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Pool Bag Essentials.

By: Jen Shoop

Now that we have swim and cover-ups on lock, some of the things I’ve been toting around on pool days, of which there have been many this summer —

+PARAVEL TOTE — I usually carry this (in a large size) because it’s big enough to stow the children’s puddle jumpers on top of all the other gear. LL Bean’s XL Boat Tote would be another great option (similar in size), and this Mark and Graham style — while a bit smaller than Paravel and LL Bean — is waterproof! I would order it in white with the “Trade Gothic” personalization. If you’re traveling sans floaties, I’ve seen a lot of moms carrying either Bogg Bags (look for less here) or sporty neoprene totes like the ones from Annabel Ingall (look for less here).

+PUDDLE JUMPERS AND MONOGRAMMED COVERS — I know from sharing these in past posts that some moms consider these controversial; you might want to read up on them before choosing. We love these though — always with plentiful supervision.

+GOGGLES — I bought mini the trendy Bling20 ones and honestly am not sure about the quality. We have trouble with the side adjusters stretching out. I think micro’s $13 shark pair are better quality, especially since the nose band is adjustable and he’s still so tiny. I might go back for a pair for mini by the same brand.

+COVER-UPS — The children love these soft monogrammed ones from Weezie. The hood is great, and I appreciate the patterns and zippered front. Adorable.

+WET BRUSH – These are seriously the best hairbrushes for littles, and under $10. I now have a designated one for our pool bag (in addition to several at home). They are great at detangling but have ultra fine bristles mixed in, which help grab and smooth hair without snarling. I don’t know how it works really but they are my favorite hair tools for my daughter, who has a lot of hair.

+SWIMMER’S DEFENSE SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER — I just ordered this set for my children, who are now spending a lot of time in chlorinated water, and I’m already noticing their hair is a bit dry. I love this brand, by the way — it’s spendy but I find the products really work and smell incredible. I absolutely swear by their detangling spray — it really works on mini’s hair. I also carry the detangler to the pool!

+SPF! My favorite last summer was Babo’s mineral sunscreen spray but I’ve learned the hard way that those sprays are really difficult to get out of stone, so we currently have random imprints of sunscreen on the flagstone paths out front and back of our home. Yikes! I’ve read there’s a bleach formula you can use to get it out so we’ll need to tackle that. Instead, I’m switching back to creams. I’m currently trying Pipette’s formula — it’s OK but a bit watery. At the same time, the price is winning – it’s about half of what some of the other mineral formulas cost. I also ordered Babo’s cream formula to test next. I used to really like the stick SPFs for the children’s faces but now that I’m using cream elsewhere, it feels easier to apply with my fingers than to get out a separate stick while they’re chomping at the bit to get into the pool. I also apply this scalp SPF to their heads! I am personally using this sunscreen for myself (obsessed is an understatement — wrote more about it here) and I keep all the sunscreens in a designated pouch so they are easy to find and reapply and do not spill/squirt out over everything. (PS – This Etsy shop has lots of inexpensive options to get the Stoney Clover pouch look for less.)

+BALLCAPS – I make my son wear a Harding Lane ballcap even while swimming in the pool and on top of scalp SPF because he is so fair. Love the simple, preppy designs and the colors offered. I also just added these initial caps to my cart as a back up.

+POOL TOYS – Mini loves these octopi and diving toys like these — she has become quite the swimmer and will entertain herself for hours — actual hours — diving for these! I think I will surprise her with these diving gems while on our vacation in a few weeks. These swim-through rings also look fun! Micro is happy with plastic cups (he likes to make me “hot cocoa” and “coffee”) and this submarine. These mesh toy bags are great for housing the smaller pool toys.

+PACKING CUBES — To stow clean clothes in an orderly fashion. I always need to have extra underwear and shorts for micro, and mini sometimes wants to switch into a new dress post-swim, so I am always laden with post-swim options. I like to keep their clothes separate from mine — easier when scrambling after the pool.

