If your goal this summer is to soak up every last ray of vitamin D-filled sunshine that comes your way before the bitter cold of winter rolls in, then say yes to every pool party invite you receive. What better way is there to cool off during the summer heat than hanging by the pool with your BFFs? But don't go empty-handed. Pack up the necessities to make sure you're ready to spend the day splashing with friends.
Swimsuit & Towel
Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way first, since sometimes it's the little things that get overlooked. If you'll be there all day and munching on food and drink, pack a spare swimsuit - either in case you spill something, or simply because you want to update your look at some point during the day.
As for the towel - don't count on your host to provide one - especially if it's a huge pool party. Bring your favorite plus an extra that you can either loan to somebody who forgot theirs or in case you'd like a dry towel later in the day.
Change of Clothes
You know how it feels when your socks get wet and you have to wear them the rest of the day? Multiply that wet sock feeling by 100, and you'll be just as uncomfortable as anyone who forgets a change of clothes at a pool party. Once you hit that clammy level of drying off, the last thing you want to do is sit in your damp swimsuit for 30 minutes on the way home. So, bring a change of clothes to keep that pool party joy long after the party has ended. Don't forget undies.
Trash Bags/Plastic Tarp
This may feel like a long shot, but we've got two words for you. Wet. Seats. Now if you remembered a change of clothes, you're golden. But on the off chance you didn't (or your change of clothes got unexpectedly wet), garbage bags are seat savers.
No one likes to deal with wet upholstery, and your damp towels just won't cut it. So, if you're not blessed with some sturdy leather that you can just wipe right off, make sure you've got a box of trash bags in the car for the ride home.
Boomers rue their past oil-slicking ways now that we know just how UV rays affect skin aging and how they can also cause skin cancer. Since you're going to be out all day and less covered than normal, make sure you pack a few bottles of sunscreen; at least one for your face and one for your body. And, don't forget to reapply every two hours (or sooner if you're sun sensitive). If you're especially sun sensitive, bring rash guards, a swimsuit coverup, an umbrella, and a sun protection hat to block the rays.
Unless you enjoy holding your hand up over your eyes every time you look at something, chances are you'll regret not packing a pair of sunglasses. And for glasses wearers, if you don't have transition lenses, you can order a pair of prescription sunglasses before spring ends.
Space in the pool is a hot commodity when you've got dozens of people sharing it. Bring your own float or noodle to secure your space in the crystal-clear elixir. Get the perks of lazing about in the sun while not having to do any of the hard work of paddling around in the water by packing your favorite pool float.
Drink Cooler, Ice, and Beverages
Set a drink filled with ice in the hot sun, and you'll see just how quickly it turns lukewarm. Instead of relying on the host to keep the ice flowing, bring your own cooler along with you. Store everyone's drinks in a huge one or bring a teeny cooler backpack just for your favorite drinks. Don't forget plenty of water for pure hydration.
If you're bringing drinks, bring plastic bottles or cans - glass around a pool can be dangerous for all those bare feet if it breaks.
A Host Gift
Whether it's a pool party or any other type of gathering, you can never go wrong with a host gift! For a pool party, consider something fun and summery, like a small outdoor planter that your host can keep poolside or something personal like personalized drink Koozies.
Waterproof Phone Case and Bag
While today's phones are way better about being water-resistant than earlier models, why risk it? A waterproof phone case seals your phone safely while still allowing you to use it, and you can hang it around your neck so you always know where your phone is.
While you're at it, a waterproof bag for your key fob and ID is always a great idea for keeping all your necessities safe.
Coconut Oil, Wide-Toothed Comb, and Scrunchie
Pool hair, don't care? That's all great until you try to comb through sun-dried hair after a dip in the pool and discover all the tangles. If you can, once you're out of the pool, give your hair a good rinse in fresh water (even a hose or water from the kitchen sink will do) to remove the damaging chlorine. Then, warm a dime to nickel-sized piece of coconut oil between your palms until it liquifies and work it through your hair to hydrate it. Comb through with a wide-toothed comb, and then use the scrunchie put your hair up in a ponytail or messy bun to keep it out of your face for the rest of the day. You can shower and shampoo when you get home.
Or, if you want to keep your hair completely out of the water, may we suggest a high pony or messy bun using the scrunchie and a pool float to keep your head above the water?
Liven up the pool party with your own tunes by bringing a waterproof speaker. You can find wireless Bluetooth speakers for pretty cheap on Amazon or at any local retailer. These are a must-have, especially if you're planning to take the pool party into the late hours of the night.
Bag Full of Snacks
Your host'll think they've provided all of you with enough food, but with hours of swimming under your belt, the huge spread won't put a dent in that primal hunger. If you don't want to hide a grumbling stomach from all the guests, bring a bag full of snacks. Whether they're sugary and processed or full of protein and nutrients to maintain your strength is up to what you're craving that morning.
Empty Tote Bag
Bring an extra tote bag along, even if you think you won't need it, because you'll inevitably be bringing home an extra wet towel or leftover food that you need to store. Or you can have one on-hand for someone else who forgot to bring theirs.
It only takes being out in the midday heat for a few minutes to make you wish you had a fan with you. Portable fans are a great way to keep from getting overheated, especially if you plan on staying outside at the party all day long. Once you've finally dried off, you might not want to jump right back into the pool, so a portable fan can take the edge off.
Pedialyte Freezer Pops
If you really care about your friends, you'll look out for them by bringing a box of Pedialyte Pops. Just put these suckers in the freezer and take them out when you start feeling a little dehydrated. Made to help kids replenish their electrolytes and fluids, they're perfect for a pool party weekend where the sun just beats the water right out of you.
Elevate Your Pool Party Experience
You might feel rusty when you're packing up for the first pool party of the season, going back and forth from the car to the house to make sure you've got everything. But, with this list of things to bring to a pool party, you can be a pro packer from the season's start.