17 products we swear by for staying cool when it’s hot out

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Fan blowing best products to stay cool, including a Yeti water bottle, Dyson air purifier and Eight sleep pod pro cover
  • We asked Insider Reviews reporters and editors how they stay cool during a heat wave.
  • Whether indoors or outdoors, cool down with these 17 products – from a mattress pad to a silk robe.
  • For more cooling help, check out our guides to the best portable ACs, fans, and air conditioners.

Regardless of how much you love summer, no one wants to be stuck in extreme hot and humid conditions. With heat waves starting to hit, it’s best to stay prepared with ways to stay cool – especially when the power shuts off at home or during long commutes.

We asked Insider Reviews reporters and editors for various ways that they keep cool during unbearable heat. From everyday cooling appliances to heat-resistant clothing, these options are the ultimate lifesavers to have this summer. So as the heat rolls on, try these products that can help you stay cool and have a less sweaty summer.

A mattress topper that actively cools your bed

Image of Best Cooling Mattress Topper 2021 Eight Sleep Pod Pro Mattress Cover

Eight Sleep Pod Pro Cover

Pod Pro Cover with PerfectFit (button)

When most mattress companies say their products are “cooling,” they mean that they don’t trap heat. This mattress pad by Eight Sleep actually cools your bed down — as low as 55 degrees — using an undetectable grid of water. I convinced our sleep reporter James Brains to let me be the long-term tester for this after he tested and recommended it in our guide to the best cooling mattress toppers, and wow, I don’t know how I ever survived the summers without it. Being able to chill my bed before I get in it (or while I shamelessly work from it during the day) has been a game changer. I fall asleep faster and wake up feeling cool and refreshed. It’s pricey, but the cover has made this the first summer I haven’t struggled with heat-induced insomnia. If you’re in the same boat, it may very well be worth the cost. — Lauren Savoie, senior editor

An ice cube tray that makes giant ice

The best for large cubes, the Samuelworld Jumbo Cube Tray in dark gray, with one cube it made.

Samuelworld Large Cube Tray

Large Cube Tray (button)

I talk too much about ice ever since I tested 16 trays for our guide to the best ice cube trays, but during the heatwave, my new favorite topic is super relevant. I’m using our pick for the best large cubes, the Samuelworld Jumbo Cubes Tray, almost every day to chill my drinks. Large cubes melt slower than small ones, so I’ll plop the cubes in fresh coffee that I’ve chilled to room temperature; my coffee stays cold and strong longer. The tray only holds six cubes, and at this point, I refill it almost every night. Even through this usage, the silicone has stayed firm and doesn’t have a freezer smell. — Lily Alig, junior reporter 

A luxurious and cooling linen quilt

The Parachute Linen Box Quilt on a made bed in a bedroom

Parachute Linen Box Quilt

Linen Box Quilt (Queen) (button)

I purchased this quilt a few weeks ago during Parachute’s Memorial Day sale, and it’s a much lighter and more breathable top layer than a traditional comforter. If you sleep hot, it might be right up your alley. I also suggest looking into linen sheet sets. — Ellen Hoffman, editor-in-chief service journalism 

I also bought this during Parachute’s sale and it has been a lifesaver compared to my usual all-season comforter during these hot and humid months. As someone who sleeps hot, I’ve found it to be just the right weight and nice and breathable. — Hannah Freedman, associate travel editor 

I love my Parachute linen quilt so much that I refuse to share it with my husband and we had to get a second duvet for him. — Lauren Savoie, senior editor

Really great air conditioners

LG 115V Dual Inverter Smart Window Air Conditioner Side view

LG LW1517IVSM Dual Inverter Smart Window Air Conditioner

LW1517IVSM Dual Inverter Smart Window Air Conditioner (button)

LG LP1419IVSM Dual Inverter Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner

LP1419IVSM Dual Inverter Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner (button)

We recently moved into an older home with no central air, so air conditioners were at the top of our list of things to buy for the summer. Insider Reviews reporter James Brains has tested countless portable ACs and window units over the last couple of years, so the first place I looked for recommendations was our buying guides. 

We bought a bunch of LG window units, in varying sizes to accommodate bigger and smaller rooms, and they do a fantastic job of cooling down the whole place. I love that I can control them with a remote too! It sounds lazy, but it’s actually really convenient when I’m on work calls and can’t get up to change the settings. — Ellen Hoffman, editor-in-chief service journalism 

I have an LG portable AC because traditional window ACs do not fit in all my windows, and it works like a charm. — Malarie Gokey, deputy editor

I’ve tested dozens of air conditioners, and the LG dual inverter ACs are what I use when I’m not testing new air conditioners. They’re energy efficient, and they do a great job without getting too loud. Also, I’m finding in the humid Michigan summers, simply using the dehumidifying function is sometimes enough to make my home comfortable. — James Brains, reporter

The quiet and powerful fan

The best fan overall Vornado 660

Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator

660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator (button)

Now that my husband and I both work from home, our heating and cooling bills have gone through the roof. We recently purchased this fan (which is our best overall pick in our guide to the best fans) in an effort to cut back on using the ACs on milder days. I’m obsessed with this thing — it’s small, but powerful, and runs quietly so that I can use it with no issue during Zoom meetings. — Lauren Savoie, senior editor 

The Vornado works better than any fan I have ever used. I remember wondering why anyone would choose to spend so much on a fan when you can get cheap ones for $20, but the Vornado really cools rooms much more effectively and keeps the air moving. — Malarie Gokey, deputy editor

A cooling pad for your four-legged friends

Dachshund sitting on the green pet shop cooling mat

Green Pet Shop Cooling Pad

Cooling Pet Pad (Medium) (button)

Our pets struggle with the heat just as much as we do — and often more. They are wearing fur coats, after all. A few years back when I lived in a stuffy Brooklyn apartment that was difficult to cool in the summer, I bought the Green Pet Shop Cooling Pad for my frequently panting dog. It works by absorbing your pet’s body heat with a pressure-activated gel. Right out of the box, I pressed my hand into the mat and instantly felt a cooling sensation. My dog practically lived on it during the hottest summer days. Put it in your dog’s favorite spot on the floor, in their crate, or outdoors in a shaded spot. — Lisa Sabatini, editor, pets and parenting

A cool silk robe

kim + ono silk kiku kimono robe laid out on a bed the best silk womens bathrobe 2021

Kim + Ono Silk Kiku Kimono Robe

Silk Kiku Kimono Robe (button)

There’s nothing I love more on a hot day than wearing this glossy, slippery, and ultra-cool robe. Our pick for the best silk robe, it’s not only beautifully made, featuring original and hand-painted artwork, but it also feels amazing. It’s a long robe (the brand also sells short versions) with side slits and the sleeves are short and wide, letting the breeze pass through. It’s perfect for lounging inside with your AC or fan on blast. — Connie Chen, senior reporter

The most breathable mattress we’ve tested

best mattress for hot sleepers 2021 hand pressing down on the purple premier hybrid to show how much it sinks

Purple Hybrid Premier Mattress

Hybrid Premier Mattress (Queen) (button)

I have tested dozens of mattresses, and the Purple Hybrid Premier Mattress did the best at dissipating heat. That’s why it’s the best mattress for hot sleepers in our mattress guide. I use an infrared laser thermometer to measure the surface temperature of the mattress. And, the Purple built up the least amount of heat and was one of the quickest to release the heat in my tests. The biggest negative is the $2,400 price tag, but when you consider you’ll spend a third of your life for the next 10+ years on it, the price seems much more reasonable. — James Brains, reporter

A weighted eye mask you can pop in the freezer

a couple in bed with a woman wearing the gravity heating and cooling eye mask

Gravity Heating/Cooling Weighted Sleep Mask

Heating/Cooling Weighted Sleep Mask (button)

When I was a kid and we didn’t have air conditioning, my mom used to dip a washcloth in water and freeze it. Draping the frozen washcloth over my head would cool me down just enough to get to sleep in the heat. This weighted eye mask works similarly — you just pop it in the freezer for a few hours before bed and then drape it over your eyes to block light and cool you down. I like that this one has a Velcro strap so you can just lay it over your face instead of having to wear it like a traditional eye mask.  — Lauren Savoie, senior editor

Breathable boxer briefs


TomboyX 9-inch Boxer Briefs

9-inch Boxer Briefs (button)

I love wearing these gender-inclusive boxer briefs to sleep on hot summer nights. I also wear them under dresses and skirts to prevent friction and irritation from sweat. They’re soft, breathable, and made from 95% OEKO-TEX certified cotton and 5% spandex. The 9-inch inseam is the perfect length in a world filled with short shorts. TomboyX is also featured on our guide to the best gender-inclusive clothing and a full review. — Malarie Gokey, deputy editor

Moisture-wicking polo shirts

a man wears a grey Arctic Cool Vortex Vent Cooling Polo

Arctic Cool Vortex Vent Cooling Polo

Vortex Vent Cooling Polo (button)

I’ve always been a bit wary of apparel with so-called cooling technology but there’s been some genuine innovation with cooling fabrics over the last several years — and one of the best brands to do it is Arctic Cool. Whether I’m working out in one of its crew neck tees, or casually wearing this polo, I’m able to legitimately feel cooler on warm days. The Vortex Vent Cooling Polo features moisture-wicking technology, a unique ventilation system that helps the shirt avoid feeling stuffy, and even has UPF protection. It’s a summer staple in my wardrobe. — Rick Stella, fitness, health & outdoors editor

An ultra quiet fan and air purifier

Dyson Pure Hot Cool Review

Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool

Pure Humidify + Cool (button)

I originally started using this during the winter since it’s one of my top picks for the best humidifiers. However, one of the reasons it’s so great is because of how multi-functional it is. Not only is it also an air purifier, but in the summer I’ve switched over to using its fan function and it’s worked wonders for cooling off my bedroom at night. It even has a specific “Night Mode” that ensures it’s super quiet. — Hannah Freedman, associate travel editor

A backpack for staying hydrated

camelbak hydration pack

CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack

HydroBak (button)

Proper hydration is one of the most vital components to keeping cool, especially while running or hiking where it’s important to have H20 at the ready whenever you need it. And therein lies the beauty of this hydration pack from CamelBak. It’s lightweight and subtle enough to not bog me down while I run or bike, and can even hold a few extras (snacks, keys, my phone, etc.) while I’m on trail. Its included water reservoir holds 50 ounces of water which typically manages to last me a few hours of use in particularly hot weather. The HydroBak is also featured in our guide to the best hydration packs— Rick Stella, fitness, health & outdoors editor

