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Get Beach Ready in a Flash with this Beach Bag checklist

Anita McLachlan - 1st November 2009

Does getting out the door to go to the beach leave you a quivering ball of stress? Ever arrived on the sand to find you've left your towel at home? Kiss goodbye to stressful exits and forgotten sunnies with our no-sweat beach bag checklist.

1. Towel
When it comes to towels, size really does matter. A lush large beach towel means you can spread out and relax. Might take longer to dry but it's worth it. Have a spare at home or in the car and the problem is solved!

2. Hat
A wide brim hat is not only sunsmart, it's oh-so stylish. Remember to keep it in proportion – if you're petite and not overly confident, keep the brim size narrower. Curvacious and more generously proportioned, go for it! If hats just aren't your style or you're the 'active' type, try a visor. Not the greatest sun protection option but something is better than nothing.

3. Swimwear
You could wear them underneath before you go, but if you've got a drive ahead of you, perhaps not the most comfortable option...

4. Spare Underwear
...and if you happen to get soaked by a rogue wave, having a spare set of undies on hand makes the return trip home so comfortable.

5. Sunscreen
For face, body and lips. It's really important that finer skin gets special treatment. Go for maximum sun protection factor (SPF) to keep those skin-ageing sun rays at bay. Remember to re-apply often, especially after swimming or sweating.

6. Sunglasses
After keys, these must be THE most frequently 'hunted for' summer essential on the planet. Keep a pair in your bag, and save yourself hours of time and frustration. They don't have to be expensive to offer great UV protection – but choosing the right shape for your face is vital.

7. Water Bottle
An essential weapon against dehydration. Ditch the plastic and invest in a stylish stainless steel number - good for your health (no plasticky chemicals to leach into your system), and for the planet. Keep it handy and sip it often.

8. Something to Read
Summer is made for reading and it breaks up a day at the beach beautifully. Be it a magazine or a book, get into the habit of replacing the finished article with a fresh one when re-packing your bag. Need some fresh inspiration? Check these lists for hot beach reads.

9. Haircare
It's a major pain when your hair gets wet, the temperature's rising and you haven't got anything to tie it back with. Always keep a few little ties, clips or a stunning scarf ready to go in your beach bag. They don't take up much room but they will keep you cool and less frazzled.

10. A Great Beach Bag
And to carry all these essential bits - the often overlooked beach bag! Well-organised beach girls know that it's best to go for one with a few extra compartments:

  • an inside zip pocket to keep your keys, phone, iPod, lip balm, hair ties/clips/scarf and valuables sand free and safe
  • a place for wet swimwear
  • another for sunscreen and water, preferably on the outside where it won't spill on your precious goodies, is very handy for that quick sip or slop.

Checklist complete! Tick it off when you re-pack your bag and you'll be beach ready in a flash.