The Californist Does it on the Beach

The Californist Hits the Beach

SEASON OF THE BEACH: Stock Your Beach Bag, and Let's Hit that Sand. 

One of my friends asked me why I always have a fully stocked beach bag, and hiking boots in my car at all times.

You have to follow the wise old surfer mantra, "If you hear the ocean roaring, get your toes on the nosing." They never say that, but if they did, it would totally apply here. Point is, when you live in proximity to the ocean, you never know when you'll be at the beach, or when the perfect beach day will strike. Be prepared. Around here, you'll get a text from a friend who knew a guy who talked to a store owner who passed the ocean and let the world know the perfect beach day is afoot. 

So you read the text and start fake-coughing at your desk and head home from your cube to grab your gear. WRONG, rookie.  You have your gear in your car already, like a damn professional, and you head straight to the sand.  

So as a proud beach regular, I'd like to share what's in my go-to beach bag. All images and blue links tie to places to purchase online. If you enjoy this piece, check out our pieces on the Best Places in California to Camp on the Beach and our piece on amazing Rentable California Fire Lookouts.

Without further adieu...


Foxtail Goods - The Market Tote

Foxtail Goods produces some of best in durable and practical, buy-it-for-life minimalist designs. The new California bay-area based company features refined urban swagger with an adventurous underbelly. This wonderful beach-ready tote of course may also be used for rummaging farmers markets, lugging a laptop or trucking essential sundries and the internal pocket is perfect for your KPW--keys, phone and wallet. 

I love Foxtail Good's enamel camping mugs and minimalist card holder wallet (that green leather destroys me) all designed with long-term usability and beautiful timeless style. The market tote works unisex with several color options featuring a patina-ready reinforced leather base and tried-and-true canvas cladding. 

All Good Elemental Herbs SPF-50+ Water Resistant Zinc Sunscreen Butter & SPF30 Sunstick

Two of the best packaged, convenient for traveling, effective and safest-ingredient sunscreens you can find anywhere. All Good sunscreen butter and sunsticks are beach bag and outdoor essentials. I have sunsticks everywhere in my life: my office desk, glove box, beach bag, bathroom drawer. You can't have enough of these, they're simply convenient and effective.

Draw the sunstick on your body and rub in until fully covered, the coconut scent recalls the fantastic Sex Wax surfboard wax from my formidable surfing days. The new All Good sunscreen butter is perfect for ocean and pool-going, water resistant and maintains a safe register of ingredients, the kind of daily sunscreen you want your whole family to wear. 

All Good is a Central Coast staple, forged in Los Osos, the company is now headquartered in Morro Bay, California. They've been producing natural, safe and synthetic-chemical-free sunscreens, lotions, lip balms and all sorts of fantastic gear to rub on you and a loved one's body since '05. Ryan Rich and Caroline Duell are the husband and wife team who married their love for the outdoors and creating quality, safe products with Elemental Herbs, now All Good. Starting from humble roots, their now nationally recognized All Good Goop healing balm is coveted among athletes and outdoorsy folk everywhere. The hard working All Good team continues to design, promote, sell, package and ship all the items sold on the All Good line from their Morro Bay HQ. The Californist is a big fan and supporter of this talented local business which is partner with 1% for the Planet and works with Patagonia, REI and a host of other favored outdoor outfitters. 

Pendleton Oversized Jacquard - Santa Fe Saxony & National Park Beach Towels

Few things are as West Coast as Pendleton. I love their geometrically complex and energizing native-inspired designs. These towels are those huge, luxurious ones you find on your vacations in cushy hotels.  They have that butter soft feel, shake loose easily and are machine washable.  

I've been a fan of Pendleton's National Park blankets since they started production a few years ago; recently they're differentiating the popular blanket patterns into other practical forms, everything from beach towels to hand towels and washcloths. Pendleton is one of the greatest promoters of our National Park System and have been ruggedly outfitting the west since 1863, thirteen years after California became an official state. The Californist remains a strong supporter of the Pendleton legacy. 

