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14 Best Laptop Backpacks (2023): Weather-Proof, Sustainable, Stylish

14 Best Laptop Backpacks (2023): Weather-Proof, Sustainable, Stylish

When I (Adrienne) travel for work, I typically carry a Tom Bihn bag, and the clamshell Synik 22 is my favorite. It has a lot of pockets, and they’re all thoughtfully designed. For example, the zippered water bottle pocket is located in the middle of the backpack instead of on the side, so it won’t tip you off balance. The pen pockets are located in flaps on the side rather than in the middle top, for convenient access. The exterior is made from Bluesign-certified 400-denier ballistic nylon with top-of-the-line YKK water-repellent zippers. Each bag has a lifetime guarantee.

Because the bag is so small, the pass-through on the back is only 7 inches wide—too narrow to slip over the handle of a carry-on. And the dense fabric and plentiful hardware—the zippers, O-rings, and buckles—make it a little heavy. But in the 22-liter size, I didn’t notice the extra weight. It’s the perfect, organized conference companion, but it’s on the highest end of what we think is worth spending on a bag.

A roll-top Tom Bihn: The Tom Bihn Addax for $294 has become one of my go-tos. Roll-top bags are more versatile than zippered ones. Don’t have enough room? Unroll it and stick your bike helmet in. Too much? Roll it down to compress the space. And if you live in a rainy area, roll-tops keep water from seeping through the top zippers.

Like all Tom Bihn bags, the pockets are metaphysical perfection, with a huge laptop pocket with two-way access that also has a tablet pocket for my Kindle, and front pockets with O-rings to hook keys and other sundries. It has a huge luggage pass-through and hefty padded shoulder straps. It’s also hand-sewn in the US from PFC-free material and has a lifetime warranty that’s as bombproof as the ballistic nylon fabric. It’s a good thing, because at this price, you only want to buy it once.

Nintendo Switch Tips (2023): 21 Surprising Things It Can Do (OLED, Lite, Standard)

Nintendo Switch Tips (2023): 21 Surprising Things It Can Do (OLED, Lite, Standard)

We’re still waiting to see if there will be a follow-up to the Nintendo Switch OLED, or even the original Switch or Switch Lite. Until then, you’ll have to use what you have to play The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. While you’re playing, it’s time to brush up on how to use it. There are plenty of hidden features and little tricks that can help you get the most out of the console, and we’ve rounded up the best ones here.

We also have 11 Nintendo Switch Lite tips if you have the handheld-only version of the console.

Updated May 2023: We’ve added a couple of new tips and a section about Nintendo Switch Online.

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Turn on Your TV

True to its name, the Switch will turn on your TV for you, or switch its input when you boot it up. Booting it up is also wireless. Just press the Home button on your Joy-Con or Pro controller. If you don’t like the feature (not all TVs are compatible with it), you can turn it off in Settings > TV Settings > Match TV Power State.

Find a Lost Joy-Con

If you lose a Joy-Con controller, the Switch has a panic-free way to find it. Click on the gray Controllers button on the home screen, then click Find Controllers. Once there, you can make any paired Joy-Con or controller vibrate at will. Grab the Switch and tip toe around, pressing vibrate on and off until you find that sucker.

Make Friends and Play With Them

The Switch technically has an online service, but it’s still a pain to play with friends. Every game is a little different, but generally, you will need to first talk to them over text or in real life and get their friend code. To find a friend code, click on your Mii picture in the upper left of the home screen then tap Add Friend. Tap Search with Friend Code and type in their digits. If needed, you can also see your friend code in the lower right. Once you’ve established friendship, make sure you both own the game you want to play, then enter it and start an online room or battle with friends and invite them. You will need a Nintendo Online subscription to play online multiplayer and save games to the cloud.

Voice Chat With Friends

Once you’ve become Friends with someone (see above), you can voice chat with them using the Switch Online mobile phone app. A few games like Fortnite support their own on-console chat, but for some Nintendo games you’ll need to download the Switch Online app or your Android or iPhone. All players will need to have it open when you begin a play session and then you can chat together using your phones. No, it’s not the most intuitive system. 

Our Best Gaming Headsets and Best Wireless Gaming Headsets guides have recommendations for Switch-compatible headphones and mic combos.

Pair Bluetooth Headphones

It took a long time, but the Switch finally supports Bluetooth audio. If you want to listen to your games without having a wire dangling from your ears, you can finally do so by heading to System settings > Bluetooth Audio > Pair Device and connect your headphones. You can check out our guides to the best wireless headphones and the best wireless gaming headsets to find the ones that work best for you.

Nintendo Joy Cons


Photograph: Nintendo

Pair Joy-Cons With an Android Phone, Mac, or PC

Joy-Cons live up to their name. I couldn’t help but smile when I discovered I could pair my Joy-Con or Pro Controller with an Android phone. Better yet, it works with Mac and PCs, too (though you’ll need an app like JoyToKey to map the buttons correctly on Windows). They work because Nintendo uses Bluetooth to connect them. Just hold down the small sync button on the top of the controllers for a few seconds and the lights on them will flash, letting you know they’re in pairing mode. Find them in the Bluetooth menu of your phone or computer and you’re good to go.

Remap the Buttons on Your Joy-Cons

If the way certain buttons are configured is difficult for you to use, or you just want to optimize your layout to get a better Hades time, you can now remap any button on the Switch. Head to System Settings > Controllers and Sensors > Change Button Mapping. Here, you can change any button to any other. So if you’d rather swap ZL and ZR, or use one of the triggers as a jump button, you can do it. You’ll also find options to swap the left and right control sticks, or change their default orientation.

