Essential Gear for a Perfect Day at the Beach
Even if it's only a day, I'd take a day at the beach right about now. But a week, or a month, at the beach would be even better. And what would I take when I take a day at the beach? Only the most essential gear.
Oh, and a snorkeling mask, a sand-free beach mat, an ultra-sweat-absorbing beach towel, a giant pink flamingo raft that fits four, a portable charcoal grill that gives off zero smoke, my game of Spikeball, mucho tunes, and boooooze! Plenty of booze.
Here are my picks for the essential gear you'll need for a perfect ay at the beach.
Note: Beach gear prices are listed as they were at printing. Prices are subject to change.
Titanium Bottle Opener Sunglasses
From forth the loins of fine eyewear peddler William Painter comes this pair of titanium UV shields with bottle opener arms. No matter where you are, if you're protecting your eyes from the sun, you'll be able to crack open a cold one, and protect your through from the thirst.
The sunglasses are carved out aerospace-grade titanium frames that are then anodized twice and powder coated to combat scratching and chafing. Polarized lenses are made from Cr-39 material to support lightness and durability, and can also be swapped out for prescription inserts. My estimation, based on the rockin' pair I have, is that William Painters will withstand being sat on once or twice as well.
Zinka Neon Sunscreen
You can still put the majority of your exposed epidermis on the boat, the Banana Boat, but why not decorate a few choice parts of yourself like a tribal warrior, a luchador, Deadpool, or the nostalgic child of the 80s you are with this most excellent SPF warpaint?
Zinka's neon sunscreen picks up where Panama Jack left off with tubes of opaque zinc oxides dyed all the colors of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' eye masks, and Debbie Gibson's electric youth.
YETI Hopper Portable Cooler
Surprisingly, a smaller, softer-skinned YETI, plus that fact that you'll have to schlep the Hopper solo and slung over your shoulder, does not make it less expensive than the big ol' Tundra cooler. It does make it more portable though.
YETI Hopper coolers come in 20-, 30-, and 40-liter sizes. They're made of a DryHide Shell that is puncture-resistant, leak-proof, and lined with an mildew-resistant anti-microbial interior. Hopper sides have 1" of ColdCell insulation, and the bottom 1.5" that, along with a watertight HydroLok zipper, delivers YETI's trademark longterm cooling without leakage.
Cooler exteriors are made of materials that come from the likes of hazmat suits and whitewater rafts, so they'll be stand up to all the bumps, drops, tosses, fish guts, and projectile vomits after one too many that come their way.
Easybreath Snorkeling Mask
While the Easybreath mask carries the same depth restrictions as standard snorkels, it removes some of the difficulty and nuisance that comes with breathing through a tube underwater. First, there is no tube. Instead of biting down on a chunky, intrusive mouthpiece that may or may not be laced with MRSA, snorkelers fit Easybreath's panoramic full-face mask over their heads. This enables flippering fully submerged through water while breathing normally through both nose and mouth. Despite its extensive coverage, the mask retains a 180-degree field of vision.
Tribord also fitted its Easybreath with the same double airflow system used in domestic extraction fans to prevent mask fogging. And to preclude water from infiltrating the snorkel, the mask, and the human lungs, Easybreath has a built-in component that automatically plugs the top end of the snorkel when it's immersed.
Nalu Hybrid Stand Up/Sit Down Paddleboard
At 11' long, the Nalu is a stable and maneuverable board that serves standers and sitters with equal enthusiasm. Rather than a typical flat platform/surfboard design, this hybrid has hollowed out a set of padded foot wells and a molded-in seating area for comfortable use on either two feet or two cheeks. It also features a wave-piercing displacement style bow and broad planning hull with integral tri-fin to make coasting through oceans and rivers an easy task from both positions, and for any skill level. The Nalu SUP is highly recommended for beginners and people who are active but cannot stand for long periods of time, plus for use on days with a lot of wind or otherwise choppy waters.
Pakayak - Packable Kayak
Despite its Russian doll appearance, Pakayak construction differs little from that of the most respected kayaks available today. The segmented boats are made of kayak-specific plastic resin and interlock with a 275-pound capacity strength and watertight construction. The resilient design follows one that has already shown success in the SCUBA industry--it also makes underwater dive cameras and dive lights possible. Pakayak sections maintain their seal with a 4-point clamping technology that also creates bulkheads at the connection points. The company says these bulkheads actually increase the overall strength of the boat because they are stronger than the hull itself.
Pakayaks should take no more than 5 minutes to assemble, and during use they should feel and paddle just like a traditional kayak. Nested dimensions are 42" long x 24" wide x 16" high. Assembled dimensions are 168" long x 24" wide x 16" high. The cockpit measures 18" x 24". Weight is 55 pounds.
Sand-Free Beach Mat
I would like it very much if CGear's Sand-Free Multimat stayed sand-free by emitting an invisible dome barrier that repelled...no, forcefully rejected all granular compounds...and children...that got within a foot of it. But I think it accomplishes the task with its porous, frictionless surface, which encourages sand to fall through its top layer without adhering instead. Days at the beach, camping trips, picnics, and apparently helicopter landings can all benefit from the sand-eschewing multimat. Available in sizes Small through XLarge.
LotusGrill - Smokeless Charcoal Grill
This Australian 'cuein' contraption claims to enable anytime, anywhere grilling not only without the choking, and blind, watering eyes, and permeating odor of smoke, but also without the time commitment and mad wads of charcoal similar grills require.
