What's in my beach bag?

Last month we headed for the beach for the first time this summer, and the first time ever with baby. To be frank, it was a rough experience. It hadn't even occurred to me that the beach would be a totally different experience with Kasper. I didn't even want to write about it because it was more embarrassing than anything. After 45 mins in the sun with no shade, huddled over Kasper as human sunscreen, fighting off all manner of beachy bugs, and trying to keep the sand out of the baby's mouth we gave up. By the time we got into the car Kasper was screaming because he was too warm, Simon had a debilitating sunburn, and I was ready to never go to the beach ever again. Ever.

On Tuesday Simon convinced me that we should give the beach another go over the weekend, and I immediately sat down to work out a total beach strategy. After some careful planning and a several packages from Amazon, I can proudly say this trip to the beach turned out to be a stunning success. My beach bag will continue to be an evolving science, but it is definitely off to a good start.

1. Ice Bag Shopper
I got this for Christmas last year and I use it for everything. Its plastic, easy to clean, holds a ton, and is cuter than hell. I actually have the same bag in the picture.

2. Good Sunglasses
For safety and style, you've got to have some good shades at the beach. It's easy to forget about your self when packing for the baby, but if you're miserable, baby will be too.

3. Microfiber Towels for the Whole Family
This may seem a bit to fussy for you, but trust me, you will love them. The towels are super light weight, dry instantly, and fold up so small and compact you hardly notice they're in your bag. This really cuts down on the bulk of your beach supplies. As an added bonus, since they dry instantly you're never stuck shivering in a wet towel or making a puddle in the back of your car. They cost about $4 on ebay or Amazon.

4. Spray on Sunscreen
I hate the regular lotion bottles. You always end up with too much or too little and I just don't have time for that.

5.  First Aid Kit
You will need it. Bring it with. No excuses. Somebody always needs a bandaid, or a tylenol, or gets stung by a bee. Just bring it with you. You should really just keep one in your purse at all times. I haven't quite gotten my Supermom on well enough to do that yet, but I do always bring one to the beach.

6. Lotion
This could also be Aloe gel, but I prefer some really creamy, moisturizing lotion. Slather it on after you leave the sand and it helps cool you down and keep you from getting dehydrated on the drive home. Plus, its good for your skin.

7. Foldable Beach Blanket
We have the one in the picture, it's got a water resistant bottom and folds up into a little carryable piece with some Velcro. Its so easy and really compact.

8. Cheap Flip Flops
Leave your heels and expensive sandals at home. I always wear my nice wedges to the beach (because I'm crazy?) and they get ruined every time. I need to just go buy a cheap pair of sandals and justify it by promising myself I won't ever touch them, except for at the beach.

9. Burp Cloths
I just carry a stack of these things around with me wherever I go. Sure they're good for cleaning up spit up, but you can also use them for a million other things. Dig a hole in the sand, cover with cloth and BAM! Seat for the baby.

10. Huggies Baby Wipe Clutch
I'm not even going to tell you why this thing is awesome. Just go buy one and find out. I have one in my purse and it's going to stay there until I die.

11. Diaper Clutch
Don't bring your entire diaper bag. It will get full of sand and we need this for our regular life. Lets keep it clean and sanitary and opt for a light and compact diaper clutch instead. I made mine, but there are lots available online for purchase.

12. Hats
Babies should wear hats in the sun. Their little heads can get burnt super quickly and you shouldn't put sunscreen on infants. More on that later.

13. PlasticBags
These are for all the wet, sandy gross items you bring back from the beach. When its all in one place it makes packing simple, you can get back in the house in fewer trips, and washing is easy peasy.

14. Non-Porous Toys
Kasper has this sweet little stuffed monkey toy he loves, but at the beach, stuffed toys are gross. Simple plastic or silicon toys will make your life easier. When they get dropped in the sand a quick spray down with water will get it back into the hands of baby safely.

15. Water
Bring it. Drink it. Staying hydrated at the beach makes a big difference in how you feel AFTER you get home.

16. Beach Tent
The beach tent is the single best purchase we have ever made for outdoor activities. The tent just pops up, so no assembling or anything and it instantly provides shade and a relatively sand free surface for us and all our supplies. Its so nice for the baby too! No need to worry about an unruly umbrella or keeping him covered in towels. With the tent Kasper can strip to his swim bottoms like the rest of us and enjoy the warm weather. The added privacy makes diaper changes totally stress free. I love our beach tent.

WARNING: Before you even think about throwing the beach tent in your car, schedule a 20 minuet figure it out session. Setting is up is ridiculously easy. Just toss it out into an open space. Getting it back in the bag is also easy, it takes like 10 seconds, IF you've watched an instructional video. Simon and I fought with it on the beach for 30 minuets until a nice lady came and showed us how to pack it up again. It can be VERY stressful standing in the sun, carrying a baby, and getting sand blown in your face while fighting with a tent. The instructions that come with it are useless. Just watch a video and save yourself a breakdown.

So that's my beach bag. What's in yours?

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