Check Your Battery Life Anytime

The Switch OLED gets slightly better battery life than the original Switch thanks to its comparatively more efficient OLED screen, but neither will last so long you won’t need to check the battery from time to time. To see the battery life, and adjust a few other settings like volume and brightness, hold down the Home button while playing a game. After a second, the menu will pop right up! You can also have the Switch show the exact percent of battery remaining in the upper right of the home screen by holding ZL and ZR together, or toggle it on permanently in Settings > System > Console Battery (%).

Save Battery by Changing Sleep Settings

The biggest battery drain on the Switch (like most devices) is going to be the screen. If you dock your Switch that’s not a problem, but in handheld mode the screen will stay on for 10 minutes before going to sleep. You can cut down on a lot of wasted charge if you lower this setting. Head to System Settings > Sleep Mode > Auto-Sleep (Console) and you can set your Switch to sleep after as little as one minute of inactivity.

Make Weird, Fun Sounds on the Unlock Screen

The Switch lets you unlock by pressing any button three times. Have you tried it? If you have, you’ll notice this software Easter egg. Most buttons sound the same, but the left control stick, right control stick, ZL trigger, and ZR trigger make odd, fun noises, like a clown horn. One other thing to try: the clicky noise that the Switch makes when you tap in a random location is pressure sensitive. It gets deeper or higher pitched depending on how hard or soft you touch.

When the novelty wears off and you’d rather just unlock your Switch directly, disable the screen lock entirely by heading to System Settings > Screen Lock and disable the “Lock Console in Sleep Mode” option.

See How Long You’ve Played a Game

Ever wonder just how many hours you sunk into Zelda? It’s easy to check. Click on your Mii picture in the upper left corner of the Switch home screen. Click Profile once you’re in there to see a rough estimate of how much time you’ve wasted collecting Korok seeds. If you’ve added friends (you need their Friend Code), you can see what they’ve played lately, too! You can make a profile or stop sharing your playtimes in Settings > Users > [Your Name] > Friend settings.

Change Your Region to Access Region-Restricted Games

The days of needing a Japan-specific console to play some Japanese games are over. You can easily toggle your region in Settings > System > Region. Most games are usually available globally, but some titles may arrive in one region first. This list might help, if there’s a specific game you’re looking to play. One other benefit of switching from US to a region like Europe: the box art changes for some games, like Breath of the Wild. You could also create a new user for each region.

Nintendo Switch OLED

Nintendo Switch OLED in Dark Mode

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

View the Menu in Dark Mode

Try out the Dark Mode by selecting “Basic Black” in Settings > Themes. It may be easier on your eyes than the default white background, especially if you’re using the Switch in handheld mode.

Attach a USB Keyboard or Headset

There are three USB ports on the Switch dock. You can plug in most any USB keyboard and it should work, letting you type in menus to enter stuff like passwords. Just keep in mind that you can’t actually play games with the keyboard. USB Bluetooth headsets also work. We were surprised to find that some of our old PS4 headsets plugged right into the Switch. 

Make Another Profile for an Extra Save Slot

There are a number of games that only give you one save slot. If you want more, there’s an easy fix. Just make a second User (Mii). Navigate to Settings > Users > Add User to make an extra user. Once made, it will appear as a choice when you open a lot of games. Choosing the new user will create a new, separate save file. 

If you want the exact opposite, you can get rid of the User Selection screens and get the system to always default to your core account in games by turning “Skip Selection Screen” to On.

Transfer Data to a New Switch

If you upgraded to the new Switch OLED (or just need to transfer to a new unit), you can bring your old profiles, game save data, and even your screenshots and recordings from your old console to your new one. We have a full guide to the process here and it’s worth reading the whole thing since there are steps you won’t want to do out of order, but make sure you have both consoles handy when you get started.

Send a Screenshot to Your Phone With a QR Code

Sharing screenshots used to be a pain on the Switch, but now there’s an easier way. From the Home menu, open up your screenshot Album. Then you can select Sharing and Editing, then Send to Smartphone. This will give you a QR code that you can scan with your phone’s camera app that will direct you to a page where you can download your screenshots and videos. Much easier than posting them to Twitter!

Move Game Save Data to Your MicroSD Card

By default, your game save data will be stored on the internal storage of your Switch. However, if you want to clear up some space on the system, you can move your game saves to a MicroSD card. Head to System Settings > Data Management and choose “Move Data Between System / MicroSD Card.” Select “Move to MicroSD card” and then you can choose which games you want to move over.

Note: While this will store your game saves on the MicroSD card, you won’t be able to just swap that card to another Switch and access game saves on that console. If you just got a new console, see our guide on How to Transfer Save Data From One Nintendo Switch to Another.

Perform a Hard Reset if It Freezes

The Switch is pretty stable, but it’s not immune to the occasional freeze. Turning the Switch off usually works by holding Power for a few seconds, until the restart menu opens. If that doesn’t happen, the best solution is to do a hard reset by holding down the power button for about 12 seconds or so (just keep holding). Once it powers down, wait at least 30 seconds and power it back up.

If your problems continue, you can try booting it into Maintenance Mode by holding the power button as you turn it on and then when the Nintendo logo appears, also pressing down on both volume buttons right next to it. This will let you factory reset it, or clean it out while attempting to save your data. Good luck!

