Whoever said that easy things in life are like “a day at the beach” was obviously not a parent. But, there are ways to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea without inadvertently turning your kid into a lobster-colored, sand-eating meltdown waiting to happen. This gear will ensure you spend less time unloading cars and slathering sunscreen and more time unloading coolers and building sandcastles.
Try to cram multiple kids under a traditional beach umbrella and inevitably one (or, at least, half of one) gets burnt in the sun. With a generous 8 feet of UPF 50+ coverage and full side flaps, this hybrid umbrella-tent-beach-shelter keeps everybody’s limbs sunburn-free. And the zippered windows and secure ground stakes mean you can enjoy the lovely ocean breeze without getting blown away.
Super-Brella Sun And Weather Shelter ($45)
Because not every stretch of sand comes with a parking lot, this rugged icebox from Igloo is designed (seemingly for the military) with oversized, anti-skid wheels to run roughshod over all terrains – no beach is too remote! It keeps 112 brews cold for up to 4 days (that’s 28 beers a day, for non-math folks) and includes two built-in bottle openers, a water-resistant dry storage box, and even a butler tray (which isn’t called Jeeves, but your kids don’t know that).
Igloo Trailmate Cooler ($239)
Like a sexy new stadium, the Renetto Beach Bum is a folding camp chair with a retractable roof. The adjustable canopy comes pre-attached – so no assembly is required — and easily slides between up and down positions to accommodate your sun/shade needs (it also cleverly converts into a carrying case). There’s a hideaway footrest that folds underneath and a large pocket for your fantasy football draft guide, so you have no excuse for drafting Mark Sanchez in the 2nd round.
Renetto Beach Bum Canopy Chair ($70)
There’s a reason you don’t bring hot chocolate to the beach: You want cold drinks in the hot sun, dammit. The Yeti Rambler’s double walled insulated stainless steel construction keeps drinks icy and ensures you’re not chugging lukewarm Gatorade by 3 PM, while the patented “Over-the-Nose” opening means it’s easy to fill, even if it is always covered in zinc oxide.
Yeti Rambler Bottle ($60)
It’s an all-too-familiar problem: You’ve packed the car so full of plastic sand shovels that it’s going to take 18 trips to haul all that crap to your blanket. Enter: The Kyboka, a foldable utility cart that converts from flat to full in a matter of minutes. Simply attach the off-road tires, expand the collapsible walls, and voila! – 12 return trips to the car averted. The cart holds up to 110 pounds of gear and is easy to drive thanks to a rotating 360-degree handle.
Kyboka Wagon ($445)
There’s no bigger exercise in futility than trying to keep sand off your blanket. Until now, that is. In addition to evoking fond memories of elementary school PE class, this 7×7-foot, parachute nylon blanket from Grand Trunk is simple to dust or shake off – no grains of sand caught in the fabric here. Plus, it dries in a flash and stays in place with the help of weighted corner pockets that you fill with sand.
Grand Trunk Parasheet Beach & Picnic Blanket ($40)
In case the tide reaches your blanket while you’re off getting fried dough, rest assured: This waterproof Bluetooth speaker can sit in 3 feet of water for a half hour and still play the Veggie Tales. When not submerged, the BRV-X boasts 12-hours of battery life, can actually charge other devices from its built-in power supply, and — assuming you don’t mind everybody at the beach listening in on your important sales meeting — features a noise-cancelling mic for hands-free calls.
Braven BRV-X Waterproof Speaker ($168)
No matter how fun the trip, nobody wants to be finding sand in the car in October. Hose the whole crew off before you drive home with this 3-gallon portable shower that, unlike similar models, sits on the ground and uses a simple foot pump — rather than gravity — to deliver a steady 5-minute stream of water.
Helio Pressure Shower ($100)
While you may envision your ocean adventure as an off-the-grid trip back to nature, the family probably doesn’t agree. But rather than power up your phones and tablets back at the car, plug them into this compact 15W portable solar charger and let the sun get to work instead. Since science can be confusing, just know is that it uses a PowerIQ system to charge devices fast (up to 2.1 amps), features dual USB ports, and boasts elastic loops so you can attach it to an umbrella or chair.
Anker Portable Solar Power Charger ($50)