Essential Beach Gear

Living in Gibraltar comes with the undeniable perk of incredible weather.  While many associate beach days with summer, we’re fortunate to enjoy beach days year-round.  Of course many times this will involve layering up because of the cold. But,  given the lack of open space, sometimes the beach is the only place to enjoy a good kick about.  Take yesterday for example, it’s only mid-February but we enjoyed an unseasonably warm day.  We were planning on a countryside walk in Spain but it was too much of a beach day to miss.  Instead we set off on a walk up to the beautiful Catalan Bay.  It seems like many others had the same idea as we did as the beach was incredibly busy.  It ended up being a lovely few hours of sunbathing and the boys enjoying a kick about. I also enjoyed a “refreshing” (read “freezing”) dip in the sea.  Of course, this being an impromptu beach day we were missing most of our essential beach gear. But in this guide we’ll set out what you will need to enjoy a perfect beach day.

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The Essential Beach Gear Guide

For a perfect day under the sun, a few essentials come to mind:

Sun Protection

Regardless of the season, sunscreen is non-negotiable. Shielding your family from the sun’s rays ensures a safe and enjoyable beach experience.  We opt for Altruist Cream 1 for face protection. This sun cream was created by a UK dermatologist and is highly recommended for those with sensitive skin.  It is fragrance free with a low risk of allergy and is suitable for daily use on face, body and children. The cream is easily absorbed and is not sticky. 

For the body it is so much easier, especially when applying cream to younger children, to opt for a SPF spray.  Our favourite is Altruist Spray 2

While applying sunscreen to your face and body is common, many of us often overlook areas such as the scalp. The scalp, especially for those with thinner (or no hair) can be a prime target for sunburn.  Repeated exposure may contribute to hair damage and skin cancer! The use of Hair and Scalp Sunscreen 3 is therefore highly recommended.

Lips are also susceptible to sun damage. Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to dryness, chapping, and increased vulnerability to skin cancers. Using a Lip Balm 4  with SPF ensures your lips receive the protection they deserve, adding an extra layer of defence against the sun’s harmful effects.

Shade Options

 While basking in the sun is enjoyable, having a Beach Umbrella 5 or a Family Sun Shelter Canopy 6 provides shade when needed. This ensures everyone stays cool and comfortable.  For babies, we love this Baby Beach Tent With Pool 7 .The tent is lightweight, has a UV rating of 50 SPF and folds away perfectly into a compact bag making it easy to transport.

Sun Hats

The face and neck are particularly susceptible to sun damage. Wearing a sun hat ensures that these areas are shaded, reducing the chances of premature ageing, sunspots, and skin cancer. Many sun hats come with built-in SPF protection, adding an extra level of sunblock for your head and face. This, combined with regular sunscreen application, creates a powerful defence against UV radiation

There is a whole range of different styles available.  Here are some of our favourites:

  • This SPF 50 Straw Hat 8 offers a full brim and a high UV UPF sun protection.  It is foldable and packable making it easy to carry whether in a beach bag or suitcase 
  • This Columbia Sun Hat 9 is lightweight and breathable. It also comes in a variety of colours and can be adjusted with the chin strap
  • This Sun Visor 10  features a zipper that removes the top part of the hat away from the visor section. This way you can wear it either as a sun hat or simply as a wide brim visor. 
  • For children an Adjustable Bucket Sun Hat  11 with a wide brim helps to protect & shield your child’s  head, eyes, face and neck from harmful UV rays and strong sunlight.
  • Another option for kids is a Drawstring Sun Hat. 12  This sun hat comes  with a fully adjustable head drawstring allowing you to size up so you can use the same sun hat for your child for multiple seasons. 
  • A Swimming Cap 13 such as this one provides UPF 50+ Sun Protection. It also has a wide brim to keep the sun out of the face and help protect the eyes.  It is designed to be worn in and out of the water for maximum sun protection. 

Sunglasses

Whether you’re strolling along the beach, hiking in the mountains, or simply enjoying a sunny day, wearing sunglasses with adequate UV protection is more than just a fashion statement—it’s a crucial step in safeguarding your eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Sunglasses with UV protection also help reduce glare caused by the sun’s reflection on surfaces like water, snow, or roads. This not only enhances your comfort but also improves visibility, reducing the risk of accidents when driving or engaging in outdoor activities.

