The other day, as my son was showing off his one-armed backstroke in our swimming pool on a ridiculously hot Florida afternoon, I asked him, “What do you call a cantaloupe in a swimming pool?” He shook his head, already knowing that the punchline of yet another terrible dad joke was coming, and I proudly told him: “A watermelon.”
He threw a wet ball at me and went back to swimming. That’s when I realized it was time to stock the backyard supplies with some items that can’t be thrown or at least hurt a lot less when they hit me. But, of course, when it comes time to find new pool gear, we end up dreaming up an entirely new resort setting.
Hopefully this gear guide will offer you some inspiration on your hottest days.
Time to Take a Load Off
The greatest decision I ever made for my home pool was buying a pair of floating loungers to sit on our shallow shelf for those times we want some sun, a little water, and plenty of relaxation. But the Floating Luxuries Kai Shelf Lounger is the Cadillac of this style of chair as it includes a built-in drink holder (not that my inflatable flamingo is terrible) and a slot for your phone, for when you either can’t miss an important work email or you simply need your favorite playlists close by.
Open Up and Say, “Ahhhh”
The only drawback to having loungers is you won’t always want direct sun exposure. People who aim to spend the entire day in the pool can only do so with a little shade here and there, and that’s where the Best Choice Products 7.5ft Outdoor Solar Market Table Patio Umbrella comes extremely handy. Flexibility is always a great attribute, so being able to move this from the deck to the pool (if you have a built-in umbrella mount or waterproof stand, of course) makes this a divine choice. And the solar-powered lighting is a cherry on top.
Treat Yourself Like Royalty
Pool loungers are a serious commitment, so when you’re looking for something a little more temporary or flexible, turn to a classic style. The Aqua Campania Ultimate 2-in-1 Pool Float Lounge is extra-large for the royal treatment, as it features a reclining backrest for safe, comfortable sunshine snoozing. But our favorite aspect is the matching cupholder caddy, so we can keep a drink, sunscreen, and phone nearby for when it’s time to crank up the jams on our favorite portable speaker.
Time for a Game of S-E-A-H-O-R-S-E
If your list of pool attendees is basically “the people who live here,” you’ll want games that you can play over and over. But if you regularly entertain, you’ll also want games that cater to all ages. There are very few people on this planet who don’t love a fun game of water basketball (S-E-A-H-O-R-S-E, anyone?) so a great hoop, like the GoSports Splash Hoop Elite Pool Basketball Hoop, is always the right choice. Especially one that is built to outlast the elements and that one friend who is always trying to dunk from across the pool.
When It’s Time to Mix It Up
Younger pool guests have short attention spans, so you’ll need a little more than just basketball to keep them entertained. (Or else they’ll start doing weird things like having contests to see who can remove the most water from the pool.) Keep them moving, playing, and wearing themselves out by offering multiple pool games in one package, like those included in the Max Fun Pool Floats Toys Games Set.
Added Excitement for Everyone
Water blasters always make for a good time for any ages, but it’s harder for smaller guests to use them in the pool if they’re trying to keep their heads above water at the same time. So, why not give them an edge and make them the center of attention when they face off? With this HopeRock 2 Pack Pool Floats Kids with Water Gun, not only can kids engage in epic naval battles in the privacy of their own homes, but parents will be thrilled to no longer have to hurt their shoulders in chicken fights.
Looks Great and Does the Job
Okay, so you have a bunch of pool toys and floats now, but where do you put them when everyone leaves? You can’t just throw them off to the side until friends come back the next day—believe me, I’ve watched floats fly across the yard when a slight breeze picks up. You’ll need a high-quality storage option that not only offers premium space, but also looks good. After all, it’s a piece of your home. The Keter Westwood 150 Gallon Resin Large Deck Box does both jobs and is built to last, so you won’t even have to worry about wet gear rotting wood or rusting metal.
Don’t Forget to Protect Yourself
It’s time for the common-sense purchase. Whether it’s a solo swim or you have a dozen guests running all over your clean deck, you should have enough sunscreen on hand, because chances are at least a few people will forget to bring some. That’s why I always pack two travel bottles when I go on my whirlwind Caribbean adventures—someone always asks. But at home you’ll need bigger bottles, and that’s why the Banana Boat Sport Ultra Sunscreen Spray twin pack is so ideal.
When It’s Time to Call It a Day
Another thing you’ll want to have on hand is extra towels. And we’re not talking your nice bath towels—nobody should be using those for the pool. A 4-pack of Utopia Towels Cabana Stripe Beach Towels is a great start for anyone hosting friends for fun under the sun. The various colors will look cute in a nice basket as you bring out the pool gear, and they’re affordable enough that you won’t mind when they’re left outside overnight by that one friend who never puts things back. We’ll call him Craig.
Everyone Loves a Spotless Setting
Any pool owner knows that maintenance is serious business. You probably have a pool guy coming by once a week to handle the basics, but nature throws us curveballs every day. So do guests. For cleaning up everything from straw wrappers to popsicle sticks, you need something that can reach the bottom and get things without you having to jump in and swim around the bottom looking for every little bit of debris or trash. That something is the Pool Blaster Max Cordless Pool Vacuum, which, short of a waterproof Roomba, will be every party host’s new best friend.