A mattress topper to help with heat dissipation

Image of Best Cooling Mattress Topper 2021 Bear Pro Mattress Topper

Bear Pro Mattress Topper

Pro Mattress Topper (button)

I recently tested 18 mattress toppers, and the Bear Pro Topper offered the best balance of comfort, affordability, and cooling. That’s why I made it our top pick in our cooling mattress topper guide. It features a cover made of Celliant, a material I’ve found helps with staying cool. In addition to offering excellent support and pressure relief, it’s made in the US of copper-infused memory foam that is CertiPUR-US certified, which means harmful chemicals aren’t used in its construction. Plus, you can try it for 100 nights risk-free. — James Brains, reporter

A heavy-duty water bottle for keeping your beverages ice cold

hydroflask wide

Hydro Flask and Yeti water bottles

Heavy-duty water bottles from Hydro Flask and Yeti are lifesavers at the beach on really hot days. I load mine with ice and they stay super cold all day long. — Ellen Hoffman, editor-in-chief service journalism

A cooling sheet set

Sleepletics Celliant Performance Sheets

Sleepletics Celliant Performance Sheet Set

Celliant Performance Sheet Set (button)

Another Celliant product I use to keep me cool is this sheet set from Sleepletics. As with the Bear Pro Topper, the Celliant material does an outstanding job of heat dissipation so I can stay cool through the night and avoid tossing and turning. It also has a comfy, soft feel that pairs well with whatever weighted blanket I might be testing at the moment. — James Brains, reporter

A sun shelter for the beach

a person sits on the sand in the shade under the Neso Beach Tent with Sand Anchor

Neso Beach Tent with Sand Anchor

Beach Tent with Sand Anchor (button)

A friend of mine recently brought this shady tent with her when we went to the beach and I was so impressed I immediately bought one for myself. It folds down so it’s easy to fit in a backpack or beach bag, takes seconds to set up simply by spreading out the corners and filling them with sand, and provides plenty of shade for a group of four. It’s also water resistant and offers UV protection. It made our beach day so much more enjoyable and relaxing. — Hannah Freedman, associate travel editor

Read the original article on Business Insider

First lady Jill Biden to attend opening ceremony of Summer Olympics in Tokyo next week

first lady jill biden
First lady Jill Biden speaks before the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee at Disney World on Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

  • First Lady Jill Biden will lead the US delegation at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
  • The opening ceremony of the games takes place on July 23.
  • Tokyo is currently under a state of emergency due to a surge in coronavirus cases.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

First lady Jill Biden will attend the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo on July 23, her office announced Tuesday.

The first lady will lead the US delegation at the games next week on her first solo trip abroad. President Joe Biden will not attend, but plans to cheer on the athletes from home, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last month.

The travel plans come as Tokyo is experiencing a spike in coronavirus infections, entering a new state of emergency that started Monday and will last until August 22. The games end on August 8.

The move prompted Olympics organizers to ban all spectators from attending the games in person at stadiums and arenas. This comes after the Olympics had already been postponed by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Psaki told reporters on June 28 that the White House planned to send a delegation to the games “as we have historically had” and that it “will continue to also convey the public health guidelines and guidance that we’ve been delivering out there about only essential travel.”

The first lady previously led the US delegation to the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Canada alongside then-Vice President Biden in 2010.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I own 2 Hamptons hot spots that are busier than ever – but the worker shortage is crushing us

Zach Erdem seated at his Southampton restaurant Blu Mar.
Zach Erdem seated at his Southampton restaurant Blu Mar.

  • Zach Erdem is the owner of 75 Main and Blu Mar, two eateries in Southampton, New York.
  • Since reopening in June, Erdem says he’s struggled to find workers despite increasing the hourly pay.
  • Here’s what hiring has been like for him post-pandemic, as told to freelance writer Jenny Powers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

This summer has been busier than ever, and while it’s wonderful to finally be able to reopen our doors to full capacity and welcome our guests back, there’s a major caveat – it’s been virtually impossible to find enough staff.

Between my two restaurants, I have 87 people on staff. In an ideal situation, that number would be 100. But some of my staff weren’t interested in returning once we reopened – they told me they’d rather stay home on unemployment. I’ve had no choice but to seek out additional help.

I recently spent $2,000 posting job listings on Indeed and only received 10 resumes.

Prior to the pandemic, I never had to post jobs. People would just come in looking for work.

The people of Southampton have long supported me, so I always look to hire from within the community. I’ve also been known to approach customers I think would be a good fit to see if they’re interested.

These days, the tables have been turned and the employees feel like the real bosses, calling the shots in terms of how much they want to get paid and telling me when they want to work. My hands are tied in many instances; I have to do it if I want to keep operating.

In an effort to keep my staff in place and attract more talent, I increased the hourly pay, but I still can’t find enough people.

Last year, our dishwashers made $15 to $16 an hour; now it’s $19 to $22. Busboys, servers, and bartenders make $10 an hour plus tips and hostesses make between $18 to $30 based on their experience. Last week alone, some bussers took home $2,000 while some servers took home $5,000, because we’re busier than ever.

When it comes to hiring hostesses, I have three main criteria.

They must be fluent in English because they are representing our front of house and interfacing with everyone who walks through our doors; they must be familiar with POS (point of sale) systems to handle takeout orders and reservations; and they must be able to smile despite whatever may be going on. That last one is sometimes the hardest part.

Being in a front-of-house role is a tough job, especially these days now.

People are impatient and often it’s the hostess that will get the brunt of it.

Customers will yell and scream and complain, but we have to just grin and bear it. Last week I had a hostess burst out in tears and run into the kitchen. It’s not easy.

I insist on personally interviewing every hire down to the dishwasher.

I ask hypothetical questions that will allow me to get a snapshot of the type of person they are, like if they were free and a manager texted them to come in on their day off, what would they do? Their responses factor into whether I’d hire them, since I want a staff of team players who see this job as more than just a paycheck. At the end of the day, we spend more time at work than at home sometimes, so we have to work as a team.

I live above the restaurant and with the exception of the hour I take to exercise on the beach in the morning, I’m pretty much always at work.

Despite all the craziness, my favorite time in the Hamptons is still between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

I’ve been in the restaurant industry since 2002 when I first walked through the doors of Southampton’s 75 Main at the age of 21 and was hired on the spot as a dishwasher.

I myself rose up the ranks from dishwasher to busboy, then server and bartender to finally, manager. In 2010, I bought 75 Main from the owner who had originally hired me.

Sometimes I still can’t believe it, considering in 1994 I was living in my home city of Erzincan, Turkey, working as a shepherd and had never set foot on American soil.

Although I’m the owner now, I’m still running around, doing whatever needs to get done, including bussing tables. I’m happy if I get four hours of sleep a night.

A long time ago I vowed whatever I did, I would be the best at it, and you don’t become the best by sitting around watching everyone else work.

This month, we’re shooting a TV pilot inside 75 Main so people can see what it’s really like to work inside a restaurant like ours. It was one of our customer’s ideas. This place has all the elements of a movie: comedy, action, entertainment, and plenty of drama.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Millions of mayflies swarm lakeside communities each summer. 48 hours later they die, leaving behind a slippery mess that can make roads dangerous.

Mayfly swarm.
We hope you didn’t need cash

  • Millions of mayflies swarm lakeside communities every year and land on any surface they can find.
  • Mayfly corpses decompose into a fatty, slippery mess that can make roads and sidewalks dangerous.
  • Popular TikToks have documented the insects crawling over people, gas stations, and bridges.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A dense, brown haze rose up in the field next to Tommy Springer.

Nearly silent, the cloud wasn’t smoke or mist – it was thousands of mayflies fluttering in a thick swarm as they mated at sunset.

“Viewing the swarm was like looking through an amber window screen or tan mesh that had been suspended above the field,” Springer, a wildlife and education specialist in Fairfield County, Ohio, told Insider. “I could still see the trees and landscape beyond it, it was just distorted by a cloud of thousands of insects holding a stationary position en masse.”

Sights like this are common in lakeside communities across the US. For a few days each summer, mayflies break through the surface of lakes and rivers to begin a mating frenzy. For the few days they live above water, they fly around in swarms and land on any available surface, including people, cars, and buildings.


Mayflies after 4th of July fireworks 😱 #4thofjuly #mayflies #minnesota #ohno

♬ Spongebob – Dante9k

“They’re harmless – they can’t sting, they can’t bite. They’re just a mess,” Dave McShaffrey, a biology professor at Marietta College, told Insider.

Mayfly corpses often pile up on roads and sidewalks, where they break down into a fatty, slippery glaze that can cause wipeouts for pedestrians and car accidents for drivers. They also stink like rotten fish when their bodies decompose and are squashed by feet and tires, Springer said.

“When their bodies mix with the water they form an almost muddy, slick, slushy feeling. It’s like a slushy winter snowstorm,” Springer said.

The insects are found all over the country, but the biggest swarms tend to appear along the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Port Clinton, Ohio, a city located next to Lake Erie, is famous for its yearly mayfly outbreaks.

Though the insects often congregate near gas stations and other stores that keep their lights on at night, George Black, an employee at a Sunoco Gas Station in Port Clinton, said the mayflies don’t drive customers away. Instead, customers show up early to the gas station to collect the deep piles of corpses that have become a hot commodity for local residents.

“People shovel them up and use them as fertilizer in their yards and gardens,” he said. “People love them. They’re almost fighting over them.”

Municipalities have different ways of dealing with the annual emergence. In June, Pennsylvania officials shut down a bridge at night as the throng of mayflies that congregated by the bridge’s lights made driving too dangerous. Port Clinton typically turns off lights along one of the main thoroughfares next to Lake Erie and dispatches teams with leaf blowers to clear the insects off of sidewalks and public property in the morning, Tracy Colston, safety service director for Port Clinton, said.

“We got pelted pretty good with them,” he told Insider.

Mayfly larvae burrow into the silt of lakes and large rivers where they live for about a year until the water reaches a certain temperature every summer. Then, millions of the insects, with dragonfly-like wings, bulging eyes and hair-like tails, rise to the surface and take flight, McShaffrey said.

From there, they fly with the wind to the adjacent shore and flock together for mating flights. The mayflies die soon after the females drop their eggs back into the water, McShaffrey said.

Though the insects are a nuisance, they’re a good source of food for fish and swarms of them are an indication of clean water, as mayflies have a a very low toleration for pollution.

If they bother you, simply turn off the lights.

