Get your beach gear out people! Summer’s officially here and with the bright blue skies and blazing sun it is time to head towards the coast and hit the beach. With golden sands and crystal clear water the beach is a great place to go to relax, unwind and get over the stresses of modern day life. Before heading to the beach there are some essential pieces of beach gear you need to pack in your bag, such as:-

1) Sun cream, hat and glasses

Arguably, this kit is the most important piece of beach gear of all. All day sun exposure can lead to sun burning, which as we know, results in redness, soreness and potential blisters. Sunburn can also lead to problems later in life, such as blemishes and in extreme circumstances skin cancer. When sitting out in the sun we need to stay safe and ensure we don’t burn from the harmful rays. In order to prevent sun burn there are three essential bits of beach gear you should have with you at all times, and these include sun cream, a hat and some sun glasses.

One of the most important items in the battle against the sun is sun cream. Sun cream is specifically designed to be applied to the face, neck and any other area of skin exposed to the sun, to prevent sun burn. Sun cream comes in a variety of strengths, known as factors and you need to choose the best factor for your skin type. A person with fair skin will burn quicker and will require a higher factor sun cream than a person with darker skin. You need to remember that a single application of sun cream will not offer all day protection so it is important to reapply sun cream regularly. Some sun creams claim to be water proof however this is not entirely true. Sun cream should be re-applied each and every time you come out of the water.

Sun cream, hat and glasses are threeessential pieces of beach gear you need to remain protected from the sun. Make sure the hat is rimmed, the glasses cover your eyes properly and the sun cream has a factor that is high enough for your particular skin type.

The summer sun kitCredit: yackers1

It is important that you wear a hat to shield your face and protect your head and your scalp from burning when you are out in the sun. Believe it or not, the sun’s rays can penetrate a full head of hair and burn the scalp therefore those with thin hair or no hair at all are at a greater risk and should always wear a hat. Hats come in a manner of various styles and types so there is something for all tastes. Whatever style of hat you wear you should ensure there is some kind of peak that will shade your face and eyes.

Many people argue that sunglasses are not totally necessary because your hat will provide shade for your face. However, the salty sea air can quickly dry your eyes out. Similarly, the wind can kick up particles of sand that may get in your eyes and create irritation. Sunglasses will not only stop you squinting from bright sunlight but they will also prevent dryness from the salty air and irritation from the stray particles of sand.

2) Appropriate clothing

Essential beach gear item number two. As well as having the essential sun protection items above you also need appropriate clothing to prevent sun burn. Exposing your skin to the sun and getting a bit of a tan is actually good for you and will create a healthy glow, however if you go too far and get sunburned this is not good for you.

The sun is at its hottest and most intense during the midday, i.e. between the hours of 11.00 am and 3.00 pm, and this is the time you need to cover up. During these hours you should wear lightly colored and loose fitting clothing to keep the sun’s harmful rays out and long sleeves are useful to stop your arms burning.

Many people like the feeling of sand between their toes and the only way to get this is to walk around barefoot. The sun can often heat the sand up to very high temperatures, which can be too hot for bare feet. In these circumstances you are going to need to wear some foot wear. Arguably, flip flops or sandals are best in this situation as they provide protection from the hot sand so the soles of your feet don’t get burnt, but are open so the rest of your feet can be exposed to the air to help them keep cool. Open footwear is also useful as it is easy to get all the sand out of them at the end of the day.

3) Drinks

Essential beach gear item number three. When you are sitting out in the sun your body is likely to start losing fluid through perspiration. You need to replace this fluid to ensure you don’t become dehydrated therefore it is important to take plenty of drink when you go to the beach.

A nice cold beer or a glass of chilled wine is even better whilst lounging around on the beach however it is not always the best idea. Alcohol will cause dehydration in itself so when you add this to the effects of the sun the problem is compounded. It is also worth remembering that alcohol and sunshine don’t mix and the effects are quicker and more intense when drinking in the sun. In addition, alcohol and water don’t mix and being drunk in the sea is dangerous and can lead to many problems. If you have to drink alcohol at the beach you need to remember to be responsible and have some self control. Limit yourself to one or two alcoholic drinks throughout the whole day and you should be fine.

Soft drinks are by far the best type of drink to take to the beach. Soft drinks will quench your thirst, replenish any lost fluids and are totally safe with no adverse side effects. Soft drinks are at their best when chilled so take them in a cool box, or cool bag, with plenty of ice packs for the best results.

4) Books

Essential beach gear item number four. Lazing in the sunshine, people watching and staring out to see is good fun but it is limited entertainment value and you will soon get bored. Lounging on the beach is relaxing, reading a book is relaxing so why not do both at the same time?

The beach is an ideal place to relax, unwind, chill out and catch up on some reading. Grab your favourite novels and hit the coast.

Summer beach essentials - booksCredit: yackers1

The beach is the ideal location to catch up on your reading and work your way through a trashy novel, a sci-fi tale or whatever other type of story entertains you. The beach is a windy place and I find it hampers my reading as the pages blow about all over the place. The best way to overcome this is to use an ebook reader, such as the Sony PRS505 or if this is not to hand I simply use the stanza ebook application on my iphone.

5) Music

The Apple ipod.The most popular MP3 player in the world and it is easy to see why. Apple have got a winner with this product.

White clickwheel ipod on a white backgroundCredit: yackers1

Essential beach gear item number five. I appreciate reading is not everyone’s thing however something that most people like is music. There is nothing better than loading your favorite tunes on your MP3 player, ipod, iphone, Archos multimedia player or whatever type of music player you have and then listening to them whilst lounging around at the beach.

Personally, I like listening to a bit of reggae at the beach since it is a genre of music that signifies the summer however music is down to personal tastes, so put some music on your player and hit the beach.

6) wind break

Essential beach gear item number six. The coast is a typically windy place. Even on those days where it is still in the cities there is likely to be a breeze at the beach and you need to bear this in mind. There are times when a breeze is nice as it will keep you cool however there are times when a breeze can be more trouble than it’s worth. The wind will blow particles of sand in your eyes, hair and over any food you are trying to eat, the wind will dry your eyes out and the wind will create havoc with book pages.

The easiest way to get out of the wind and stop it ruining your visit to the beach is to use a wind break. If you take a wind break remember to take a rubber mallet or something else to bang the poles deep in to the sand.

7) A digital camera

Essential beach gear item number seven. A day at the beach can provide many family photograph opportunities that will provide happy memories for many years to come. The kids building sand castles with dad, mum falling off the sun lounger, the dog taking a dip in the sea are just few of the things that may be captured. As well as family shots the beach is a beautiful place for landscape photography and if you are patient enough to sit it out all day you may even be rewarded with a stunning sunset.  

The beach is a place that offers many photo opportunities. The Olympus EPL1 digital camera is a fantastic digital camera that provides some high quality images that will provide many happy memories.

 Essential beach gear - Olympus PEN EPL1Credit: yackers

In summary

The above is the minimum kit I take every time I go to the beach. Some people will take more and some will take less, however the essential items should be in everyone’s beach bag. When you go to the beach safety is key, and you need to ensure you have everything you need to ensure you do not come to any harm. The sun’s rays are harmful and can lead to severe problems in later life so the most important thing is to prevent getting sunburned. You need to ensure you wear a hat, ensure you apply sun cream to all areas of exposed skin at regular intervals and cover up during the hours when the sun is at its hottest and most intense. You also need to ensure you remain hydrated so take plenty of drink and replenish your body fluids as you sweat them out.

Once the safety kit is packed the other items is entirely down to the individual, it just depends on what you want to do to keep amused and how much you are willing to carry.