I have to admit, I’m a bit ambivalent about packing posts. I find them insanely boring to read when they pop up on my RSS feed or on a blog that I regularly follow, but super useful if I’m actually searching on Google for packing tips for an upcoming trip or hike I have planned.
I’m hoping this post will fall somewhere in the middle. I highly doubt you’re researching ideas for what to pack for the beach, but I’d like to think that a peek inside my beach bag might be a little more interesting than what’s inside my suitcase for a trip to Europe.
This is the view down my street as I walk to the beach.
On that note, I was recently thinking about how much I love the hell out of my beach gear, and how a lot of it trends toward the eco-friendly and sustainable end of the spectrum. I’m all about reusing and recycling products to minimize my impact on the environment, and investing in quality items that will last through years of use.
So! I want to share with you exactly what I bring with me when I head to Bondi to spend a few hours in the sand. There’s always room for improvement though, so I’d love for you to leave a comment at the bottom of this post with any tips you have for living sustainably, or eco-friendly items to bring to the beach!
NOTE: I wrote an updated post on what’s in my beach bag here.
1. Havaianas Top Flip Flops
My everyday footwear during summer months has been this exact pair of Havaianas Top Black flip flops for the last 8 years. Whenever they get too worn down, I simply replace them with a new pair. And now that I live in Australia, my Havaianas are a permanent part of my daily wardrobe nearly year-round. I suspect it’s the same for a lot of Australians as well – would you believe they sell these flip flops in vending machines here?
Though these sandals don’t offer much in the way of support, I find them extremely comfortable and adequate for walking around in all day. The soles of my feet do start to burn a bit if I’ve racked up more than a few miles, but I’ve never ever gotten blisters from them.
It’s no secret that I’m coffee obsessed, so yes I do often take a cup of joe with me to the beach. This reusable Keepcup is stylish and durable and comes in a few different sizes (the one pictured here is 12oz and about the equivalent of a large takeaway coffee Down Under). Sometimes I’ll fill it up with coffee I brew at home with my Aeropress and Five Senses beans; other times, I’ll stop at a local cafe and order a flat white to takeaway in it.
FYI paper coffee cups are actually really terrible for the environment. Despite being “paper” cups, they usually contain bits of plastic that cannot be broken down. Plus, don’t forget about the plastic lids that come with them. If ordering a takeaway (or to-go) coffee is part of your routine, you should really consider investing in a Keepcup or something similar. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to contribute to the 1 billion paper cups that accumulate in Aussie landfill each year!
3. Smoothie = Stainless Steel Straw + Nutribullet
Yes, I’m a Bondi cliche: I walk around the neighborhood and to the beach with a green smoothie in hand.
One of my first purchases after moving into my Bondi flat was a Nutribullet, which I use almost daily to make smoothies or acai bowls. I hate cooking but I love eating healthy, so this is the easiest way for me to get my fruits and veggies in with minimal effort. It comes with two different sized containers with a myriad of lid options for optimal portability.
I also bought a stainless steel straw because plastic straws are the worst. I’ll definitely be traveling with this reusable straw on future trips to Asia, land of $1 smoothies, but for now it’s proving to be quite useful for my beachfront smoothies at home.
FYI this smoothie contains pear, kiwi, ginger, lemon juice, spinach, and coconut water. Highly recommend!
4. GoPro Hero4 Silver + 3-Way Mount
I’ll admit that most days I don’t actually go in the water, but when I do I usually bring my GoPro Hero4 Silver with me to the beach. It’s nearly always attached to a 3-Way Mount, which is handy for the occasional selfie.
Taken with my GoPro + 3-Way Mount.
5. Kindle Voyage
Since I don’t have a daily commute to work, I get most of my reading done while sunbathing at the beach. I can’t imagine my life without a Kindle! I just wish Kindle books weren’t so damn expensive to download (seriously, how is it nearly the same price as the paperback version?).
I have the Kindle Voyage which I love, but only purchased because at the time, the whole of Australia was out of the Kindle Paperwhite it seems (which is cheaper and practically as good, hence better value).
The Kindle also appeals to me because, as much as I love the look and smell of books, minimalism is really important to me and I’d rather not own a lot of things (books included).
I always carry two types of sunscreen with me in my beach bag: a non-greasy SPF50 for my face (v. important that it specifies that it’s meant to be worn on the face, else it will cause breakouts!), and an SPF50+ spray for my body (to cover those hard-to-reach places when I’m sunbathing solo). I am very diligent about keeping my face covered, but if I’m honest I don’t usually apply the spray sunscreen unless it’s smack-dab in the middle of summer when the sun is ridiculously strong.
I’d like to switch to a more eco-friendly and/or natural sunscreen at some point, so if you have any suggestions please leave a comment below! I’m not too loyal to any one brand, though I do like supporting the Cancer Council because their sales go towards funding cancer research.
This is pretty much what I look like at the beach, except I’m typically laying on my stomach and facing the water.
7. Canvas Bag
I am one of those people who comes out of the supermarket with 4 different reusable tote bags draped over her shoulders. Plastic bags are a colossal waste and I refuse to use them unless I absolutely have to.
I seem to have accumulated a handful of canvas and fabric tote bags from various events and workshops over the years, all of which have made it to the supermarket and the beach at one point or another. The one pictured here is my biggest canvas bag which is super handy for carting around towels, clothes, and other beach essentials. You can find similar tote bags here and here.
8. Brita Water Bottle
These days I only drink filtered tap water, so I’ve invested in a Brita pitcher and a Brita water bottle. Both of these contain filters that improve the taste of tap water while removing gross stuff like chlorine and lead.
Plus, let’s not forget the other benefits of reusable water bottles: they keep you from having to buy bottled water from the store, which is a waste of both money and resources and a danger to the environment (do you really think that every.single.bottle. gets recycled? Yeah right!).
Rocking my Will+Bear straw hat in the Whitsundays.
9. Will+Bear Hat
I recently started wearing hats after a lifetime of shunning them due to my larger-than-average head. Two reasons for this, really: 1). To shield my face from the sun after being diagnosed with Rosacea (a skin rash triggered by sun exposure), and 2). To cover my gray hairs (ugh).
I’m currently loving on my new Will+Bear William Grey hat, made of Aussie wool and so, so comfortable. I love the versatility of it: I’ve worn it to the beach, to a house party, and to bars and restaurants, and it seems to effortlessly work no matter the scene. I also just bought a straw hat of theirs which I think will be better suited for the hotter summer months.
Will+Bear sells unisex hats made for the road, and they especially rock because for each hat they sell, 10 trees are planted. Now that’s a business I’m happy to support!
10. Turkish Towel
I own a couple of Turkish towels, which make for great beach towels because they’re lightweight, compact, and dry quickly. This one I picked up at the Bondi Markets near my place. I rotate these with a few sarongs I picked up traveling around Asia, but the Turkish towels are much more durable and higher quality and tend to stay in place once I lay them down on the sand.