A day at the beach is fun for the whole family – but it also involves carrying around a lot of stuff. You need to bring towels, sunscreen, beach toys and more.
A beach bag is the best way to keep your gear organized, secure, and dry. However, not all beach bags are the same. You’ll want to consider the materials, size, and other features.
Finding the best beach bag is easy with our complete guide. We’ve rounded up the ten best bags for 2019. Plus, we’ve included tons of tips for finding the perfect bag for fun in the sand and sun.
Let’s get started!
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Esvan combines fashion and function with this large, durable, and colorful beach bag. Its total dimensions are 14.6” by 15.4” by 4.7”; it fits towels, shoes, laptops, and similarly-sized items.
Made from thick polyester, it’ll last for years even with heavy use. All fabric is waterproof and designed for outdoor exposure.
It has large, zippered pockets on both the exterior and interior. The metal zippers resist corrosion and heat. Two additional open pockets are inside.
Eighteen eye-catching designs are available, including many with beach and tropical themes.
The bag only weighs 13 ounces when empty. However, it’s not always comfortable to carry when full. The straps have no special padding, so they can bite into your shoulder when the bag’s maxed.
Also, it’s not a big enough bag for a large family. It’s better suited to hold enough gear for one or two people.
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The Aomais mesh beach bag is made with families in mind. It features eight pockets including a zippered outside pocket for wet items and a zippered inside pocket for valuables. It even has a keyring holder.
Pack up to 150 pounds of gear. You’ll stay comfortable when carrying it all thanks to the strap’s thick cotton padding. The bag’s total dimensions are 16” by 14.5” by 8.5”.
The high-density nylon rubber and tear-resistant mesh prevent damage. Plus, the mesh allows sand to fall away easily. Items dry quickly, too.
Unlike many bags on our list, this one has a lifetime guarantee and 24-hour customer service. You can contact Aomais by phone or email.
Overall, it’s a durable bag with a deep capacity which is ideal for families of four or more. The one downside is it can be difficult to carry when filled with 150 pounds of items.
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Extra-large for extra fun, Bulex’s beach bag has a 30” inch capacity which holds toys, shoes, towels, and more for the average five-person family. It’s 24” long by 8.7” high and 18” deep.
The mesh material is strong, flexible, doesn’t hold sand, and allows items to dry quickly. When empty, the bag folds up for easy storage.
The bag has a large external pocket for flip-flops, sunscreen bottles and anything else potentially sticky or sandy. An interior zippered pocket keeps valuables hidden and dry. Plus, the wrapped straps make the bag comfortable to carry.
A waterproof base layer lets you place the bag on wet sand without soaking your gear inside. However, most of the bag is mesh, so water and sand can sneak in on occasion.
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Torry’s beach tote is stylish, secure, and strong.
The heavy-duty canvas bag has two interior and three exterior pockets. Plus, the top of the bag has a closing zipper for extra security. Its total dimensions are 14.6” by 17” by 7.3”.
Three color combinations are available (gray/white, red/white, and blue/white). Each features a snazzy pom-pom for a special dash of style.
The two cotton-rope handles are easy to hold, but they’re not particularly comfortable when worn over the shoulders
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Named after a majestic Tibetan mountain, QOGiR’s beach bag is large, strong and multifunctional. The total dimensions are 24” long by 13” inches high by 11” deep. The main inner pocket takes up a fair amount of space with dimensions of 16” by 9”.
You don’t have to worry about damaging the durable blend of high-quality neoprene and polyester. It’s waterproof, tear-resistant and generally maintains a cool surface temperature.
It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a bag to take on vacation. When empty, it folds down to an inch and a half thick. It’s easy to toss in the trunk or pack in a suitcase.
Finally, this is one of the few machine washable bags. You can also wipe away most spots and stains with a damp cloth.
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Why choose between a beach bag and a cooler when Fitfort’s tote features both? This unique two-in-one tote holds beach gear and keeps up to 12 bottles cold with an insulated cooler bag.
Of course, you don’t want sand in your soda. High-frequency welding technology means the bag has no seams or sewing rifts. It keeps your food and drinks sealed off from the rest of the interior. Items stay cold for about four hours.