The beach-friendly LotusGrill's hyper-efficient built-in fan (battery operated) creates a "bellows effect" that cuts 30- to 45-minute grill times down to 3 to 5 minutes, plus harnesses heat and infuses smoky flavor with 10% of the amount of charcoal a traditional grill requires.
Ostrich Chaise Lounge
Normally the idea of burying one's head in the sand carries a negative connotation, but in the case of this beach-ready lounge chair, pulling an ostrich will produce nothing but the pleasant results of full-body comfort, book and gadget accessibility, an even tan and, for the bootylicious, admiring ogles from passersby. The Ostrich chaise lounge sports a patented open/close face cavity so users can position themselves belly-down on the chair without cutting off oxygen flow, passing out, and ruining their day in the sun. It also has a pillowy face cradle for added relaxation, plus a pair of arm slots to facilitate flipping pages or pecking at touchscreens.
Sand-Off! Sand-Removing Beach Mitt
Sand belongs on the beach, not plastered to your feet, legs, hands, back, and...crevices. The worst is when you use an outdoor shower to rinse it off and then take two steps and What the... find it all back all over you again. No, wait. The worst is when you try to use a towel or T-shirt to wipe it off and only end up spreading over more skin surface area and into more bodily crevices.
The Sand-Off! Powder-Infused Beach Mitt has a mesh top and a terry cloth bottom, the latter with a miraculous layer of powder housed inside.
OK, maybe it's not that miraculous. Really, the Sand-Off! gets its sand-blasting power from the equivalent of baby powder. But it still works very well, even when sand and skin are wet, sweaty, and/or covered in sunscreen.
Alligator Beach Towel Anchor Stakes
I don't know if these Beach Towel Anchor Stakes are alligators or crocodiles, but I do know they look ready to take a bite out of some terry cloth, and tell the wind to Blow it! this summer.
The stakes drive down into the sand, and then chomp down on the corners of your towel to prevent them from flipping up or blowing off on windy days.
SeaSnug Beach & Sand Socks
A hot, sandy beach. Ahhh, it's so good. And then when you get up to walk into the ocean, it hurts so good. And then when you head over to play some pickup volleyball it...just hurts. Seavenger's SeaSnug Sports Socks block the scorch of the sand and make sure the sun's heat index doesn't interfere with your day at the beach's chill factor.
SeaSnug socks' Lyra uppers and rigid Neoprene soles also protect feet from broken shells and other sharp, pokey objects so you may be more comfortable tide pooling, beach combing, playing sports, and snorkeling in them too.
Party Bird Giant Pink Flamingo Island Raft
From lawn ornament to drink holder to raft the size of an automobile. It's taken it 5 decades*, but at last, the flamingo has achieved the pinnacle of commercial success.
*Sculptor Donald Featherstone created the pink flamingo lawn ornament in 1957.
Monster Towel - World's Biggest Beach Towel
World's Orgy-est Beach Towel! Oh, uh, I mean, the World's Biggest Beach Towel! At least that's what the people who make the 10' x 10' Monster say. I haven't tried one, but I'll grant that it appears to fit 5 normal-sized, supine-lying adults quite comfortably. And if one happens to roll over...things get even more comfy!
Take a volleyball. Shrink it down and tie a patch of its net to a trampoline frame. No, not a big trampoline that your mama says will crack your skull open if you fall off, one of those little round ones people use to work out. Now find 3 other athletic, or at least semi-coordinated people, preferably trash talkers who have had too much Red Bull, and split into 2 teams. There. You're ready to play Spikeball.
The Wonder Cart Table & Beach Cart
Calling this beach gear cart and table combo The Wonder Cart might be a bit of an overstatement. Sure, it's handy to be able to use the carrier to schlep all your towels and floats to the perfect spot, and then flip it facedown to hold your drinks, eat your lunch, and play a game of pinocle in the sand. I mean, I myself am good only for the schlepping half of that equation (despite my almost-wife, She-Ra: Princess of Power, regularly trying to use me facedown for the other half) so The Wonder Cart is better than I am.
Ultimate Ears Megaboom Waterproof Speaker
Ultimate Ears makes "speakers for people, not rooms." That means the UE Megaboom is primed for movement. Travels abroad, travels to the beach, even travels to the kiddie pool in the backyard. This powerful piece of tubular tech puts out crisp, heart-pounding sound over all 360 of its degrees, so you'll hear it pumping from any angle, anywhere in the room.
Or on the mountain. Or in the water. The Megaboom challenges anyone from Mother Nature to your nephew and his Spaghetti-Os to take their best shot at it. Designed to be as rugged and resistant as it is powerful, this speaker is sand-proof, kid-proof, drunken party-proof, and waterproof (can be submerged in 1 meter of liquid for up to 30 minutes.) Got it dirty? Grab the hose, rinse it off, and resume.
Smuggle Your Booze Sunscreen Flask
I mean, I don't recommend a sunscreen flask filled with tequila over a tube of actual sunscreen, but if you've got a little extra room in your daypack...why not enjoy burn-free skin on the outside and the gentle burn of of some blue agave on the inside?
Instead of SPF 30, this innocuous bottle of responsible adult sunscreen contains room for 8 fl. oz. of ABV 40. The Smuggle Your Booze sunscreen flask is easy to fill, no sweat to hide, and possibly the #1 way to stick it to The Man selling 12-ounce plastic cups of Bud Light for $8.