“They’re going to die in 48 hours anyways,” McShaffrey said. “You just sit back and try to enjoy them a couple days out of the year.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Get paid to make picnics

Reading Time: 9 mins

Picnics have always been a firm favourite. There’s nothing like enjoying the Great British Summertime surrounded by your friends, soaking up the rays, munching on strawberries and cheese sandwiches.

This year, with people being encouraged to meet others outside, picnics have become a popular and pandemic-proof way to catch up with loved ones. Out of this has emerged an opportunity to make extra income, or even set up a whole new business, surrounding the pop-up picnic experience.



Setting it up

business plan

Firstly, you will need to establish a niche for your picnics.

Are you going to do a particular theme?

Or, perhaps, you may cater to each individual client depending on their preferences, or a particular occasion?

You may even pick a handful of occasions you want to specialise in. For example, hen dos, baby showers or birthdays.

Utilise photo sharing websites and begin to note down some set up ideas. Websites including Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr have thousands of photographs you can draw inspiration from. If you search ‘Picnics’, you’ll be thrust into a world you never knew existed. You can save these pictures to go back to as you begin to develop your ideas further. From these, you can decide particular concepts you want to include in your picnics, from the colour schemes and decor of your picnics, to the type of food and beverages you will serve.

Your set up doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. It’s beneficial to have a rummage in your local charity shops or at boot sales, to pick up low-cost decor and seating. Similarly, you could search second-hand websites such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace and even Freecycle and get unique pieces to give your picnics a special edge.

A key decision in the process is to decide how many people you are willing to cater to at one time. As you build your business, you may wish to start small. You may choose to only cater for up to six people at a time, and as you find your footing and become familiar with the process, you may choose to expand this number. This, of course, is entirely up to you and how comfortable you feel.

Finally, you should decide the location of your business. Are you going to provide picnics within a 2-mile radius of where you live? Are you willing to travel for clients? Again, this is up to you and dependent on access to transport and the ease of which you are able to get to a new location.


Services to offer

people eating food

You could also begin to think about the type of service you’d like to offer to your clients. You may opt to offer the making, set up and removal of the picnic only, or you may choose to go the extra mile and offer your waiting services. For example, topping up people’s drinks, offering them hor’deurves and nibbles as they enjoy themselves. Additionally, you may opt to be a ‘host’ as such, organising games or quizzes for the guests.

Some picnic businesses aim to create an entire experience, rather than just a picnic. A fun idea could be to offer a ‘bottomless brunch’ for your guests. This could include unlimited top-ups of prosecco for a set amount of time. Some restaurants charge as much as £40 per head for 90 minutes of brunching fun. You could also cater to special occasions such as graduations, going the extra mile to provide graduation-themed decor, such as cupcakes decorated with graduation caps or banners reading ‘Class of 2021’, for example.


What should you include?

picnic setup

Starting with arguably the main part of a picnic (besides the prosecco!), it’s important to think about the type of food you will offer. Are you going to go for a traditional style picnic, with sandwiches, scotch eggs and strawberries? Or maybe you’re more inclined to deliver a ‘luxury’ picnic, making a proper meal with tear and share bread or a side salad. Perhaps you could mix and match, catering specifically to the requests of those organising the event.

Charcuterie boards are an easy way to incorporate a bit of luxury into your picnic. Mixed meats, cheese, olives, pickles, grapes, bread and crackers neatly organised on a large platter for people to pick and choose as they wish. Enjoyed with a nice glass of red or a bottle of bubbly, it’s an achievable way to offer something unique without breaking your budget.

It’s imperative your picnics look appealing. Not only for the sake of taking aesthetically pleasing photographs in order to draw in clientele, but to impress your guests, encourage them to use your services again in the future and wow them in a way that spreads the word about your business. As mentioned previously, your decor doesn’t have to break the bank. Search your local charity shops for cushions, blankets and even little coffee tables to create a unique and magical atmosphere.


How much should you charge?

calculating costs

It’s a good idea to have a base fee. This is used to cover the cost of food and the ‘rental’ of your décor, seating and utensils. A charge of £100 or so could be requested for groups of up to 6 people, with an extra £10 requested for every additional guest after that. Alternatively, you may want to charge per head and quote each client with a price dependent on their requirements.

Extra services and add-ons, such as occasion-specific decor, for example party hats or balloons, may incur extra costs. You may be asked to provide a birthday cake, some extra bubbly, party games or party favours, for which you could include additional charges.


How can you get the word out?

spread the word

The internet is your best friend. Creating a website or a social media page to offer and promote your services is a good place to start. Try to ensure your website has a review section, where people can leave comments about their experience. It could also have a star-rating scale so others can see how highly your business is rated by others.

Social media, particularly where you can share photos, is extremely useful. You can share beautiful photos of your picnics to catch the eye of potential clientele and encourage them to book your services. You may wish to invest in a good camera or editing software, to ensure your photos are high quality and appealing.

Do a trial run with your friends and family and ask for their honest feedback. Invite your loved ones to experience a complimentary picnic. Don’t go overboard on the spending, as you aren’t getting paid, but allow yourself to give enough of an experience so you can test the waters.

What did they like? Was there anything they weren’t so keen on? Ask them how much they’d be willing to pay for the experience, and whether there was anything they thought was missing. They may also give you constructive feedback on your hosting skills. Don’t take criticisms too personally. They will aid you in shaping and fine-tuning your picnics.

When your business is up and running, make sure to interact with your guests. Be friendly, polite and get to know them, building relationships through interactions that leave them with a long-lasting, positive impression. Thank them for their custom, make sure they have everything they need and ensure they’re enjoying the experience. Go above and beyond. High client satisfaction will lead to them using your services again, as well as telling others about you.


Do you need any training?

food preparation

It’s not imperative to get any sort of training to start a pop-up picnic business, but it is a worthwhile investment, particularly if your business takes off. The Food Standards Agency offers free online courses in food allergen training, as well of loads of advice on food handling and safety. The Safer Food Group offers qualifications in food hygiene from £12, and Essential Food Hygiene also provides a range of fully accredited courses from £10. Having these will give your business more credibility, helping your clients feel reassured that their food is being made and handled to a correct standard.


Sarah Pearson: Owner of a London picnic business

business owner

We had the opportunity to interview Sarah Pearson, a seasoned cake baker and decorator. Always having a desire to be a party planner, she has recently turned her career decorating cakes into a new picnic business venture.

After years of putting her creative skills to good use, making beautifully crafted birthday cakes for friends and family, Sarah was asked to help out with a few children’s birthday parties in the summer months. These parties were located in local parks, in which the children would be given picnics and play in the sun together.

“My own daughter was born in winter, so I was never able to plan summer parties outside for her,” Sarah tells us. However, she loves the idea of giving children a wonderful picnic experience to remember. After chatting with another mum at the school gates, they created something wonderful – a pop-up picnic experience.

We asked Sarah how the idea began to develop. “I love to create, I love seeing people’s reactions, and I love helping people out, take the pressure off”, she tells us. “I threw a picnic party for a family last year and they had such an amazing time. They want me to do another party for them again this year. They have a newborn baby, so with me organising the picnic the pressure is taken off them”. You can tell she is passionate about what she does, and it’s refreshing. She continues, “I’m really excited and I have great belief in it”.

Sarah bought herself a trailer, which she uses to transport everything she needs for the picnics. This includes decorations, food and any extras requested by the clients, such as blankets. In terms of what she charges, there is a base fee, with an additional small fee per hour of the party. This pays for her time, as well as the set-up and clean-up of the picnic. How much to extra charge, depending on what each person wants to eat or drink, is also calculated.

She suggests it’s easier to work out a cost per person. Everyone is likely to want different items or have various dietary requirements. She caters to gluten, dairy and even sugar free diets. “If you cater to people’s needs and give them what they want, it’s easier to judge how much food you will need to buy for the picnic. There’s also far less waste that way,” she advises. “I’d also suggest creating a set menu if you can. This helps with calculating the costs as well as making the food preparation more manageable”.

She makes traditional picnic food mostly – sandwiches, sausages, carrot sticks – but is happy to go above and beyond. If a client wants pasta, she’s happy to make pasta. She doesn’t mind if someone wants to swap or change an item on the set menu. She wants her clients to be thrilled with the food they are served.

Sarah also caters to particular themes. “We are doing a mermaid themed party next week,” she gushes excitedly. With the help of Pinterest, she has been able to get creative, with sea themed decorations and fruit platters. Of course, there will be an expertly decorated mermaid birthday cake. She’s also excited to begin expanding her themes, looking to do afternoon tea options.

Although Sarah is currently based in the Hyde Park area of London, she is hoping to expand her business geographically. Similarly, although she has mainly done children’s birthday parties, she’s eager to branch out to adult parties and occasions. She’s flexible, and will host indoors if preferred, or if the weather doesn’t permit an outdoor event.

“I’ve done food hygiene courses previously, and I’m hoping to update these skills soon,” Sarah informs us. She is planning to start renting a kitchen space, meaning high standards must be met, and rules and regulations followed.

Finally, we chat about the future of the business. “Even just talking to you is making me excited about it all,” her tone is happy and upbeat. “We are looking to get an official name for the business and set up social media pages too”. She has a plethora of ideas, and having her own picnic business is a venture she genuinely enjoys.

You can follow Sarah’s cake decorating business, Cakes In Kensington on Facebook and Instagram.




The post Get paid to make picnics appeared first on MoneyMagpie.

27 easy beach reads that are perfect for summer vacation

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Summer beach reads 2021 4x3
  • Beach reads are highly entertaining books that you can’t put down, and are perfect for summer.
  • No matter the genre, these beach reads are an immersive escape, whether you’re on vacation or not.
  • Below are our 27 best beach reads, including YA, romance, thriller, and non-fiction books.

Beach reads used to be known as mindless, mass-market paperbacks with shirtless men on the cover that we’d throw in our bags, read for an hour, and never care about again. But now, beach reads are an escape, whether your toes are in the sand or not. They take us on vacation, into a new world away from our stresses.

My mark of a good beach read is one with a fully consuming story. Many of these books are ones I’ve read in a single day (or a single sitting), and every one of them pairs perfectly with a day off. Whether it’s a delightfully cheesy romantic comedy or harrowing nonfiction, every book on this list has the potential to whisk you away and make any day a vacation in the sun.

