nintendo's portable games console. Because who wouldn't want to go out and play Mario Kart in the park? While your kids chase a ball around, or something, you can sit back and relax while you fire off a few red shells at Luigi's smug little face. [Buy it here]
Floating Phone Case, £9
If you're going near water, whether it's via a boat, beach, or local swimming pool, you want to make sure your phone doesn't meet a watery end. Even if it's waterproof you can drop it into a lake or something. This waterproof case should keep any water-sensitive devices nice and dry, while still letting you use the touchscreen and fingerprint scanners from the outside. It also has special headphone jack that lets you use wired headphones on the go. Oh, and did I mention that it floats? That should keep your worry-free throughout the day. [Buy it here]
There may be points where you need to entertain yourself with something that isn't a games console, and what better way to do that than with a book? Not just any book, though, an electronic book that is capable of holding many books! I'll stop being patronising now because we all know what a Kindle is. It's small, sleek, and glare-free, so whether you're sitting in the park or riding the bus, this should keep you from getting too bored. [Buy it here]
Fitbit Alta HR, from £129.95
If you're out all day you might as well keep track of all the physical activity you've done. Otherwise it doesn't count! The fitness tracker can keep tabs on all your movement throughout the day, along with how hard you were working. So you know exactly how much you exerted yourself on your day off, and can brag to all your friends about how you did 25,000 steps in half a day. Fitbit is the big name in fitness trackers, and the Alta HR is one of its best new devices. It's sleek, functional, and not too big to annoy you. [Buy it here]
JVC-HAETR40B Sports Earphones, £26.09
Need to watch a video, play a game, or listen to some music without having to disturb everyone around you? Obviously you need some headphones, but if you're going out you might want something fairly cheap and disposable without sacrificing much functionality. These sports earphones from JVC come with an in-line mic and media controls, pivoting 'arms' to fit around your ears comfortably, and in-ear buds for better sound. The earphones themselves are waterproof, but the mic is only splashproof. So these should survive a dip in the swimming pool, but the mic will be kaput if you take them for a swim. [Buy it here]