Its total capacity is 150 pounds, but it’s easy to carry with padded handles and plastic clips. However, the straps are hand-carry only. They’re too short to fit on your shoulders.
Finally, it’s easy to keep in great condition. Wipe the PVC exterior clean with a wet cloth. Plus, the open mesh design lets you shake out the sand.
While it’s not the greatest cooler in the world, the cooling pocket does work well. It’s a convenient alternative to bringing both a small cooler and a bag in some situations. Be aware that it’s not ideal for food which will spoil if it gets too warm.
Even when empty, this bag is packed with style. It’s an elegant canvas bag with a hand-tied hemp handle.
It’s a large-capacity bag with six exterior pockets. Each pocket is 8.5” by 9”. It can hold four large towels, clothes, beach toys, water bottles and more.
The interior features two open slots and one zippered pocket. The entire bag also zips closed. The stretchable fabric lets you pack the bag to capacity but still zip the top.
It’s a fun choice if you’re looking for a shoulder bag. The strap drops 12 inches. Despite their appearance, the ropes are soft with enough give to pad your shoulder.
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When your hands are wet and sandy, you don’t want to fumble with a complicated zipper or clasp on your tote. Sornean’s beach bag is made with the swimmer in mind.
It’s made from waterproof nylon so you can keep it close to shore. Additionally, the magnetic clasp is simple to open, even with wet hands, but stays secure when closed.
The bag is 22” by 15” by 8” with a total volume of 44 liters. You can hold multiple towels and bottles of water. Plus, a small interior pocket keeps valuables and electronics dry.
It features an anchor illustration available in several color schemes. While it’s maybe not the most fashion-forward bag, the waterproofing is top of the line.
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Let’s be honest. The bag features the word “beach” printed in large, simple lettering on its side. You’ll love it or hate it.
Be careful passing on this bag because you don’t like its style, though. There’s a lot of winning features and construction. At 22” by 15” by 6”, it’s large enough to hold gear for a small family.
Its best feature is the 100% waterproof lining. Toss in wet towels and clothes. Water won’t leak through to the bag’s exterior or into the other pockets.
The bag has a large exterior pocket plus two small interior ones. It also includes a phone protector sleeve.
Finally, Keho offers a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. They’re a veteran-owned company proudly located in the U.S.
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Nevenka’s canvas tote showcases classic beach style with a zipper-top opening, rope handles and bold, three-striped design.
It’s 30” by 12” by 16”. The heavy canvas holds the bag’s shape while still allowing for flexibility when packing.
Although it doesn’t have the best waterproofing, it’s also one of the few beach bags which can double as a messenger bag for use around town.
Before heading out for a day of fun in the sand and sun, you’ll want to choose the perfect beach bag.
A beach bag is a portable tote bag designed to carry all the gear you need for a day at the beach. Now, the first question most people have is, “Why do I need a special bag for the beach?”
After all, you can easily put your beach items in a grocery bag, gym bag, or even a piece of luggage. However, a beach bag offers benefits not found in other bags. Here are the top three:
Materials matter! The materials used determine the bag’s durability, portability, and overall usefulness.
You’ll find tons of beach bags made from fabrics like cotton, polyester, and other blends. Although it’s lightweight and stylish, plain fabric usually isn’t the best material for a beach bag.
Plain fabric isn’t waterproof. Your wallet, towels, shoes, books, and other gear can easily get soaked. After all, the bag will almost certainly come into contact with water during a day at the beach.
Instead, you want a bag made from waterproof materials. You can still have a fabric bag, as long as it has a waterproof coating. Fortunately, most manufacturers add waterproof treatments to their fabric bags.
If you’re not sure whether the bag is waterproof, check the label for waterproofing materials such as PVC, PU, wax, and silicone.
Coarser materials such as wicker and weaves are also popular. While not technically waterproof, they dry quickly. Plus, the durable materials allow sand and dirt to fall away.
