Here’s everything we’re packing in our beach bag this summer

Preparing for a beach trip, but can't quite remember all the essentials? We've got you covered with our selection of beachside essentials...

Nobody likes packing; that’s a fact. Who wants to wrestle shut a suitcase or do battle with a buckle in 32 degree heat? Not us, that’s for sure. But there is one exception to the drudgery of luggage-packing — beach bags. Because that means there’s fun about to be had; what’s more, fun in the sun.

When packing a beach bag, you’re essentially cramming a day’s worth of activities and pursuits into one handy piece of carry-along. But we know it can be tricky to know exactly what to pack; you don’t want to arrive at the beach and realise you’ve forgotten something crucial (like your copy of the latest Gentleman’s Journal).

That’s why, in selfless summer spirit, we’re throwing open our beach bags and sharing what we’ve packed. From refreshments to recreational activities — here’s the gear that’ll ensure you make waves at the beach…

Let’s start with the towels

What sort of gentleman would go to the beach without a stellar towel? An absent-minded, forgetful sort of gentleman: and one who’s guaranteed to have exceptionally damp swim shorts to boot. A towel is essential: and we’re only packing the very best in our beach bag this summer.

We wouldn’t have thought it possible for a beach towel to look effortlessly elegant, but FRESCOBOL CARIOCA has achieved just that with its signature linen towel. Ralph Lauren’s offering is luxuriously soft and exudes a classic design; while Luca Faloni’s striped linen number comes with stylish fringing at each end, together with a handy pocket to stop that pesky sand getting into your valuable items.

Here’s everything we’re packing in our beach bag this summer

FRESCOBOL CARIOCA Linen Towel

£95

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Here’s everything we’re packing in our beach bag this summer

Ralph Lauren Beach Towel

£70

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Defence against the sun is essential

It would be sheer madness to stride onto the beach without some sort of sun protection; as delightful as a day at the beach might be, nothing is worth permanent skin damage. We assume your skin will be primed and ready for the sun, having followed the tips in our pre-holiday grooming guide: but if you’re prone to burning, we’re packing some extra defence materials for good measure.

Hampton Sun’s Super Hydrating Face Cream does exactly what it says on the tin: it’ll protect your skin from those UV rays while also lusciously moisturising and reducing signs of aging. Lab Series have you covered with their Day Rescue Defence Lotion — SPF 35, it’ll combat the visible effects not only of sun, but of dry climate and pollution, too. And the ever-reliable Anthony has you covered with its SPF 30 Day Cream: the Squalene and Glycerin will keep skin nice and moisturised, while protecting you from the sun.

Here’s everything we’re packing in our beach bag this summer

Lab Series Defence Lotion

£31

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You won’t want to forget the snorkel

No gentleman should ever set foot on a beach without a snorkel. Not because it’s particularly uncouth to be without one, but because you won’t want to miss any opportunities to get up close and personal with any marine life that may be on offer. Needless to say, this applies more to warmer climates that offer breathtaking reefs and tropical fish aplenty; but it’s worth taking it to Salcombe, too. You just never know.

Atomic’s Venom ARC Dive and Snorkel mask has been described as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of dive masks, with its Anti-Reflective Coating Lens Technology which allows for a stunning brightness of vision, and comes with the SV2 Snorkel. Cressi’s Palau offering is the full package, with a bag, Palau fins, Marea mask and Gamma snorkel; and U.S. Divers has delivered with the Admiral LX Set: the mask offers panoramic views and a Silicone face skirt to protect against leaks, while the snorkel boasts Dry Top technology to seal the snorkel for quick subsurface dives.

Here’s everything we’re packing in our beach bag this summer

Atomic Venom Mask and Snorkel

£232

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Here’s everything we’re packing in our beach bag this summer

Cressi Palau Marea Bag

£43.44

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Here’s everything we’re packing in our beach bag this summer

U.S. Divers Admiral LX Set

£69.99

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There’s always time for some beachside fun and games

We won’t be restricting all the activity to those watery depths: there’s plenty of fun to be had on land, too. A wide expanse of sandy beach is the perfect place to toss a rugby ball around, or to indulge in some nice healthy competition by getting a team game going (just don’t get too competitive; beach days are supposed to be relaxing, after all). 

FRESCOBOL CARIOCA’s Trancoso Beach Bat Set is the perfect thing for a gentle afternoon activity: it’s the brand’s heritage product (which makes sense, given that frescobol is a game that fully captures the Carioca spirit) and is naturally waterproof and sand-resistant. All-American Shinola proffers their finest leather offering, which is just the thing to be tossed around the surf with abandon as the sun sets; and if you’re heading down to the beach after a serious gym session (those abs never rest, after all), Nike has a Recovery Ball that’ll allow you to recover in style on the beach.

Here’s everything we’re packing in our beach bag this summer

FRESCOBOL CARIOCA Beach Bat Set

£160

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Here’s everything we’re packing in our beach bag this summer

Shinola Leather Football

£150

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Be sure to take some reading material

If you’re exhausted from all that snorkelling and sporting prowess, you’ll want to have a book on hand for some much-needed rest and recuperation. We never like to be short of some good reading material — especially at the beach. What if everyone else has gone for a swim while you were laboriously appling your after sun lotion? You’ll need to keep yourself occupied until they get back.

The best sorts of beach reads are punchy, suspenseful, edge-of-the-seat thrillers — those are the books you can really relish, after all, and the beach is definitely the time and the place for that sort of reading. John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came In From The Cold should be just the thing; and of course there’s always Bond. We’d recommend Dr. No for the beach, set as it is in the Caribbean.

And, of course, we’d never pack a beach bag without ensuring we’ve got a copy of the Gentleman’s Journal Summer Issue: with gripping tales of conservationists attacked by lions, and scintillating interviews with the likes of Pierce Brosnan — to say nothing of style tips for the beach and elsewhere — it’s the perfect beachside reading. Become a Gentleman’s Journal member, and get a copy delivered to your door. 

Here’s everything we’re packing in our beach bag this summer

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

£8.99

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Here’s everything we’re packing in our beach bag this summer

Gentleman's Journal Membership

£59.95

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Treat yourself to a drink: you’ve earned it

You’ll need a cooler — or some sort of chilling mechanism — for this last beach bag item, but it’s an item we’d strongly recommend including. A drink on the beach is unlike a drink anywhere else — and we’re all well overdue some indulgence. Just be sure to pack glasses; and follow our gentleman’s guide to day drinking to ensure your beach etiquette remains on point…

Of course, if the sun’s beating down and the waves are gently receding, then rosé should be just the thing. Whispering Angel will always deliver the delectable, refreshing goods with its exquisitely sculpted mineral core and fresh, summer fruit palate; as will AIX, with its crisp, lively notes and inviting salmon colour. And if you’d rather watch the sun set over the sea with an ice cold beer in hand, look no further than the world of craft beers to do it in style: specifically Pressure Drop’s The Numbers Pale Ale. It’s just the thing for a balmy, beachside evening.

Here’s everything we’re packing in our beach bag this summer

Pressure Drop The Numbers

£4.25

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Looking to visit a beach a little further afield? Leonardo diCaprio just bought this Hollywood home

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Further Reading