27 great beach reads:

Rom-com beach reads

An aptly titled beach read

Beach Read by Emily Henry

“Beach Read” by Emily Henry, available at Amazon and Bookshop

Of course I had to include this one. It’s about two polar-opposite writers staying in neighboring beach houses for the summer, one a romance writer and the other trying to write the next Great American Novel. Faced with writer’s block, they decide to swap topics and spend the summer teaching each other the ins and outs of writing their genres, all while competing to publish their own book first. With plenty of romance, scenes that might make you cry, and an interesting (and accurate) inside look at the process of writing a book, this is an easy one to read in the sun. 

Irresistible beach read quality: The enemies-to-friends-to-lovers storyline.

A beach read that feels like a reality show

One to Watch by Kate Stayman London

“One to Watch” by Kate Stayman-London, available at Amazon and Bookshop

Okay, I’ll admit it. I watch “The Bachelorette” every single week. If you love watching the show’s smart, strong leads who know exactly what they want and refuse to settle, then you will absolutely love this book. Bea is a plus-sized fashion blogger who gets asked to be on a “Bachelorette”-like reality show. She sees it as an opportunity to grow her brand and show that plus-size women deserve the spotlight, too. Between internet drama and conniving producers, this book is more entertaining than a reality show. 

Irresistible beach read quality: The can’t-look-away drama.

A charming, sexy rom-com

Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

“Take A Hint, Dani Brown” by Talia Hibbert, available at Amazon and Bookshop

First of all, every Talia Hibbert book belongs on this list. Her romances are known for their sensitivity and steam, but they’re also such enjoyable reads that any one of them is perfect for a relaxing beach day. Danika has no interest in a relationship but asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits. So when a video of sexy security guard Zafir carrying Danika out of a building goes viral, they decide to fake a relationship to promote Zafir’s charity (and help Danika secretly seduce him behind the scenes). I loved Dani’s intelligence and the anti-toxic masculinity storyline around Zafir. Have you ever teared up because a book was so naturally inclusive that it felt like a breath of fresh air? You might once you grab this.

Irresistible beach read quality: The steamy romance.

An emotional yet adorable romance

The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abbi Jimenez

“The Happy Ever After Playlist” by Abbi Jimenez, available at Amazon and Bookshop

This one starts out a little cheesy, but there’s something so endearing about it that got me hooked. Sloan lost her fiancé two years ago and is still struggling to get her life together when she finds a lost pup named Tucker whose owner, Jason, is on tour in Australia. The two exchange texts and calls, their connection growing as their meeting grows near. But being an international star, Jason might not have time for a relationship and Sloan could end up heartbroken again. This book is super dramatic and full of scandal, giving it all the summer romance vibes you need. 

Irresistible beach read quality: A super cute dog — and a dog owner who’s not too bad looking, either.

The tale of an unexpected Hawaiian vacation

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

“The Unhoneymooners” by Christina Lauren, available at Amazon and Bookshop

Christina and Lauren (the co-authors) have written a bunch of fun rom-coms but this is my favorite because it’s absolutely hysterical. Olive (who thinks love is gross) and her sworn enemy Ethan put aside their mutual hatred for an all-expense-paid Hawaiian honeymoon after food poisoning hits everyone in her sister’s wedding besides them. When they run into her boss, the entire vacation revolves around pretending to be loving newlyweds. It’s adorable and fast-paced because of the constant (and hilarious) complications that arise.

Irresistible beach read quality: The witty banter.

Thriller beach reads

A brilliant and fast-moving thriller

Verity by Colleen Hoover

“Verity” by Colleen Hoover, available at Amazon and Bookshop

The day I opened this book, I did absolutely nothing else besides getting to the bottom of what the heck was happening in these pages. Lowen is a budding writer, brought to the Crawford home to finish writing Verity’s book series after a car accident left her in a waking coma. While doing research in Verity’s library, Lowen finds an autobiographical manuscript with haunting admissions, so devastating that she chooses to keep them a secret. This is a rollercoaster of lies that will have you trying to guess the truth until the last page.

Irresistible beach read quality: The need to know the truth gets stronger with every lie.

A unbelievably creepy novel

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

“Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn, available at Amazon and Bookshop

“Gone Girl” is undoubtedly the most famous of Flynn’s novels but “Sharp Objects” is my favorite to recommend as a beach read. It’s a bit shorter — and so twisted that you have to finish it in a day. Camille is an investigative reporter returning to her small town to cover the murder of a young girl. She’s staying with her hypochondriac mother in her childhood bedroom and must unravel some psychological twists in order to uncover the story. This is an incredibly suspenseful thriller and you’ll need the sun to balance out all the dark secrets.

Irresistible beach read quality: A disturbing past that feels all too real.

A summer story that turns deadly

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

“I Killed Zoe Spanos” by Kit Frick, available at Amazon and Bookshop

Anna is spending the summer in the Hamptons on a nannying gig, in a community on edge after the New Year’s Eve disappearance of Zoe Spanos. Anna, who is constantly reminded of her resemblance to Zoe, begins to dig deeper into the unsolved case. Two months later, she finds herself charged with the manslaughter of a girl she’d never met. The book bounces between Anna’s confession and the summer as it unfolds, with an ending that will throw you for a loop — I really thought I had this one all figured out but the last 10 pages blew me away. 

Irresistible beach read quality: The true-crime feel.

A shocking family drama

The Push by Ashely Audrian

“The Push” by Ashely Audrian, available at Amazon and Bookshop

Blythe is determined to be the warm and loving mother she never had. She’s convinced that something is wrong with her daughter, even though her husband says she’s exhausted and just imagining things. When her second child is born, the connection between herself and her children is strong and beautiful, until their lives are forever changed. This is another one that demands to be read in one sitting as everything you’ve accepted is eventually overturned. The book’s short chapters have you turning the pages faster and faster as you navigate haunting memories, trauma, and the legacy of motherhood.

Irresistible beach read quality: The ending that will make you want to throw the book in the ocean.

Historical fiction beach reads

A page-turning exploration of one woman’s life

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid, available at Amazon and Bookshop

This was the first book I read in a single sitting and it’s one I recommend to everyone. Evelyn Hugo is an A-list Hollywood actress who is finally ready to tell her story, but only to one little-known journalist. In this book, we get to hear Evelyn’s story of rising to fame in the ’50s, leaving the business in the ’80s, and marrying seven husbands (all for different reasons) along the way. Taylor Jenkins Reid writes characters and stories that are so vivid, you can’t believe they’re not real. This book is fascinating and a little heartbreaking, and when everything comes together in the end, it might become your new favorite. 

Irresistible beach read quality: The desire to know who the love of Evelyn’s life was.

A story of forgotten courage during the war

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

“The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah, available at Amazon and Bookshop

Just when you think you’ve read every World War II story there is to tell, this book comes into your life. It’s about French women’s role in the war — from secret messengers across country lines to wives forced to house German soldiers as bombs drop around them. While 600 pages might warrant a week-long beach stay, I read this in two days and cried twice. It is so achingly beautiful and so hard to pull away.

Irresistible beach read quality: The constant action of women fighting to survive.

A historical tale set in Scotland

The Skylark’s Secret by Fiona Valpy

“The Skylark’s Secret” by Fiona Valpy, available at Amazon and Bookshop

In 1940, Flora embarks on a forbidden romance that brings even more tension into a home rocked by devastating changes in the community. Many years later, Flora’s daughter, Lexie, returns to the village with her own daughter to learn about her mother, their past, and the sacrifices made in her name. This multi-generational story is about war, love, and learning from and about our past. The family dynamics — and facing that which lays hidden behind them — make this book so beloved by many. 

Irresistible beach read quality: The connection between the generations of women and their homeland.

A fictional account of a real, often-overlooked woman

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

“Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell, available at Amazon and Bookshop

Maggie O’Farrell’s magical writing elevates an already fascinating book into one that you’ll hold close long after the summer is over. It’s historical fiction, based on the little-known (but real) story of Agnes, found in the footnotes of “Hamlet.” In 1580s England, Agnes is a gifted healer, both feared and sought-after, who settles down with her husband and has three children. When her son, Hamnet, dies at age eleven, Agnes’ husband writes a play called “Hamlet.” You absolutely do not need to be a Shakespeare buff to love this story and appreciate its rightful place in history. 

Irresistible beach read quality: Maggie O’Farrell’s lyrical writing.

Young adult beach reads

A novel that will leave you feeling optimistic

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

“With the Fire on High” by Elizabeth Acevedo, available at Amazon and Bookshop

The only place Emoni has to let go of her stress is the kitchen, making food that everyone agrees is unparalleled. With a dream to be a chef and an opportunity just out of reach, Emoni needs to find a way to balance her dreams and responsibilities. This one is about hardships: Young motherhood, the harshness of the world, and balancing everything you love. It’s a very character-driven novel, so prepare yourself to become emotionally invested in Emoni’s happiness and success. Elizabeth Acevedo might not be capable of writing anything that’s not incredible, as every book of hers I’ve read has blown me away. 

Irresistible beach read quality: The food in this book will make you hungry in real life.

A queer enemies-to-lovers royal romance

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

“Red, White, and Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston, available at Amazon and Bookshop

Alex Claremont-Diaz is the first son of the White House with a lifelong nemesis — Prince Henry of British royalty. When Alex confronts Henry at a royal wedding, the story is leaked to the tabloids and the best solution is a publicity stunt: a fake friendship between the two. As Henry and Alex begin to fall in love, the truth threatens to destroy the President’s reelection campaign and even the relations between Britain and America. I love a good queer romance but the added royal aspect, the snarky wit between the boys, and the fun development of the relationship make this a must-read for the summer. 

Irresistible beach read quality: The heart-swelling romance.

A competitive and sweet first-love story

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

“Today Tonight Tomorrow” by Rachel Lynn Solomon, available at Amazon and Bookshop

For all four years of high school, Rowan and Neil hate each other, bitter rivals and complete opposites. When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan finds one last chance to beat him in a scavenger hunt/ninja assassin game played by all seniors after graduation. The plot spans 24 hours, which keeps this book moving quickly. It’s easy to laugh and root for these two as their faux-hateful banter turns quickly to friendship despite years of sworn rivalry. 

Irresistible beach read quality: The balance between pure fun and deeper feelings.

A truly adorable, romantic high school adventure

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han, available at Amazon and Bookshop

Lara Jean does not tell boys that she has a crush on them. Instead, she writes each one a letter and hides them all under her bed. Somehow, these letters have been mailed and all her past crushes, big and small, are confronting her about them. It’s highly amusing because of the reappearance of every crush — from her sister’s ex-boyfriend to her first kiss many years ago. The story is very cute and light, so you can relax in the sun as Lara winds through sisterhood and her past loves towards a romance that leaves you smiling. 

