Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nifty Ideas: Beach bag packing

Another round of fantastic nifty ideas I have discovered. You too may become inspired by these nifty things and in turn create your own. If you have any of your own nifty ideas please share them with me I'd love to learn about what is nifty to you.

As the last bit of summer is slipping away many are making their last minute vacation plans. We were one of those last minute planners. For us going to the beach is not an every day event, not even an every year event. So, it's a pretty big deal. That's why packing a decent beach bag is so very important to us "rookies" who want to enjoy the sand and surf. The key is to think dual purpose when choosing your items.

First off is to get yourself a decent sized beach bag. The larger your family the larger the bag, or the more bags you'll need. For our family of four we use a very large, more like extra large canvas beach bag. We bought it from Ikea years ago and it has been such a great bag for us. It is large enough to fit 6 large beach towels which is a great size.

Setting up your beach site is something of an aerobic event. Before you go and set up some sort of beach tent city like some of those other weirdos try to go light. Remember you have to carry all that stuff there and then take it back, and it's usually wet and full of sand making it heavier. You'll need only a few things. A great blanket or even a sheet is the home base of your beach set up. We bring our picnic blanket/tote. Remember this post? The straps make it easy to carry and that zipper pouch is the best place for us to stash our keys and other small items. Beach towels are the obvious item. I bring one smaller extra towel just in case one gets too wet or sandy.

Many people like to bring one of those big beach umbrellas and pound it into the sand. Have you ever carried one of those over hot sand with an armload of other stuff? Once was enough for us and now we forgo the beach umbrella for our own large golf umbrella. We pop it up when we're at the blanket and it's large enough to give us the shade we need. When done we fold it up. No hammer needed and it saves on bulk. 

The obvious fun item to bring is a bucket and shovel. Every kid loves to dig and create their own little sand buildings. We usually have buckets and shovels for the kids to use around the yard. I get them end of season at just about any store. Right about this time of year is perfect for getting new buckets from stores desperate to clear away their summer product lines. I look for two sizes. A large and small bucket is great to have. It does wonders for those sand castle designs.

A small inexpensive watering can is a nice addition to the buckets. The watering can is the best way to wash down some of those lesser desired sand castles as well as washing off hot sandy feet. They too are on sale this time of year and the bonus is that your little one can use this around the yard to help water plants. A kid sized version is great for packing but a smaller plastic one you use will work too.

Kids love to beach comb. Ours will bring piles of things and stack them up on our towels. By day's end there will be a substantial pile of treasures. I never knew what to do with all that stuff. In the past dumping it in the beach bag was what I did. I have learned that is never good. You'll end up with more sand than anything else. I know to bring two types of bags. A large gallon sized zip top plastic bag as well as a net/mesh bag. I found the mesh bags at a dollar store, they might have been meant for laundry but they are perfect for the beach. Any mesh bag will do. Perhaps a mesh swim bag, laundry bag, or lingerie bag. All are great for shaking the sand off of those beach treasures and sand toys. We use our large bag to carry our beach toys in. 

Other fun things: Frisbee, kite, boogie board, noodle, book/magazine, and a camera. Put that camera in a plastic bag when not is use. Sand and water are no good for them.

Damp wash cloths in a plastic zip top bag are next on my list. The wash cloths are great for wiping faces after lunch. Especially with little ones they can do wonders to get sand off and out of places. If you stash them in the cooler then you'll have a wonderful cool wash cloth to drape over your neck. 

Common sense items: hats, sunglasses, sunblock, cover-ups, flip-flops, small first aid kit, small cooler with food and lots of water. And a watch. Keeping track of how long you've been out is the key to keeping that heat exhaustion under control.

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