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What to Pack for a Sustainable Beach Trip

Ethical options for everything on your packing list

I want to tell you, dear DoneGooders, that this post comes from a very personal place in my life. I am getting ready for a week-long beach trip . . . with my entire family . . . and my toddler.

I am excited about the beach itself, but I’m asking you to please be thinking of me as we pack. Trying to remember what all I need for a beach trip, not to mention a beach trip with a toddler, is no joke. But In the middle of googling beach trip packing lists and trying to buy any new products we need, I wanted to write a quick post about where to get some ethically-made beach necessities.

Of course, as always, we’re not about trying to talk you into buying anything new that you don’t need, but if you’re out of sunscreen, you’ve lost your beach blanket, or your beach towels are threadbare, we’ve got you covered with ethical beach gear suggestions!



The number one thing you need for your trip, of course, is a great swimsuit! We’ve already got a post for you with some ethical swimsuit suggestions. Patagonia has lots of fair trade swimsuits for men, women, and kids, and Hazel & Rose has great options for women. For your walk down to the beach, check out these simple, functional men’s and women’s sandals from Deux Mains—they are made in Haiti from upcycled tires!

And if you need some new, beachy apparel to wear around town or out to dinner, check out Tamga Designs for some summery sundresses and kimonos, and Taylor Stitch for sharp-looking men’s apparel.

Sun Protection

Is a sunburn-free beach trip possible? I dare to dream. We’ve got another great post that shares sunscreen that’s great for you and for the environment. Check out Beauty by Earth and Babo Botanicals for some great non-toxic, eco-friendly, and even kid-friendly (spray on!) sunscreens.

But don’t forget to have some extra protection for your face and eyes. I love a big, floppy hat—like the ones Global Gifts has. And a reversible Capilene hat with UPF protection from Patagonia is perfect for your little one (if they’ll keep it on *eye roll*). For eye protection, check out super-fly sunglasses from Sunski. They’re made from recycled plastic and block 100% of UV rays.

Finally, because I think a sunburn-free beach trip really is impossible (it’s not the sunscreen’s fault, y’all. We have to reapply more! When will we ever learn?) It’s important to keep some sunburn relief on hand. Mountain Mels' Afterburn has aloe vera, witch hazel extract, and other natural ingredients to help soothe the burn.

Fun and Games

It’s why we come to the beach, after all! And Uncommon Goods has got us covered, as always, with the fun stuff! Check out their collapsible beach pail (I bought this yesterday!) and castle kit, as well as some of their fun beach and lawn games.

If chilling in the shade under some palm trees sounds more like your idea of fun, look into Toad & Co.’s parachute nylon hammock (with a sweet print). It folds up tiny, so it’s easy to fit in your beach bag.


And speaking of beach bags . . . if you’re in the market for one, check out this roomy, Fair trade option with a zipper pouch from Mayamam Weavers, then unpack it all on a versatile beach blanket from Toad & Co. To dry off, check out the Kenyan towels from Swahili Coast. They’re fun and colorful, quick-drying, and they even have a velcro pocket to store your keys or your phone.

Food & Drinks

For the beach itself, and for the road trip there, quick snacks are a must. Sun & Swell (their name even sounds beachy) creates clean, on-the-go snacks, for when you’re hungry, and in a hurry, but want to eat well.

Also, let me practice being a mom at the beach and remind you to drink plenty of water while you’re there. It’s easy to get dehydrated, so bring along a good-sized tumbler like the ones Cotopaxi has. It’ll keep your water cold for up to 24-hours in the hot beachy sun. And when you need to keep your drinks cool throughout the day, check out the sling beverage cooler from Uncommon Goods. It stores drinks vertically, so sling it over your shoulder and it’s one more hand free.



Erin King
DoneGood Contributor

Writer, editor, and all-around language enthusiast who uses her love of words to help others.



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