Kathy's Chaos: Too... Much... Beach... Gear

Why do I lug so much junk with me to the beach?

I might actually have a heart attack the next time I have to drag my Wonder Wheeler full of beach gear off the beach at the end of the day.

I am not kidding.

I am not an athlete by any measure, but I am also not completely out of shape. I consider myself fairly healthy. Still, the amount of effort I have to exert to pack up and haul all of our stuff off of the beach can be overwhelming.

I remember being in college, riding my bike barefoot to the beach with a towel and maybe some Bain De Soleil Orange Gelee “sunscreen” in a small bag over my shoulder. That was it. That was all I needed for a day at the beach.

Fast forward 20 years. (20 years!!??! How did that happen!)

Now, a day at the beach involves the following minimum “necessities”:

  • A cooler full of snacks, sandwiches, bottled water, napkins and a small garbage bag.
  • A tote bag with at least four towels, an extra rash guard or two, three or four pair of goggles, wax for skimboards and a tennis ball (football, soccer ball or similar).
  • A smaller bag with my wallet, at least four variations of sunscreen (50+ lotion, wet-skin spray-on, face stick and face lotion), my beach badge, my phone, a book and maybe a magazine.
  • Two beach chairs.
  • One beach umbrella.
  • Three large shovels and one pail.
  • Three boogie boards and at least one skimboard, sometimes two. Sometimes a Beater board.

That’s it. That’s it?!

I try to scale down this list when I can. It used to be longer. I used to bring a large bag of sand toys. That was been eliminated last year but replaced by skimboards.

I have friends who make their kids carry their stuff with the rule: “If they can’t carry it, they don’t have it.”

Even if I enforced this type of rule, which I don’t, I would still be left with a heavy load to bear. I rely on my Wonder Wheeler. Yes, I look like a bag lady, my cart piled to the top as I strain my leg muscles and cardiovascular fitness to pull it to and fro.

Luckily, many beaches including the one I usually frequent have installed the blue Mobi-Mats to make the trek a little easier.

The other day, I had to stop halfway on my way off of the beach and catch my breath. I cursed my out-of-shapeness and looked enviously at the college-age kids with their lone towels.

I took a deep breath, reality-checked myself and kept pulling. If this is the worst thing that happens to me today … my beach cart is too heavy … then I am one lucky girl. I will keep lugging all of the junk until my kids don't need or want me to anymore.

Too much beach junk? I think it's a pretty good problem to have.

Hector Logan July 18, 2012 at 04:56 PM
They're called BENNY Carts. Only Bennies use them. If you can't carry it in your two hands, leave it in the car and enjoy the beach. If your kids don't want to carry their own boogie boards, they can do without. Umbrella at the beach? What's the point? Maybe lose the cooler full of snacks and bring a cooler of ice water and that will help with the cardio down the line. My parents made us all carry whatever we wanted on and off ourselves.
Cathi July 19, 2012 at 12:43 AM
I'm no Benny and I got one as a gift this year and I love it!! Since I have to park several blocks away I CHOOSE to no longer balance my chair, umbrella, bag of towels and water when I have to walk blocks to the beach. My kids do carry their own boards but it's not easy making sure the little ones don't trip while crossing the street and NOT having a free hand to help them.... Different strokes for different folks. PS - My umbrella is so I can enjoy the beach longer than I could without it.
i don't get it?? July 19, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Ok...I carry MY bag and the LUNCHES in my wonder wheeler with ONE CHAIR and an umbrella...and if kids over 4 can't carry it...TOO BAD!! As far as the "BENNY CART" thing goes, I don't know what beach Hector goes to, and being he is a MAN, he is sadly mistaken...maybe he just travels ALONE. Listen Hector, those of us who go to the beach for the day...EVERY DAY, love watching the rest of you spend a small fortune on drinks and snacks EVERY DAY at the snackbar!! ...and to the RPtoTR...obviously you too have no children... Good luck to the both of you if/when that should ever happen!!!
Hector Logan July 19, 2012 at 02:07 AM
BENNY's getting bent out of shape over their benny carts.
i don't get it?? July 19, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Hector...not even close...born and raised, born and raised...BTW, usually its the BENNYS trying not to be BENNYS who try to call out others for being one...those of us who never were are enjoying our beach carts, and are glad we don't have rope burn over our shoulders anymore...go watch "The Jersey Shore" and pretend that's all real too.


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