Max Flight Glow Frisbee & Aerobie Skylander LED Disc

Ready for night-time frisbee sessions.

Ready for night-time frisbee sessions.

Few things bring me to the mindful, meditative state like playing frisbee with a close amigo. Back in college, I used to play ultimate frisbee, but these days I simply enjoy hitting the sand and seeing how far a buddy and I can throw the disc back and forth. On windless warm summer days we'll be on the sand for hours throwing a Maxflight hundreds of feet. Sure, it's a meditative act, but it's also a killer workout. You're running, jumping, diving, sprinting. A huge amount of fun. And there's no better beach-friendly, long distance throwing frisbee than the Maxflight. Rubber edges means it's safe around cars, people and also easy on the hands. The smaller dimension means it's packable and essential to keep in your car or beach bag.

At night, we bring out the LED lighted frisbee. The Aerobie Skylander Disc is fantastic and has this strange UFO quality when tossed at night, especially on the beach. Everyone asks us where to pick one up. Gotta love Amazon

You want to avoid getting those annoying plastic dishes that you had as a child.  Anytime the wind picks up, those discs go the direction of any mild draft or nearby sneeze. 

Playaboule LED Lighted Bocce Set

A few years ago, some friends and I went out to the shore during a supermoon night, off in the horizon lightening struck the ocean as we played glowing night bocce. A surreal, unforgettable night. Playaboule makes the most addictive bocce set anywhere. The glowing LED balls bring a cosmic level of awesome to any beach night. Fun to play during the day, the game truly takes off at night, expect lots of people to come up to you during the game asking you where to buy a set. A fabulous gift. 

Bocce is a perfect beach game. My friends and I often walk to the sand with the Playaboule kit, which includes nine lighted bocce balls and a storage bag, and we'll create our own rules for throwing the bocce balls. Under the leg, behind the back, after a few spins and a dizzy throw. It's fun and easy to enjoy while holding a beer or a glass of wine.

Game is simple: throw the smaller white ball, the jack, then each person takes a turn throwing or bowling (depending on the surface) his or her colored bocce ball to get closest, without touching, the jack ball. 

Boardshorts - Saturdays Surf NYC

Saturdays NYC is a fantastic New York vintage-inspired surf attire maker with durably designed and tasteful minimalistic boardshorts that lens the past. I love their board shorts, which feature a slimmer, stylish silhouette and hits appropriately above the knee. Great for beach running, surfing and lounging. Think of images of Paul Newman or Steve McQueen hitting the beach with a carefree attitude. Obviously, the Californist loves orange anything. You should explore their entire catalogue online here

An impulse buy that turned out to be one of my best investments. I use my Big Jambox everywhere, at home it's my bedroom stereo, during bar-b-q's it's my grill companion, at the beach or camping it's a party starter and mood setter, we use it when my lady and I are Netflix and chilling, it's always around and simple to use. One of the fondest memories I have while camping Big Sur was using my binoculars at night with the Google Sky app in hand and classical music beaming on the Jambox. Unquestionably the most versatile wireless speaker you'll find anywhere and offers rich, deep environment filling sound that pairs with anything Bluetooth: phones, laptops, PCs, cars, whatever.

I like the white Jambox, as it reflects the sun and doesn't overheat while outside. I never worry about the issue of sand getting into components as the box is so well designed the buttons and joints are sealed from grit.  At the time I bought my Jambox, white was the most affordable color, but I think the word is out, as black seems to be the least expensive option now. Colors matter less to me than getting a good deal. 


Most people are awesome about coastal traveling, they pack their trash--a reminder that 82% of beach trash is cigarette butts--have loud music boundaries, don't let their pets go ballistic on stranger's beach-gear and protect their food containers from the white-flighted gull armies.

People who don't respect public spaces frustrate those of us who have respect for the beach and the ocean, as a habitat, as stewards for natural areas and as proud, humble beach goers.

If you enjoyed this piece, check out our beach-ready music recommendations and our California Design book review.