What to Bring to a Pool: Essential Items for a Fun Day

Are you planning a day by the pool and wondering what essentials to pack? Good question; you actually need a lot of things for the swimming pool if you want to have a good time.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive list of swimming essentials that will ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable pool experience.

What to Bring to a Pool

Essential Swimwear and Accessories


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You can’t swim without a swimsuit! Make sure to pack a comfortable and well-fitting swimsuit or a pair of swim shorts that adhere to your pool’s guidelines, as some pools may have restrictions on certain swimwear styles.

Just to be clear, gym shorts and T-shirts are not considered appropriate swimwear.

Swim Cap and Hair Ties

how to put on a swim cap with long short hair

If you have long hair or are swimming in a pool with strict rules, a swim cap may be required. Swim caps help protect your hair from chlorine, reduce drag, and keep your hair out of your face while swimming.

For those with longer hair, don’t forget to pack hair ties to secure your hair before putting on a swim cap. This will also make it easier to keep your hair in place and out of your eyes while in the water.

Goggles and Sunglasses

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Goggles are essential for any swimming experience, whether you’re a competitive swimmer or just enjoying a casual dip in the pool. Trust me, the pool water isn’t the cleanest thing and the chlorine in it will sting your eyes.

If you’re swimming outdoors, it’s a good idea to pack a pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses are crucial for protecting your eyes from sun glare while you’re lounging poolside or taking breaks between swimming laps.

Sun Protection

Sunscreen and Sunblock

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When you’re planning a day at an outdoor pool, protecting your skin should be one of your top priorities. To keep your skin safe under the sun, remember to pack sunscreen and sunblock.

Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that will protect against both UVA and UVB rays, with a minimum SPF of 30. To ensure the effectiveness doesn’t wear off, remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating.


Protecting your eyes and face from the sun is equally important. Be sure to pack a wide-brimmed hat, such as these packable sun hats for your pool day.

Wearing a hat will not only shield your face from harmful UV rays but also prevent sunburns and minimize the risk of skin cancer. A wide-brimmed hat may even cover up your neck.

To be fair, swim caps can also provide UV protection for your head, so you may not necessarily need a hat if you have your swim cap on most of the time.

Cover-Up and Lip Balm

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Don’t forget to pack a cover-up or rash guard to wear over your swimwear when you’re not swimming. This additional layer of clothing can provide extra sun protection and help prevent sunburns by covering more of your skin.

The benefit of a rash guard or swim shirt is that you don’t need to apply sunscreen to the areas that are covered up, drastically reducing the amount of product you need to apply.

Your lips can also suffer from sunburn, so it’s crucial to keep them protected. Pack a lip balm with built-in SPF, usually around 15 or higher, and remember to reapply it regularly throughout the day.

Using a lip balm with SPF will not only prevent chapped lips but also reduce the risk of sunburn and long-term damage to your lips.

Dryland Essentials

Change of Clothes

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Heading to the pool means getting wet, so don’t forget to pack an extra set of clothes for when you’re done swimming.

Make sure to include dry underwear, comfortable shorts or pants, and a loose-fitting shirt. A lightweight jacket or sweater might also come in handy, especially if you find yourself cooling down too quickly after leaving the water.

Flip-Flops and Water Shoes

Protect your feet in wet areas by bringing flip-flops or water-resistant shoes. Switching from wet shoes to dry ones after swimming will help keep your feet dry and comfortable. Depending on the circumstances and weather, you may want to bring different shoes for different activities, such as hiking around the pool area or taking on nearby walking trails.

Towel and Toiletries

sunscreen UV protection

A good-sized, absorbent towel is essential for drying off after a swim. You may want to consider packing a microfiber or quick-dry towel such as a swim shammy, as they take up less space in your pool bag, dry faster, and can be used as a backup towel.

Additionally, remember to pack essential toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, sunscreen and the like. Chlorine causes your hair and skin to dry out, so products that rinse off the chlorine and moisturize your skin and hair are essential.

Money and Pool Entry

Be prepared to pay for pool entry or any additional fees, so don’t forget your wallet, cash, or credit cards.

Your pool may also require a membership or entry card, so be sure to add that to your bag as well. Having some extra cash on hand for unanticipated costs, such as lockers or refreshments, is always a good idea.

Water Bottle and Snacks

Hydration is key, especially when you’re out in the sun and swimming all day. Bring a reusable water bottle to keep yourself refreshed throughout the day.

In addition to water, pack some healthy and energizing snacks to quickly refuel between swims. Opt for easy-to-pack options like fresh fruit, granola bars, or trail mix that don’t require refrigeration.

Safety Items and Extras

Ear and Nose Plugs

During summer heat and frequent pool visits, ear plugs and nose plugs are essential to protect your ears and nasal passages.

Prolonged exposure to water can lead to discomfort or even infections. Make sure to pack reusable, waterproof silicone plugs. These are easy to clean and maintain, providing a comfortable fit and excellent protection for your ears and nose.

Life Jackets and Swim Aids

snorkel flotation device

Whether you’re a skilled swimmer or just learning, including life jackets and swim aids in your pool essentials ensures that you can enjoy water activities safely.

Consider investing in a high-quality life jacket or flotation device for your children or yourself if the pool doesn’t provide it. Adult swimmers can benefit from kickboards or pull buoys to assist with technique practice and fitness training.

Sport and Fun Items

Adding some sport and fun items to your pool bag will help make your day at the pool more enjoyable.

Pack a beach ball, water-resistant paddles, or a waterproof frisbee for friendly games that keep everyone engaged.

Remember to be mindful of others in the pool area and choose items that are not disruptive or harmful.

Comb and Other Personal Items

When packing for the pool, don’t forget essential personal items like a comb to detangle your hair after swimming. If you have any medications, e.g. for asthma, then don’t forget to bring those too!

Consider bringing a first aid kit containing bandaids, neosporin, pain killers, Benadryl, or any prescription medication, especially if you have young children with you.

They tend to get cuts and scrapes that need tending to and you can’t always rely on the first aid kits the lifeguards have to be well stocked.