As with Sun Hats there is a style to suit each face shape and personal style.  Here are just a few options you may wish to consider:

  • Polarised UV Sunglasses 14  – These UV women sunglasses block 100% of the UVA and UVB radiation and harmful blue light up to 400 nm to protect your eyes.
  • Classic Round UV Sunglasses 15 – The polarised and gradient lens on these sunglasses block 100% of harmful UVA & UVB rays.  These sunglasses are scratch-resistant, flexible and strong.  
  • Need a different pair of sunglasses to match different outfits?  Then why not go for this 4 piece oversized sunglass set 16 ?  These womens polarised sunglasses in a classic and oversized design are decorated with fashionable bling crystal composite frames whilst offering UV400 eye protection.  They effectively filter and block glare, protecting your eyes against UV damage.
  • Are you more of a sporty type?  If so these Sporty Frames 17 are just what you need.  

Comfortable Seating

An Adjustable Beach Chair  18  or Foldable Beach Recliner 19 enhance comfort, providing a cosy spot to relax and enjoy the scenic surroundings.  When choosing your seating, look for additional features such as cup holders and storage pockets which will add greater comfort to your beach experience. 

Beachwear

Another top essential when heading to the beach is of course, adequate beachwear.  This will range from swimwear like these Mens Swim Shorts 20 this Leopard Print One Piece Swimsuit 21 for ladies or Rash Guards  22 for kids.  

Good beach or pool shoes are another must have.  Sliders 23 like these are extremely popular with kids but are a good choice for the whole family.  You should also consider Beach Shoes 24 . Type of shoe is perfect if you are visiting a rocky beach such as Rosia Bay (el kwari!) Not only will they make getting in and out of the sea a breeze but they will be perfect for other activities such as windsurfing, beach volleyball, sailing, boating, kayaking and more!

Another popular beach activity is eating at a chiringuito (beach bar).  Now,  I don’t know about you but I don’t like having to get back into my clothes for a quick bite to eat.  So, for these occasions I love packing a cover up such as a Kimono.   There are so many stunning styles out there.  Here are just three of my favourites:

  • Lace Kimono 25 – This beach dress cover up is perfect for wearing at the beach or swimming pool.  Fits UK Size XS-XL
  • Leopard Prints 26- This kimono in sheer chiffon fabric is perfect for summer
  • Teal and Gold Kimono 27– This casual but elegant swimsuit cover-up  is perfect for wearing at the beach, swimming pool, club, summer, vacation, or water park. It would make a perfect gift for any occasion.

Beach Bags

We’ve  already listed quite a few essential beach gear items for your beach adventure.  But, with so many more things to add to this list, one item which should form part of your essential beach gear is the right beach bag. Here’s a breakdown of different types of beach bags which form part of our essential beach gear.

  • A large and roomy tote bag with plenty of pockets and zips.  We like this Beach Please Bag 28 and this stunning Striped Tote Bag 29.  Both offer plenty of pockets and storage. The striped tote bag also has a zip opening at the bottom allowing you to quickly shake out the sand. No more sand in your car! 
  • If you are planning on spending a long time at the beach then you will need a cooler bag to store your snacks and refreshments.  We love this 30l Family Picnic Bag 30
  • Dry Bags 31 such as this come in 4 sizes (5L 10L 20L 30L) are available in 12 colours and feature 2 adjustable shoulder straps and buckles to make it easy to carry. You can use it as a large volume backpack and they are perfect for water activities too.
  • Wet Bags – These little bags are perfect for your damp swimwear helping prevent other belongings from getting soaked.  Being a huge Disney and Universal fan I have fallen in love with these Mickey 32 Minnie 33 and Harry Potter 34 wet bags.
  • Waterproof Phone Case 35 – OK, OK, so technically this is a case and not a bag. But, it should definitely be included in your list of essential beach gear.  A waterproof pouch bag like this one is large enough to hold your phone, wallet, passport, watch, and even a small tablet.  Before using any waterproof case to store your valuables be sure to test the product before every use. 

