21 things you need for the perfect long weekend
Make your three days out of the office count.
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I'm a strong believer that every weekend should be a three-day weekend (how else are you supposed to run errands and have some semblance of a social life?!). But because that sadly will never be the case, I live for the few long weekends we do get: Labor Day, Memorial Day, President's Day, the works.
And that also means that when one of those rare three-day weekends rolls around, I try to make the most of it. And these 21 things—all of which you can get on Amazon—will help you do just that. Whether you're vacationing or staycationing, here's to enjoying that extra day off.
1. Our number one luggage
If you're a notorious over-packer like I am, you know the struggle that is trying to fit everything you could ever possibly need into a small carry-on. Even for a quick getaway, you need a full-sized suitcase. This one from Travelpro is our experts' top pick because its easy to navigate through crowded airports (spinning wheels for the win!) and can expand an additional two inches so you can squeeze in every last pair of shoes.
2. This cooler that keeps things cold for up to 14 days
One thing that's necessary no matter what your weekend plans are is plenty of ice cold beverages. We put some of the top cooler brands to the test and found that the OtterBox Venture Cooler was the best at keeping its contents cool the longest (it's even better than Yeti!). Plus, its design and lock-latching system make it both leak-proof and very versatile.
3. This cult-favorite instant camera
The holiday weekend may only last three days, but your memories will hopefully last even longer. At least they will if you have the Instax Mini 90. We named it the best instant camera because of its seemingly endless features including macro mode and a double exposure setting and its long battery life.
4. These grill tongs every pitmaster needs
Flip burgers with ease? Check. Grab veggies securely? Check. It's all possible with our experts' preferred grill tongs. They are comfortable to hold (so your hands won't get tired when you're standing over the grill all afternoon) and have a no-slip grip so your food will end up where it belongs—on your plate—instead of on the ground.
5. This top-rated portable charger
While we recommend putting your phone on airplane mode until Tuesday morning and step away from your email inbox, we also know you might need your phone for taking pictures, navigating to your getaway destination, or blasting your perfectly curated playlist. In that case, you'll want this portable charger, which is our No. 1 pick because it's affordable and has a high capacity to charge your phone multiple times before the pack itself needs to be re-juiced.
6. This incredibly effective bug spray
Hanging out in the backyard with your friends is all fun and games until you wake up the next morning covered in itchy bug bites. Keep the mosquitos away with Amazon's best-selling insect repellant, which customers praise for providing long-lasting coverage (without the gross smell or sticky residue) and being DEET-free.
7. This koozie from the internet's favorite cooler brand
Yeti has a reputation for making some of the best coolers on the market. And the brand's take on a koozie—made with double-wall vacuum insulation—is equally good at keeping your drinks cold (or hot!). Available in a varietu of colors, the Colster has over 2,000 5-star reviews for being super durable and effective at chilling both cans and bottles.
8. This Bluetooth speaker you can take anywhere
No matter what you're listening to this weekend (I'll have the new Taylor Swift album on repeat, obviously), it'll sound much better coming from a Bluetooth speaker instead of the pathetic excuse for a speaker that your iPhone has. We like the JBL Flip 4 because it's good quality, mostly waterproof and has a longer battery life than most other speakers.
9. This best-selling travel pillow
Long car rides or flights are a lot more bearable when you can sleep through them. But leaning against the window isn't exactly ideal (hello, stiff neck). This travel pillow—which is the number one travel pillow on Amazon—will help with that. With hundreds of positive reviews, it's popular because it's made of memory foam and provides superior support for your neck while still being incredibly comfortable.
10. These cubes to help you pack smarter
My method of packing is throw everything in my suitcase an hour before I leave and pray nothing spills or gets too wrinkled in the process. A better solution would be to use these packing cubes, which our experts dubbed the best of the year. For less than $50, you'll get six cubes in four different sizes, each one very lightweight and compact so they'll fit snugly inside your suitcase.