Aside from the material used, the second most important part of the bag is the stitching. Check for reinforced stitching on both sides of the bag. Double-seams have two benefits:
Some bags have no stitching at all. They use a special fusion process to make the bag. While they’re leakproof, seamless bags often have a plastic look which some people don’t like.
Gather up your beach items so you have a rough idea of how big of a bag you’ll need. Bag sizes average around 15” wide by 15” high by 5” deep. An empty bag weighs around 15 ounces. Of course, these are general sizes which can vary substantially by brand and model.
Beach bags are often stronger than many people think. You can find bags which hold 150 pounds or more!
Keep in mind that not all bags carry weight in the same way. A bag with one large storage compartment won’t distribute weight as well as a bag with multiple pockets.
The overall dimensions are important, but also consider the internal layout of the bag. Separate compartments help you stay organized.
Well-designed compartments in a smaller bag can often hold more gear than a larger bag with no compartments.
Plus, multiple compartments allow you to keep sandy items separate from other gear. For example, you don’t want your cell phone and tablets to mingle with your sand-covered towels at the end of the day.
Also, many bags have an interior pocket made to hold valuables like your keys and wallet. A separate, secure compartment helps deter theft (although it doesn’t do anything to prevent someone from stealing the entire bag, so be careful).
Aside from interior compartments, most bags have exterior pockets, too. They’re ideal for carrying bulkier items like towels, beach toys, and footwear. The best exterior pockets have a waterproof lining to keep your stuff dry.
A phone holder is the most popular type of special compartment. It’s designed to keep your phone separate from all your other gear, even your other valuable. Phone holders should be padded and waterproof.
Beach bags will get dirty and wet. That’s not a problem as long as they’re easy to clean.
You can use a wet cloth to wipe down most waterproof bags, such as those made from PVC or Ripstop canvas. Easy cleaning is another reason why waterproof material is such an important feature.
Many bags are machine washable. Throw them in the washing machine to thoroughly remove all the day’s beach funk. Most bags made from waterproof fabric are machine washable, but check the label to be sure. Bags with large areas of thick rubber typically must be washed by hand with water and detergent or dish soap.
Most beach bags don’t have a top closing mechanism. The idea is that an open bag is easy to reach into. While that’s true, zippers do help keep items more secure. I recommend bags with at least one internal or external zippered pocket.
To be clear, zippers help keep items from falling out of the bag accidentally. They’re not great at preventing theft. (Anti-theft tips are detailed further down.)
Straps have a huge impact on your ability to carry the bag. The best straps allow you to carry over 150 pounds without a problem, but the wrong straps can make a small bag of towels feel like it’s stuffed with bowling balls.
The straps should be long enough to wear over your shoulder. Shoulder straps allow you to carry more gear. Plus, shoulder straps are the most comfortable option. Avoid handheld beach bags unless you only need to carry a few light items.
Choose function over fashion. Although thick, wide straps with bulky padding don’t exactly shout high style, they’ll protect your shoulders from pinching or soreness.
Avoid rope handles. Although they look stylish, rope handles are usually too short to wear on your shoulder. Plus, the rough rope can hurt your hands.
High-end bags often have a rubberized base. It keeps water from soaking through the bottom of the bag. Plus, it helps the bag remain upright when sitting in the sand.
A waterproof base is usually worth the extra cost. However, bags with rubber bases might not be machine washable.
Beach bags have a wide variety of fun styles. Feel free to pick whatever design appeals to you. Many bags feature colorful beach themes.
A bag with bold, bright colors are often the best choice. When your bag stands out against the sand, you can see it when you’re in the water.
Packing the right gear helps keep you and your family stay safe and comfortable. Here’s what you’ll need for a day at the beach:
Roll towels tightly to minimize space. When packing for the day, put the towels in first along the bottom of the beach bag. Rolls of towels can cushion smaller items.
At the end of the day, the towels will be wet and sandy. You’ll want to put them in a separate compartment away from other items.
Check out the 10 Best Beach Blankets for more.
Beach toys are fun for all ages.
Kids love beach playsets, which include plastic buckets, rakes, shovels, and other toy tools. Water toys such as boogie boards and water wings are also popular.