Beach Towels

One of the cabinets in our bathroom is full to the brim with a collection of beach towels.  My husband is an absolute hoarder so I am banned from getting rid of them but, if you are like me, you hate using damp towels.  Traditional beach towels take an absolute age to dry and become heavy when wet so now I choose quick dry towels.

Quick dry towels live up to their name by rapidly absorbing moisture and drying at an accelerated rate. They are often more compact and lightweight than traditional towels leaving more room in your beach bag for other essentials. These Fast Drying Microfibre Towels  36 are available in three size options (30x60cm, 50x100cm, 70x140cm, 90x180cm, 100x200cm). They also come with a soft, zippered case so if you’re on the go you can still pack it away without everything else in your bag getting wet.  I also love this Dock & Bay Beach Towel 37.  And, don’t forget to get some Beach Towel Pegs 38 . These are perfect for clamping your towels on sunbeds, sun loungers or pool chairs.

Picnic Bag Essentials

You now have the perfect picnic bag but your shopping is not done there.  Picnic bag essential beach gear must include:

  • Resuable Ice Packs 39 – essential for keeping your snacks and refreshments cool in the sun.  This set of 6 slim ice packs measures 5.25″ x 5″ x 0.5″ each and weighs less than 4 oz. It won’t take up too much space in your lunch bag.
  • Large Thermos Flask  40 – are you even a llanito (Gibraltarian) if you don’t take a thermos flask to the beach pa el te (for teatime)???
  • Outdoor  Cutlery and Tableware Set 41 – This set contains everything you need for a perfect beach picnic or lunch.
  • Water Bottle 42 – Staying hydrated in the sun is a must.  These stainless steel water bottles can keep cold drinks chilled for up to 12 hours. The bottle comes with two interchangeable caps.  The sport cap effortlessly delivers a high flow rate that makes it easy to drink from your bottle without removing the lid whilst the bamboo cap enables you to carry it with ease or attach it to a backpack.  Perfect water bottle for hikes, trekking, camping, or to take to the beach or gym!

Inflatables

Nothing says fun in the sun like a day at the beach with the right inflatables.  Whether it’s a Wave Runner 43, Gator Ride On 44, Floating Hammock 45, Swim Ring 46  a fun Inflatable Log Game 47 or Inflatable Beach Ball 48 these inflatables provide the perfect spot to relax and soak up the sun.

We also love spending time on our Inflatable SUP board 49 and Inflatable 2 Person Kayak 50.  Choosing inflatable SUPs and Kayaks makes storing them a lot easier.

Beach Games

Games such Flying Rings 51, Skip Balls 52Racket Ball 53, Sticky Catch 54 , Waterproof Dobble 59, UNO Splash 56 and a  Collapsible Bucket and Beach Toys 57 set can also  transform the sand into a canvas for family fun.

Beach Electronics

In the serene realm of the beach, where the soothing waves and warm sands invite us to disconnect, it might seem counterintuitive to bring along electronic devices. However, some electronics can enhance your beach experience rather than detract from it.

For example, a GoPro  58or similar Waterproof Sports Camera 59 are perfect for capturing your thrilling water adventures or snorkelling explorations and a Kindle  60 or another e-reader opens up a world of literary escape without the risk of sand-filled pages. 

We also like throwing in a Mini Bluetooth Waterproof  Speaker 61 like this one into our beach bag for up to 12 hours of music.

Collapsible Beach Trolley    

Wow! Who would have thought that there would be a list of over 60 essential beach gear items?!?!  That is a lot of gear and of course you are not going to be taking 62 items to the beach with you.  But, even if you are just lugging about your beach umbrella, chairs, beach bags and a couple of floaties or a SUP or kayak, you are definitely going to need some help in carrying them!  Enter our final essential beach gear item, this amazing Collapsible Beach Trolley   62     Equipped with large, all-terrain wheels,   this trolley ensures a smooth pull and easy transport on multiple ground surfaces including sand. 

Ultimate Fun In The Sun With Our Essential Beach Gear Guide

From practical essentials like sunscreen and beach towels to the latest in beach tech and comfortable lounging gear, this comprehensive list ensures you’re well-prepared for a day of relaxation and enjoyment by the shore. So, pack your beach bag with these essential beach gear items, head to the sandy shores, and make every beach day an unforgettable experience. Here’s to endless waves, sandy toes, and the joy of seaside escapades

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