In the summer, when the temps start to reach scorching degrees, we find that less is best -- less clothes, less work, less stress -- you get the idea. Still, whether you're lounging by the pool, heading to a friend's barbecue, booking it to the beach, or venturing out on a new travel adventure, there are a few things you must have on hand. To help, we've rounded up a list of 10 summer essentials to help you overcome whatever heads your way -- heat, bugs, and even unpredictable thunderstorms.
The difference between a healthy glow and terrible sunburn is often a light slathering of sunscreen. Aerosol sunscreen sprays can harm the environment, while lotions can leave you feeling oily. That’s why were were ecstatic when we found Banana Boat’s Dry Balance SPF 50 sunscreen. It’s light, immediately disappears, and doesn’t feel wet or sticky. Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, it’s perfect for swimming in the beach or pool, city walks, and hikes.
While we’re on the subject of sunscreen, we’d like to urge folks planning on snorkeling, scuba diving, or swimming at the beach to purchase ocean-friendly sunblock. If you’re heading into the water or going that extra mile to strap on a mask and peek at the underwater world, we’re willing to bet that you love the ocean and marine life as much as we do. It only makes sense, then, to do our best to protect this ecosystem and wear ocean-safe sunscreen. This water-resistant, zinc-based sunscreen from BurnOut offers UVA/UVB broad-spectrum protection, plus it’s eco-friendly, biodegradable, and paraben-free. For those looking for a vegan, sensitive skin, and/or chemical-free alternative for your regular-use sunscreens, this brand also has some good options.
We all love soaking up that vitamin D, but sun damage is real and can often last a lot longer than a season. Now that you’ve got the sunscreen covered, the next priority should be your eyes. Grab a pair of trendy aviator-style shades (we’re big fans of metal frames and metallic or bronze glass) and protect your peepers in style.
Portable speakers are a must for summer. This set comes in nine colors and has up to 15 hours of battery life to pump out Bluetooth-synced tunes at the beach, pool, or backyard barbecue. Plus, it’s shockproof and waterproof for up to 30 minutes in three feet of water, in case your pool party gets a little out of hand. If you purchase it with the Echo Dot, you’ll also be able to sync with Alexa, Amazon Music, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and more.
Between the sweating and even more sweating, summer can make us stink. That’s why it’s smart to have something on hand to mask any unpleasant odors. But who wants to carry around a heavy (and breakable) bottle of cologne or perfume? Enter: the solid cologne. We love this solid cologne by Fury Bros. because it’s lightweight, small enough to fit in your pocket, easy to apply, and TSA-approved for carry-ons. It’s perfect for when a day at the beach morphs into a night out.
Summer showers are common, so it’s good to have a portable umbrella handy. If you’re anything like us, there’s a pile of cheap umbrellas accumulating by the front door — all either broken or blown out after one use. This EEZ-Y version is a sturdy travel companion with a double canopy, so wind flows through, keeping the cover stable. Plus, it folds down into 11 inches, making it easy to pop in your beach bag, backpack, or purse.
Hydrating in the summer is key, so carrying around a reusable bottle should be a no-brainer. Look for a stainless-steel option with a wide enough mouth for chugging and plopping in ice cubes or fruit. It’s also worth grabbing a bottle with an easy-to-twist-off top, good grip, and insulation, which helps keep the beverage (water, beer, cocktails, or rose) cold for up to 24 hours — a lifesaver in the summer heat. This Hydro Flask bottle comes in an assortment of colors, has a BPA-free cap, and storage options from 18 to 40 ounces.
Not only do hats keep you feeling cool in the heat, they can really amp up your look. The fedora is a classic option, while straw hats have a particularly summery vibe. Other great options include a wide-brim boater, a shady sun hat, and even a visor. Finding the perfect one boils down to personal preference — just be sure to pick something with a brim. We’re big fans of this unisex straw topper, which combines the beach vibes of a straw hat with the classic style of a fedora.
Much like sunscreen, bug spray can be a contentious topic with heated debates over the chemicals used and overall effectiveness. No matter which side you are on, avoiding bug spray in the summer is a big mistake. With the prevalence of diseases, like Zika and Lyme spread by mosquitoes and ticks, it’s best to be on the defensive. Again, we’re opting for a more natural version of this product. Sawyer’s insect repellent contains 20 percent Picaridin — which, some say, is more effective at repelling biting flies than DEET — and provides protection against mosquitoes and ticks for up to 14 hours.
Last but not least, invest in a summer tote, so that all of the aforementioned items are in one place. We like this simple yet sturdy Oahu mesh bag. Lightweight and breathable, it even comes with a little carabiner key ring. There are individual pockets for easy organizing, or just toss it all in.
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- The Best Sunscreens for Your Vacation
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