11. This water bottle you'll fall in love with
Even if your weekend plans include just lounging on your back porch with a good book, hydration is key (and no, beer doesn't count). When we tested this Hydro Flask water bottle, it kept ice unmelted well past the 24-hour mark. Bonus: You can rotate caps to whichever style you prefer, from straw lids to flip-top lids.
12. This margarita maker for delicious drinks
Growing up as the daughter of Jimmy Buffett's biggest fan (hi, Dad!), I know that it's always 5 o' clock somewhere. And I also know that life is a lot better with a margarita in hand, which this cocktail machine will make happen. It received glowing reviews for its automatic "Shave n' Blend" mode which produces a pitcher of frozen margaritas with just the press of a button.
13. This car organizer to make your road trip easier
One of the most common questions on a road trip (besides "are we there yet?") is "where are the snacks/tissues/map/etc.?" The answer: in this over-the-seat organizer, which has pockets for everything from water bottles to tablets. Happy customers like that it's easy to install—it fits most seats and has adjustable straps—and is made from high-quality, durable material.
14. This bonfire game-changer
There are regular bonfires and then there are bonfires with multicolored flames. All you need for a rainbow fire is this flame colorant, which has hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon. Happy campers (literally) like that the vibrant hues last for about an hour and that it's easy to use—all you have to do is toss an unopened pouch into your fire and let the magic happen.
15. This wildly popular outdoor game
Fun fact: One of my proudest moments was the day I won my town's annual corn hole tournament. It's a game I'll play anytime, anywhere—whether it's at the beach or at a tailgate or just in the backyard. But your standard boards aren't exactly easy to tote around, which is why you need this portable set if you're taking your corn hole set on the go. Not only does it provide endless entertainment, but people also love that it's super lightweight and easy to carry.
16. This strap so you never lose your sunglasses again
I can't even begin to tell you the number of pairs of sunglasses I've lost in my 28 years of life. Basically, all those times I've been boating or swimming or hiking, I definitely could have benefited from a strap like this one from Chums. It has nearly 1,000 5-star reviews praising the adjustable cotton retainer for being comfortable, lightweight, and able to fit almost all standard sunglass frames.
17. This carry-on bag that our experts swear by
Sometimes you just don't want to deal with the hassle or cost of checking a bag (and for a three-day weekend, you really shouldn't have to). Instead, use our favorite carry-on luggage, which is small enough to stow in the overhead bins yet spacious enough to fit all of your travel essentials. Bonus: It also has a built-in USB port so you can charge your devices on the fly—no pun intended.
18. This multipurpose outdoor blanket
Whether you want to relax on the beach or take a picnic to the park, make sure you have this popular blanket with you. Not only is it waterproof and windproof, but it's also machine washable and large enough to fit the whole family. Reviewers also rave that it's thick enough to provide padding when you sit on it and warmth when you use it to cover up.
19. This gadget to make the juiciest burgers
The only thing better than burgers is burgers stuffed with gooey cheese. That's what you'll be able to make with this non-stick press, which grillers say is easy to use and makes perfectly proportioned burgers every time. One reviewer even wrote that she'll never go back to non-stuffed burgers again while another said he's now called the "burger God" by his friends.
20. This protective passport cover
If you're jetting off to Cozumel for a tropical escape or hopping across the pond for a whirlwind trip to Paris, you'll need your passport. And more importantly, you'll need a safe place to keep it. Like this cover/wallet combo, which has RFID-blocking technology so people can't steal your personal information. Avid travelers praise it for being both sturdy and stylish and having enough room to store their ID, credit cards, and boarding passes as well.
21. This hammock everyone is obsessed with
A hammock is a hammock, right? Actually no, according to the 5,000-plus reviews of the Vivere Hammock, which some users even call "life-changing." The Reviewed staff was so intrigued that we put it to the test—and found that it's just as comfortable, durable, and easy to assemble as everyone says. You may never want to leave your hammock come Tuesday morning.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.