Ask Maxwell: What’s Your Best Beach Gear for Summer?

published Jul 4, 2022
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Credit: Maxwell Ryan
Our favorite beach out at the very end of Long Island beyond Montauk town. You can just see the corner of our umbrella. :)

It’s so hot where we live we’re going to be going to the beach on the lake a lot. Got any recommendations for beach gear so kids are comfortable?


Dear Elaine,

My parents never really did the beach and really left us on our own growing up at the beach club and the day camp there. We just had a towel and a suit and that was it. NOW it’s different and when I go to the beach with my daughter and friends I definitely have a kit I bring so we can be comfortable on the beach for hours. What I also found is that you need to keep it as minimal as possible so you can carry it easily from your car, and kids can’t carry that much. Below you will see the minimal setup that has worked really nicely for the past five or so summers. I did a lot of research because I wanted gear that was high quality and super functional. I hope this helps! (all pics are below).

1. The Umbrella: The Frankford Heavy Duty Beach Umbrella
I actually found this umbrella through NYMagazine’s The Strategist. Originally designed for commercial use at hotels after WWII, the Frankford was redesigned more recently for folks like you and me. It’s expensive, but super sturdy, has a sold wood pole and is not too heavy. It easily breaks down and comes in a neat bag with a shoulder strap for carrying. This is what The Strategist says about it: “They use a version of the Frankford when at the Ritz-Carlton in Miami as well as the Delano, the Fontainebleau, and the Eden Roc. It’s also the umbrella of choice at Breakers Montauk, where Leyla Marchetto, a partner at the motel, calls it “elegant, classic, and sturdy.””

2. The Sand Anchor: Summit Sand Beach Umbrella Anchor
I thought these were gimmicky as a kid, but now I realize they are essential for getting an umbrella deep enough into the sand to stand up and stay up if there’s wind. BE SURE to lock your umbrella into the sand anchor with the screw! My daughter didn’t do it ONE TIME and our umbrella flew down the beach and hit an older lady in the head. It was very scary. She was okay, but had to go to the hospital.

3. The Chair: Telescope Casual Original Mini-Sun Chaise
Telescope Casual makes this one as well as an even lighter version called the Sun and Sand Folding Beach Chair. Both are great. They are sturdy, easy to carry and super comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. The kids always steal them from the adults.

4. The Towels: Snowe Home &
Okay, I’ve got two go to towels – one is rectangular and more adult, while the other is round and fun for kids. I’ve got them both and they’ve been great for years. Snowe Home’s Sunny Stripe Beach Towel comes in various colors, and I like to mix them up.’s All Around Giant Circle Watermelon Towel is a bit bigger than the ones I bought a few years ago from them, but it’s great and good for two kids at once. Kids love the round towels and think normal towels are for squares. They’re not wrong.

5. The Bag: Sea Bags Anchor Tote
Found this little company up in Maine through a friend years ago. Sea Bags makes totes out of recycled boat sails that are super strong, waterproof and light as can be. Handmade in Portland, Maine, Sea Bags has saved 700 tons of sail material from going into landfill since 1999. Nuff said?

That’s IT. I try to keep it light and long lasting and this kit has done us very well since 2018 and it’s still going strong.

Enjoy your summer!

Best, M

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Maxwell Ryan is a father and was an elementary school teacher in NYC before founding Apartment Therapy. He’d love to answer your question: This piece was created for Cubby, our weekly newsletter for families at home. Want more? Sign up here for a weekly splash of fun and good ideas for families with kids.

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