The Best Beach Bags For Every Summer Trip

Mango’s braided tote takes the crown as this summer’s must-have style.

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Best Beach Bags for Every Summer Trip
Photo: Courtesy/InStyle

Think about beach days, and your mind starts conjuring images of idyllic tropical settings and stress-free days, but the reality is rarely that seamless. Navigating how to transport a seemingly never-ending list of items with you can easily cause a mind-numbing headache. Want to avoid saddling yourself down like a donkey trudging across the sand? Enter: the beach bag, the ultimate summer accessory.

InStyle spoke to experts from across the land (and even down-under) to get their tips on finding the perfect style. Buyers, stylists, and a globe-trotting DJ could only agree on one thing — it has to be big enough to fit your towel, SPF, sunglasses, extra layers, water, books, and…the list went on, which made Mango's supersize jute tote the overall winner. Straw baskets, puffy totes that can even double up as pillows, and sizzling pink bags prove there's an option to cater to all needs and budgets.

These are the best beach bags to buy:

Our Picks

Best Overall: Mango Braided Shopper Bag

Mango Braided Shopper Bag
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What We Love: The internal cotton lining keeps your items cool and secure.

What We Don't Love: There isn't a separate compartment within the bag for smaller items, like your cards and keys, that can get easily lost.

Mango reminds us that classics stick around from season to season for a reason with this fuss-free braided shopper. Part of the label's Committed Collection, it's been made using sustainable fibers, so it's kinder to the planet as well as your wallet.

"Size and sturdy handles", says Felicity Brand, Head of Buying & Merchandising at Mode Sportif when asked what she looks out for when sourcing beach bags for the Aussie retailer. "I like to take the kitchen sink to the beach. Often beach days turn into impromptu picnics, so they need to be able to fit a bottle of rosé or two just in case...", she adds. The generous proportions of Mango's shopper means you'll comfortably fit all your essentials, and the wide straps help balance out heavy loads, especially with the option for wearing the bag crossbody. Thanks to the reinforced base, you won't have to worry about it toppling over on the sand either.

Size: Extra Large | Material: Cellulose | Color Choices: Chocolate

Best Splurge: Loewe Basket Bag

Loewe Basket Bag
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Also available at Selfridges

What We Love: Loewe offers a care and cleaning service.

What We Don't Love: The brand recommends keeping the bag away from too much light and heat, so you'll want to store it in the handy cloth case between uses.

A beach bag roundup wouldn't be complete without Loewe's signature basket bag. One of Brand's go-to labels, the Spanish house was also chosen by stylist Laura Klein as well as Sarah Waldron, Managing Product Editor at Net-a-Porter for timeless summer investments. "Beach bags woven from natural materials like raffia and straw are a big hit with our buyers this season," notes Waldron.. "They're sustainable, too. Plus, you can wear them with jeans and a shirt back in the city."

Handwoven from palm leaf, the traditional style is updated with the brand's instantly recognizable Anagram patch and personalized charms. The adjustable straps mean you can hold it from the top handles or sling it over your shoulder when you want to go hands-free.

Size: Extra Large | Material: Palm Leaf, leather| Color Choices: Natural, tan

Best Value: Walmart Round Woven Straw Bag

Walmart Round Woven Straw Bag
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What We Love: It has a zipped-top to keep your essentials secure.

What We Don't Love: The open weave means sand can get into the fibers.

This woven bag from Walmart has a timeless appeal that will carry you from season to season. "Natural materials have a homespun look to them that looks beautiful with floaty dresses as well as bikinis in neutral shades," says Waldron. It comes in a khaki hue that's accented with tonal faux leather straps that are sturdy enough to hold all your essentials. The thick weave also protects your belongings — something that's crucial for DJ Jyoty Singh, who always seeks out a beach when touring. "I need my beach bag to be huge. Most importantly, it needs to be a fabric that doesn't immediately get super hot."

This version is defined by a striking circular silhouette — though that does make packing a towel trickier — we suggest a lightweight hammam towel, like this one, or balancing your traditional beach towel across the top.

Size: Large | Material: Straw | Color Choices: Khaki

Best Straw: Casa Catinella Basket Bag

Casa Catinella Basket Bag
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Also available at Casa Catinella

What We Love: It's handwoven from 100 percent sustainable natural material.

What We Don't Love: You have to submerge it in water to sculpt it into shape.

"Casa Catinella is a sustainable Australian-based brand whose lovely baskets are handwoven in Ghana." says Brand when asked which up-and-coming labels she has her eye on. The eco-label is quickly gaining traction in stylish circles for their unique 'elephant grass' basket bags.

Every piece takes between three days to a week to make as each weaver has their own technique, which has been passed down through the generations. (While you will receive an individually unique piece, this might call for longer shipping times, too.) Adorned with a Casa Crest, it's topped off with leather handles — you can choose from black or tan versions. Each bag comes flat-packed, rather than pre-shaped, but the brand shares instructions on how to sculpt it into shape by submerging it in water. However, this might mean you'll want to avoid getting it wet afterwards.

Size: Medium | Material: Elephant grass, leather | Color Choices: Black, tan

Best for Families: Béis Convertible Duffle

Béis Convertible Duffle
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Also available at BEIS

What We Love: It can be worn crossbody, on the shoulder, as a backpack, and atop a suitcase.

