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The best beach bags for summer: From straw totes to designer classics

Written by Travel Adventures

This summer, the humble beach bag is set to become a wear-anywhere cult buy. Fashion’s enduring celebration of artisanal crafts and all things homespun has seen brands like Loewe and Marni turn the traditional basket bag from holiday market purchases to desirable investment pieces. Other brands are working directly with artisans to celebrate their crafts and create one-off homemade bags.

To make the most of the moment, choose a beach bag that will bring a dose of summer to city staples but when the time comes, provide the perfect vessel for holiday paraphernalia all the way through airport security to the beach. Whether you are planning a British seaside stay or set to explore the best beaches in Europe, we have the best beach bags to pack full of towels and sunscreen.

For more inspiration, see our summer holiday packing guides:

The slogan beach bag

Beach bags with cute slogans have been a trend since weavers started embroidering holiday totes on the Ibiza shoreline in the 70s. So beloved is the slogan accessory that many people use this as storage bins around the house (they’re great for stacking kids toys). You can often pick these up or have them embroidered bespoke on holiday, or pack one of these designs by the likes of The Jacksons or Bonita. Here’s a tip; Daylesford Organic makes slogan totes designed for picnics (including wine bottles).

The Jacksons Large Ciao Bella Tote Bag

Bonita Large Summer Pom-Pom Basket Bag

BTB Los Angeles Hola Beaches Tote

Nila Botanical Love Rectangle Basket Bag

The city-to-beach bag

Despite the name, beach bags aren’t confined to the shoreline. For a city beach stay, such as Barcelona or Sydney, look for slick styles with architectural shapes or leather detailing to keep the structure. These look just as great for a summer in the city as they do on a sunlounger – they also make great hold luggage.

& Other Stories Leather-Trimmed Straw Tote

Hereu Calella Raffia Tote Bag

The patterned beach bag

Straw or raffia styles may be great all rounder options, but this is no time to give up on colour. A muted rainbow stripe or a picnic-worthy checkerboard print make for a great addition to the beach bag wardrobe.

Turtle Bags Check Jute Tote

Sezane Maxi Justine Basket

The raffia beach bag

This is a classic for a reason. The humble raffia fibre – made from the leaves of the Raphia Palm (traditionally grown in South East Asia and South America), has been crafted into accessories and home goods for generations. What separates it from straw (which is grown in the ground, often the stalk to grain plants) is that it does not absorb moisture, so should retain its shape and composition for longer, and be overall more durable and long lasting.

Ibeliv Vanilla Woven Tote

By Malene Birger Palla Large Raffia Bag

Brunello Cucinelli embellished woven raffia tote

The XL shoulder beach bag

This has been a massive (pun intended) trend on the catwalks as well as the street style roster. Think Loewe’s padded shoulder bag or the iconic Jacquemus XL tote. Lucky for us, the trend has infiltrated our beach wardrobes in the form of these XL shoulder bags. It brand Khaite makes a chic hobo bag style, or highstreet label Next makes a fashion-forward hold all, perfect for any trip this summer.

Khaite Olivia Large Hobo Bag

The personalised beach bag

Some mark their sun loungers with beach towels, others mark their space on the sand with windbreakers. We mark our beach accessories by putting our name on them – literally. Many brands offer personalisation for tote bags, where you can add or initials or even full names. For the most stylish iteration, look to Dior, whose covetable Book Tote can be personalised with 13 characters or symbols, at no extra cost.

Rae Feather Lucia Personalised Basket

The canvas beach bag

If traditional basket bags can feel too pretty, or straw bags too flimsy, and what you’re after is a practical, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink tote shopper for a full day out at the beach – these are the bags for you. Canvas bags make for great beach carry-alls, you can throw everything in safe in the knowledge nothing will burst out. Think nautical with canvas stripe shoppers (also great if your beach day is more yacht based), or sleek with a minimalist version in white – perfect for a chic beach bar.

JW Anderson anchor leather-trimmed cotton-canvas tote

GANNI Large Easy Shopper Bag

Gant Striped Canvas Beach Bag

The handcrafted beach bag

Timeless items like beach bags can be investments for your wardrobes as well as investments in communities. British sustainable label Mother of Pearl (which has a transparent supply chain) has collaborated with Uri, a Filipino women-led community of weavers, producing these beautiful beach bags made from sustainable sourced natural fibres (all proceeds will be reinvested back into Uri’s work). Likewise, Muzungo Sisters, which has promoted craftspeople around the world since its inception, has collaborated with Shicato, a social enterprise based in Ecuador, to provide work for people in rural areas, resulting in these joyfully colourful, talismanic-embroidered works.

Shicato x Muzungu Sisters Talisman Tote


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