As many seasonal pools reopened across the country, many of us were overjoyed to don our spiffiest swimsuits and dive in for a refreshing dip. If you are just making it out to the pool this August, it’s a good idea to make sure you have all your 2020 pool essentials ready because the contents of the “pool bag” have changed a bit!

What to Bring to the Pool This Year

1. A mask

This is a new item to this year’s list, but it doesn’t make it any less important. While we don’t recommend wearing a mask while swimming, face coverings are most likely required for all communal areas and where social distancing can be a challenge. We’re all very fortunate to see community pools reopen this summer, but there are dozens of people putting in the work to meet new requirements. Show your community — and your pool’s staff — that you care about them this summer by keeping your mask on when you’re moving around the facility and not in the water.

2. A towel

Of all the things on this list, a towel is perhaps the unsung hero of them all. It keeps you dry after a swim, of course, but it’s also the right amount of cushioning to lie on the pool deck while you soak up some sun and count clouds. With many communities forgoing pool furniture this season, towels are all the more important! Besides, no one likes to drive home in a wet car seat. 

3. Sunscreen

Don’t get burned by sunburn this year! Sun damage can happen to anyone, with any skin complexion. Sunscreen prevents burns, cancer, and other skin damage by reflecting harmful ultraviolet rays. Choose a high SPF (anything above 15 but preferably above 30) that’s water-resistant so it won’t wash off in the pool too quickly. Many lip balms also have SPF to protect your lips from burning. Consider applying your sunscreen at home before you leave for the pool to save yourself more time for swimming. 

4. Water

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Your body needs water to survive, and cooling off in the pool just won’t do the job. Experts recommend at least 8 ounces of water an hour, and even more during physical activity like swimming, to keep your body healthy and hydrated. Since communal water fountains won’t be in use this summer, do yourself a favor and bring your own water to the pool this year. 

5. Sunglasses

Anyone who’s stared at the sun long enough (don’t ever do that, by the way) can tell you this one’s a no-brainer. Sunglasses aren’t just trendy; they protect your eyes from UV radiation and High-Energy Visible (HEV) light that damages your retinae. Take it a step further and opt for polarized lenses to help reduce eye strain, especially if you’re chaperoning kids while they swim. 

So, please, protect your peepers this summer. If you have young kids, a good pair of shades can also reduce the strain of watching over them in and around the pool.

6. Flip flops

Bathrooms and showers will still be open at most pools. Do you know the person who never wears sandals in the communal showers? Don’t be that person. 

In some states, it’s even against the rules to bare your feet in the bathroom and shower areas. Do us all a favor and slip on some slip-ons to stop germs from spreading. 

7. A chair (optional)

Since your pool facility may choose to adopt a bring-your-own-furniture policy this summer, it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll ditch the on-the-ground towel setup for a seating upgrade. Folding chairs are easy to bring, and some are even designed to be toted as backpacks. 

2020 at the pool is definitely going to look different. But when you remember to bring these essentials to the pool this year, you’re bringing us all one step closer to a fun and safe summer!