Use Your Joy-Con Like a Wii Remote

If you’re feeling nostalgic, the Joy-Cons can be used with motion controls in some games. For instance, grab World of Goo on the Nintendo eShop, install it, and open it with a Joy-Con. The game will ask you to set the Joy-Con on a flat surface, then point it at the screen. Do this and then you can use it just like a Wii Remote, with an onscreen cursor and everything!

Consider a Second Dock

It’s not strictly necessary as an accessory, but if you frequently travel or play in multiple rooms of the house, buying a second dock can be one of the best decisions you make. I have a spare dock I keep in my suitcase for when I travel so I can play games on the TV in a hotel room. But anywhere you want another dock, an extra can be extremely handy!

Accessories You’ll Need

Be sure to check out our list of Must-Have Nintendo Switch Accessories. You will most definitely need a 128-gigabyte MicroSD card (many games are 10+ gigabytes and the Switch has 32 – 64) and may also want to buy this screen protector (I’ve used it and it doesn’t bubble) and a USB 3.0 Ethernet Adapter if you want to speed up your internet connection on the older dock, though the new Switch OLED dock comes with its own Ethernet port built in, which is convenient!

Should You Get Switch Online?

Nintendo’s Switch Online service is one of the cheapest subscriptions in gaming and seems almost like a no-brainer. For $20 a year (or $35 a year for a family plan), you can play online, save your games in the cloud, and use voice chat in certain games. Also include is a library of NES and SNES games.

There’s also the Expansion Pack which costs $50 per year for an individual and $80 per year for a family. This version adds a selection of N64 and Sega Genesis games, plus some Animal Crossing: New Horizons DLC. This isn’t quite as obvious of a deal, but if you’re looking to play Banjo Kazooie, Majora’s Mask or Goldeneye 007 on your Switch, this is the way to do it.

Overall, Switch Online isn’t strictly necessary unless you play games online or want a retro gaming library, but the basic version is an absurdly cheap value, and the Expansion Pack is a solid buy for fans of the N64 generation.

Games to Own

Finally, if you’re hunting for games, check our Best Nintendo Switch Games guide. Here are a few random fun ones to try other than Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, which should be your first three purchases: 

35 Best Memorial Day Sales and Deals: Pizza Ovens, Recycled Bags, and More

35 Best Memorial Day Sales and Deals: Pizza Ovens, Recycled Bags, and More

As with many other sales events, Memorial Day weekend deals can be confusing. It seems like every store on the internet is offering some sort of promotion. Not all that glitters is discounted, but we’re here to help. Below you’ll find the best Memorial Day deals and sales on reviewer-approved gadgets and gear. 

Be sure to check out our other Memorial Day sale stories for curated category highlights. We’ve got dedicated roundups for the best outdoor deals, best mattress deals, best tech deals, and best home and kitchen deals. Happy shopping!

Updated May 29, 2023: We’ve removed dead deals and updated pricing throughout.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more.

Tech and Accessory Deals

Twelve South StayGo Mini USBC Hub

Twelve South StayGo Mini. 

Photograph: Twelve South

This is one of our favorite MacBook accessories and favorite iPad accessories. It’s a great multi-port hub that will add a USB-A port, a headphone jack, an HDMI output, and another USB-C port for passthrough charging. It’s also compact enough that you can take it along easily. This deal is part of a larger 20 percent off promotion at Twelve South. Find more recommendations from the brand in our guides to the best laptop stands and best wireless chargers. 

The Insta360 One RS (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is our top choice for a do-it-all action camera. It’s great as an action camera and as a 360 camera, and it even supports interchangeable lenses, with three distinct modules you can mix and match. 

This is a solid 3-in-1 wireless charger, and it becomes more affordable with the coupon code. It’ll simultaneously top off your compatible iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. You can even pop the Apple Watch charger off to have a portable method for recharging your smartwatch. Just keep in mind that you need to supply your own 20W wall adapter. Here’s one we like. 

The rounded fourth-generation Amazon Echo (8/10, WIRED Recommends) packs big, balanced sound for its price, along with all of the Alexa features you know and love. It can also double as a smart home hub.

The Google Nest Hub Max (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is our favorite all-around smart display for a reason. For several reasons, actually, including a 10-inch touchscreen, pretty good speakers, and a camera you can use for Zoom calls. The price of the darker charcoal model has jumped back up but the lighter chalk color is still available for $190.

Fitness and Outdoors Deals

Solo Stove Pi Oven

Solo Stove Pi.

Photograph: Solo Stove

The Solo Stove Pi (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is the very best pizza oven for most people. It goes on sale frequently for deal holidays like Memorial Day, but this price beats previous discounts we’ve tracked. Despite the Pi’s roomy cooking surface, the overall footprint is compact. The wood fuel heats up quickly too. This deal is part of a larger promotion for up to 45 percent off at Solo Stove. There’s also a promotion offering a free Mesa with the purchase of a fire pit bundle using code FREEMESA. 

We really like this portable grill from Biolite. It doubles as a campfire and triples as a power bank that can top off your devices while you’re making grub or getting warm. You can control the flames manually or via the companion smartphone app. The whole gadget packs down into a relatively compact package when you’re done. This is part of the larger Biolite Memorial Day sale, which offers up to 25 percent off. 

The Jabra Elite 7 Active are our top pick for workout earbuds. Jabra scanned thousands of ears to come up with a design that stays snug no matter what type of ears you have, and the work paid off. Not only do they stay put on outdoor excursions, but they sound great and even get eight full hours of battery life.

