Gear Girl: Spring Break Survival Gear


If you're getting ready for a spring break adventure now, you don't have a lot of time left for shopping. Here's a quick packing list that will allow you to maximize fun and minimize hot-weather maladies.
Stephanie Pearson writes the Gear Girl column for

1.    Patagonia Sun Shelter Dress ($79; Made from polyester-nylon fabric with UPF 40 coating, this silky dress is ideal on days when the sun has turned you  more red lobster than bronze goddess. Long-sleeved and lightweight, the Sun Shelter dries almost instantly and has a comfortable drawstring waist with deep pockets. When the fun’s over, it doubles as a tunic with leggings for the plane ride home.

2.    Simple Take-On Ribbon Suede Sneakers ($55; Flip-flops are fine for the beach, but if you’re pounding concrete or visiting a 17th-century cathedral, cover up your sand-scoured pedicure with Simple’s Take-On Ribbon Suede Sneaker. These kicks are comfortable and take up very little space in your bag. Plus, they’re almost fully organic—even the ribbon is made from recycled soda bottles.

3.    Merrell Lidia Capri ($55; Traveling can turn clothes into shapeless blobs. That’s why the Lidia’s elastic cinchable waistline is a godsend: Keep scrunching it in until you have time to wash and reshape. Plus, the 50+ UPF, ultra-wicking fabric keeps sun and smells away.

4.    All Terrain Natural Herbal Armor Insect Repellent ($8; That scary chemical DEET is the miracle four-letter word when it comes to beating back malarial mosquitoes, but this Deet-free spray promises the same results using much kinder, gentler oils of citronella, soybean, peppermint, cedar, lemongrass, and geranium. Just be sure to give yourself a generous coating once every 1.5 hours.

5.    Neova’s TI-SILC GT SPF 60 sunscreen ($32; For maximal sun protection while wearing a teeny bikini, slather on this high-performance “photo protectant,” which uses an interesting combination of titanium dioxide and Japanese green tea to ward off free-radical damage from the sun. Even water won’t wear it off, unless you stay in for more than 80 minutes. To protect your face try Neova’s Day Therapy SPF 30 ($85) followed by DNA Total Repair treatment ($95).

6.    Nuun Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tabs ($24, per 4-pack of lemon-lime, tri-berry, citrus fruit, and orange): Here’s a secret: These sugar-free electrolyte tablets not only keep you hydrated while biking, surfing, running, hiking, and sunbathing, they’ll also minimize a hangover if you accidentally go overboard on rum-infused Macúas.