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It’s that time of year again. Temperatures are rising as the sun begins to creep out from behind the clouds more with each passing day. If you’re like us, these days have you itching to head out to the lake. After all, what says “summer” more than long days spent floating on a massive inflatable flamingo with a cold drink in hand?
Now that we’ve got you dreaming of days by your favorite lake, let’s talk more about maximizing the time you spend there. The essentials of a day at the lake are simple: Trunks, check. Towel, check. Cooler full of beer, check. Sunblock — most likely forgotten in the car until it’s too late. With the obvious necessities aside, we’ve curated a list of accessories proven to provide the epic and unforgettable kind of summer fun that you’ll spend all winter reminiscing about.
The Best Lake Day Accessories:
Badger SPF 40 Sport Mineral Sunscreen
Safety first. While sunscreen is an obvious (and, as we mentioned, often overlooked) summer essential, it’s important to think twice about both remembering to apply sunscreen and also what kind of sunscreen you’re applying. Many common sunscreen brands contain Oxybenzone. This nasty chemical has proven harmful to coral reefs, but did you know it’s also harmful to human health? It has been linked to skin allergies and, even worse, hormone disruption by way of affecting estrogen production in women and testosterone production in men.
Pack a tube of Badger Sport Mineral Sunscreen Cream in your beach bag and nix the harmful chemicals completely. We love this product because it’s made from 98% natural ingredients. In fact, it only contains 5 ingredients total (and none of them are Oxybenzone). The Sport cream is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and stands up to sweat as well. Nothing ruins lake day fun like crispy skin you could fry an egg on, so before you head out, make sure this essential accessory is packed in your beach bag.
Funwater Cruise 11
No boat? No worries. You don’t need a motorized watercraft to explore beyond the shoreline. While there are plenty of kayak, canoe, and SUP options, we recommend the FunWater Cruise 11 for escaping the shoreline and enjoying casual recreation during your days on the lake.
This may not be the most premium stand-up paddleboard on the market, but it’s a convenient, lightweight and affordable access point to testing the waters via SUP. It’s sturdy and lightweight thanks to the double-wall, high-density PVC construction — weighing in at only 18.9 pounds. It comes with its own carrying backpack, pump, paddle, leash and even a bonus 10-liter dry bag to keep your phone and snacks safe when you head out exploring. Despite the lean price tag, I can say from experience that this board is impressively stable compared to similar (much pricier) competitors. It’s an easy paddleboard to enjoy for seasoned paddlers, beginners, kids and dogs alike. There’s no such thing as having too many toys to entertain you and your friends or family at the lake.
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all pair of sunglasses, which is why it wouldn’t be fair to recommend a single pair of shades. Instead, consider finding your perfect pair for a day at the lake through GlassesUSA, where modern styles meet discount prices. The online retailer features well-established brands like Oakley, Ray-Ban, Gucci and so many others, and even offers prescription services if you’re looking to add a little clarity to your shades. Protect your eyes and make the most of your day by the water.
Nomadix Original Towel
What’s gritty and tan and guaranteed to be found everywhere you don’t want it after a day at the beach? You guessed it. Sand. Getting sand in your shorts is a total bummer (get it?). Your beach towel should be a sand-free space on the beach to take a load off. Toss your worn-out old beach towel and upgrade to a sand-wicking towel from Nomadix.
These beach towels are designed in California, so you can trust that the folks at Nomadix know a thing or two about hanging out on beaches. Their trademarked post-consumer fabric is sand-free, super absorbent and dries in a fraction of the time of a typical cotton or terrycloth towel. If you’re worried about packing light to cut down on trips from the parking lot, Nomadix beach towels are compact and easily fold down into a travel-ready size. Shop the dozens of designs to find something that mirrors your laid-back vibes.
True Places Emmett Folding Chair
Unlike traditional beach chairs that sit low to the ground and/or fall apart after one or two uses, the Emmett chair is built with aerospace-grade aluminum that’s designed to endure season after season by the water. But it’s not just a big hunk of heavy-duty metal — the patent-pending folding mechanism allows you to pack the chair away in seconds and the included carry bag (made from recycled materials) makes it easy to transport this beachside throne from one location to the next. True Places hooks up the Emmett with soft seating fabric, a moveable cupholder and built-in bottle openers under each arm, giving you very few excuses to ever leave this capable seat.
Yes, a bonfire would be preferable, but unfortunately, with wildfires ramping up throughout much of the U.S. during the summer months, they’re not always feasible (or legal). The Ignik FireCan is a portable campfire, fueled by propane and housed in a rugged, heavy-duty ammo can. It passes stage one and stage two fire bans in most states (always check fire regulations in your area before burning as they vary by state and county), thanks to it being powered by propane and self-contained. At 38,000 BTUs per burner, it puts off more than enough heat — and a flame that can tower incredibly high — to roast marshmallows over or warm up and dry off around.
