Summer’s just around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning for some outdoor activities that you can do over the next few months, solo or with the family. We’ve pulled together three checklists for three of our favorite summer activities; beach days, hiking, and picnics. Keep these lists handy, so you don’t end up saying ‘oh no, I forgot to bring…’
Beach Days Checklist
There’s something so rejuvenating about swimming in the ocean and basking in the sea breeze, don’t you think? Here’s our top 10 list of must-have items for the beach, so your main focus can be getting your tan on.
- Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen: This is one summer activity where your body is literally going to “soak up the sun,” so it’s incredibly important to make sure you’re doing it safely. Sunscreen should be priority #1 and don’t forget lip balm with SPF as well. If you want to know what sunscreen is right for you, check our Self Care Sunday – SPF Skincare Tips for All Skin Types
- Beach towels: Have you ever gone to the beach and thought to yourself ‘why did I only bring one towel?!’ We recommend bringing at least two towels: one to sit on and one to dry yourself off with. Make sure it’s a beach towel specifically though because they are thinner (which helps them dry quicker) and bigger.
- Beach mat and umbrella: Beach mats are always necessary, but the wrong mat will get blown around, filled with sand, and will be hard to dry at the end of the day. This Sandlite outdoor beach mat from Bed, Bath & Beyond features a soft and lighter weave that easily folds into a small bag for easy transportation. It’s also a good idea to bring a beach umbrella to provide some sort of shade from the sun so that you can take breaks from the heat and UV exposure.
- Bug spray: Most beaches have bugs. You might not be able to see them, but you will feel them. Protect yourself and your kids from flies, sand fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks with bug repellent.
- Waterproof phone pouch: Ever wanted to bring your phone into the ocean to take a few selfies? A waterproof pouch that features a simple snap and lock closure will work well to keep out water and sand.
- Snacks and drinks: You can never have too many snacks at the beach. Kids (and adults) run around a ton, working up an appetite. Bite-size snacks in Ziploc bags work well and drinks in insulated drinking cups keep drinks colder, longer.
- Cooler: Make sure you have a place to store your food and drinks with a cooler. Depending on the size of your group, you can go with something simple like a reusable cooler bag to something bigger like a hard cooler.
- Daypack or beach bag: A good beach bag should be lightweight and roomy, and should be very easy to clean sand out of. Lightweight daypacks work well too – for the beach and beyond.
Who doesn’t enjoy a picnic? It’s the ideal occasion to enjoy delicious food and soak up the wonderful summer sun. To make sure it’s a perfect and stress-free activity, preparation is key! If you’re organized and have a checklist packed with all the essentials below, you’ll be good to go.
- Food transportation: While food is the main event at a picnic, figuring out how you’re going to transport it is key. Whether you prefer a picnic basket, hamper, tote, bag, or backpack, make sure that it is big enough to transport both food, drinks, and tableware. If your picnic location isn’t too far from you, a traditional picnic hamper will be charming, but for a greater distance, a backpack-style picnic carrier may be more appropriate.
- Picnic blanket or tablecloth: Unless you’re planning your picnic in a location that has tables waiting for you, bring a blanket or tablecloth that is big enough to sit on and to hold all the contents of your picnic basket.
- Reusable serving utensils: Depending on the occasion and location of your picnic, your place settings could be as casual as bringing in reusable plates, cups, and utensils, or you could use your best plates, silverware, and table linens. Pack things carefully to avoid breakage.
- Paper Towels, wipes, and hand sanitizer: There will be trash, dirty dishes, and dirty hands. Assuming you won’t have access to running water, bring plenty of napkins, wet wipes, and hand sanitizer.
- Coolers or thermos: Food can spoil and harbor bacteria when not stored at the right temperature. Keep everything cold with small or large coolers, or fill a couple of resealable bags with ice cubes to chill food as it’s transported. Likewise, if you bring hot food to your picnic, use a thermos to keep it at a safe temperature.
- Entertainment: While picnics are often focused on food, half the fun is enjoying the outdoors. Plan some activities ahead of time to amp up the fun. If you’re on a romantic date, bring couples games, books, and speakers to play some music. If you’re with friends, family, and kids, don’t forget the classics: frisbee, ball, badminton.
- Eco-Friendly Waste Bags: The last and most important step after any good picnic is clean up. You’ll want the next family to enjoy the space just as much as you did so it’s nice to leave the area cleaner than when you found it. Use eco-friendly bags for your trash and to collect those dirty dishes and utensils that you are bringing home.
Hiking (Day Trip) Checklist
Heading out for a day hike is a delightful way to explore nature with friends and family or even by yourself. To figure out what you need to bring on a day hike, think about how far you plan to hike, how remote the location is, and what the weather forecast has in store. These items should be on your hiking checklist:
- Hiking backpack: A backpack is the primary piece of gear for day hiking. One that holds 11–20 liters of gear is about right for short, simple hikes, while something bigger is good for treks where more food, water, clothing and gear is required.
- Weather-appropriate clothing: Check the forecast and make sure to dress for the conditions (think moisture-wicking and layers). It’s also important to consider how much protection your clothing provides against the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
- Hiking boots or shoes: For footwear, determine what to wear based on the terrain. On gentle hikes on smooth trails, hiking shoes or trail runners are sufficient. For treks on rocky, rugged trails, boots will provide more support.
- Food and water: Pack snacks like energy bars, jerky, and nuts that you can eat easily on the trail. Some people like to bring a sandwich for lunch, too. For water, you can usually start with about two liters per person for the day, but adjust the amount depending on length and intensity of the hike, weather conditions, your age and body type.
- Navigation tools: Depending on where you are hiking, many trails can have forks and split off in different directions, so it’s good to have something to ground yourself with. Your personal preferences will determine exactly which items you’ll bring such as a map (in a waterproof case) and a compass. If you can, downloading the map of the trail on your phone ahead of time is also a good idea.
- Sun protection: This is an incredibly important part of any day trip, even when the weather looks cloudy. Make sure to protect yourself with sunglasses, lip balm with SPF, a hat, and most importantly sunscreen.
- First-aid kit: Another important item to have is a small first aid kit that has some basic first aid essentials in it like disinfectant wipes and bandages. You can either buy a prepackaged kit or a DIY kit that you can create yourself.
- Swiss army knife or multi-tool: You never know if you might need a multi-tool in an emergency, so you might as well add it to your hiking checklist. Just be sure to pack it properly.
The most important thing about making any checklist is to make sure it’s tailored to your needs. These summer activity checklists are a good starting point to help you enjoy every last sun-filled day of summer.