Irresistible beach read quality: A light love story to make any beach day brighter.

A summer beach read set in picturesque Italy

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

“Love & Gelato” by Jenna Evans Welch, available at Amazon and Bookshop

After her mother passes away, Lina finds her mother’s old journal while spending the summer in Tuscany to get to know her father. Suddenly no longer focused on leaving, Lina begins to follow her mother’s writing through Italy’s streets and discover her secrets with the help of a charming local boy. It’s a summer story of family, first love, and discovery. My favorite quote is “People come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay it’s for the same two things… love and gelato.”

Irresistible beach read quality: The adorable love story accompanying the uncovering of long-kept secrets.

Contemporary fiction beach reads

A novel of two very different journeys

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett, available at Amazon and Bookshop

The Vignes sisters ran away from their small, southern Black community at 16 and moved on to very different lives; one sister moving back home with her Black daughter; the other passing for white, marrying a white man — and telling him nothing of her past. When their daughters’ lives intersect years later, they begin to uncover the decisions and lies of their mothers. This book is about race, but also exploration, identity, desires, and how our past influences it all. There is so much about this book to love that I read it twice. 

Irresistible beach read quality: The stark differences of two sisters with the same upbringing.

A Californian story of love and friendship

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe

“The Knockout Queen” by Rufi Thorpe, available at Amazon and Bookshop

This is a coming-of-age story about the friendship between Bunny, a too-tall Olympic hopeful, and Michael, her closeted, home-schooled neighbor. Bunny is desperate to fit in and hide from her father’s alcoholism while Michael is trying to navigate his sexuality while meeting up with men on the internet, the two taking solace in each other’s company. With really intelligent writing that keeps you interested in the characters, it’s an unapologetic and unflinchingly honest telling of two teens seeking human connection. 

Irresistible beach read quality: A tender look into the victories and downfalls of two misfits.

A light read on a thought-provoking topic

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

“Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid, available at Amazon and Bookshop

This book gets interesting from the first scene, where Emira, a young African-American woman, is accused of kidnapping Briar, the white child she babysits, while walking around the grocery store. Alix, the blogger mom of the child, tries to right the situation that quickly gets farther and farther out of control. Emira and Briar are hugely loveable characters that contrast heavily with the supposedly well-intentioned Alix, making this an entertaining read as well as a broader commentary on race, class, and influencer culture.

Irresistible beach read quality: How true-to-life the story feels. 

A story of fighting for what you love

Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

“Things You Save In A Fire” by Katherine Center, available at Amazon and Bookshop

Katherine Center is so good at writing hardships that leave you feeling hopeful. This one is about Cassie, one of the only female firefighters in her firehouse. With rundown facilities, no funding to fix them, and an environment that borders on toxic, the men aren’t thrilled to have a woman join the crew, even though she’s more competent than most of them. When the handsome new guy is the only one nice to her, Cassie has to constantly remind herself that she doesn’t date firefighters. Katherine Center writes stories that have you rooting for the main character with every part of your heart and soul, and this one is true to form. 

Irresistible beach read quality: The protagonist’s complete badassery.

A classic-feeling beach read with secrets galore

Winter In Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

“Winter In Paradise” by Elin Hilderbrand, available at Amazon and Bookshop

Elin Hilderbrand is basically the ultimate beach read writer, churning out smooth reads that end in cliffhangers. After the sudden, tragic death of her husband, Irene travels to St. John to investigate the unusual circumstances in which he died, stumbling upon the secrets of a man she may not have known as well as she thought. I loved this for a summer read because the characters are easy to understand, the drama keeps you interested, and there’s just enough romance to have me rooting for love. 

Irresistible beach read quality: The tropical tourist destination setting.

Non-fiction beach reads

A historical crisis told in an intimate way

The Splendid and The Vile  A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

“The Splendid and The Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz” by Erik Larson, available at Amazon and Bookshop

This book is a highly researched history about Churchill’s actions and reactions in Britain during the WWII era. It follows him as well as his family and friends through the fear surrounding London as Hitler kills 45,000 Britains in a bombing campaign, having invaded Holland and Belgium on Churchill’s first day as Prime Minister. Erik Larson writes history like an unfolding drama, so you’ll find yourself learning and invested in the story.

Irresistible beach read quality: The diaries and formerly classified intelligence reports.

A true story about the mothers of our heroes

The Three Mothers by Anna Malaika Tubbs

“The Three Mothers” by Anna Malaika Tubbs, available at Amazon and Bookshop

This is the story of the mothers who raised and shaped Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin. Faced with Jim Crow-era racism, little has been previously said of the incredible women who taught these men the beliefs of justice and equality that would change the world. The book is filled with love and compassion, bringing the experience of Black women and mothers into the conversation while truly demonstrating their vital significance in the ongoing fight against oppression. 

Irresistible beach read quality: The untold stories of three extraordinary women.

A fact-filled presentation of a frustrating bias

Invisible Women  Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Pérez

“Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men” by Caroline Criado Pérez, available at Amazon and Bookshop

In nearly every aspect of our society, women are systematically ignored. From the way crash test dummies, voice recognition software, and even medicinal dosing have been designed, the data that drives nearly every aspect of our lives revolves around men. This book can be a little appalling as the well-researched case studies shed light on an unconscious bias in our society that might start to feel more and more obvious as you learn more about it. 

Irresistible beach read quality: The data to back up every claim.

A true story about women who glow

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

“The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women” by Kate Moore, available at Amazon and Bookshop

As soon as I found out about this phenomenon of “The Radium Girls” I dove headfirst into this book. During the First World War, they were working in factories to get radium — a newly discovered magical drug — into the hands of the public. The girls were covered in radium, literally glowing from the chemical all over their bodies after leaving their coveted jobs. But when they began to fall ill, the factories ignored their claims that it could be from the radium. It’s the story of a fight for workers’ rights, one that saved so many lives because the women demanded to be heard. It’s also such a remarkable story that it’s easy to forget it’s true.

Irresistible beach read quality: The tension created from fighting for what’s right.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Swimsuits for All boast inclusively-sized swimwear in cool styles – here’s what 3 women thought of the brand

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Swimsuits for All swimwear; the best plus-size swimsuits; the best bikinis and one-pieces
  • Swimsuits for All carries sizes 4 through 40, prioritizing often-ignored body shapes and sizes.
  • 3 people from our Insider team tested the brand’s swimsuits and loved the look and fit of them.
  • For more options, check out our reviews of swimsuits from brands like Everlane and Summersalt.

Shopping for swimsuits can be a stressful, vulnerable, and frustrating experience. It’s doubly so when your favorite store doesn’t carry a cute style in your size, or when all the ones in your size were clearly treated as afterthoughts.

Swimsuits for All has been around since 2005 and continues to push the boundaries of style and size in the women’s swimwear space. The brand makes stylish, size-inclusive women’s swimwear in sizes 4 through 40. Its lineup includes one-pieces, bikinis, swim dresses, tankinis, and cover-ups, and most of its suits cost less than $100. Even for the ones that cost more, you can usually get them at a generous discount during one of the brand’s many online sale events.

Among its many original styles, it has also launched special collections with plus-size body positivity advocates like model Ashley Graham and fashion blogger GabiFresh. We tried a piece from each of these two collaborations, in addition to one of the brand’s original styles. Our testers range from sizes 8 to 20, and share their thoughts on the look, fit, and feel of their suits. Many sunny beach trips later, the verdict is in: the swimsuits look and feel great.

Here are the 3 best Swimsuits for All bikinis and one-pieces you can buy:

Ashley Graham Boss Underwire One Piece Swimsuit

swimsuits for all 2

A simple, black one-piece is a wardobe must-have — you can’t go wrong with its timeless look. Insider senior video producer Shirley Cheng likes how this swimsuit is a twist on the classic, black swimsuit because it looks anything but basic thanks to the lattice details. She sized down and found that to be the right move for her.

What’s great about this swimsuit is that you can adjust it to your liking. There’s self-tie halter straps and a hidden underwire bra with removable soft cups. But it also features Power Mesh tummy-control lining and front shirring to keep you feeling secure. Plus, if you’re concerned about how the suit fits on the bottom half, it’s quite literally got you covered with full bottom coverage.

Ashley Graham Boss Underwire One Piece Swimsuit (small)
GabiFresh Cup Sized Tie Front Underwire Bikini Set

swimsuits for all

Basic bikinis are versatile mainstays for summertime, but to add a little something extra to your collection, you might want to check out the tie details on this set. The detail appears on both the top and the bottoms, and is fully functional. However, the two separates are still simple enough to mix and match with other suits, as well. 

You can get the right fit for you with the adjustable straps and G-hook back closure that has three adjustments. Swimsuit top sizing can be tricky, but this one fits by band and cup size, making your decision much easier. Former Insider Studios associate editor Hattie Weber can vouch for the fit and comfort of this bikini set. She also appreciates the brand’s wide variety of other styles for plus-size bodies. 

GabiFresh Cup Sized Tie Front Underwire Bikini Set (small)
Diva Halter Bikini Set with Foldover Brief

swimsuits for all 3

A swimsuit you can customize almost sounds too good to be true. However, the fold over brief in this set does exactly what its name suggests. You can modify the rise of these bottoms by simply folding them up or down, making this a versatile piece that you can pair with other tops. 

The top is also adatpable with its self-tie halter straps and double G-hook closure that has two adjustments. Insider senior consumer insights associate Jennifer Hernandez loves wearing the bottoms with a higher rise, although she also likes folding over the top to jazz up the plain briefs. She additionally appreciates how there are separate sizing options for each piece of the set, since one’s top and bottom measurements can vary.

Diva Halter Bikini Set with Foldover Brief (small)

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 10 best places to shop for summer running gear in 2021

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Best places to shop for summer running gear in 2021 Lead Photo

  • Staying cool and comfortable on summer runs requires breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics.
  • To stay safe on hot runs, you also need sun protection and hydration systems.
  • We love these 10 brands for all the gear you need for a safe, comfortable summer run.
  • Athleta is the best overall hot-weather running brand, thanks to its performance fabrics, extended sizing, and stylish gear.

Running is one of the cheapest, most accessible ways to boost your cardio fitness, improve your overall health, and enjoy the mental benefits of exercise. And while all you truly need is a quality pair of running shoes, having comfortable, functional gear can make running a lot more enjoyable – especially as the temperature starts to heat up.

As an avid runner and personal trainer myself, I’ve run in my fair share of both cheaply-made and luxury gear. What I’ve learned: Cotton and cheap fabrics will either absorb your sweat or trap it next to your body, causing it to literally weigh you down and heat you up.