Of course, adults like beach toys, too. Pack a football or a frisbee. Generally, Nerf equipment is the best option because it floats, making it easier to retrieve if it goes into the water.
Avoid metal beach toys. They’ll soak up the sun and become too hot to touch.
Bring along a paperback mystery or a few favorite magazines. Of course, a Kindle or other electronic reader works well, too. Just make sure it has a glare-proof screen. All paper products and electronics should be kept in a separate pocket away from the other items.
Don’t forget the sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Check the bottle before putting it in the bag. Make sure the cap is tightly sealed. Place the bottle in a separate compartment when possible. A leaky or open sunscreen bottle is the easiest way to make a mess inside a beach bag.
Check out the 9 Best Face Sunscreens here.
Bring along a few plastic bags. You don’t need anything fancy. Grocery bags will work just fine.
Use one bag to pack away any trash. Other bags can be used to hold wet towels, sandy clothing, and other items you don’t want to be left loose in the bag at the end of the day.
Light, individually wrapped foods are usually the best option. Fruit cups, granola bars, and chips are all popular options.
Avoid glass containers. Accidental breakage can cause big problems. Glass is difficult to see in the sand.
Everybody should wear sunglasses, even little kids. The risk of sun-related eye damage increases at the beach because UV rays reflect off the water. Doctors recommend sunglasses which block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
Throwing all your items into the bag’s main compartment is a fast and easy way to pack, but you’ll regret doing so later in the day. Instead, load your gear carefully. Use the pockets for their intended purposes. A bit of extra effort during packing keeps your items secure and easier to access.
Nobody wants to carry both a cooler and a beach bag. Can you keep food in your beach bag or is that a bad idea?
Generally, a beach bag is fine for storing chips, water bottles, and other non-perishables. However, it does a poor job keeping foods cool.
A few beach bags include a cooling pocket. It’s an insulated section you can pack with ice. Generally, a cooling pocket will keep items cool for about four hours.
While it’s useful for small items, a cooling pocket is a poor alternative to a cooler. You should only use the pocket for items which you’d prefer to be kept cool, such as soft drinks. Don’t use the space to store items which can go bad when warm, such as anything with meat or mayo.
You won’t find one bag which is better than all others. Instead, you want to find a bag which fits your needs. Here’s a quick rundown on how to find a bag you’ll love:
No matter what type or style of bag you choose, it should be 100% waterproof. Water-resistant bags won’t do you much good because everything inside can easily get soaked.
Beach bags are made to be lightweight and portable. Unfortunately, that means they’re easy for thieves to grab, too.
Store your valuables in the hidden interior pockets. Keeping your wallet and phone zipped up in a pocket seem like a small step, but it helps cut down on crimes of opportunity. A thief is less likely to reach into your bag if they don’t immediately see anything valuable.
However, interior pockets can only do so much. Thieves can always try to take your entire bag and search for valuables later.
The best way to prevent theft is by never leaving your bag unattended. A member of your family should stay on the shore at all times.
Also, try to limit what you take to the beach. Leave your wallet and house keys locked in the car. Bring just your car key. Many people pin the key to their swimsuit. If someone does steal your bag, ideally they’ll end up with nothing more than a few towels and snacks.
Comparing bags can be tough because many serve different purposes. For example, a gorgeous, fashion-forward bag might be just what you’re looking for, even if it doesn’t have multiple compartments and features.
Likewise, maybe you don’t care what the bag looks like at all. Instead, you need something with lots of pockets so your family can stay organized.
If you’re not sure what bag to choose, I recommend the Aomais Beach Bag. It’s durable, well-organized, and designed for large families.
It holds up to 150 pounds, but the eight pockets keep items separate and easy to find. The mesh-and rubber construction withstands heat, water, and the rough-and-tumble nature of travel.
They offer a lifetime guarantee and 24-hour customer support. If the bag falls apart due to a manufacturer defect, they’ll send you a new one for free.
The best beach bags help you and your family stay organized and comfortable. Plus, do you know what the best part is about buying a beach bag? Owning a new one is the perfect excuse to spend a day at the beach!