What Every Beach Bag Absolutely Needs To Have


Beach season is here. Is your beach bag ready? It's the most important beach accessory that you use on a daily basis while on vacation, so make sure it has the essentials that you need. So exactly what does every beach bag need to have? We're glad you asked. We have the rundown right here. These are the absolute necessities to help make your beach bag the best it can be, while also ensuring that you have everything you need. Make your list and check it twice before you get out there on the sand. We've also included beach bag packing tips!  

Beach Bag EssentialsCarrying Beach Bag

Every beach bag is different and reflects the needs of who's using it. Obviously families are going to need more things than a solo beach goer. Regardless, there are a few essential qualities that every beach bag should have in common. Here they are.
Organization: Having a systematic and uncluttered beach bag is top priority. You don't just want to haphazardly throw things in it and head to the beach. Instead, take some time to strategically place things where they can be easily found and reached (more on that later in this post). If your beach bag is packed but is looking too cluttered, then it's time to get a bigger beach bag or remove some of the non-essentials that you can do without. 
Adequate Size and Space: You absolutely want to have enough room for everything in your beach bag. Do a test pack and see how it goes. Do you have adequate size and space for your things? If not, it's time to find a new bag. You need enough room to hold your necessities and a little wiggle room so that your things are not packed in your bag like sardines in a can. A little room to move and rearrange is the best scenario.
Compartments: Given the fact that you'll be bringing a variety of beach essentials, you'll want to have at least a few compartments in your beach bag to keep things separated and easy to find. A small zippered compartment for smaller items like keys, your phone and cash keeps them contained and easy to find. A separate compartment for sunscreen, lip protection, hair products and the like helps keep your bag tidy and all of your cosmetic items in one place. It also helps keep any spills contained and away from your the other things in your bag.
Comfortable to Carry: You'll be carrying your beach bag to and fro so you definitely want to make sure it's comfortable to carry. Do the straps slip? Do they hurt your shoulder? Then that is not a good choice. Opt for something that is sturdy, carries comfortably, and is easy to clean and keep sand-free. 

What to Pack in Your Beach Bag

Packing your beach bag doesn't have to be a monumental task. Keep it simple and stick to the basics of what you definitely need and want while you're basking on the beach. If you waver on a whether or not to pack a certain item, then you probably don't need it! Here are our beach bag essentials that every beach goer will want to have on hand for a day at the beach.  
✔ Towels: One or two per person is optimal. If you're with your family, then let each person carry their own towel or have a separate beach bag just for towels. Roll up your towels and tuck them vertically for easy access. You may also want to consider using a yoga bag where there's a separate lower compartment for yoga mats, which also happen to be perfect for placing your rolled up beach towel for easy carrying and ultimate convenience. 
✔ Water and Snacks: You don't want to go to the beach without refreshments! Water is a must and a few snacks are always welcome. An insulated water bottle can be easily fit into a beach bag, or keep it simple with a bottle or two of water. Simple snacks that don't need refrigeration are best. Think fruit, crackers, nuts and vegetables for healthful and low maintenance beach snacks. 
✔ Entertainment: You will want to take advantage of your beach time to catch up on a good book, listen to your favorite tunes, or page through the latest edition of your most beloved magazine. Be sure to bring what you need whether it's a book or magazine, your Kindle or e-reader, headphones, or your iPad or iPod. Don't overdo it with too much stuff, and only bring what you will definitely use.
✔ Spending Money: Bring a little spending money in the form of cash or a single credit card, but make sure you put it in a safe, discreet place in your beach bag. You may to grab a quick lunch, do a little shopping or cool off with some ice cream throughout the day.
✔ Sunglasses: Don't forget to tuck your favorite pair of sunglasses in a side pocket of your beach bag. You'll need them!
✔ Hat: A full day of hot sun beating down on you may not be what you want, so be sure to bring a hat to keep your face shaded and to protect your scalp from getting burned. That place where you part your hair is always vulnerable to getting to much sun is oftentimes overlooked when it comes to sun protection. Do your head a favor and cover it for at least part of the time you're on the beach.
✔ Sunscreen: Sunscreen in a high SPF will keep you protected from too much sun on your skin. Bring enough to reapply often. Looking like a lobster the next day is not the goal, nor is it good for your skin. It doesn't feel very good either, so don't risk ruining your vacation by getting blisters or sun poisoning and being uncomfortable for the remainder of your trip. 
✔ Empty Plastic Bags: Tuck a few empty plastic bags in your beach bag. They come in pretty handy! You can use one for collecting your trash throughout the day and keeping it contained until you find a trash can. You can use another to keep all of your wet clothing items separate from the rest of the contents in your beach bag as you head home.
✔ Mini First Aid Kit: It's a good idea to bring a few simple first aid supplies with you just in case. This is especially true if you have kids with you. A few bandaids, a tube of antibiotic ointment, baby wipes, pain reliever and aloe vera gel are a few good essentials to put in your mini first aid kit. Put them in a small container or bag in the event you cut your foot on a shell, get a headache after a day in the sun, or need some sunburn relief from too many rays. Baby wipes are wonderful for small cleanups and are always helpful to have with you in your beach bag. 