Airhead Towboggan 6
I could have easily put any floating water mat on this list. What’s not to love about an Aladdin-esque surface that essentially allows you to defy physics and walk on water? But, unlike other similar mats, the Tow Boggan 6 allows you and up to five friends to glide atop the lake on a magic carpet ride while being towed at high speeds behind a boat.
Four layers of multi-density foam keep the Tow Boggan 6 afloat and allow for the durability needed to stand up to towing, curious dogs hopping aboard, and up to 1,020 pounds of weight. Prefer to lounge in the water with a beer in hand instead of being dragged across the lake at terrifying speeds? The Tow Boggan 6 is easy to tie off to a dock or stationary object using the attached rope loop. One part towable toy you can ride on and one part floating party deck. What more could you ask for?
Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic Jacket
The perfect lake day is usually accompanied by blue skies, sunshine and not a cloud in sight. Reality, as we know it, is not always so kind. But if you come prepared, a little rain or wind spray off the lake won’t dampen your good time. A reliable rain jacket is a pack-it and forget-it staple that may not come to mind when you’re thinking about a sunny lake day but is always appreciated when mother nature throws a curveball.
Based on my own experience wearing the women’s version of the same jacket in some cataclysmic storms during days out on the boat, I recommend the Men’s Stretch Ozonic Jacket from Mountain Hardwear. With 2.5 layers of breathable, waterproof ripstop fabric, you won’t even notice the water — whether rain or crashing whitecap — wicking right off you. The zippered vents keep away condensation or sweat buildup inside the jacket during warm summer rains. It even packs into itself, taking up minimal room in your bag. Bonus points: The stretch fabric is nonrestrictive and super convenient for playing frisbee or corn hole on the beach.
Bodyglove Barefoot Cinch Water Shoes
Whether in the water or on the beach, skin gets soft when it’s wet, and nobody enjoys cutting up their wet feet on sharp rocks, sand or debris. If you’re looking for proven quality in watersports gear, Body Glove has done it right for nearly 70 years.
The Men’s 3T Barefoot Cinch Water Shoes offer a unique three-toed design (if it works for a sloth climbing hundreds of feet off the deck, it’ll work for you hopping across rocks at the lake) that protects your feet while maintaining that barefoot-on-the-beach feel. The integrated drainage system keeps trench foot — and general pruning — at bay by allowing water to flow out of the shoe while air circulates in. These hybrid water shoes have ultra-grip outsoles for maintaining traction on wet, rocky terrain while the adjustable shocklace allows you to cinch the shoe tight and avoid any heel lift whilst in the water.
Frisbees are a go-to for tried and true lake day fun. KanJam takes tossing a frisbee around on the beach up a notch. I promise you, this game is addicting and good for countless hours of entertainment. KanJam consists of two hollow cylindrical goal posts. Each has an open top and a slot on the front. The game is played in two teams of two, so partner up and get ready for some competitive disk throwing.
The goal isn’t to catch the frisbee once it’s thrown, but for the frisbee to either touch or land inside the goal post. If your partner’s throw is off-target, you can sacrifice whatever body part it takes to deflect the disk into the goal post. The whole game only requires three things — two goal posts that flatten down for east transport and an included, perfectly weighted disk. It’s simple to set up and easy to tote from the car to the beach.
Bote Inflatable Dock FX Full Trax
No day on the lake is complete without lounging in the water on an Instagram-worthy inflatable. With fun, function, and aesthetics in mind, I chose the BOTE Dock FX out of a myriad of trendy inflatables, to make this list.
The Dock FX is 8’x3’ when fully inflated and comes in three different style options. It’s the perfect size for one person to lounge on or to stage a game of floating beer pong around. The Dock FX is more than just a cool-looking floatie. It’s built from military-grade PVC and BOTE’s own AeroBOTE design, also used on their premium inflatable SUPs. It’s stable enough to practice yoga atop and can withstand a beating without needing to be patched. This will no doubt be the most refined and innovative inflatable you’ve ever sip ‘n’ soaked on.
MPOWERD Luci Solar Color String Lights
The simple joys in life are a crucial part of what makes fond memories of days spent at the lake hold such nostalgia. Luci Solar Color String Lights are one of those little things that help set the tone and make an evening at the lake one you’ll never forget.
As you can probably tell, I like things that are compact and easy to pack. These lights fit the bill. The 18-foot lighting cord retracts into a minimalistic disk-shaped housing for storage that even has a handy solar panel built right in. You can charge your string lights in the sun all day until evening comes when you’re ready to fire up the grill and start the party. There are six different color options to set the mood and the setup is mindlessly simple. If the sun was being fickle, these lights can also be charged via USB. In fact, when it’s charged up, the lighting’s housing can also be used to charge your phone or similar USB-compatible devices.
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