Just in time for grilling season! The Thermapen One takes a split second to read temperatures, so you can pop the oven or grill lid open and shut without losing too much heat. (The fast readings also mean your baby won’t have to wait too long for a bath, which is my favorite use of a digital thermometer).

This pricing is valid on styles for men and women. We generally like Pearl Izumi’s bicycling products. The brand is featured in our guides to the best winter commute gear and the best bikepacking gear. These shorts offer some comfort and padding while wicking away moisture to prevent chafing. The price dropped again this weekend and it’s now even better than before.

Image may contain Clothing Apparel Shoe Footwear and Sock

SwiftWick Pursuit Running Socks. 

Photograph: Swiftwick 

When it comes to thin running socks, this style is hard to beat. They’re breathable and lightweight without being too slippery, and they work well for a wide range of activities—especially in hot weather. The deal is part of a larger 20 percent off promotion at SwiftWick. 

Gaming and Home Deals

Nanoleaf lines on wall illuminating game room

Nanoleaf Lines. 

Photograph: Nanoleaf

NanoLeaf Lines (8/10, WIRED Recommends) used to be our favorite smart lighting for gamers. These panels have since been replaced, but we still think they’re a respectable pick. This 15 percent off promotion also applies to Nanoleaf Shapes, which are our favorite lighting panels (though we’ve seen them drop lower in price before). Nanoleaf smart lights can be configured in all sorts of designs. You can set the lighting yourself or let it react to ambient noise—perfect for a house party this summer. 

AllClad Essential Frying Pan

All-Clad D5 Essentials Pan. 

Photograph: All-Clad

This sale has its own dedicated story! It comes around a few times per year and remains our favorite way to save on All-Clad’s amazing (and expensive) kitchen goods. If you can deal with damaged packaging or cosmetic flaws, you can save a ton of cash on a wide range of pots, pans, and other kitchen essentials. Many products also include a lifetime warranty. 

The SimpliSafe Essentials Package (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is a wonderful home security system. It’s reliable and super easy to set up. This deal includes a free month-long trial of 24/7 Interactive Monitoring, so you’ll want to either set a reminder to cancel your membership or forgo the free trial and pay $13 more. 

No robot vacuum is perfect, but the Roborock Q5+ (9/10, WIRED Recommends) comes pretty darn close. It’s simple to use, can map multiple rooms and floors around your entire home, and lets you designate certain floor types for each of those rooms. Check out our guide to the best robot vacuums for more options. 

Health, Apparel, and Furniture Deals

Helix Midnight Luxe mattress on yellow backdrop

Helix Midnight Luxe Hybrid Mattress. 

Photograph: Helix

This deal is $20 less than last Memorial Day and matches the sale price we saw on Presidents’ Day. The Helix Midnight Luxe is very expensive, but it has reigned supreme in our mattress guide since we started testing in 2019. It has a plush cushion top but a medium-firm feel, so you should be comfortable in most sleeping positions. This deal also includes two pillows. Our dedicated roundup of the best memorial day mattress sales has additional picks. 

This couch has an unfortunate name, but it’s still one of our favorites. It’s comfortable and modular. You can swap pieces in or out as needed, and there’s even an upgrade that adds surround sound and wireless charging. This deal is part of a larger 25 percent off sale at Lovesac. 

All Tushy bidets are 25 percent off through May 30. We found the Tushy Classic 3.0 to be affordable and simple to install, even if it doesn’t offer warmed water. Pair it with the Tushy Ottoman for maximum comfort. 

Cloud Paper offers sustainable tree-free bamboo toilet paper and paper towel subscriptions. It’s featured in our list of the best sustainable cleaning supplies. The packaging is plastic-free, delivery is carbon-neutral, and the paper products work just as well as their less environmentally friendly counterparts. 

Proof makes some of our favorite menstrual underwear. You can save 20 percent on three pairs, 25 percent on five pairs, and 30 percent on seven pairs. There are different styles on sale each day as well. Each pair of underwear can hold up to five tampons’ worth of fluid. Period undies can make monthly cycles a whole lot more comfortable. 

Tentree Parka on yellow backdrop

TenTree Daily Parka. 

Photograph: Tentree

It may not be quite in season yet, but this price is the best we’ve tracked for TenTree’s Daily Parka. We included it in our list of the best clothing made from recycled materials. It’s warm, comfortable, and features plenty of pockets. This sale is part of a sitewide promotion that takes up to 50 percent off. 

Girlfriend Collective is also featured in our recycled clothing roundup. We quite like the brand’s Compressive Hi-Rise Leggings ($78), which are made of 25 plastic bottles and are 79 percent recycled polyester. Pair them with the coordinating Paloma Racerback Bra ($48) and your total should be around $100 instead of $126. 

When it comes to airflow, this is our favorite office chair. It has a mesh back and seat, so no matter how sweaty you get during the hours you spend at your desk, your butt won’t get swampy. The chair also allows for minute adjustments to the arm rests, back, and seat so you can find your perfect fit. Your purchase includes a free Elemax Cooling, Heating, and Massage Unit. We haven’t tested it, but a freebie’s a freebie. 

An honorable mention in our guide to the best office chairs, the Mavix M7 is comfortable and supportive. It has solid airflow and locking wheels, and the sturdy construction makes it feel more luxurious than the price tag would imply. Just keep in mind that if you’re like my 5’1″ self, you’ll want to contact customer service for a shorter cylinder. Like the chair above, which is owned by the same company, this purchase includes a free Elemax Cooling, Heating, and Massage Unit. We haven’t tested it, but it’s valued at $129. 

