Picture this: you’re finally using your well-earned PTO or taking advantage of a free weekend to spend a gorgeous summer day outdoors. Maybe you’re heading to the beach or lounging at a park with friends. You leave your house in a breezy sundress or your favorite pair of shorts, with a tote bag thrown over one shoulder and a fold-up chair on the other. You trek outside, make yourself comfortable, breathe in the fresh air… only to remember you forgot something vital. Perhaps it’s sunscreen or your beach read of choice, and you begrudgingly debate whether to head back home to grab that thing you forgot or soldier on without it.
read this if you're in your saving era this summer
Speaking from experience, I know forgetting something for a day outside can be a total vibe killer. You need to be prepared with all the outdoor essentials to make the day not only fun and enjoyable but safe and comfortable, too. Let’s be real, it can get hot out there, and nothing ruins a perfect summer day quite like a sunburn, a bout of dehydration, or even a skipped meal (snacks are obvi a must). Don’t worry though—I’ve already thought of everything you might need to spend a day outdoors this summer.
Outdoor Essentials to Keep You Comfortable This Summer
Read on for a definitive list of summer outdoor essentials, and feel free to refer back to this article when you’re packing so you don’t leave anything behind!
SPF 50 Non-Aerosol Spray
Duh! This non-aerosol spray sunscreen is my favorite—it smells good, isn’t greasy, and is reef-friendly (AKA free of toxic ingredients).
Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
To avoid the stinging in your eyes that usually comes with slathering regular sunscreen on your face, opt for a face-specific sunscreen like this one from Supergoop. Unseen Sunscreen is popular for a reason: it is lightweight, resists water and sweat, and goes on clean—no white cast!
PLAY Lip Balm SPF 30 with Acai
Believe it or not, your lips can get sunburned, too. Keep them protected with a lip balm that has SPF, like this one.
Angular Cat Eye Sunglasses
Keep from squinting by tossing your favorite sunnies in your bag. Angular cat-eye sunglasses are having a moment this season, and these will add a bit of chicness to any summer look.
Wide Brim Straw Hat
A wide-brimmed hat is one of the best ways to shield the sun from your face and protect your skin from burning. Wearing a hat will also protect the top of your head, behind your ears, and other spots that may not get coated in sunscreen!
The Transport Tote: Straw Edition
A chic tote bag is a must for any day spent out and about. This straw tote is the only bag you'll need to go from the farmers' market to the park to the beach.
The Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler
Staying hydrated during the summer is key, so you’ll want to be sure you have lots of water on hand. A 40-ounce Stanley is appropriately large for a day in the sun, and it will keep your water cold, too.
Porter Seal Tight Glass Bowl
Nothing beats a sandwich and chips for a quick summer lunch. Packing food can make your day outside longer and more enjoyable, so bring lunch with these cute glass containers from W&P.
Porter Bags Starter Pack
These reusable snack and storage bags are perfect for packing sandwiches, chips, fruit, and other munchies for your outdoor activities.
Handheld Mini Fan
Don't let sweltering temps cut your day outside short. Toss one of these mini portable fans in your bag for times when you desperately need to cool down.
Waterproof Zipper Pouch
If you're heading anywhere near water, having a small, waterproof pouch is great for storing things like your phone, wallet, keys, or anything else you don’t want to lose or get wet.
Carrie Soto Is Back
A summer day wouldn’t be complete without a book to read. Summer is the time for lighthearted, easygoing reads, and if you loved Daisy Jones and The Six or The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, toss Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bestseller Carrie Soto Is Back in your tote bag.
AirPods with Charging Case
Perhaps you like a little music with your read, or you just want to relax to your favorite playlist or podcast. Remember to toss your fully charged ear buds in your bag or better yet, stash them in your waterproof pouch!
Portable Charger Power Bank
Just in case your phone or earbuds die, a portable charger will make sure you stay fully charged for the entirety of the day. Another great thing to toss into that waterproof pouch!
Fluffy Oversized Beach Towel
For drying off, laying out, or both, be sure to have a large beach towel that’s comfy and plush.
Golden Hour DEET-Free Mosquito Repellent
Nothing puts a damper on hot girl summer quite like swollen, itchy bug bites. Keep the creepy crawlies at bay with a natural bug spray that won’t have you smelling like harsh chemicals all day.
UNO Splash Card Game
If you’re hanging out by the water with friends or family, having a game to play can be a fun way to pass the time between dips, and these waterproof Uno cards were made for beach and pool days. They're made of plastic and come with a handy clip, so the deck is easy to toss in your bag, and you won’t risk losing any cards.
Mini Detangler Hair Brush
While we all crave those effortless, beachy waves come summertime, wind and water don't have that same effect for everyone. Keep a mini brush in your bag to take care of unruly knots or tangles before they get out of control. Your future self will thank you.