The month of August, considered the last gasp of summer, is nigh. If you’re still rounding out your beach gear kit or haven’t started, consider these selections for their durability, style, or eco-friendlier manufacturing methods.
If you’re bringing umbrellas, chairs, a shibumi, plus drinks (wine, natch) and snacks to the beach, you need a rugged wagon to carry it all. The wagon market has been flooded with choices, but many feature cheap parts that will rust or break down in a year or two. If you want a wagon meant for the long haul, consider Tupelo’s Load-Up Wagon.
Yes, it’s cute and comes in pretty pastel colors (Tupelo was founded by and markets to parents). At first, you won’t want to subject it to mud and filth, but don’t let looks deceive. This cart is designed to be tough. A powder-coated metal frame carries up to 165 lbs of coolers, sports gear, etc, while 600D polyester fabric is both tear-resistant and easy to clean. Big, single-piece tires are puncture-resistant while offering quiet maneuverability. The cart collapses, folding to an 8” width, so it fits in most trunks and storage closets. A 3-year warranty and free returns strengthens Tupelo’s brand promise.
Dimensions: L31″ x W20″ x H30″ (folds to 8 inch Width), 10″ Interior Depth with capacity of 165 lbs
Shibumi Shade, $250 Original, $190 Mini
Wind, long the foe of junky beach umbrellas, becomes an ally when you raise a Shibumi Shade. Harnessing the slightest of breezes to hurricane gusts (okay, if a storm has a name, please go home), Shibumi’s free-flowing design works with the wind, not against it. Shibumi was founded by 2 brothers, Dane and Scott, and their friend Alex, all of whom grew up visiting Emerald Isle, North Carolina during summers. Frustrated with flimsy umbrellas that contribute to large volumes of annual beach trash, they brainstormed a beach shade prototype.
Weighing less the 4 pounds, the Shibumi set-up couldn’t be simpler. A single sack holds a foldable tent pole and a shade. Unfurl both, threading the pole through the canopy channel to create a rainbow-like arch. Insert both ends of the pole into the sand, then fill up the carrying bag with sand to create a counterweight. Done. What makes this vivid cobalt and aqua colored shade so compelling – and popular – is its clean, weightless, simplicity. Sand doesn’t even stick to the bag. While the price ($250) might seem high, the Shibumi Original provides 150 square feet of shade for up to six people and replaces the annual hunt for a umbrellas. While it may take a few years to “break even,” avoiding plastic and metal trash in landfills, for many nowadays, is priceless.
LowTides Ocean Products, Beach Chairs ($99-$169), Towels ($39), and Blankets ($59)
(Prices quoted include summer sale items)
LowTides Ocean Products was born of a bid to help reduce ocean plastic pollution. Citing one disturbing statistic that 3 dumpsters of plastic end up in oceans every minute of every day, the founders decided to start a beach chair and gear company working with upcycled ocean plastics.
Co-founders Elizabeth Ackmann and Brenton Hutchinson launched their business idea on Kickstarter in June, 2019, earning 100% of desired funding in 30 days. Today, LowTides Ocean Products partners at origin in key At-Risk Zones including Java (Indonesia), the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) and Haiti, to ensure 100% traceable ocean bound plastic goes into their products.
LowTides has a line of high and low backpack beach chairs for adults and kids with patterns featuring recent design collaborations with Laura Ashley, Thomas Paul, and Molly Hatch. For example, the Dune High Backpack Chairs feature colorful sea animals, flamingoes, stripes, solids, and a blue-hued chair dotted with buoys from the recent Laura Ashley collab ($169.99). Chairs aren’t just eco-friendlier but are also stylish. Each chair is made with 100% aluminum, upcycled HDPE plastic towel hooks, armrests, and kick plate, and the seat and back are made from REPREVE® high-quality fibers of 100% recycled materials.
The eco beach towels ($39.95) and blanket ($59.95), which match various chair patterns for those seeking a set, are made from recycled plastic water bottles. Spun from recycled PET yarn, the soft waffle texture holds twice its weight of water and can dry in half the time of standard towels. Do good, look good, as their motto goes.
Sunday Supply Co., Umbrellas ($156+), Chairs ($119+)
(Prices Quoted include summer sale items)
Born from the beaches of Australia, shipped from the sunny state of California, Sunday Supply Co. may be the most stylish beach gear company in business. While the brand’s street cred doesn’t stem from sustainable manufacturing methods, the quality, design, and price of the products means chairs and umbrellas will last longer in your collection than seasonal purchases at mass-market retailers.
While the failings of cheap umbrellas have already been acknowledged, there’s plenty of room on the beach for versions that are chic and sturdy. Sunday Supply Co. fills that niche with their retro-glamorous fringed umbrellas ($249 and up) that complement the season’s high-waisted bikinis and oversized sunglasses. You can buy a discounted matching set ($499) that comes with 2 lightweight beach chairs or go a la carte, mixing a yellow sun ray vintage striped umbrella ($259) with the yellow checkers of a golden oasis chair (on sale, $149.)
Umbrellas clock in at 12 pounds, so it takes a real gale force to bring one down or flip one inside out. (Tote it in your tupelo!) Wood poles feature powder-coated aluminum alloy hardware and a tilt mechanism for the shifting sun. The polyester canopy supplies UPF of 50+ across its 6.5 feet of shade. Each umbrella comes with a protective cover.
Chairs have a slim profile and are lightweight at 5.7 pounds. They come with a protective sleeve and detachable carry strap. Machine-washable cushion covers are made of fast-drying, fade resistant fabric and are stuffed with foam padding. If you want to show off your beach set-up on Insta, Sunday Supply Co. supplies the looks.