If running is your sport of the summer, it’s worth it to invest in performance fabrics that have sweat-wicking, quick-drying features and apparel designed to be breezy, lightweight, and move with your body, comfortably (no one needs chafing to interrupt their flow). It’s also crucial that you don sun protection – UPF clothing, polarized sunglasses, sweat-proof sunscreen – and have a comfortable way to carry water, no matter how many miles you’re logging.

Lastly, in an effort to shop smarter and make the fitness world more inclusive for everyone, the brands most worth your money should be able to perform during both speed training and long runs, and offer extended sizing.

To help you figure out where to shop for the best summer running gear, we laid out our favorite go-to retailers. These brands will become your best new run buds so feel free to go all in.

Here are the best places to shop for summer running gear:

  • The best place to buy running clothes overall: Athleta
  • The best brand for budget running apparel: Amazon’s Core 10
  • The best boutique brand for run apparel: Tracksmith
  • The best brand for running socks: Balega
  • The best brand for running hats: rnnr
  • The best brand for sports bras: Brooks
  • The best brand for running sunglasses: 100%
  • The best brand for hydration systems: Nathan Sports
  • The best brand for running shoes: Hoka One One
  • The best brand for sport sunscreens: Coola

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The best place to buy running clothes overall

Athleta not only has cute, comfortable, and 100% functional gear for going on the run, but they also offer extended sizing and sustainable apparel.

Athleta not only has cute, comfortable, and 100% functional gear for going on the run, but they also offer extended sizing and sustainable apparel. 

For starters, Athleta has great workout clothes that hit that sweet spot of quality and price. I always turn to leggings and shorts with pockets — a must when trying to stash your phone, credit card, keys, and maybe even some fuel on the run. Plus, many of its bottoms feature moisture-wicking fabrics and waistbands that won’t slip as you speed up. Its range of silky soft and extra lightweight tanks also offer that nearly-naked feel I crave on hot, sweaty runs. Lastly, its sports bras provide the support you need to withstand the impact of your stride. In other words, you can wear Athleta from head to toe and feel good through every mile. 

What’s more, earlier this year, Athleta expanded its sizing in more than 70% of its collections to offer everything from XXS to 3X. It also plans to offer extended sizing across all categories by the end of 2022. The brand worked with thousands of women to create clothes that work for all sizes and it’s on a mission to feature diverse body types across its catalogues and in-store mannequins, too. 

In addition to inclusive sizing, Athleta is also a certified B corporation, meaning it treats its employees and the environment well with fair trade practices and sustainable materials incorporated into its clothes.

What to buy:

Phenomena Bra B-DD (small)Vapor Scoop Tank (small)Ultimate Stash Pocket 7″ Short (small)Accelerate Shortie (small)

The best place to buy budget running apparel

Amazon’s Core 10 brand makes cheap workout gear that fits and stays put.

If you’re looking to save money but still want comfortable gear that moves with you and feels good as you go, Amazon’s Core 10 collection has you covered from head to toe. 

With most pieces in this Amazon line checking out at under $30, you can’t go wrong with a set of hot weather run gear from this brand. I felt pleasantly surprised by the touch and feel of the pieces I tried on the run, including the soft, stretchy fabrics and lightweight materials. 

The gear on Amazon’s Core 10 line-up ranges from shorts and leggings to tanks and tees, plus sports bras and jackets too. The clothes also offer features you want from your warm weather apparel, including moisture wicking to soak up the sweat and four-way stretch so the clothes move with you, not against you. Look for the cuts and styles you prefer on the run, but a few of our favorites are below.

What to buy:

Tri-Blend Muscle Workout Tank (small)Knit Waistband Woven Run Short (small)All Day Comfort High Waist Yoga Short with Side Pockets (small)

The best boutique brand for run apparel

Tracksmith is a boutique running brand with great performance fabric and an ethos that gives back to the sport.

For a brand that promotes running in its next-level clothing and athlete-supporting programs, Tracksmith brings the best in fashion and function. 

Tracksmith honors the sport of running in several ways, including making clothing that looks good and feels even better on the move. Each piece of its line has a retro varsity track team vibe, which looks cool on the road. But it’s not all about the style: Each top and bottom also rocks technical properties to help you stay comfortable, like merino wool (a moisture-wicking and anti-odor fabric, which you’ll find in its Harrier collection) and a super lightweight and breathable mesh (which you’ll find in its Van Cortlandt collection). My favorite, the Twilight collection, also features a super lightweight and silky-smooth mesh material that helps to stop you from overheating on those humid days. 

We love Tracksmith because it also has a few initiatives that support runners: Its Amateur Support Program offers help for non-professional athletes looking to compete for the podium, giving them stipends for gear; its Fellowship Program funds creative projects that elevate the sport of running, like film, poetry, or podcasts. So, when you buy Tracksmith clothes you can also feel good knowing you’re supporting a brand that’s advancing the sport.  

What to buy:

Harrier Tank (small)Twilight Crop Tank (small)Twilight Split Shorts (small)Merino Tube Socks (small)

The best brand for running socks

Balega running socks are the best and most comfortable for long runs with more cushioning.

You’ll want to wear Balega socks every day, but especially on the run thanks to their tech, support, and supreme softness. 

You know how good your feet feel after a pedicure? Well, that’s the sensation you get when you slip into Balega’s socks thanks to their ultra-soft material that feels so good against the skin. The brand has a few stand-out performance features, too, including a deep heel pocket that adds comfort and support as you stride, a seamless construction that shields your feet from blisters, plus supreme moisture wicking materials and ventilation that keep your feet cool, even when the weather (and you) heat up. 

In addition to those general performance features, Balega also has a few collections with other technology that makes them ideal for running. For example, the Balega Silver sock line features an anti-microbial finish that keeps stink at bay. If you prefer more cushioning, the Hidden Comfort line also acts like a pillow for your feet, while the V-Tech arch support in the Enduro collection adds extra comfort underfoot, cushioning your stride through plenty of miles. 

What to buy:

Ultralight Crew (small)Hidden Dry (small)No-Show Socks (small, Preferred: Balega)

The best brand for running hats

The best brand for running hats - rnnr

 For a lightweight running hat that looks cool and keeps you cool, too, rnnr has a line-up of caps you’ll love wearing. 

Founded by a former special education teacher and track and cross-country coach, rnnr aims to get more people to lace up and hit the road via affordable gear. That gear includes their extremely lightweight and breathable hats, perfect for blocking the sun without locking in heat. Its collection of hats feature mesh materials that allow for airflow and ventilation, plus quick-dry and moisture-management properties — all features you want in a good run hat and at an affordable price point (the most expensive one is $35). With each hat, you can also style it to your liking, with a flat, curved, or popped-up brim, or choose to get in on the trucker hat trend.

In an effort to get more people to fall in love with running at an early age, the brand also donates  a portion of the proceeds from each purchase to initiatives that fund local youth running programs.

What to buy:

Lightweight Running Hat Pacer Oreo (small)Lightweight Distance Hat Unicorn (small)

The best brand for sports bras

Brooks makes incredibly supportive sports bras for small and big chests alike.

To find a great fit at any size, along with high-impact support, Brooks sports bras bring all the features you want to keep things in place — without too much restriction. 

Brooks has long been making bras that offer max support during high-impact activity like running and the brand particularly beloved by ladies with a large bra size (some items go up to 44E) for being comfortable, not too restrictive, and reliably supportive. That’s why it’s one of our top picks among the best sports bras you can buy.

You’ll also find more customization throughout its collections, with straps you can arrange multiple ways, straps that you can tighten in the front for easier access, and hook-and-eye closures in the back. They also offer bras with or without molded cups, and some even have pockets for storing keys or more with ease. There’s truly an option for all women at all sizes, with any preference.

Brooks recently launched a new running bra collection called Drive, meant to offer full support through every run. Based on research and testing in partnership with the University of Portsmouth and 1,000 runner reviews, this line stops the bounce, no matter your speed or size. This line features four new bras, including those with high necklines, mesh materials, and fabric that holds you in — and while all these bras stop any uncomfortable movement on the run, they don’t make you feel restricted.

Like their shoe search, Brooks also offers a Bra Finder so you can find your best fit before buying. It’ll ask you a series of questions on fit, preferences, issues you’ve had in the past, and what you like about your sports bras, and then it’ll serve up some suggestions.

Drive Convertible Run Bra (small)Drive 3 Pocket Run Bra (small)Dare Racerback Run Bra (small)

The best brand for running sunglasses

100% performance sunglasses are light weight and non-slip, even when you’re sweaty.

You can’t get much more lightweight and non-slip than 100% performance sunglasses, which stay comfy through every mile. 

Sunglasses not only keep you from having to squint from the brightness of the sun, but they’ll also protect your eyes from harmful rays, especially if you get a quality set. The problem: I’ve always found it tough to run (especially when super sweaty) with glasses. That is until I found a solid, lightweight pair that didn’t slip off my nose as I hit my stride. These from small-business 100% do just that. They feel incredibly light on the face, courtesy of the carbon material, and have a rubber nose piece that keeps them from sliding down with sweat. 

100% sunglasses have plenty of tech on each pair, too, in both their active performance and sports performance lines. For starters, they offer color contrasting lenses to make various hues on the street or trails pop and enhance your depth perception. The polarized lenses also reduce glare and, if you choose the Photochromic lenses, they also adjust to the lighting outdoors to better your vision. Finally, you get superior UV protection on all 100% glasses, as well as a treatment that keeps dirt, oil, and water from smudging up your lenses. And just in case you take a spill, this eyewear is also impact- and scratch-resistant. 

What to buy:

Lagere Round (small)Rideley (small)Racetrap (small)

The best brand for hydration systems

Nathan Sports makes water bottles and hydration vests for cheap, ideal for running in the summer.

Stay hydrated on the move, without feeling like you’re carrying around tons of weight with Nathan Sports bottle, belt, and vest options. 

During long, hot runs (and even during some especially humid short ones), water is crucial to not only finishing your miles, but also making sure you’re still standing at the end. For that, you need to take some water with you on the go, and it should be easy to carry along. Enter Nathan Sports’ hydration systems from bottles to vests to waist belts. 

Handheld bottles work perfectly for any short- to medium-distance mileage and you have several options from Nathan. The brand’s line-up of handhelds includes insulated bottles that not only feel easy to hold (no grip required, thanks to comfy straps), but also keep your liquids cooler for longer and some have extra pockets, too. Nathan also offer belts, complete with water bottles tucked into the sides, so you have plenty of H2O for longer distances. And for those going extra far, you can opt for a vest that makes drinking up easy and carrying convenient. 

