organize: easy lake day essentials

Monday, June 18, 2018

For the first time in years, I'm looking forward to some serious downtime this summer. Snowpeak Retreat makes it easy to want to be hiking, on the lake and taking afternoon naps. We have a longer than usual fourth of July break, and dedicated weekends with friends in the sun! So I'm thinking long and hard about planning for easy days by the water, and want to share some of my favorite items* for being just that -- easy days!
All Terrain Wagon
These are not just for the families with kids in tow, but an all terrain wagon can carry all of your food, drinks and blankets over the hard to handle sand and uneven parking lots. And if you can find a folding version, double-score for the packing process. I have seen these cart bottles of wine across properties, safeguard napping children and support vendors from multiple trips to the car.

My best friend swears by these bottles for day festivals and children's birthday parties. You can fit an entire bottle of wine in a Corkcicle bottle and it stays at the perfect temperature all day. When you're packing for a day at the lake, pour your favorite bottle of rose in a canteen and enjoy the crisp, cool wine from mid-morning to evening. Swell bottles also work if you already have one.

Sun Shelter
You've likely seen a lot of these at parks and soccer games providing shade to fair-skinned babies, but they also work perfectly for adults sitting by the lake all day! As much as I love some sun, I do need a few minutes of relief under the shade at the point right before fainting. There are many options out there but I especially looked for versions that are easy to open and close, and take little space in the car and garage.
Insulated Tote
Can't be by the water all day without food! If you don't want the hassle of packing snacks, then make sure to bring some cash to buy sandwiches and water at the local snack shack. You can't go all day in the sun without water and food, so make sure that you're planning for that!

If you're going to be there all day, make sure that your food doesn't spoil. My go-to favorites are sandwich staples and letting everyone make a custom version that will get them through the day: bread, meats, cheeses, mustard, lettuce, pickles. I also pack hearty snacks like dried fruit, nuts, crackers and vegetables (think baby carrots). All of these should stay cool in an insulated bag with a frozen ice pack. I found a backpack that is perfect if your final destination is a bit of a hike!

Spill Proof Drink Containers
The Corkcicle stemless glasses that I linked above are great for keeping your drinks cold and covered, but I found these darlings on Instagram one day and was hooked! Not only is it convenient to have a drink in a ziplock bag (think adult Capri Suns!) but those straws!! Make your favorite drinks ahead of time and put them in the freezer for a frozen treat!

Beach Blanket
You just need one, regardless of type, size, materials. I have one from Target that we purchased years ago and it's a favorite, and I found one at Goodwill that I'll often pack as a back-up! The below options are also great for staying dry and keeping you sane with all of the sand! 

Man, it's a good time to be alive! You have to be living under a rock in Antartica if you haven't seen all of the amazing floaties out there. From swans to pizza to life-size boats, there are so many options for your summer theme. I went down a hole one afternoon at work when I just searched for an ice chest that could float and before you know it, I was deep. Here is my favorite short list!

There are different schools of thought on music: bring it and listen to country all day and you're certain to offend someone nearby, or don't bring it and mention it at least 20 times that you should have packed a portable speaker. Whatever you decide, bring something super lightweight and can hold battery.

Totally not a necessity but some people can't take laying or sitting on the sand all day (another option is just to float - see "Floaties" above). It's important that if you do bring chairs, they include two necessary features: cup holder and designed to easily carry!

  • LL Bean Base Camp Chairswith cup holders, folding option and strap to carry over shoulder
  • Tommy Bahama Backpack Cooker Chair: I specifically searched for this chair because I've had the pleasure to be in the company of these chairs and just look at what you get - cup holder, head cushion, insulated cooler and it adjusts so that you can lay on it! COME ON!
  • HGT Folding Camping Chair: this one comes with a mini table + cup holder!
Other Essentials

  • Sunblock, hat and sunglasses! Protection first!
  • Magazines and a good book. Need some good recommendations? Here and here are some of my favorites.
  • Extra bag for trash
  • Camera
  • Battery for phone, cordless speaker
  • Games (check out this neat LL Bean Portable Game Center)

Do you have any necessary lake and beach items that will make or break your time next to the water? I'd love to hear what you add to your list - share your comments below!

*DisclosureI am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.


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