The Ultimate List of Outdoor Gear for Miami’s Ocean Minded

When it comes to choosing a vacation destination, most of us seek relaxation by the ocean. This comes to no surprise, as studies have shown that the ocean’s rhythmic sounds, vast open space, and blue color all contribute to our minds and bodies shifting into a “don’t worry, be happy” state of being.


Spending time in, on, under, and near water requires a unique set of gear that can protect us and our important belongings from the elements. On a recent trip to Cuba with The Wahine Project Cuba, a non-profit connecting women and girls to the ocean, we tested some travel gear to see how well it stood up to our ocean minded activities.


The ultimate list of outdoor gear for Miami’s ocean minded travelers:



Every year, approximately 14,000 tons of sunscreen ends up in coral reefs worldwide, causing damage to coral larvae and killing adult colonies. Since South Florida is home to the 3rd largest coral barrier reef system in the world, it is worth noting that these sunscreens protect not only you but coral reefs as well:


Beyond Coastal is the only brand that receives the Environmental Working Group’s top rating for all of its mineral and non-mineral sunscreens. This safe, clean, and non-irritating natural sunscreen is great for kids, is reef-friendly, and cruelty free. It contains no parabens, petroleum, or fragrance. Minerals, Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, are what protect your skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays. Compared to other chemial ingredients in sunscreens, these mineral-based ingredients have not been found to be harmful to corals. Natural ingredients including organic shea butter, Acai, grape seed, algae yerba mate extracts and aloe vera help to nourish, repair, and hydrate your skin.


Beyond Coastal sun block is good for the ocean too! Photo credit: Paola Espitia


Coral Isles is the latest reef-friendly sunscreen on the market–going a step further. They believe that by eliminating Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide all together, they have built a perfect formula to help protect coral reefs. Mineral compounds “reflect” UV rays instead of absorbing them. As nanoparticles, they can be toxic to corals, fish, and other reef organisms. Though most of the non-nanotized Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide in commercial sunscreens do not readily exhibit acute toxicities, it is unknown at what point these minerals are also damaging to coral reefs.


Laguna Herbals products are “created by herbalists who care about you.”  Their water-proof, non-nanotized Zinc Oxide SPF 50 sunscreen protects your skin from UVA/UVB rays and is reef safe. It is also biodegradable and family-friendly as it is easy to rub in and won’t run into eyes.


Laguna Herbals makes biodegradible and reef safe sun protection for the entire family. Photo credit: Paola Espitia
Laguna Herbals makes biodegradable and reef safe sun protection for the entire family. Photo credit: Paola Espitia



A custom headwear and apparel company for outdoor sports and travel, Pukka provides seriously cool shade for cool brands.


Pukka hats are for the cool kids. Photo credit: Paola Espitia
Pukka hats are for the cool kids. Photo credit: Paola Espitia



Lewis N Clark is a leader in travel and outdoor gear and accessories for over 25 years, so they know how to make it easier for you to get away. Their drybag line doesn’t disappoint. It’s reassuring knowing that all of your belongings are safe from the elements. Plus, multiple openings in their bags make for easy access in hectic situations.


With Lewis N Clark, it's about the exploration. Photo credit: Paola Espitia
With Lewis N Clark, it’s about the exploration. Photo credit: Paola Espitia


With their ever expanding line of waterproof and outdoor gear, geckobrand knows that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.” Their waterproof backpack is incredibly light weight for its large 30L capacity storage. Perfect for treks through rainforests or commuting through Midtown during those unexpected rain showers.


Some light-weight exploring in Cuba with geckobrands. Photo credit: Paola Espitia
Some light-weight exploring in Cuba with geckobrands. Photo credit: Paola Espitia


Fydelity is bringing back the fanny pack and this time, they are boldly visiting colors and patterns never before seen in the original 1980’s design. Made from polyester, these convenient little cases keep all of your essentials handy even when the music from III Points Music Festival in Wynwood has your hands up in the air.

Fun Fydelity Fanny Packs
Fun Fydelity citrus fanny pack


Water Bottles

Avex is a community of adventurers turned makers who use the natural world they love for inspiration to make great water bottle designs. Committed to making a difference for water resources, Avex allows its customers to choose what organizations they will support. Giving back to our blue planet with every purchase.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:


BeautifulBeaches BYO makes ocean-inspired eco-products that keep plastic waste out of the oceans, worldwide. The “Traveler” water bottle is a double walled insulated stainless steel bottle that comes with a carabiner and neoprene carrying case. This water bottle is super easy to carry around and always keeps your beverage cold (or hot!). What is “best for you, is now best for the environment, and best for our future.”


BBBYO water bottles that support the ocean
BBBYO water bottles that support the ocean




Whether you take nylon straps like those from BruSurf or padded portable roof racks found at Watersports Warehouse, traveling with straps is never a bad idea. We’ve traveled through Cuba with 10 surfboards strapped to a jeep and can attest to all of those unforeseen occasions when straps sure did come in handy!


Straps come in real handy when traveling. Photo credit: Paola Espitia
Straps come in real handy when traveling with boards. Photo credit: Paola Espitia


Paola Espitia is a marine biologist who focuses on inspiring a “Blue Minded Society” in which we live mindful of our actions on the health of the oceans.  She is a Certified SCUBA Diver (aka mermaid) and knows a few tunes on the ukulele.  For Blue Mind inspiration, follow her on Ola’pi Creative’s Instagram and learn more at


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Paola Espitia

I am a marine biologist who uses story, photography, and video to connect us to the sea in hopes of inspiring a blue mentality.

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