The new line of Pinnacle vests is a solid go-to. Created from years of feedback from customers and athletes, these vests weigh 20% less than others in Nathan’s line-up, plus they have 13 pockets to stash all your snacks and other belongings, a more comfortable carry design, and they hold up to 12 liters of water. 

What to buy:

Pinnacle 12L Women’s Hydration Vest (small)Peak Hydration Waist Pak (small)Quicksqueeze Lite 12oz Insulated Handheld (small)Speeddraw Plus Insulated Flask (small)

The best brand for running shoes

Hoka One One makes well-cushioned running shoes for distance running, sprints, and recovering from injuries.

For that sweet spot between cushion and responsiveness, Hoka One One brings the shoes that keep you going the distance. 

Shoes hold the top spot for must-haves when it comes to running gear, no matter the temperature. Finding a sneaker that works for you and your gait often takes a little trial-and-error to see what keeps you comfy and ache-free through all the miles. And sometimes, you might love a shoe for your long runs and a totally different one for some speed work. But one brand I love myself as a long-time runner and that I hear the most raves reviews about again and again is Hoka One One. 

Known for being super light but mega cushioned, Hoka shoes tend to have a thicker sole that provides the support needed for longer miles. They also have a heel cup that helps to keep the foot stable as you land and take off. Depending on which shoe you choose, you may also experience the ProFly technology, which provides a bouncy, more responsive ride, or if you’re really looking to pick up the pace, a carbon fiber plate in some shoes will help to propel you forward. For those who pronate, Hoka also offers stability shoes, thanks to their J-Frame construction. And another feature that helps with the impact on landing is Hoka’s extended heel. So whether you’re looking for light and bouncy or something more stable, Hoka has an option for you.  

What to buy:

Clifton Running Shoes (small)Mach 4 (small)Speedgoat 4 (Women’s) (small)


The best brand for sport sunscreens


In addition to your typical body and face sunscreens that feel lightweight and smell delicious, Coola also has tons of products to fulfill all your UV protection needs. 

Coola has a few stamps of approvals from third parties, including maintaining formulas that are cruelty free, vegan, organic, paraben free, and safe on our coral reefs. So, you always have the benefit of feeling good about what you’re putting on your body with this brand! But beyond the label, each product in the brand’s line-up also feels lightweight and great against the skin — and most smell delicious too. 

In addition to your typical non-greasy body lotions and sprays, the brand also features several facial products that don’t feel oily when you rub it on and those that keep your eyes from burning when you start to sweat. The brand also has a few products you wouldn’t even think you need but are totally helpful, like the Scalp & Hair Mist SPF 30 — perfect for those who wear braids and need some protection for their part as they run. 

What to buy:

Full Spectrum 360° Sun Silk Drops SPF 30 (small)Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 (small)Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF 70 (small)Liplux with SPF 30 (small)


Check out our other running gear guides

epic react flyknit womens running shoe KRdA3R (6)
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I’m a freelancer and mother who banished burnout by scheduling my own summer Fridays just for me – here’s how I make the time

Alice Dubin
Alesandra Dubin.

  • Alesandra Dubin is a freelancer who ends work at noon every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
  • She frees the afternoons by setting earlier deadlines for herself and putting the effort in upfront.
  • This time to herself makes her a better professional and mother during the rest of the year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

I’m a proud mom to six-year-old twins and also a proud professional with a demanding, deadline-driven solo practice.

Most days – even when I’m not emerging tentatively from a pandemic like a thawing caveperson – it all just feels like a lot.

Indeed, like most working moms, I characterize myself as generally overcommitted and exhausted. But I have a strategy aimed at banishing burnout: I make my own summer Fridays.

For most of my career, I’ve wrapped up work around noon every Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Up until a couple of years ago, this practice was conveniently built into my work life as an employee of various New York City-based media organizations, among which this type of structure is a common employer-sanctioned practice and a well-loved tradition among staff.

When I shifted to the full-time freelance lifestyle in 2019, it was entirely up to me to defend this sacred time from work and errand creep. But by now I’ve learned that doing so is a game-changer for my lifestyle and sense of self, so I create my boundaries.

In order to make it happen, I think of the summer as a whole, rather than looking at each week or day individually.

I get analytical about how much work and what type of work I want to take on in order to keep my summer Friday afternoons free.

Sure, work has a way of bottlenecking sometimes, and some deadlines don’t go as planned. But putting in the effort upfront – setting the intention, as I do – helps lay the groundwork that supports the structure I want.

I’m also an obsessive time manager, so I give myself – and stick to – artificial deadlines early enough that I avoid the potential for a Friday bottleneck.

In most cases, I assign myself deadlines only Monday through Thursday for the work requiring the most brainpower and time commitment – even if that means I’m delivering well ahead of a client’s drop-dead needs.

This, of course, is a good thing: It doesn’t just reduce my own stress on Fridays, but it also has the benefit of making me a favorite freelancer among my clients, and that general approach yields me more income over the course of the whole year (even if it occasionally might mean a bit less during a given week here or there in the summer).

If I’m in town, here’s what I might do on a summer Friday: Take myself to a solo matinee, get a massage, or go for a hike alone with my podcasts.

A post shared by Alesandra (Alice) Dubin (@alicedubin)

Here’s what I don’t do: Return stuff to Target, get a dental cleaning, or accidentally schedule a work meeting.

These few hours when my kids are in school and my husband is at work are reserved for joyful, indulgent, or contemplative activities – not to check stuff off a list. These 12 Friday afternoons provide my only time dedicated for this purpose in a typical year, and I believe they comprise a key pillar of my mental-health strategy.

Summer Fridays take the edge off the rest of the week. And they mean my kids get the best of me – not the smoke-breathing version of me who might be limping out of a week of meetings without having yet had a chance to regroup.

And summer Fridays are a mental-health boon throughout not just these weeks, but the whole year, too: It’s a cherished rhythm I look forward to and that makes me more productive, like a vacation already booked.

“By taking time exclusively for yourself and exclusively for the purpose of bringing pleasure, joy, and comfort into your life, [that’s] actually an act of radical self-compassion,” Leah Rockwell, a licensed professional counselor and founder of Rockwell Wellness, which specializes in therapy for burnout, told Insider.

The notion of radical self-compassion comes from a concept founded by Kristin Neff nearly 20 years ago.

“Yet for many overworked, overachieving women, it is an amazingly difficult concept to actually integrate into our daily lives,” Rockwell said. “While we might be the first person to rabidly advocate that a girlfriend should do whatever it takes to care for or prioritize herself, many of us cannot extend that same permission to ourselves.”

Rockwell said that by building that permission into my actual schedule, I’m showing myself (and others around me, too) that my emotional wellness is a priority for me. “Why not capitalize on how summer can fortify us?” she added.

Engaging in a relationship with what brings us joy is something that we witness our children do all day long, but we often deny it of ourselves as adults. “By structuring your summer weeks as you are, you’ve invited back into your life the bliss of summer that we often assume that adults just don’t have a right to, yet we inherently long for,” Rockwell said.

Podcast host and bestselling author Gretchen Rubin calls it “designing your summer.”

“You want there to be something special about summer,” she said. “If you don’t actually plan that out or at least be very intentional about it, it’s very easy for days to just slip by.”

Anyone can design their summer – not just people who make their own work hours or have lots of disposable income.

“It’s not about taking massive amounts of time off work,” Rubin said. Rather, it’s an attitude.

Habits and routines have the effect of speeding up time, whereas “time feels rich and slow when things are different,” Rubin said. (That’s why a three-day vacation can feel like a full chapter in our lives.) So to make our lives feel richer and more textured, we must make an effort to do something apart from our seasonally nonspecific routines.

And I need that distinction perhaps now more than ever given how the pandemic presented a seemingly endless stretch of days marked by the unrelenting sameness of staying at home.

As the world opens up again, I’m setting aside both time and headspace for novelty, for variety, for pleasurable personal challenges that stand to make time feel ever so slightly less ephemeral and much more vivid (all while actually fortifying my earning potential all year long).

Join me?

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The 4 best dog life jackets in 2021, with advice from veterinarians and pet safety experts

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A life jacket can prevent a dog from drowning and is recommended when a dog is in or around water.
  • Six experts shared what they look for in a dog life vest, such as strong handles and bright colors.
  • The best dog life jacket is the affordable, sturdy Outward Hound Granby Ripstop Life Jacket.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Karie Johnson, DVM, veterinarian and co-founder of VIP Vet Visit, a mobile vet service in the south suburbs of Chicago.

Some dogs seem born for the water while others would rather keep their paws firmly planted on the earth. But there’s one thing both water babies and poolside loungers have in common: A dog life jacket can keep accidents in and around the water from turning into tragedies.

No one life vest is ideal for dogs of every size, shape, and ability. Fiona McGlynn, contributing editor at BoatUS Magazine, told Insider Reviews that the best life jacket is one that fits properly, is comfortable in water and on land, and has plenty of functionality like durable handles and well-balanced flotation. We carefully considered the advice of McGlynn and five other dog water safety experts when developing our selection criteria for the best dog life jackets in this guide.

Here are the best dog life jackets in 2021

How we chose the best life jackets for dogs

There are currently no standards or certifications to guide pet guardians when selecting a quality dog life vest. “Unlike human flotation devices, canine flotation devices are not regulated,” said Lindsey Wolko, founder and CEO of the Center for Pet Safety in Reston, Virginia. “There has been very little scientific examination of the flotation needs of pets.”

For this guide to the best dog life jackets, we relied on the recommendations and experience of the experts we consulted, as well as two studies conducted on dog life vests in the 2010s. With the help of these resources, we came up with the following checklist of essential features, then used it to conduct a thorough analysis of the dog life jackets currently on the market. Those that best met the criteria were selected as winners.

The best dog life jacket overall

Best dog life jackets in 2021 plus water safety tips for dogs

The Outward Hound Granby Ripstop Life Jacket is built with comfort, safety, and affordability in mind for small and large dogs, alike.

Pros: Neoprene belly band, three adjustable straps, foam chin float, larger sizes have two lifting handles, reflective accents for better visibility, affordable, available in five sizes

Cons: Only comes in one color, hand wash only

Whether your dog is big or small, a natural swimmer or a natural sinker, the Outward Hound Granby Ripsto Life Jacket offers protection and comfort in and out of the water. In the 2012 dog life jacket evaluation conducted by the BoatUS Foundation, this one excelled in every category and was favored by the testing staff for dogs of all sizes.