Zappos is an Amazon-owned store that sells shoes, clothes, and accessories, all with free shipping. Brands range from fashionable (like Steve Madden) to functional (like Hoka) and everywhere in between. This sale is massive and varied, but if you’re in the market for some new duds, it’s worth browsing the selection. (It may take a second, since there are over 7,000 items.) One standout is the Prana Luxara Dress for $89 ($31 off). It’s one of our favorite gifts for moms. Check out the rest of the sale here. 

Timbuk2 Spark Mini backpack

Timbuk2 Spark Mini Pack. 

Photograph: Timbuk2

This bag strikes the perfect balance between fun and functional. It’s included in our guide to the best recycled bags, since it’s made from 100 percent recycled nylon and polyester. It has room for a 13-inch laptop, plus a tablet and a cell phone. The back straps can be stowed away if you’d prefer to carry the bag like a tote. 

Another standout from our guide to the best recycled bags, this adorable mini tote is made from deadstock yarn that would otherwise go to waste. There are several bright and fun colors to choose from. This is part of a 25 percent off sitewide promotion. We also like Verloop’s adorable recycled slippers. Learn more about them in our guide to the best recycled clothing. 

This vibe made our list of the best vibrators, as well as the best sex tech in general. It has a companion smartphone app that you can use to both control the toy and customize your own vibration patterns. It’s also super flexible and waterproof. Did we mention that there are six internal motors? 

Alleyoop Pen Pal makeup pen

AlleyOop Pen Pal. 

Photograph: Alleyoop

AlleyOop is offering 20 percent off sitewide with this coupon code. We love all the brand’s multi-use and travel-friendly beauty products, but this gadget is our favorite. Remember the multicolored crayons you used in elementary school? This is that, but with makeup. The pen has eyeliner, lip liner, a brow pencil, and a highlighter. I kept mine in my purse at all times before I wore the products down to little nubbins. It’s great for touch-ups in the car or between clubs. 

Add $50 in items shipped and sold by Amazon to your cart and enter the promo code during checkout to get a free $10 Amazon credit via email. This is a good way to save money if you need to restock essential supplies. Just note that the credit is only redeemable on beauty purchases. There are tons of items to choose from, ranging from this viral lip mask to everyone’s favorite makeup wipes. 

Deals on Everything Else

New subscribers will get free shipping on their first HelloFresh meal kit delivery, plus 16 free meals spread across nine boxes. Deals on meal kit subscriptions aren’t particularly hard to come by, and they’re almost always for new subscribers, but if you’ve been considering a subscription, you’ll save some money. HelloFresh is an honorable mention in our guide to the best meal kit subscriptions. It’s a good alternative to Blue Apron; the services are largely similar.  New subscribers can also save at Green Chef with code GCMDW2023, or at EveryPlate with code EPMDW2023. (Note that all three of these brands are owned by the same parent company.) 

Bokksu makes some of our favorite snack subscription boxes. The Bokksu Boutique is full of individual Japanese snack offerings from past boxes. Shopping these items individually is a good way to save on previous favorites or to try something new. Shipping is expensive—it starts at $20 unless you spend at least $199. But with snacks on sale for as low as 50 cents, the sale is worth checking out if you’re interested in BYOB (building your own box). 

Memorial Day Sale Pages

If you want to venture out on your own, here’s a list of Memorial Day sales at various retailers. Be sure to check out our many buying guides for additional advice and product recommendations.

45 Best Memorial Day Outdoor Deals: Tents, Camp Chairs, and More

45 Best Memorial Day Outdoor Deals: Tents, Camp Chairs, and More

Every year, the sun emerges from behind the clouds. Like newborn horses, we shake out our wobbly legs and totter, blinking, back onto the trails. And every year, outdoor retailers like REI, Backcountry, and Moosejaw hold massive sales so we can replace that leaky old tent before the first camping, climbing, or mountain biking trip of the year. 

This year, REI’s anniversary sale runs from May 19 to May 29, with up to 30 percent off select gear. If you’re an REI Co-op member, you also get 20 percent off one full-price item at REI and REI Outlet with the code ANNIV23. There are also some deal that are available only to members. You can join today for a one-time fee of $30. Outdoor retailer Backcountry is running a competing sale, and Moosejaw is offering 20 percent off one full-price item with the code CHEESEBURGER.

Still trying to figure out how you’re going to navigate all this bounty? Don’t forget to check out the rest of our summer guides, including our guides to the Best Hiking Boots or the Best Camping Cookware. 

Update May 28, 2023: We’ve added more deals and refreshed links and prices.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-Year Subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more.

Apparel Deals

Don’t see anything you like here? Check out our guides to the Best Fitness Trackers and the Best Base Layers. 

REI Outdoor Afro Pants

Photograph: REI

All spring, all the cool girls have been wearing these pants to go climbing and hiking, and I want a pair. This is REI’s collaboration with Outdoor Afro, a nonprofit that celebrates, connects, and inspires Black leadership and community in the wilderness. These pants fit a wide variety of body types, are made from breathable, durable-water-repellant nylon/spandex fabric and come in an array of eye-catching colors. 

Janji makes sustainably minded running apparel and frequently collaborates with artists and athletes for limited editions. The company has committed to eliminating PFAS from its rain apparel and its clothing has a five-year guarantee. I have had this running bra for almost that long, and it’s still in great condition after years of weekly use.

