Every summer, I think about a joke comedian Josh Gondelman once made: “Unless you live next to the beach, going to the beach is so much more stressful than being at the beach is relaxing.” He’s right — especially when you think about the process of schlepping towels, sunscreen, a change of clothes, snacks, an umbrella, and a cooler full of drinks there. Sure, you could attempt to use a utility cart, but once you’re past the boardwalk, the wheels are useless in the sand, meaning you’re left having to unload everything and lug it. It’s enough of an ordeal to prevent me from going more than a couple times a year.
But early last summer, I spotted a combination utility cart and beach chair in a friend of a friend’s Instagram story. It’s what it sounds like: a foldable chaise that converts into a granny cart. After watching her pull it across the sand with ease, I ordered one from Amazon to try out on a trip to Ocean City the following month. And let me tell you, since that first outing, I’ve never gone to the beach without it.
The Mac Sports chair has oversize wheels on one end, allowing you to navigate the long stretch of sand you need to trek across to get to my favorite spot at Jacob Riis beach. The handle is sturdy and easy to maneuver, and once I steer it to my preferred destination, I set up my blanket and unload the cooler, beach tent, towel, and my overstuffed tote. Then you detach the mesh walls, flip the bottom down to make a footrest (a rare feature for mobile loungers), and adjust the trolley into a chaise. As a fat person, I’ve found many other beach chairs to be uncomfortable or flimsy, but the Mac Sports chair is roomy and well-built. And while I’m usually only transporting beach supplies for my partner and me, I could see it coming in handy if you had kids or a larger group — per the product description, it can hold up to 100 pounds in cart mode.
Maybe the best part of the Mac Sports chair, though, is that once I’m done using it, it collapses into a fairly thin profile that fits easily in a closet. The only minor drawback is that you have to make sure to lock the arms of the chair securely into position after you use it as a cart, otherwise it will tip you over when you sit. Pricewise, it’s more than your average camping chair, but it’s useful for more than just the beach — in the off-season, I unfold it in my little yard and post up with a book.