Successfully packing for a full day at the beach can be a challenge. When done well, a perfectly packed cooler can change the trajectory of your entire day! We pulled together our most genius beach packing hacks to make your night-before prep a bit easier. Let us know which tip is the most helpful for you!
Pre-Chill Your Cooler
Right after you roll out of bed, start pre-chilling your cooler by adding a few ice packs and shutting the lid. Creating an already-cold environment for your food will help keep items fresh all day long.
The second early-morning rule to abide by is that nothing goes into the cooler warm. Place all of your beach day eats in the fridge until you’re ready to pack up and leave so you can maintain the coldest possible cooler environment.
Pack Up with Purpose
Don’t chuck food into your cooler willy-nilly! We believe there is a “correct” way to pack your cooler for maximal efficiency.
Start with a layer of ice packs on the bottom. Using ice packs instead of regular ice will prevent water from leaking into containers later in the day. Then top the packs with any proteins, including grilled chicken, cold cuts, and tofu.
The next layer should include all dairy products, like cheese and yogurt. Follow up with all of your fruits and vegetables, and finish by placing condiments at the very top. This setup will ensure that your most delicate food items are protected from being squished.
Use Clear Containers
The easiest way to avoid rummaging around in your cooler—and ultimately creating a mess of containers and food scraps—is to pack everything in clear containers. You’ll know exactly what you’re grabbing without having to open each container, thereby minimizing the risk of sandy sandwiches!
Freeze Drinks Halfway at Home
With a little foresight, you can ensure that each one of your beach day beverages stays cold until the last sip! Portion out beverages the evening before, being careful to pour just halfway up each glass. Freeze them overnight, then top them off with fresh juice, water, or cocktail mix just before serving at the beach!
Create a Sand-Free Setup
Create a sand-free haven for snack time with this ingenious hack using items you already own. Bring a clean, fitted sheet to the beach and hold it open at the corners with coolers and beach bags. Line the sheet with a layer of towels to absorb excess water, then place a bin of clean water right next to the sheet for beachgoers to wash sand and debris off their hands, feet, and legs before entering!