Whether you’re gearing up for a beach vacation on a tropical island or a convenient beach close to you, you will need all the right beach accessories. Beach must-haves include comfortable swimwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, and flip-flops.
Also, you will need a bag to bring to the beach. Men may not get it, but it’s a necessity for women looking forward to a vacation. It would help if you had a go-to bag that could fit all your beach essentials. Beach bags have a very specific job to do, and that’s to carry and safeguard your personal items from the elements at the beach and look good while doing it. Your towels, sunscreen, phone, electronics, beach reads, and more need to be protected from sand, sun, and water if you are going to hang out at the beach. You can look for a straw basket, a jute bag, or a casual canvas tote – the important thing is to get something stylish yet functional.
You have plenty of options out there, so here are some tips for pocking a beach bag so you can streamline your choices:
Decide how you will use it
The first thing you need to consider is your personal needs. Will you be putting only a few of your own personal items in the beach bag, or do you have children and you know that you will end up with some of their belongings in your bag? Depending on the uses and who will be storing things in it, you’ll want to consider different sizes and compartments.
If you’re planning to put only a few of your personal items in the beach bag, a small tote may be enough. If you’re bringing children with you, then you need a bigger bag that offers a little more organization. If you need the beach bag for a picnic, then you’ll want something with a cooler compartment or some insulation.
Assess how often you will use it
If you live near the beach or in a warm climate by the ocean, then the chances of you spending some time on the beach are high. If so, it’s best to invest in a good bag you’ll make the most of. However, if you live far away from the sea and going to the beach is something you usually do only once or twice a year when you go on vacations, then getting a durable, high-quality bag may not be a priority.
If you think you will use it only for a few occasions, you may not need something expensive. But if you plan to use it a lot, invest in a beach bag that can last for a long time.
Choose the proper material
The most important feature you should look for in a beach bag is its material. There’s no perfect choice for anyone because it depends on your needs and plans at the beach. Sunbathing on the beach, playing with your young kids, and exploring caves are all different activities requiring different needs. Here are the most popular materials used for beach bags:
Straw is one of the most classic materials from which beach bags are made of. It looks chic and is reminiscent of a timeless beach image that we all have in our imaginations. These days, we don’t really use straw bags for their function – we take them to the beach because of their decorative and aesthetic quality.
There are quality, well-made, durable straw bags out there, but most of the time, they won’t take the harsh conditions of being exposed to the sun all the time. The woven straw material can deteriorate and break after too much sun exposure, and water can weaken the fibers. Sand can easily penetrate the little holes in its weave, and it will be hard to shake them out afterward to keep them clean. They need gentle cleaning and can’t be thrown in the washing machine.
Straw bags are mostly only great for personal use for short periods of time at the beach. Most use it to make their beach pictures a little bit perfect. It’s best to place them on top of a beach towel away from the water to protect a straw bag and its contents from the elements.
Compared to straw, synthetic fabrics are a more practical choice for beach use. Mesh bags made of nylon or polyester are thin but strong and lightweight. They are also low-maintenance and water-resistant. However, sand can easily enter the holes in a mesh bag.
Different types of polymers, like plastic and rubber, are often used for making beach bags and totes because of they are waterproof and lightweight. However, these materials may feel bad on bare skin (imagine carrying a plastic tote bag on your shoulders while wearing a bikini under the sun) as they heat up quickly when left under the sun.
Many tote bags are made of water-resistant polyester in different colors and designs. These bags are perfect for casual use at the beach, as they can be cleaned easily and holds up well to the elements.
Cotton is another popular material for beach bags because it’s soft and won’t cause any chafing when worn as the bag rubs against you. It’s also lightweight and easy to wash, so you don’t need to worry about sand, mold, or drink spills on the bag.
However, a natural cotton beach bag may need extra care to ensure its color and design stay vibrant. In washing a cotton beach bag, you must avoid harsh detergents and chemicals like bleach or chlorine as they may fade the colors and cause fiber fraying.
Make sure it’s durable
You can find cheap, poorly-made beach bags and totes anywhere. It can last for one or two summer seasons. But if you’re a frequent beachgoer, your lifespan will even get shorter. These bags will often get thrown out after a while because it would be hard to repair them.
To reduce waste and ensure you’ll get the most out of your purchase, get a good-quality beach bag with reinforced stitching and strong handles. Carefully check its construction and the build of the material to get an idea of how durable the bag is.
Consider buying more than just one
You may need beach bags for different beach occasions, so don’t limit yourself to buying just one. If you’re on vacation, pack two beach bags – one large and one small. The small bag can be used for day trips when you know you won’t be at the beach for long. Meanwhile, the big bag can be used when you know you’ll be spending the entire day at the beach and want to ensure you have everything you may need in tow. A beach bag will be handy during these situations since no one would want to make a trip back and forth to the hotel room to get something you need while at the beach.
See if it’s comfortable to use
The comfortability of a beach bag is often overlooked when it comes to buying one. But be sure that you consider it because it can greatly affect your experience at the beach. When heading for a swim, you’re usually wearing bathing suits, bikinis, shorts, and maybe a shirt or a tank top so your skin is exposed. Now, imagine a heavy bag with non-breathable material rubbing against you while you’re wandering around the beach. It will make you sweaty, and it may cause irritation.
Sometimes, you’ll also be carrying other things like a cooler or a folding chair along with your bag so that it will be hanging from your shoulder or wrist without extra support. This means the straps must also be soft to withstand the weight and avoid causing too much pain on your shoulders, arms, or hands.
Consider the style and how it looks with the rest of your beach wear
The perfect bag is when beauty meets functionality. We all want to look amazing at the beach, and we don’t want the beach bag to clash with our swimsuits. Your beach bag is also the first thing people see when you go to the beach, so it should be just as fashionable as your bathing suit.
Make sure it comes with the right compartments
If you’re going to the beach with the whole family, a large bag is ideal. You can throw in just about anything in it, but it would be annoying when you’re digging through all the stuff to find smaller items, like your sunglasses or your phone.
This is why a good beach bag comes with compartments and pockets so you can organize your bag better. Reserve the pockets for the things you usually use so you can easily grab them whenever you need them.