Stuff That Works: The Grand Trunk Parasheet

A new topic, since this blog is service-y and all that: gear that actually does what it’s supposed to do and is worth the money.

For a long time our primary beach was Cape May, New Jersey. And during that time, we usually plopped ourselves down on an old quilt from my bed.

Now that was fine in many ways. It was pretty, for one thing. The patchwork really looked good in Cape May, which takes old-timey-ness to its ultimate, borderline kitschy extension. It was soft and comfortable, since it had been on my bed for years.

But it doesn’t work if you’re taking a plane to the beach! We’d need an entire suitcase at $50 roundtrip just to bring the blanket. So we reverted to beach towels.

Beach towels are great…for fluffing up a big, wet, hairy dog. They’re bulky and they stay wet and sand sticks to them and never lets go. The loopy side is pretty much velcro, after all.

Prompted by a recommendation on an online forum I found a good deal on a Grand Trunk Parasheet and it is one of the best things I’ve purchased in a lifetime of excessive consumption.

On my laptop, for scale

On my laptop, for scale

Smaller than a towel, sand shakes right off, stuffs into its own pocket, weighs a few ounces, handy for sheltering fragile stuff in your suitcase, dries almost instantly, and easy to throw in the wash. If you load the corner pockets up with sand it stays put in a brisk wind. In a little over a year it’s been to the Turks & Caicos, Mexico, the Jersey Shore, St. Croix, Vieques, and Virgin Gorda. It’s been shat upon by birds more than once. We’ve slept on it, snacked on it, read books on it, and sat drying in the sun gazing at the water. It works.

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