If you need to re-up on rain jackets, now is a good time. Outdoor Research’s Helium line is a great, moderately priced hiking rain jacket. It’s also available at Backcountry in a somewhat more limited size and color range, in both men’s and women’s sizes.

Smartwool boxer briefs

Smartwool Merino Boxer Briefs 

Photograph: Smartwool

Wool isn’t just for cold weather. These boxer briefs are made of itch-free merino wool just thin enough to provide comfort without capturing excessive heat on warm hiking days. There’s 13 percent nylon mixed in to give them the right amount of stretch, and wool has a tendency to stink a bit less than polyester base layers.

Product reviewer Scott Gilbertson and I are in agreement—merino wool is the lightweight, versatile fabric of kings. You might think that summer is not an ideal time to buy base layers, but if you’re camping or climbing at altitude, it will probably get cold at night. These are soft enough to double as camp jammy-jams. WIRED-recommended Smartwool base layers are 25 percent off, too. 

I have a $15 down jacket I bought off Alibaba that looks (and feels) like a live goose stuffed in a trash bag. Don’t be me. Spend a little more and get something that actually fits you, like this REI down jacket. It’ll keep you warmer and last far longer than the cheap stuff. If you’re not into sleeves the vest is also on sale for $56 ($24 off) in men’s and women’s sizes.

Shoe and Sandal Deals

ZTrail Sandal

Photograph: Xero

Our favorite barefoot sandals are on sale right now. These are the only shoes that have ever inspired me to write 1,000 words. They are really that good. Think of these as the barefoot answer to Chacos. Except where Chacos are like putting tractors on your feet, the Z-Trails still flex and bend as you walk, giving your feet the freedom of movement you expect from a barefoot shoe. If you’re new to barefoot shoes, read through our guide for some pointers on making the switch from tractors to your feet.

Buying adventure shoes for little kids is tough. Go too cheap, and they won’t be able to hike or enjoy themselves because of blisters and other issues. Go too expensive, and you’ve blown big bucks on shoes that will fit them for five months, tops. I usually pick up my kids’ shoes and rain jackets during the annual REI sale, but you can find sales at Amazon too. 

Altra Lone Peak 5 Trail Running Shoes

Altra Lone Peak

Photograph: REI

Altra is a small Utah-based company that makes shoes that replicate the barefoot experience as much as possible. They have zero heel-to-toe drop and a wide toebox to let your tootsies spread. This year’s iteration has a more streamlined, stitchless upper (and better colors) than last year’s, but it still has the rock plate and the big lugs on the soles. These are one of our Best Hiking Boots and Shoes picks. 

If you’re looking for one barefoot shoe to rule them all, I recommend these. Xero calls them “athleisure” shoes, which gets most of their appeal into a single word. They’re trim, light, flexible, and well ventilated, making them good for a run, but they’re also nice enough to wear around town as a causal shoe. The Prio Neo Suede, which I am wearing as I type this, are also on sale for $82 ($27 off).

My daughter lives in these boots. When she wears shoes at all, these slip-ons are the only ones she’ll wear. It does have an adjustable strap that runs from the top of the arch down to the sole and then through a buckle near the back, which means you can snug it down a little if you need to. The fit on these is pretty true to size, so unless you have a very low arch, you shouldn’t need the strap much.

Fitness and Camping Deals

Garmin Fenix 7S SapphireSolar smart watch

Photograph: Garmin

For years, multiple reviewers at WIRED have agreed: Garmin’s Fenix series is the best outdoors fitness tracker if you love every outdoor sport. It connected to multiple satellite positioning systems faster than any GPS watch I’ve ever tried, even under cloud and tree cover; it measures every biometric under the sun, collects loads of sports-specific data, is durable and sharp-looking, and has excellent battery life. During the sale, all the Garmin Fenix and Epix watches are $200 off, but you can’t apply your member coupon.

Exped is known for its durable, no-nonsense, moderately-priced outdoor gear. I’ve been testing the Typhoon pack for about a month. The rolltop closure and seam taping make it the perfect waterproof daypack, either for an extremely variable climate or if you like paddleboarding or other water sports. All Exped packs, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads are 25 percent off; I also have my eye on the Megamat for my family tent. 

I have a lot of backpacking gear, but probably the items that get the most use are these camping chairs; I’ve had versions of these that are over a decade old. This latest version is made from Bluesign-approved polyester, but it has the same basic four-leg pole design with a seat suspended via tension points. It’s pretty comfortable, easy to set up, and packs down very small. 

Garmin inReach Mini 2

Photograph: REI

Not everyone needs a satellite messenger—and having one does not mean you can call Search and Rescue if you’re scared you won’t make it back before dark. However, if you’re an experienced backpacker or mountaineer, or you frequently hike alone, you probably have an inReach Mini dangling from your backpack. As with any satellite messenger, you will have to subscribe to a safety plan, in addition to buying the device itself. If you only go on one or two big trips a year, you might want to consider a personal locator beacon (PLB) instead. 

This no-nonsense day pack is comfortable with loads up to about 10 pounds, and has plenty of pockets for organizing your gear. This is an updated model from the version my wife has been using for years, and adds the ability to remove the hip belt, which is nice for smaller, lighter loads. It’s also now made of recycled materials.

