Jun 04, 2013 02:41AM ● Published by Erin Frisch
Summer means long, lazy hours in the sunshine at your favorite beach, pool, or even a grassy park. It is definitely not the time to worry about whether you’ve got the essential items you need to keep you comfortable and safe in the sun. Read the tips below, then gather all the essentials so they are in one place and easy to grab whenever the sun is shining and you’re ready to play or relax in the heat.
The first thing you’ll need is a handy carryall. Make it a large, sturdy tote that’s easy to clean. The Dylan Beach Tote from Pottery Barn is stylish and roomy. Land’s End makes a classic canvas Large Tote Bag with several handy inner pockets. This bag can also be monogrammed so you’re sure not to lose it at a busy beach or pool. If you’re looking to save some money on a tote, check out this simple black bag from Target for just $9.99.
Now that you’ve chosen the perfect bag, it’s time to fill it!
FIRST UP: SUN SAFETY
Be sure to stock your beach bag with an effective sunscreen. There are many products on the market to choose from, so be sure to read the labels to find one that is right for you. The American Cancer Society recommends sunscreens with broad-spectrum protection (against UVA and UVB rays) and with sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher. Don’t forget to add a lip balm that also provides sun protection.
Protect yourself from the photo-aging effects of the sun with a large-brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face and neck. There are many great styles to choose from. Check out this one from Anthropologie and this one from the San Diego Hat Company. Don’t forget sun protection for your eyes with the right pair of sunglasses. Choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Avoid those that fail to mention details about UV protection. Look for a wrap-around style with wide lenses to protect your eyes from every angle. For sensitive skin, a stylish swimsuit cover-up or even a rash guard will offer greater protection from sun and wind.
You’ll want to be sure to pack lots of water to stay hydrated while you’re hanging out in the sun. Remember, if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Choose a stylish bottle that’s eco-friendly and easy to clean, and keep it within reach. New insulated styles can keep water cold for hours. Nalgene has been a maker of durable water bottles for a long time now and offers many sizes and styles to choose from. Tervis also makes a great variety of tumblers and spill-proof lids. These bottles are great because they don't “sweat,” keeping your bag and all its contents dry.
Every good beach bag needs a great beach towel. You can find a huge variety of colorful, sturdy beach towels at stores like Target, Wal-Mart, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Or perhaps you’d rather share a huge beach towel like the ones you can find at WowTowel, or one that rolls up and includes a pillow like this one from Sears. One additional option is an all-weather picnic blanket like the ones sold at Amazon.com.
A great pair of flip-flops is perfect for the pool or beach, so be sure to pack yours! Old Navy has a huge selection of colors, and at those prices you can have a pair to complement every outfit. If you prefer a little more structure to your flip-flops, check out these made by Reef and Teva.
A few other things you might consider including in your summer essentials bag are some snacks, a mini cooler, and a hot summer novel. And don’t forget that perfect swimsuit!
Laid-back summer fun is on its way. Be ready for it!