What to bring on your next beach trip

Who doesn't love the beach.

While there’s nothing that gets you out of the mid-week doldrums like imagining sand between your toes and the sunlight on your skin, the reality—if insufficiently prepared—is a day in paradise that can make you sand-caked, sunburnt, hangry, and dehydrated.

In preparation for this weekend’s sandy lie-about, we’ve gathered all the beach stuff a friend could need. Whether you want to keep the sun away or keep the sand out of your… everything, read on for the coolest beach products you never knew you craved.

Make sure your gear doesn’t get covered. Amazon

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This Aomais beach bag has eight zippered pockets and is made of a mesh that lets the sand sift through the bag’s bottom. It’s large enough—16 x 14.5 x 8.5-inches—to pack all the beach essentials. It can hold up to 150 pounds.

Don’t worry about it. Amazon

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The 14-ounce WEKAPO beach blanket measures 10 x 9-feet. When you’re ready to pack up, though, it can fold down to portable pouch. It’s made of durable, lightweight nylon and comes with six metal stakes that anchor its corners, so it won’t fly away. The blanket is designed to stay cool in the heat and dry super quickly.

A thinner choice. Amazon

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Microfiber towels are thinner than the traditional terry cloth, plus they’re more absorbent and dry more quickly. This makes them great for the beach. These towels from Bdsign are 74 x 74 inches—you and a few friends can lay out comfortably—washing machine friendly, and come with a travel bag.

I can’t stand damaging books with water, sunscreen, or sand. Amazon

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When it comes to beach reading, a Kindle does the trick. The waterproof Kindle Paperwhite battery lasts weeks, features a built-in adjustable light for both day and night reading, and has an anti-glare screen so you can read the words no matter how sunny it is. The Paperwhite comes in black or white.

Don’t forget to protect your eyeballs. Amazon

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These lightweight 6.4-ounce Sunski sunglasses have polarized lenses, which means they not only block light coming directly from the sun, but also the light that glares off the pavement. These have a polycarbonate frame with steel hinges and come with a carrying case. They are available in three colors.

If you don’t want to lay around on the sand. Amazon

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This polyester beach chair is lightweight, 19.5 inches wide, and made with an aluminum frame. A side pocket has a place for your cell phone, sunglasses, and other smaller items. It also boasts a side table that folds out, with a beverage pouch and a security pocket.

Feel like a kid again. Amazon

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If you aren’t a fan of beach chairs or laying on a towel in the sand, this inflatable sofa—82 x 27 x 35-inches—from WEKAPO might be your favorite beach lounging experience. It has a built-in headrest, requires no pump to blow up—just wave it in the air to inflate—and will maintain air for hours. The waterproof lounger comes with a carrying bag and stakes to keep the seat in place. It can also be used as a pool float.

Basically obligatory. Amazon

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Make the sand your beach. This 18-piece sand castle set includes molds that turn sand into alligators, turtles, and castle walls. Make a quaint castle or conquer the entire beach.

Since the beach can get boring. Amazon

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If giant beer pong isn’t really your thing, consider Spikeball. The primary move is similar to spiking in volleyball, but instead of over a net, you hurl the ball onto a trampoline.

Bring your music where the beach is. Amazon

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The Anker Soundcore Flare Mini Bluetooth Speaker connects to your phone via Bluetooth, is IPX7-rated waterproof, and produced powerful 360-degree sound. The speaker also holds 12 hours of juice and has a ring of LED lights that dance to the beat of the music.

Stay hydrated at the beach. Amazon

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The MiiR stainless steel, double-walled bottle is vacuum-insulated, holds 64 ounces, and will keep drinks cold for more than 24 hours.