1 - Outdoor Linens
Whether it's a large flat bedsheet or a soft beach blanket, you definitely need one of these. Here, here and here are some options.
2 - Face Wipes
My favorite brand is You Smell Soap Lemon and Aloe, but they are quite difficult to find these days. Burt's Bees is a great runner up. It's gentle on your skin and will leave you nice and refreshed after a long day outside.
3 - Snacks
Skip the cookies and chips, they are just empty calories and won't sustain you through a day outside in the sun. Opt for some fresh fruit (oranges, bananas, berries) or protein bars. I like Kind bars, but there are a million and one brands out there to satisfy your cravings. Also, pack 2 large plastic Ziplock bags - one to collect wrappers and the other to store your phones in. No one likes a litterbug or a sand filled smartphone.
4 - Sunscreen
This really should be the first thing you pack! Don't be a hero, skin cancer is real and it's horrible. I like The Honest Co. sunscreen, but you know there are tons of brands to choose from. Before you buy check out ewg.org, which does a comprehensive review of every sunscreen out there. You might be surprised at the rating of your favorite brand!
5 - Lip Balm
Like everything else in this post, there are tons of choices for lip balm. I love the little eos spheres because they are inexpensive, fun and most importantly, don't get soft and melty in the heat.
6 - An e-reader (or book)
I don't go anywhere without my kindle but really, any kind of book will do. Pick them up at used bookstores, libraries or the grocery store. It's good for your brain to read things that aren't plastered on a smartphone screen! A few suggestions: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (yes, that Lauren Graham), Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman, Palisades Park by Alan Brennert and Heat: An Amateur Cook in a Professional Kitchen by Bill Buford.
7 - Sunglasses
Self explanatory, really. A.J. Morgan has an awesome selection of affordable eyewear, check them out.
8 - Football (or any activity to get you moving)
Footballs are fun since you can get a large group of people in on the game, but so are beach balls, frisbees and badminton sets. Just get out there and move. You'll feel better!
9 - Portable Speakers
These are my favorite new thing! Whether they plug into your headphone jack or use bluetooth, they are guaranteed to add some pizzazz to your outing. Here are some under $20.
10 - H20 Bottle
You could buy disposable plastic water bottles but that's really lame for the environment. Invest in a water bottle you can use over and over. I bought a s'well bottle last year and love it. It holds its promise to keep cold liquids cold for 24 hours, so you can sip frosty water all day long. If $35 is a splurge here's another excellent option.
11 - Flip Flops
Old Navy sells these every year for less than $5 a pair, so stock up. Here are some cute ones!
You can throw all of these things in a recyclable grocery bag or backpack, but if you want a fun tote to well, tote around, the internet has you covered. Here are one, two and three options to choose from.
One last tip before you head out to play - if you're hitting the beach, festival or park with a large group stop at your local party store or grocery store and buy an inflated mylar balloon with a very long string. Tie it tight to your tote's handle and voila - instant landmark! This is extremely helpful when it is crowded since you can easily say, "Look for us near the giant pink octopus balloon."
Do you have any tips I missed? Share them below! Happy tote-ing!