In a bit over a month we’ll be headed down to the Outer Banks for our first beach trip as a new family! (That exclamation point can be interpreted two ways; excitement and petrification. Both of which I am experiencing.)
Originally it was supposed to be we three and my mom, stepdad and younger sister and brother but they decided that a shorter, closer beach trip worked better for them. Then we decided that the three of us would go alone but still get a beach house as opposed to a room at a hotel. (It literally costs the same!) However…the week we decided to book our house my stepdads’ brother and wife tossed out that they would love to go with us sans their kids (who were apparently very difficult on their first trip to the Outer Banks earlier this year) and we happily agreed. Kicker? We ended up renting the exact same house with them as we did with my mom last year. Funny how things work out. 🙂
We love to be on the beach for hours, but we don’t love all the heavy beach gear. I have always looked for ways to minimize effort and maximize comfort not only for hauling gear back and forth, but for hanging out at the beach all day. This is especially true now that we have a baby and plans for more kids in the near future.
When I shop for any kind of long term gear (not just beach gear) I make a list of what is important for what that item will mainly be used for. For the beach that list is as follows:
must be water AND sand proof
must be lightweight AND easy to carry
must be compact
must keep our beach space neat and organized
bonus if it is dual purpose
After HOURS of searching, we have ended up with quite a few products that we would highly recommend for your next beach trip.
1. Tommy Bahama Beach Chairs
It’s a chair! It’s a backpack! It’s a cooler! It’s the best beach invention ever! No, seriously. It IS the best beach invention ever. Last year when it was just my husband and myself we didn’t even have to use a beach bag or cooler because all of our stuff fit inside the pouches. We were able to fit: sunscreen, a book (per backpack), our towels (more on that later), snacks such as granola bars, extra water and our lunches for the day which included a sandwich, a bottled soda, a personal bag of chips and a few more small snacky items. All of that on our backs with no need for a beach bag or cooler!
2. Tommy Bahama Beach Umbrella
Literally the only thing we had to carry to the beach and even then, it comes with a bag that has a strap. My favorite parts of this umbrella are that it is SUPER sturdy with wind vents so it won’t get caught up in a strong breeze and that it tilts, making it easy to reposition the umbrella without completely moving it.
3. Parachute Beach Blanket
This has to be the second best beach invention ever. Towels get covered in sand and they’re just not big enough and some beach mats can get extremely hot. This blanket does neither – it’s sand proof and water resistant and squishes up to the size of a wallet for easy transport. One year Jeremy did not get back from the bathroom fast enough as the tide was coming in and our blanket got completely soaked; we held it up for 5 minutes in the beach wind and it was completely dry!
4. Pole-R-Bear Umbrella Hooks
As dumb as a flexible ring of hooks sounds, it actually keeps your beach space so much neater. We use it to hang our towels, beach cover ups, hats and extra gear; it keeps them out of the way, out of the sand and dries them much faster than just being on the ground. Bonus: you can install it once and just close it up in your umbrella.
5. Microfiber Beach Towel
No, they’re not as warm and soft to wrap up in but they are 100% better than a traditional towel. They’re super compact (even the largest beach towel size takes up no more room than a large water bottle), lightweight and they dry so fast! They may not be the most cozy option but as far as space goes (especially if you have a large family) they give you the most bang for your buck.
6. Beach Tent
This may be overkill for some of you, but with the intentions of having a house full of kids, we figured it was our best option. We still love having our chairs and umbrella for the two of us, but kids need safe spaces to nap or chill or whatever. We are planning on purchasing this tent for our trip. With only one child as of right now, my plan is to use a portion of the tent to keep our extra stuff corralled and the other half as Elias’ space to lounge and nap.
7. Beach Baby Sling
We have an Ergo – one of our splurge baby items – and although it is one of my favorite baby items ever, it is NOT sand or waterproof. Not to mention, having baby pressed up against you with no ventilation gets hot as Satans’, well, you know. This baby sling is made up of mesh so it will allow us to be in the water, get rid of sand easier, get some air flow and, most importantly, keep the Ergo off the beach.
8. Mesh Beach Bag
Babies mean more stuff. The beach means sand. Sand + diaper bag = no bueno. Our diaper bag is by no means a super fancy, super expensive diaper bag, but it’s clean. As much as I don’t like extra stuff hanging around, the beach is one area I don’t mess around; I won’t risk our regular baby stuff getting covered in sand and ocean water because that is more hassle than just having an extra set of beach and pool gear.
Do you have any favorite beach gear I left out? Let me know!
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