Our new guide to sleeping pads will be published soon, but in the meantime here’s a great deal on one of our favorite car camping mats. The MegaMat is a legend in some circles and for good reason, it’s a 4-inch thick, non-slip, reasonably quiet, double bed size square of comfort. The larger and wider size is also on sale for $300 ($100 off).

This is the top pick for ultralight sleeping pads in our forthcoming guide. It weighs a mere 14 ounces, packs down to a 3-inch roll, and somehow, miraculously, is super quiet to sleep on so you won’t wake your tentmates swish-swishing around all night.

Camp Stove and Gear Deals

Coleman 1900 Camping Stove

Photograph: Coleman

Coleman’s ubiquitous green camp stove has been a mainstay of campgrounds since your grandparents were kids. It’s well-built, sturdy on a table, and just works. It’s not the most powerful stove, but it’s capable of holding a low flame, simmering soups, and cooking scrambled eggs without browning them.

An upgrade from the Classic above, Coleman’s Cascade (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is our favorite luxury camp stove. It’s well-made with sturdy cast-iron cooking grates and includes a griddle and grill plate for more cooking options. The latch and handle keep it securely closed, and it’s easy to carry around. Combine that with the electronic ignition and the excellent flame control that can even simmer, and it’s hard to find anything to complain about other than the price. That’s why you buy it now, on sale.

While most campsites provide a picnic table that you can use to cook on as well, sometimes it’s nice to keep the stove away from the table, which is where this camp table comes in. It’s not huge (a 27-inch square), but it’s enough room to stick your stove and have a little space left over for fee prep.

Nemo Helio Pressure Shower

Photograph: Nemo

Why do you need to shower outside, you ask? This is video producer Alicia Cocchi’s favorite piece of surf gear, for easily rinsing off skin-irritating sunscreen and salt when you’re heading off the beach. My son has extremely sensitive skin that gets red and rashy after a few days of camping, so we’ll be picking up one of these this year. 

This is the time of year when we all go through our camping bins and discover that every water bottle we owned has somehow walked away between the ski lodge and the gym. REI’s Nalgene’s are cute, classic, and oh so cheap. This latest iteration is made from Tritan Renew, a recycled, BPA-free resin, is dishwasher-safe, and has a wide mouth for fitting in ice cubes. 

We wrote about these for 2022’s Wish List, and I still have two. They’re made from a light microsuede, soft enough to wipe noses with and tie around your neck but absorbent enough to suck up a whole water bottle if you accidentally forget to screw the top on tightly when you throw it in your climbing bag. 

Domestic Water Jug

Photograph: REI

Dometic’s Go jug has two features that set it above the average plastic water jug: the large opening that allows you to reach inside and clean it and the spigot that screws in when you want to dispense it. If you really want to get fancy you can add the pump faucet for $80 ($20 off) to turn it into a running water system.

I was skeptical of this when it first came out but have since become a convert. Fill the water bottle and press to filter out not only viruses, giardia, and protozoa but also off flavors and odors. This is a great way to keep from buying single-use bottled water when you’re traveling. 

GoalZero Nomad 10

Photograph: GoalZero

This 100-watt folding panel set is one of the most compact options we’ve tested. It’s not the cheapest—you typically pay more for compactness—but if you’re short on space, this is our top pick in our forthcoming solar panel guide.

This is the most compact of Goal Zero’s portable power stations. It’s also the lightest and easiest to carry around. It holds 187 watt-hours, which is enough to keep phones and tablets charged up on your next trip. It pairs well with the Nomad 100 solar panels above if you’re going to be away for a longer period of time and need to recharge.

With over 3,000 watt-hours, this massive power station can keep your life running even when the grid isn’t. There’s a wide range of plug options, including AC plugs to power your refrigerator or power tools and charge up ebikes and whatever else you need to fend off the zombies. If they just keep coming (and zombies always do), the even bigger Yeti 6000X is on sale for $4,800 ($1,200 off).

Tents and Sleeping Bag Deals

REI Half Dome SL2 tent

Photograph: REI

This is your chance to save on our favorite two-person tent. It’s rugged, easy to set up, and offers generous living space for two with gear. The mesh design, when coupled with the rain fly and good staking, will stand up to storms and not roast you when camping in the midsummer heat. The dual doors with dual vestibules ensure you aren’t climbing over your partner in the middle of the night. The only real drawback is the vestibules, which are on the small side.

Big Agnes tent

Photograph: Big Agnes

Our favorite ultralight backpacking tent, the Big Agnes Copper Spur series is tough to beat. I’ve used both the two-person and four-person models over the years, and Big Agnes has continually refined the design to the point that I have nothing left to complain about. We recently tried the updated one-person Copper Spur (8/10 WIRED Recommends) and loved it. If you can afford it, this is one of the best tents on the market.

I tested the one-person version of this tent, the Alto TR1 (8/10, WIRED Recommends), and surprised myself with how much I liked Sea to Summit’s first entry into tent-making. The Alto is a semi-freestanding design—meaning some guy lines are required to maintain the full shape of the tent—but it remained rock-steady in high winds and there’s above-average headroom. This is a premium tent, and you pay for the fact that it weighs a scant 3 pounds, 4.3 ounces. But alongside the Big Agnes Copper Spur, it’s among the very best three-season tents on the market.

I don’t get to do many solo trips these days, but when I do this is the tent I want. It’s super light (just over 2 pounds) yet roomy and comfortable. It guys out very securely, and the steep sidewalls and decent headroom make it feel larger than it is. It’s also made of the same chemical-free fabrics as the Dagger below.

