Everything You Need for the Ultimate Beach Hang This Summer
We tracked down the must-haves to keep you cool, comfortable, and thirst-quenched while you stick your toes in the sand, soak up the sun, and steer clear of crowds.
In the blistering summer heat, nothing beats a beach day with friends, plenty of cold drinks, solid snacks, and good music. This year, however, rolling deep with your crew or getting close to crowds in general is best avoided. Still, that's not to say that you can't still enjoy a trip to your nearest patch of sandy coastline to soak up the sun and chill -- while remaining socially distant.
To that end, you're going to need some proper supplies to do it right. So, we've pulled together a selection of must-haves and should-haves to keep you comfortable, cool, thirst-quenched, and entertained all day long.
The Hauling Must-Haves
Although some minimalists may be content taking a simple towel and a book, we're partial to a slightly more bountiful spread of stuff to stay hydrated, well-fed, comfortable, and entertained all day long. That, of course, requires quite a bit more stuff. Consider investing in something sturdy and durable to haul your load of gear from the car to your patch of sand without looking like a sweaty human Christmas tree decorated with towels, umbrellas, and coolers.
If you've got a car full of people, towels, umbrellas, coolers, and more to schlep, this wagon's got (and will save) your back. Not only does it collapse for easy transport, but it's equipped with ultra-durable wheels for easy rolling through sand/dirt/gravel, and has a removable cover and mesh lining should you want to shake it out at any point. Plus, it even has two built-in cup holders.
You spot these iconic L.L. Bean totes everywhere for a good reason -- they're sturdy, long-lasting, and can carry a crapton of stuff. They're made from heavy duty canvas, have a 3,400 cubic inch capacity, and come in five different colorways (and even monogrammed if you want!).
A proper (and properly stocked) cooler is a must-have if you're going to be sitting in the sun all day, and we're huge fans of the YETI soft cooler. Not only is it roomy (you get 24 liters of space to stuff your booze and cold nibbles), but it's essentially a padded backpack, which makes it a whole lot easier to haul across hot sand and parking lots compared to standard rigid coolers. Plus, it's totally leak proof and equipped with YETI's signature ColdCell tech that'll keep your ice frozen for literally days.
The Core Comforts
Second only to staking out a great spot in the sand, a solid beach hang requires a solid -- and quite literal -- foundation of living space, from the mats and umbrellas you set up, to the type of towels you bring. Here are a few essentials to ensure hours of comfort.
We may not know everything, but we do know that a picnic blanket littered with damp sand can really kill your vibe. To avoid such inconveniences, toss this 6.5'x6.5' sand-free mat under your layabout area. It's made from lightweight polyester, dries quickly, and is woven in such a way that any sand that falls onto it will simply fall through.
Taking a raggedy bath towel to the beach? In a pinch, sure that will work. However, if you're going to be lounging properly, you need something sturdy, large, and super-soft that's specifically designed to sit out in the sun and under your saltwater-soaked skin. Enter: the Pendleton Towel for 2. It's large, made from super soft cotton (sheared in the front and looped in the back for durability), and comes in four different standout pattern designs that'll make it easy to spot your stuff after taking a dip.
Even if you're the type to pour olive oil all over your body and crisp until you've achieved ideal tan status, you're going to want to escape to the shade every once and a while. That's where the Sport-Brella comes in handy. It's a hybrid sun tent/beach umbrella that props open eight feet wide with side flaps for full cover protection. It also has wind vents and zippered windows to ensure you're not blocking out any airflow, and internal pockets to stash your valuables/book/sunglasses when needed. Plus, it also serves as a convenient, unobtrusive barrier of sorts to help you (and those around you) better adhere to proper social distancing.
The Laidback Lounging Options
A good towel/mat/tent setup is critical, but if you're going to be splayed out on the sand during the hottest hours of the day you ought to double down on comfort.
These are padded and extra comfy, with adjustable armrests and recline, a built-in cup-holder, and two handy shoulder straps to make transport easy.
Ever stare out at the ocean and wish you had a sofa to lounge on while sipping your margarita? Good news, you can bring one with you next time, and easily. The Lamzac is an inflatable chair/sofa (large enough for two people) made from parachute material that literally fills with air in seconds and doesn't require a pump.
The Refreshing Requisites
There's nothing worse than going for a sip only to suck down some lukewarm sandy water or rosé. There are better ways, and they involve these top-notch insulated vessels. They're well worth the investment, and will serve you well for years of hot, hot beach days ahead.
Beyond its impressive coolers, YETI has an expansive lineup of incredibly well insulated tumblers and mugs that will keep your beverages cold for literally days. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, and will ensure the next sip you go to take from your water/cocktail will be as cold as the one before it, even on days when the outside temp is outrageous.
If you're planning to bring a 12-pack of cans or bottles with you and want to ensure they're crispy cold in the heat as you're sipping, Hydroflask's Cooler Cup is the move. Simply slip in any standard 12-ounce can or bottle into its snug insulated silicone sleeve and it'll stay cold in your hand for at least as long as it takes you to finish it.
Keeping a full bottle of wine at the perfect temp in the heat is a challenge, but Hydroflask makes something that solves precisely that problem. This 25-ounce bottle is big enough to hold an entire bottle of wine, and features double-wall insulated to ensure it remains at whatever temperature you initially put it in at all day long.
AOMAIS Beach Sand Coasters
Price: $17 for a 5-pack
Sand stuck to cans and bottles mucking up your sunscreen-caked hands? No thank you. These handy coasters create a mini elevated platform so you can rest your beverage above the sand and keep it clean.
The Sound and Power Essentials
A good beach hang always has a soundtrack, so you're going to need a great speaker to pump up the jams all day long. And since you'll likely be on your phone DJing/texting coordinates/obsessively posting Instagram stories, you'll also need a backup power source to keep you properly juiced.
For our money, there are no better ultra-portable and durable Bluetooth speakers out there. The UE Boom 2 is incredibly easy to transport (it's the size of a large coffee cup), has great battery life, handles water splashes and sand like a champ, and can get really, really loud with nearly no audio distortion.
It's tough to spot your friends at the beach in general, and it's a whole lot tougher if your phone's battery is dead and you can't send coordinates. Protect yourself from that headache (and ensure you'll be able to keep your music pumping all day) with a nifty mini backup battery like this slim one from Anker. It's deceptively powerful, and can recharge an iPhone nearly seven times.
Let the Games Begin
Some friendly competition on the sand is always welcome, especially if you're getting a bit bored or just need an excuse to move around after laying sedentary on your towel for hours. There are countless games and "sports" perfect for the beach, but we're here to highlight some of our favorites.
If you've ever watched people playing Spikeball and wondered if smacking a ball on a mini trampoline is really as fun as they make it look, rest assured it is. It's addicting, and great for groups.
The object of this backyard/beach/park staple is to pair off and strategically throw your frisbee so that it lands inside or through the slot of a specially designed can. You're also aided in your quest by your teammate on the other side, who's allowed to tap it to redirect where it lands. It can seem a bit confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it it's the sort of game that you could easily play for hours and not even know it.
If cornhole and bocce ball were to have a child, and that child lived on the sand, it would be Tidalball. It combines the throwing and placing objectives of the two classic games into a perfect blend that allows you to carve out your "court" in the sand.
Corn hole is wonderful, but the boards can be a bit cumbersome and tough to transport all the way to the beach. Not so with this version, since the boards are fully collapsible and fold up into a small disc-shaped pouch that -- along with the bags -- weighs under five pounds.