Pack Your Beach Bag 

How to Pack Your Beach Bag

Now that you have the perfect beach bag and your must-have beach bag essentials—it's time to pack it all up and pack it right. Does it make a difference how you pack your bag? Yes, yes it does. Taking a little extra time to put organize things in an orderly fashion and make sure that the items are easy to access matters. Here's how we like to pack a beach bag and what we've found works best. Give it a try!

Roll towels for efficiency and ease of access: Yes, just like packing your other bags on a trip, rolling your beach towels up works well for the most efficiency and the least space required in your beach bag. As we mentioned earlier, placing them vertically into your bag for quick and easy access works nicely, as does having a separate compartment at the bottom of your bag to store them. Either way, you know where they are and how to get them without fuss—and without removing all of your other items. 

Heavier items at the bottom of your bag: Common sense dictates that heavier items should go into your beach bag first, with the lighter items on top. Nothing gets crushed and lighter items are more easily moved around and situated than heavier ones. 
Put sunscreen and other cosmetics in a resealable bag or separate compartment: You don't want your sunscreen all over your book nor do you want your headphones drenched in hair conditioner. Keep your lotion and other cosmetics contained in a plastic bag or lined compartment so that it doesn't come in contact with your other items. Those items don't even have to leak or spill to leave a greasy film and residue on your sunglasses, keys, phone, etc.—so don't even risk it. Keep them separate!
Roll up your beach clothes for best use of space: Just like rolling your towels saves space, so does rolling up any extra beach clothes you're putting in your bag such as a coverup, your tank top, shorts or whatever you wore to the beach that day over your swimsuit. Roll them and tuck them into your bag wherever they fit. They won't take up much space and you'll be able to locate them without issue.
Put keys and electronics in a plastic bag or waterproof case to keep them protected: If you have a waterproof case for your all of your electronic devices that you plan to bring to the beach, by all means use them. If not, a simple ziplock bag works well enough to protect your phone from sand and salt water, while also letting you use the touchscreen right through the ziplock bag. You don't want one day at the beach to ruin your expensive items. Protect them!
Discreetly hide your cash or credit cards and only bring what you need: You won't need too much money in your beach bag, nor do you want a lot of cash or credit cards sitting in your bag, whether its attended or unattended. Bring some spending money or one credit card in case you need it, but leave your wallet at home. Make sure put it in a discreet spot in your bag, so it's not easily seen or noticed. Just don't forget about it when you're unpacking your beach bag.
Use an insulated bag, container or section of your beach bag for food and drink: Some beach bags have their own insulated portions or you can use a small insulated lunch bag to keep your water and any other snacks that you prefer to keep cool like fruit and veggies.
Don't overstuff your bag or make it too heavy to carry: You definitely do not want to overload your bag for two reasons: it will be entirely too cluttered to find anything and it will be way too heavy to lug around in the soft, hard-to-walk-in sand. Keep it light, keep it manageable. 

Isn't it time you started planning your next beach vacation? Bring your perfectly packed beach bag along with you on your next Outer Banks vacation. You can get started by perusing these Outer Banks rentals. See you on the sand!

These are our best beach bag prepping and packing tips. So, what's in your beach bag?

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