What We Don't Love: You can't machine wash it.

Designer Shay Mitchell launched Béis (pronounced "base") after being frustrated by the lack of versatile options when traveling or going on "Shaycations". Mixing function and fashion, every style is replete with handy features, such as removable and adjustable straps and multi-wear options — perfect for families and those with a busy lifestyle.

This versatile duffle is fitted with a key fob tag and trolley passthrough, so you can loop yours through the handles of your suitcase when heading for longer beach escapes. Store it in the dust bag between uses to keep the pretty beige hue pristine, since unfortunately, you can't machine wash it.

Size: Extra Large | Material: Recycled polyester | Color Choices: Beige, black

Best Woven: Lalo The Shop's Iona Woven Bag

Lalo The Shop’s Iona Woven Bag
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What We Love: It wipes down easily.

What We Don't Love: It has an open top.

Alexa Chung gave Lalo The Shop her approval, and the rest of us promptly followed suit. Inspired by traditional Mexican market bags, the Iona is the latest iteration from the cult London-based label. The sturdy base means you can prop yours on the sand and dip into it at your leisure.

Handwoven by artisans in Oaxaca, it's made using recycled PET plastic that's recrafted to last a lifetime. Dedicated to preserving traditional Oaxacan weaving methods, Lalo The Shop prides itself on paying creatives a fair wage. Weavers set their price, so they have full financial control. The only thing to worry about is choosing which hot hue to pick.

Size: Medium | Material: Recycled PET Plastic | Color Choices: Multicolored

Best Extra-Large: Topshop Puffy Onion Quilt Tote

Topshop puffy onion quilt tote
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What We Love: It doesn't skimp on size.

What We Don't Love: There are no internal compartments.

"It has to be cute! And good for all-weather" Klein advises, and Topshop's jumbo tote has that in (buckets and) spades. Silky and quilted, it's perfect for bundling into a makeshift pillow for that all-important midday snooze.

"I've never gone with a plain straw-colored bag. I need some pops of color somewhere," says writer Catherine Mhloyi. Tropical tones lift our spirits and this vibrant teal style is a perfect match for those oceanic shades. It's topped with twin handles and a shoulder strap to balance out the weight of the bag — perfect for well-prepped beachgoers.

Size: Large | Material: Polyester | Color Choices: Teal

Best Personalized: Medium Tour Paravel Cabana Tote

Medium Tour Paravel Cabana Tote
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What We Love: They offer a range of personalization options.

What We Don't Love: You can only choose three letters.

So you've finally found your perfect beach bag, and now it's time to seal the deal. Luxury luggage brand Paravel offers a range of customization options for their timeless Cabana Tote which comes in three sizes and is completely carbon-neutral.

More than one middle name? Time to get selective as you can only put up to three letters, though there's no limit on emojis. The personalization doesn't end with embellishment — you can choose the color of the adjustable straps that can be worn in two ways or removed entirely. The bag is fitted with a handy water-resistant interior, and the Ecocraft Canvas exterior started as 33 water bottles before converting into this spill-proof, durable material.

Size: Small to Large | Material: Ecocraft Canvas | Color Choices: Tan, gray with multicolored

What to Keep in Mind

Fabric

A key thing to consider when shopping for a beach bag is fabric — a day at the beach might seem like the ultimate form of relaxation, but it requires a more resilient bag than almost any other day out. Of course, we suggest opting for a durable straw bag because it will give you the beachy look and extra space you most likely need. But Fat Zine founder Gina Tonic favors a sturdy tote, noting, ."Canvas is really good because it dries easily and is super durable."

Water babies should avoid fabrics that can't get wet. Singh, who spends her down days on tour "sleeping and swimming at the beach," recommends terry fabric as it absorbs water.

Size

Everyone we interviewed agreed on one thing — when it comes to beach bags, size really does matter. No one wants to spend the day shuttling to the beach cafe and back because you had to choose between taking sunscreen or water . "I can't tell if this is because I'm a Virgo or because I'm getting old, but I'd rather be over-prepared than forget one single thing," says Tonic. Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail, and all that…

Your Questions, Answered

How do you pack a beach bag?

The trick here is to have your most needed items readily available — the more you have to dig around your bag trying to get to your lip balm, the more likely it is you'll get sand in it (more on that in a minute). Keep anything that can be squished or start leaking, like snacks and sunscreen, on top. . A towel is a perfect base layer as it literally cushions the rest of your belongings. If you're taking keys and bank cards — and you don't have a purse or smaller bag to pop them in — look for bags with internal compartments. Slip or patch pockets are great for keeping your summer read separate — the beach is a perilous place for a book.

How do you remove sand from a beach bag?

Our experts might've agreed on the perfect beach bag size but how to get sand out was much more contentious. Everyone has their own hack but no one is immune. As Brand, who lives by the ocean notes, it's virtually impossible to avoid getting sand in your bag. What you can do, though, is protect your items. Store sunglasses in a case when you're not using them to prevent scratches. Similarly, keep any medications in a separate container — ditto food (we've all had a gritty snack we never wish to repeat). Other tips include "giving it a good whack with your beach sandal!" and vacuuming it when you get home. Make sure to check your beach bag's care instructions as many styles can't go in the washing machine.

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