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What Are the Best Beach Bags?

Photo: Sante Forlano/Conde Nast via Getty Images

As peaceful and relaxing as a sunny, breezy beach day can be, one aspect none of us look forward to is schlepping all of our stuff down to the sand. You’ve got your beach chair, towel, and umbrella, not to mention the all-important sunscreen and a good beach read, and now you need something to carry it all.

The perfect beach bag should hold all of your necessities and not be a literal pain in the neck to carry. Since it will inevitably get sandy, wet, or covered in lotion from a leaky bottle, it should be made from durable, easy-to-clean materials. To find out what the pros use, we asked surfers, stand-up paddleboard instructors, and other frequent beachgoers to recommend their favorite bags. Their picks are below.

Best jute beach bags

The Beach People Jute Wategos Bag
The Beach People Jute Wategos Bag

“Since having kids, my theory is the bigger the beach bag, the better,” said Sasha Benz, creative director of the Surf Lodge and a mother of two. For stashing everything she and the little ones need for a day at the beach, she loves bags from Australian company the Beach People (the ones who kicked off the “roundie” beach-towel craze). With sturdy leather handles, this open-top jute bag has more than enough room for the whole family’s essentials.

Amuse Society Carried Away Woven Weekend Tote

Another roomy bag in durable jute, this woven style has playful fringe and tassel details. There’s an interior zip pocket for smaller items like lip balm or keys that can get lost in the shuffle of a big bag.

Best straw beach bags

Mar Y Sol Tulum Tote
Photo: 18-03-15 Accessories AM2 B8 pattygranlund W
Mar Y Sol Tulum Tote

Jessica Bellofatto, owner of JBYoga Studio in East Hampton, can often be found teaching beachside yoga or stand-up paddleboarding. She looks for a beach bag that doesn’t just store her gear, but also aligns with her ecoconscious values, so she loves bags from Mar Y Sol because they’re “made in Madagascar by mostly female artisans out of natural, organic, and sustainable materials.” This sunny, yellow straw tote fits the mood of a long day on the sand.

Mar Y Sol Ibiza Tote

With its bright tassels, this Mar Y Sol bag will be easy to spot in a sea of straw totes.

Kate Spade Shore Thing Out and About Tote

Playful yet ladylike script brings a sense of whimsy to this classic, nautical striped straw bag.

Best canvas beach bags

Stella McCartney Black Round Logo Beach Tote

Splitting her time between the city and the Hamptons, Mireya D’Angelo, a SoulCycle senior instructor, uses an older Stella McCartney bag that is no longer available, but we found this very similar recycled canvas one. “I can go from the Hampton Jitney to teaching my SoulCycle class, and then straight to the beach since it fits everything I need,” she said.

Baggu Duck Bag Canvas Tote

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Baggu over here, and it turns out they make the favorite beach bag of Mackenzie Kruvant, who manages content and social media for Heyday facial spa. “It has both a shoulder and hand strap, so it’s easy to carry, and a small pocket that can fit my sunglasses and phone, so they don’t fall to the bottom,” she said. She likes that it has ample room for a towel, a book, and sunscreen. As an added bonus, it’s machine-washable so spilled SPF is NBD.

Madewell Stripe Canvas Tote

If a leather Madewell transport tote is a staple of your weekday wardrobe, you don’t have to stray far from your comfort zone with this canvas version in summery pink and white.

Ikea Förenkla Backpack

As a surfer, Aeriel Brown, co-founder of the surfing and culture magazine Wax, looks for hands-free bags, so she can also carry her board. She likes that this Ikea backpack has a spot for everything. “The main compartment easily accommodates my wet suit, towel, beach blanket, snacks, and a beach game like bocce ball. The side zipper is the perfect size for magazines, books, or fins for your board, and the front pocket keeps your phone away from wet items,” she said. “The best part? The bottom zips out and is large enough to hold a few beers, some water, lunch, and an igloo pack or two, effectively becoming a cooler.”

Best fabric beach bags

Nusa di Nusa Tapestry Bag

Made in Tulum from vintage upholstery fabrics, this fabric carryall is stylist Carmen Adriana’s beach bag of choice. “It’s a great size for fitting all your beach essentials, but stylish enough to carry around town,” she said. At only $40, it’s also a pretty good deal.

Elizabeth and James Teller Stripe Tote

This slouchy, striped bag has enough urban edge for running errands in the city when you can’t make it out to the beach.

Best raffia beach bags

Michelle Farmer Large Beldi Basket

Hauling gear back and forth to the beach is part of daily life for Gina Bradley, stand-up paddleboard instructor and founder of Paddle Diva. She uses raffia bags from Michelle Farmer, which she finds are both chic and functional. “This bag looks great and is easy to carry on my shoulder while I carry my board or any other beach supplies,” she said.

Urban Outfitters Raffia Slouchy Tote Bag

In moody purple — even darker than its melodramatic cousin — this striped raffia bag feels refreshingly unexpected among summer brights.

Field of Flowers Tote Bag

With raffia flowers in muted colors, this black-and-white tote has a hint of sophistication. It’s also heavily discounted as part of Anthropologie’s summer sale.

Ikea Frakta Shopping Bags, Set of 4

Photographer Andreea Waters became enamored with Rockaway Beach surf culture back in 2012 (documented in her book Surf NYC) and she’s spent countless days at the beach since. Surprisingly, her “forever beach bag” is the iconic, yet ultra-affordable, Frakta shopping bag from Ikea. You could spend an additional $2,000 on the Balenciaga look alike, but it wouldn’t come close to the original in satisfying Waters’s beach-bag criteria: “Waterproof … durable …simple.”

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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What Are the Best Beach Bags?