The Outward Hound Granby Life Jacket is made of thick, buoyant foam panels inside a ripstop nylon shell. A flexible neoprene band fitted with three Velcro strips and two adjustable, quick-release buckle straps wraps around the belly. A third strap buckles at the chest.

A foam chin panel on the chest strap helps keep a dog’s head above the water, a feature veterinarian Gabrielle Fadl, medical director and vet at Bond Vet in New York City, likes to see in a dog life vest. In their tests, the BoatUS Foundation found the Granby’s flotation foam evenly distributed enough to keep a dog horizontal in the water. Out of the water, they noted that dogs wearing the vest appeared comfortable and their movement was not restricted.

While the extra-small and small sizes have one solid, padded handle for pulling a pup out of the water, the medium, large and extra-large jackets have two handles for better leverage and more comfortable lifting. The vest comes with multiple reflective accents that improve the likelihood of spotting a dog in the water. 

The Granby Life Vest is remarkably affordable, even for extra-large dogs. No matter their size, ability, or familiarity with the water, this is an excellent life jacket for every dog.

The best neoprene dog life jacket

Outward Hound Dawson Swim Life Jacket worn by an australian shepherd

The snug, low-profile neoprene Outward Hound Dawson Swim Life Jacket is insulated and comfortable in and out of the water.

Pros: Neoprene provides additional insulation and warmth, three adjustable straps, has a foam chin float, larger sizes have two lifting handles, reflective accents for better visibility, comes in five sizes

Cons: Straps may rub on barrel-chested or chubby dogs, only comes in one color

Neoprene dog life jackets are less bulky and more comfortable than other vests. They also offer insulation to keep a dog’s body temperature from dropping drastically in cold water. Even with its sleek design, the side panels of the Outward Hound Dawson Swim Life Jacket are packed with plenty of foam to keep even novice swimmers afloat.

The jacket has a neoprene belly panel fitted with two adjustable buckles. A third adjustable buckle strap at the chest has a foam insert to help keep a dog’s head above water. Unlike some of the other designs we selected for this guide, the straps do make contact with the dog’s skin at the edges, which could cause some discomfort and rubbing after a long day at the water’s edge, especially if your pup has a barrel-chest or a chubby belly.

This life vest comes in five sizes. The extra-small and small sizes have one sturdy handle at the back for lifting a dog out of the water in an emergency, while the larger sizes have two straps for better leverage. The Dawson Life Jacket has reflective accents for better visibility in the water.

In their dog life jacket evaluation, the BoatUS Foundation found that thinner neoprene vests like this one tend to bunch up less on a dog that is sitting or lying down out of the water, making them more comfortable overall. That combined with the additional warmth and insulation provided by the neoprene material make this as good of a choice for dogs who spend a lot of time in the water as it is for dogs who prefer to sun themselves on deck.

The best life jacket for small dogs

Dog wearing Ruffwear float coat dog life jacket while standing on a paddleboard

The high-quality Ruffwear Float Coat Dog Life Jacket fits snugly for dogs as little as 13 inches in length.

Pros: Two adjustable buckles and an adjustable telescoping chest strap, reflective accents for better visibility, comes in six sizes and three colors, D-ring for attaching a leash, machine washable

Cons: Pricey, no chin float

For smaller dogs, a life jacket should have the right balance of buoyancy and comfort without so much foam or fabric that it overwhelms little swimmers. The Ruffwear Float Coat, available in sizes for dogs as small as 13-inches long, has a tailored fit packed with foam flotation that doesn’t hinder the movement of short legs. 

Mark and Kristi Jagger, dog surfing instructors with the So Cal Surf Dogs Club in San Diego, California, told us that this jacket seems to fit the best and the handle on top of the coat makes for easy water retrieval. A 2017 study identified this vest as the best of those tested for keeping an incapacitated dog afloat in open water

The Float Coat wraps around the belly and secures with two adjustable buckle straps. The chest strap has an adjustable telescoping design that slips over the head. Depending on fit, the belly straps may partially rub against the skin or cause discomfort. Its nylon sides are packed with closed-cell foam, which helps to keep a dog upright while swimming. One sturdy handle is sewn into the back of the vest and there is also a D-ring for attaching a leash and a loop for hanging a light. It does not have a chin float.

This jacket comes in three bright colors, but McGlynn recommends skipping the blue one which would be harder to see in the water, even with the vest’s reflective trim. The jacket also comes in six sizes and can be washed in a machine on the gentle cycle in cold water, then hung to dry. Like all Ruffwear products, the Float Coat comes with a hefty price tag but with its durable construction, it will last and last.

While the jacket will work for any size dog, its snug fit and small sizes will keep little pups afloat in the water without compromising mobility or comfort.

The best life jacket for large dogs

golden retriever wearing Kurgo surf n turf life jacket for dogs.

The Kurgo Surf N’ Turf Dog Life Jacket scallop design and double lifting handles work well for large breeds both in and out of the water.

Pros: Three adjustable straps, two sturdy lifting handles, reflective accents for better visibility, comes in five sizes, two D-rings for attaching a leash, removable flotation layer, doubles as an on-land nylon vest, inner layer is machine washable

Cons: Moderately pricey, only comes in one color, no chin float

Kurgo’s Surf N’ Turf Dog Life Jacket is built tough for large, active dogs. The vest earned the highest score for extra-large pups in the BoatUS Foundation’s evaluation where reviewers particularly liked its two perpendicular lifting handles for hauling a dog out of the water and its scalloped design, which fit the shoulders and rear haunches well.

This jacket is also more versatile than the others we considered for this guide. It has two built-in detachable layers, one stuffed with foam for flotation, the other a simple nylon ripstop shell that can be worn as an extra layer for on-land adventures. This vest has two adjustable buckle straps on its belly panel and a third adjustable strap at the chest. Two metal D-rings are sewn into the top of the vest, one of which doubles as a bottle opener. It does not have a chin float.

Kurgo’s Surf N’ Turf Dog Life Jacket comes in five sizes but only one color: red with grey reflective trim. The inner layer is machine washable on the gentle cycle after removing the flotation device. It should be hung to dry. While the jacket is moderately pricey, it comes with Kurgo’s lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defects.

With its two-layer design, solid double lifting straps, and athletic fit and styling, the Kurgo Surf N’ Turf is a sturdy option for large breed swimming and sea-faring dogs.

FAQs about dog water safety

dog wearing ruffwear life jacket and dog without life jacket, both in water.jpg

Learning about the risks dogs face when in and around the water can help ensure they stay safe. We tackle some of the most frequently asked questions below.

Can all dogs swim?

 “While doggy paddling is instinctual to many dogs, not all dogs know how to swim,” said Fadl. “It’s crucial to allow your dog time to learn, and their time in the water should always be supervised for their safety.”

What dogs are more vulnerable to danger in the water?

Whereas some dogs are natural water babies, others may be more likely to experience challenges, even if they’ve entered the water willingly. McGlynn told us that older pups or those with limited mobility may be more likely to tire out when swimming and, when tired, may be more susceptible to dangers like rip currents. Dogs with lower body fat like greyhounds and boxers may also struggle in the water if their body temperature drops too low.

For what activities should a dog wear a life jacket?

Anytime a dog is in or around water, even if it’s just a swimming pool, a life vest is worth considering. Accidents can happen even if you have a strong swimmer. Boating, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding are all activities in which a dog should wear a life vest and in dog surfing, life vests are mandatory. “A lot of dog owners use them for fun on the beach, too,” said McGlynn. “Just swimming and retrieving, there could be currents that pull them out.” Ultimately, though, it’s up to pet parents to determine whether their dog should wear a life jacket based on the dog’s experience in and around the water, said Wolko.

Should my dog wear a life jacket around the pool?

If you have a dog that has spent little time around a pool, putting them in a life vest is just common sense, said Wolko. Only after a dog has been properly introduced to a pool, including how to use the stairs to exit the water, is it okay for strong-swimming dogs to go life vest free. Even if your dog has pool experience, they should wear a life vest when visiting unfamiliar pools that may be designed differently.

What color life jacket is best spotted in the water?

All of the experts we consulted told us dog life vests are easiest to spot in the water when they are brightly colored. “Colors like blue and gray are not going to stand out as well in the water,” said McGlynn. Reflective accents sewn into the exterior also help improve visibility.

Can a dog still drown while wearing a life jacket?

Unfortunately, it is possible for a dog to drown while wearing a life vest. “Dogs who are not well supported from a flotation perspective can panic or tire from treading water, increasing the risk of drowning,” said Wolko. Dogs wearing life jackets may also face extreme danger if they become trapped under the water or if waves or rapids are splashing in their nose and mouth, McGlynn added. A life jacket that is properly fitted can help minimize the risk, as can educating yourself about canine water safety before enjoying the water.

How to fit your dog for a life vest

A life jacket that fits properly is essential to keeping a dog safe in and around the water. The best way to ensure proper fit is to take your pup into a brick-and-mortar store to try your options rather than ordering online, according to several of our experts. Because dogs come in so many different shapes and sizes, what fits one comfortably may not be appropriate for another.

When fitting a dog for a life jacket, McGlynn told us to look for a vest that fits snugly but has no buckles or straps that are tight enough to ride up or rub against the skin. She also suggested examining how the life jacket fits both when a dog is lying down and standing up. If your dog will be wearing a life vest for several hours, it should be comfortable in every position.

Chest girth, neck girth, and weight are also crucial considerations when fitting a dog for a life jacket. Take the following measurements to narrow down the size that’s right for your pup.

Chest girth: A dog life vest is fitted according to the width and shape of a dog’s chest. To get their chest girth, measure the circumference around the widest part of the chest right behind the front legs. You’ll get the most accurate reading when your dog is standing in a relaxed position. If their chest girth falls between sizes, choose the larger option.

Neck girth: A dog life vest should not be so tight around the front of the chest and neck that it may press against the windpipe. To determine girth, measure the circumference of your dog’s neck around it’s thickest part, just below the collar. When in doubt, size up! 

Weight: While you can’t fit a dog for a life jacket by knowing their weight alone, it’s important to make sure the vest size you’ve chosen can support their weight in the water. If your dog is heavier than recommended for the life jacket that fits them best, either size up or look for a different brand that is labeled for their weight.

Our sources

To come up with the selections for this guide, we consulted with a variety of experts on dog water safety including a veterinarian and surf dog instructors. Each answered questions via phone or email in March 2021. Our advisors include:

We also consulted the following online sources:

Read the original article on Business Insider