Hot stuff: Summer gadget guide 2012

We scoured the latest crop of cameras, camping equipment, fitness trackers and more to find the best summer-ready gadgets and gizmos. While they may not change your digital life, they will help you explore the outdoors and perhaps even improve your golf game.

Pivothead video recording sunglasses
Credit: Pivothead
Pivothead video recording sunglasses

Available in four models and several colors, the $349 Pivothead sunglasses offer an unusual feature: You can press a button on the frames forward to record videos or backward to snap photos from the built-in 8-megapixel camera, located between the lenses. Video records in 1080p MP4 HD at 30 frames per second or in 720p at 60fps. A red indicator blinks continually for video; it flashes to confirm a photo snap.

You can connect the shades to your computer for an array of shooting options. In my tests, the sunglasses, which have a 75-degree viewing angle and use a continuous autofocus, lasted about two hours on one charge for occasional use over an afternoon. The polarized, 100% UV-blocking shades are impact resistant but not waterproof.

BioLite CampStove
Credit: BioLite
BioLite CampStove

Priced at $129, BioLite CampStove is not intended primarily as a phone charger -- it's mostly for boiling water and cooking food. But it handily converts heat from its fire into electricity, and it has a USB port. You can fill it with wood chips or small branches, light the stove and charge away.

The 8.25-in.-tall, 2-lb. stove can boil a pot of water in less than five minutes; an outside fan attachment fuels the fire with a steady stream of air. In my tests with a full load of twigs, the stove pumped out enough power to charge an iPhone 4's battery from 50% to full in about an hour. (Your charging rate will depend greatly on how well you keep the fire stoked.)

Eton Rukus Solar Bluetooth stereo
Credit: Eton
Eton Rukus Solar Bluetooth stereo

For tunes on the go, the Eton Rukus Solar stereo uses an eternal power source: the sun. Measuring about 12 x 8 in. and weighing just under 5 lbs., it plays music over an A2DP Bluetooth wireless connection from any tablet or smartphone.

There's a sturdy carrying handle, a USB port for charging your phone, an auxiliary input for any MP3 player, a crisp e-ink display and large solar panels on one side. The stereo costs $150, but you'll rarely need to buy batteries. (On cloudy days, you can use four AA backups.)

In my tests, throaty vocals from Anya Marina sounded decent, without a heavy bass, and the Rukus lasted all day at the beach.

Motorola MotoActv fitness tracker
Credit: Motorola
Motorola MotoActv fitness tracker

The Motorola Motoactv is ideal for exercise hounds. The fitness tracking watch with MP3 player and GPS tracker has a 1.6-in. Gorilla Glass touch display that I found highly readable even in direct sunlight. Water-resistant and sweat-proof, it counts your steps and tracks calories burned, speed, heart rate and more.

You can send your workout data over Wi-Fi to the Motoactv website. Here you can set goals, map your runs and share your workout history with friends.

In my tests, the watch lasted about 9 hours on a charge. On the downside, the display dims after 30 minutes, so you have to press a button to see the time. With 8GB of memory, the Motoactv costs $200; the 16GB version costs $250.

Fujifilm FinePix F600EXR digital camera
Credit: Fujifilm
Fujifilm FinePix F600EXR digital camera

Fujifilm's FinePix F600EXR camera, available online for about $200, is a top pick for summer excursions. In addition to geotagging photos automatically, the F600EXR's built-in GPS can show nearby points of interest like museums and golf courses. They show up as icons in the display window with the distance from your current location.

The ruggedized 16-megapixel camera can record 1080p H.264 HD video, and it's waterproof and shock-resistant. I was impressed with the 15x optical zoom, which let me capture everything from scenic vistas to on-field action at sporting events. The camera uses image-stabilization, quick-focus, bracketing and color-mapping technologies to make shots look more professional. There's even a video mode that mimics rich Hollywood film color quality.

Bushnell Pro 1M rangefinder
Credit: Bushnell
Bushnell Pro 1M rangefinder

For $499, the Bushnell Pro 1M is a spendy golf aid but one that might dramatically improve your game. You can press a button on the rangefinder's white and black hard case to quickly see the distance to the tee from up to one mile away. This helps you pick the right club for drives and chip shots.

The Pro 1M's PinSeeker technology automatically shuts out background imagery like water and sand hazards for better accuracy to the pin. I found the distance readout to be very readable even in bright sunshine. The device is waterproof, has a lens coating to repel rainwater, and runs for months on one 3-volt battery.

ZBoard powered skateboard
Credit: ZBoard
ZBoard powered skateboard

No more carrying a skateboard uphill: The ZBoard's 400-watt electric motor can propel you at about 15mph. You control the speed of the 40-in.-long powered skateboard by pressing on the front and rear sensors. The harder you push in front, the faster you go; push back to brake.

There are two models, both due to ship in July: The ZBoard Classic (pre-order price: $499) weighs about 37 lbs. and lasts for 5 miles on a charge, while the slightly speedier ZBoard Pro (pre-order price: $749) weighs 30 lbs. and lasts for about 10 miles on a charge. Recharging either takes about 5 hours, but when you brake, you also charge the motor, since it uses regenerative braking.

Moby1 C2 Compact/Cycle trailer
Credit: Moby1 Expedition Trailers
Moby1 C2 Compact/Cycle trailer

Teardrop trailers are typically small and light, but we never thought we'd see one you can pull with a motorcycle.

Enter the Moby1 C2 Compact/Cycle. Built with a light but sturdy anodized aluminum shell, the 80-in.-long trailer weighs just 300 lbs., yet manages to house a twin bed, a tiny alcove for your laptop, and shelving units for clothing and other gear. To the rear of the trailer is a kitchen area with space for a camp stove.

The $5,500 base model is 40 in. wide; there's also a 48-in.-wide version. But wait before buying -- an updated design is coming in a few weeks, according to the company. Moby1 offers larger models and custom-built units as well; see pricing info and add-ons.