+WET/DRY BAG — For wet suits and goggles! There are so many options out there but I still find the ones from PBK to be superior in quality. No wetness seeps through, and it’s a nice, roomy size. I’ve used the same two (each one monogrammed with each child’s initials) since they were born — they’re always in my tote bag! These less expensive and less durable ones are cute, though, and would get you through the season.

+APPLIQUE MONOGRAM BAG — I keep this little pouch with just my essentials in it so they’re separate and easy to find from the littles. It holds my card case, keys, makeup removing pads (a must to prevent mascara-smudged eyes after a swim!), lip balm, a travel size mascara (you know I’m never ever without mascara), and facial sunscreen.

+SUNGLASSES — I am still a devotee of these Le Specs in the caramel color. I can’t quit them! I’ve tried so many pairs but keep coming back to these.

ICYMI, I shared some great children’s swimsuits for under $31 here, and I also wanted to mention that Target has some good solid-colored (and inexpensive) rash guards in case you’re in the market for something without any lettering/graphics. Upgrade pick: Minnow!

Putting this out there in the ether: I wish girls’ swimsuits came with snaps along the bottom, even up through age 6 or 8 — heck, maybe all the way up through adult sizes, ha. It is hard for girls to get into and out of their wet suits on their own! It has been a bit of a struggle because of course any time mini needs to use the facilities, I need to pluck micro out of the water, too, as I can’t leave him unattended. I also wish more rash guards had zipper fronts or backs. Those are really hard to peel off when wet, too.

P.S. Mini has grown up so much over the past few weeks. This post gives me an enormous lump in my throat.

P.P.S. Vestiges of babydom.

P.P.P.S. Twilight on the Potomac.

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15 thoughts on “Pool Bag Essentials.

  1. Check out mott50. Deep zipper (not complete—but a good size) down back. Cute patterns—can match boys/girls/mom/dad!

    1. Thank you!! I saw a little one wearing this brand just this week — going to take a look! Merci!

  2. Like Beautycounter also! I just bought the Trader Joes Goop dupe which slot of people are raving about. It was $9 too.

    1. Just bought it because I wanted to get it before it sold out. When I asked a worker where it was he said, “let me look, I think its sold out. Everyone’s been waiting for it”
      I’m going to Naples Florida next week and will try it then. Will let you know

  3. There is a hole in the market for rash guards (with short or long-sleeve) with a full zip. The only one I’ve been able to find is SwimZip, but I find their color and pattern options lacking. A full zip rash guard would be easy to pair with swim bottoms for boys or girls (my daughter has been wearing a pink SwimZip rash guard paired with Minnow or Hanna swim bottoms). I’m very passionate about zippered rash guard options!

    1. Erica, I’m with you on zippered rash guards! My 4 year old is sensitive to fabrics and if there’s any struggle to put it on she’s just “done” with it and doesn’t want to have anything to do with it, ever. Haha.

      We’ve been using Coolibar, a company that makes all their products UPF50 — my doctor and derm highly recommended this brand. I actually stopped trusting some other brands that claim they are UPF50 because I noticed that my daughter’s torso got so tanned even with a long-sleeve rash guard (from another brand). I just got a zip-up rashguard from my daughter as they just had a sale on swim — code is SWIM25 for 25% off (hope it still works! If not, SUMMER15 for 15% off). I don’t work for this company or have any affiliation to them, I just trust their stuff!

  4. I’ve been testing the Pippette sunscreen also – definitely needs to be shaken before squeezing out! But it does rub in easily. My favorite favorite is BeautyCounter. No white cast, but it’s pricey!

    1. Beautycounter is also my favorite! I’ve tried a few others this summer looking to save some $$. While they work, I don’t like them as much as Beautycounter. Maybe I’ll stock up on a sale for next year!

  5. I love Pipette as an everyday sunscreen and have been using it on my daughter and myself even. But I don’t think it is water resistant, so I use Babo for swimming. Information for Pipette (scroll all the way down on Amazon) reads “use a water resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating” which makes me think Pipette is not. Perhaps I am misreading this?

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