Nemo Osmo Dagger Tent on blue backdrop

Photograph: Nemo

Nemo’s Dagger Osmo 3P tent (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is one of my favorites. It’s incredibly sturdy, well-made, and lightweight. That is pricey, and if you’re into a million pockets and interior organizational options there are better tents. But if you want a light, virtually bombproof shelter to see you through the night, this is a great option. We also like that it’s made of 100 percent recycled nylon and polyester yarns, with no flame-retardant chemicals or fluorinated water repellents (PFC and PFAS).

Don’t let the name fool you. The Blizzards can be used for both snow and sand. As you head into the deserts, you’ll find that standard tent pegs don’t stay put very well in deep, shifting sand. You need wider stakes. With the Blizzards’ greater surface area, they’re better at resisting pulling out. The quality of these lightweight-but-tough aluminum stakes impressed me after deflecting a few ill-placed strikes by my fellow climbers with their metal shovels, so I know they can take a beating. You can also buy them individually for $7 ($3 off).

REI Magma Sleeping Bag

REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag

Photograph: REI

I’ve been testing sleeping bags for over two years (guide forthcoming), but when I need a bag that can handle just about everything, this is the bag I reach for most often. It’s warm enough for those iffy shoulder season trips, but not overbearing in the summer (when I often use it as a blanket rather than bag. It is a little on the small side, it might be worth trying it out at your local REI if you’re unsure, but overall this is a very good deal on a very good sleeping bag.

Yeah, it’s summer in the northern hemisphere, but those nighttime temperatures can still drop low enough to chill you. Still, you don’t need a full-blown three-season sleeping bag. For summer hikes and camping, I use the NanoWave 55. It’s warm without being too warm, its synthetic insulation dries out quickly during the day, and it weighs practically nothing and packs down to the size of a fist.

Biking, Climbing, and Water Sports Deals

It’s biking season! Don’t forget to check out our guides to the Best Bike Accessories and the Best Electric Bikes. 

Burley Encore X

Photograph: REI

I liked the Burley trailer’s moderate price point and ease of use when I tested it several years ago; I had some concerns about its durability, but it’s slimmer and easier to assemble and pack down (and much cheaper) than the Thule Chariot. It needs a lot of attachments to make it useful, but luckily, all Burley trailers, accessories, and strollers are 20 percent off. 

Thousand’s helmets are standard for anyone who wants to casually bike around town without looking like a committed biking dingus. It has the multidirectional impact protection system), which protects your noggin against rotational forces during an impact, along with delightful Thousand features like a pop-out loop to lock it to your bike, plus lights and a visor. 

I feel obligated to inform you that if your little one is ready to start on a bike with pedals, there are probably dozens of newly outgrown bikes floating around your neighborhood for free. The main reason to go with REI’s kids’ bikes (besides this very reasonable price) is to take advantage of REI’s in-house shop services, which are quick and extremely affordable for co-op members. I’ve spent only $20 for a new tube in more than three years of getting my daughter’s bike serviced. 

If you haven’t picked up paddleboarding, let this be the summer. It’s a low-key, versatile sport that lets you dunk your feet, get a workout, or explore hidden corners of a marsh. Gilbertson says this board (7/10, WIRED Recommends) packs up small, is stable enough for beginners, and has lots of fun accessories.

These dry bags from Sea to Summit have double-stitched, tape-sealed seams that have held up well over the years. I also really like the external lash loops that make it easy to strap to anything with a tie-down anchor, like the Bote paddleboard above.

Scarpa Origin shoe

Scarpa Origin Climbing Shoes

Photograph: Scarpa

These are great shoes for beginners. They’re much less aggressive—your foot is flatter and much less flexed than it would be in a more aggressive climbing shoe. These are comfortable, they smear well, and they last for quite a while.

Time to replace your carabiners? Or maybe you just want to lighten the load on your harness? These Dyons are only 33 grams each and have a unique hybrid gate that tapers into a single, thick wire at the opening end, which allows for a snag-free hook that won’t catch on gear loops and ropes. 

Leave it to the Italians to make a piece of ordinarily nondescript gear into a fashion statement. Whether you want leopard print, rainbow, (faux) python skin, or plain ol’ black, the Trend offers four gear loops for plenty of carabiners, a sturdy belay loop, and padded leg loops for comfort. Plus, it’s Grivel, one of the originators of climbing equipment, so it’s dependable and fully tested to a safe standard.

9 Best Electric Kettles (2023): Gooseneck, Temperature Control, Cheap

9 Best Electric Kettles (2023): Gooseneck, Temperature Control, Cheap

If you don’t have an electric kettle in your kitchen, you’re missing out. Not only are these appliances slightly more energy-efficient than using a stovetop, but they’re portable and boil water more quickly. These days, electric kettles come in various sizes with different kinds of spouts, and you’ll often find models with customizable temperature settings too—allowing you to set the perfect brew temp for your pour-over coffee or loose-leaf tea.

But there are a lot of electric kettles out there. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck or one that’s particularly great for coffee, we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve been using over a dozen models in our lives over the past year to find out what’s the best and what’s junk. These are our favorite electric kettles worthy of your countertop.

For more kitchen guides, check out the Best Espresso Machines, the Best Latte & Cappucino Makers, the Best Air Fryers and the Best Chef’s Knives.

Updated May 2023: We’ve added the Breville IQ, KitchenAid Pro Line, Wolf Gourmet True Temperature and Hay Sowden kettles.

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