So we are in our 6th month of our grand minimalist lifestyle change and I have to say that it has had some pretty amazing ‘side effects’. Because we aren’t spending so much time focusing on shuffling stuff around, we are able to devote more time to the things and the people that we love. Plus our house looks amazing all the time. However, I think that sometimes when we think of minimalism we get stuck in the idea that it only involves matters of the home, like not having a bunch of stuff in the house or not having a ton of clothes in the closet. While that is a big part of it, minimalism can bleed over into all aspects of your life and it can be a wonderful thing. I’ve been trying to think of ways that minimalism has impacted us outside of the four walls of our home and on a recent trip to the beach, I discovered one.
I should preface with the fact that we live about 20 minutes from the beach and it is one of my favorite places in the world to be. With that being said, anyone who frequently, or infrequently, visits the beach knows what a real hassle it can be. And for that reason alone, many people forego beach trips all together. It’s too much trouble to lug all of the stuff that you need out onto the beach and set it up. And if you do decide that it’s worth it, you’re exhausted by the time you get it all set up and you can’t really enjoy being at the beach. For years, that’s how it was for us. I just loved the beach so much that I powered through the struggle and did it anyway, despite how loathsome it was. But gone are the days of yesteryear. Minimalism has provided us with the skills that we needed to majorly downsize our beach gear and make trips to the beach so much more enjoyable. In this post, I’m going to walk you through our beach gear and link to where you can find it. It won’t cost you much up front and you’ll be able to get rid of all the extra junk that you’ve been carrying out with you. Win – Win!
I think first and foremost the biggest hassle when going to the beach is the cooler. It has forever and always been the heaviest and most cumbersome piece of gear that we’ve taken with us to the beach. We’ve tried everything (and I mean everything) to make it easier. Through the years we’ve purchased the wagons that you pull stuff in (which do not roll on the sand the way that they advertise, btw), the coolers with wheels (which again aren’t that great), bag coolers that you carry over your shoulder, and even a Yeti Cooler (which will literally make you want to die after carrying it onto the beach). So when we came across this little gem in Target, we were ecstatic. It’s a backpack cooler which allows you to wear the cooler like a backpack so it’s not weighing down one side of you and is much easier to haul. Plus it frees up your hands so that you can carry other stuff, or nothing at all! It holds a good bit of ice and we usually have about 6 or 8 cans of beer and a couple large water bottles and there’s always plenty of room! I was unable to find this particular cooler on Target’s website (I’m assuming because it’s seasonal and in-store only) but the one linked above is the most similar that I could find on Amazon. The Target version was much less expensive ($16.99) and is a great buy if you can snag it at your local store, though.
Another important piece of beach gear is the ‘furniture’. Something to sit on. We love these little chairs from Target. They’re lightweight and easy to carry and they’re low to the ground so you can really dig your feet into the sand. Our gear is all about weight distribution so with two of us going out, each of us can carry our own chair with ease and that alone makes these chairs worth it! Plus they store easily at home and don’t take up so much room!
Now this may come as a surprise to some, but the sun can be pretty brutal out on the beach. My husband is very fair skinned and he sunburns easily, so it’s important for us to always have a source of shade. We like this good old fashioned rainbow beach umbrella. They’re easy to put up if you have this extension that anchors them into the ground and they are lightweight and slide nicely into the plastic pouch so you can throw it over a shoulder and, again, not weigh yourself down. The umbrella linked above has its own anchor which ours did not, so I provided the link to the anchor that we purchased separately.
So that does it for the furniture, but what about all of the other little stuff that you have to carry with you onto the beach? For that stuff, we carry a generic tote bag that we got with a magazine subscription, but here’s a great tote for the beach that’s lightweight and easy to pack.
And if you’re interested, here’s what we carry in our tote with links:
- Beach Towels – These are absolutely essential. Not only do you need something to dry off with, they are great for putting over your seats on the drive home if you didn’t get a chance to get all of the sand off of yourself. You can also lay them down on the sand instead of chairs to get some sun, if that’s your thing!
- Sunscreen – There’s all this debate on the internet about which sunscreen is the best, but we love this sunscreen from Neutrogena. We prefer the rub on kind as opposed to the spray on because, again, my husband is really fair skinned and it’s easier to tell where you’ve applied and where you haven’t with the rub on.
- Aloe – Inevitably there will come a time when someone in your party will get a sunburn. It’s unpleasant and it can really put a damper on things if you plan to do anything after your time lying on the sand. So we pack the aloe just in case.
- Body Powder – This one is a personal preference thing, but it can really save you if you’re open to it. Gentlemen, we all know how unpleasant it can be to have a damp “lower region” and this is especially true after being on the beach. So we take this Chassis powder for men which is advertised as “Man Care for Down There” and it is really the greatest thing on the market. Unlike most powders, it uses natural ingredients that don’t turn it into a paste when damp. It really does absorb the moisture and keep you fresh all day long. I use it daily but especially after the beach if I’m planning on doing anything other than going straight home to shower. Another bonus is that, if applied to the feet and legs, it helps remove all of that sand that tends to stick to you. Again, not a necessity, but a great idea.
- A Change of Clothes – We frequently want to stop off for dinner on the way home, or go here or there along the boardwalk and after swimming and laying out on the beach all day, it’s nice to have some fresh clothes to change into (especially if you’re lucky enough to have a shower at the beach like we do). So we each bring a change of clothes in our bag just in case!
- An Old Shopping Bag – This is just in case you do change into your clean clothes, you’ll need a place to put those damp wet ones!
- A Ziplock Bag – My name is Waylon and I am a chronic sea shell collector. There. I said it. It’s so fun to collect different ones and I generally use them to make handicrafts and gifts throughout the year, so I always bring along a small ziplock to put them in. That way the sand isn’t all in my beach bag and I’m also limited on how many I can collect in one trip!
And that’s all. That’s all that we carry to the beach! If you have children, obviously you might need to bring along beach toys and floaties and the like, but that can all be in its own little tote and with a small enough chair, your little one might be able to carry their own beach gear without any trouble. But the major point here is, if you’re going out to the beach, there’s no need in taking a car full of stuff with you. It’s just not necessary and it really makes for an unenjoyable experience if you’re the one lugging all of that stuff down to the water’s edge. So take a long hard look at what you’re carrying with you and try to minimize some of it. Make purchases that are smart and that will keep things as easy and simple as possible. And then donate the rest!
I hope you found this post helpful, and if you have any questions or feedback about your beach must-have’s, please comment below or shoot me a message. I’d love to hear what everyone has to have with them for a day at the beach!