10 Beach Hacks With 2L Bottles


Introduction: 10 Beach Hacks With 2L Bottles

About: Justin Tyler Tate is an artist, designer, animator, teacher, jeweler and maker/hacker who produces with thoughts of culture, science and interactivity.

It’s great going to the beach but what you do there and how comfortable you are all depend on what you carry with you. These hacks will use 2L bottles, which you should already have with you if you are a prepared beach-goer, to make your beach experience more comfortable and more fun.

If you're like me and you're constantly traveling, then these hacks can be really useful because it's silly to either carry around all of the conventional beach items (cooler, shovel, water toys...) from place to place or to buy them when you arrive.

...also if you don't bring your own bottles, you can probably find some strewn around the beach.

Things you’ll need:

  • 2L bottle(s) – (for many of these you can use bottles with different volumes)
  • 1-3 meters of rope - (sometimes you can just find rope washed up on the beach)
  • A knife or multi-tool – (one should always have a knife or multi-tool with them anyway)

Step 1: The Beach Pillow


  • 1 2L bottle

When I come home from the beach sand is everywhere, especially in my hair. This is exacerbated by those moments when I lay my head directly on the sand. With the beach pillow, my hair stays out of the sand and I get neck support so I can look at the water.

To make the beach pillow you won’t need to do anything. Just empty a bottle and remove air from the bottle to reach your desired consistency.

Step 2: The Drink-Cooler Buoy


  • 1 2L bottle
  • 1-3 meters of rope
  • Drinks which you want to keep cool

One item which can be a real pain to lug to the beach is a cooler for your drinks. But why bring a cooler when you can use the water’s natrual thermocline to keep your drinks cool.

Tie all the drinks you want to keep cool on one end of your rope, let out some meter’s of rope so that the bottles will touch bottom and then tie the roap around the neck of the empty bottle. You may need to add additional weight to the anchor end of the rope depending on the turbulance of the water.

Voila! Whenever you need a fresh drink, just pull it out of the water.

Step 3: The Flotation Assistant


  • 2x 2L bottles
  • ~1 meter of rope

Some people just don’t float and I am one of them. Maybe it’s that I don’t have enough fat or not enough surface area but regardless it is not so relaxing to keep my head above water for a long time.

To make your floatation assistant begin by tying your rope around the neck of one empty 2L bottle, measure out rope which is equal to the width of your body and then tie the rope around the neck of the other bottle. Now you just need to put the bottles under your arms and float on. You can add more bottles on the ends if you need extra support or repeat this process for under your legs.

Step 4: The Squirt Bottle


  • 1 2L bottle
  • A knife or multi-tool

Squirt guns are fun but when you buy them from a store the cheap ones break so quickly and all the rest are usually pretty expensive. Making a squirt bottle will last forever and you can still send it off for recycling afterwards.

Just use your knife or multi-tool to drill a small hole in the bottle cap, fill up your bottle and squirt all of your friends and family!

Step 5: The Solar Shower


  • 1 2L bottle
  • A knife or multi-tool

Unless you want to bring all of the beach home with you, you’re going to want to shower at the end of your beach day. But when the beach doesn’t provide showers, you’re going to want to make your own.

When you arrive at the beach take your drill several (~6) small holes in your 2L bottle cap, fill the bottle up with water, let it sit in the sun all day and when you are ready to leave you have a warm source of water to wash away all of that sand.

Step 6: The Treasure Chest and Trash Container


  • 1 2L bottle
  • A knife or multi-tool

Some people like to pick up treasures from the beach and others like to leave their trash.

Imagine there is a rectangle(~5cm x 10cm) drawn on your bottle. Cut three sides (two short and one long) of that rectangle so that one is left uncut. Now you have a door in your bottle which closes up after you push something into it. You can choose to put all of the treasures you find in the sand through that door or, if you’re like me, you will fill it with all of the rubbish you find as you leave the beach (unfortunately it only takes me a few minutes to fill the bottle completely with plastic wrappers, bottle caps, broken glass, cigarette butts and boxes).

Step 7: The Sand Castle Forms


  • 1 2L bottle
  • A knife or multi-tool

Building a sandcastle can be a great beach activity even for adults…ok, especially for adults.

Divide your 2L bottle horizontally at about 3/4s of the way to the top. With the bottom potion you can make towers by packing it tightly with damp sand, flipping it over quickly onto your desired location, give the sides and bottom a little tappa-tappa and then carefully sliding off the bottle. With the pointy bit (where the neck and bottle cap are) you can use to make little domes and, depending on if your sand has a lot of clay in it, you can also use it as a funnel to drip the sand and create really organic sand structures. With this one bottle and other things you find around the beach (driftwood, shells, et cetera) you should be able to create a sandcastle which will not be rivaled in it’s elegance for a thousand years.

Step 8: The Wet-Swimsuit Caddy


  • 1 2L bottle
  • A knife or multi-tool

One annoyance of going to the beach is coming home wit a wet swimsuit. Even if you wrap it in your towel, it will still probably get nearby things damp.

To make a wet-swimsuit caddy we can simply cut the bottle horizontally somewhere between the ¾ line and where it begins to curve…If you made the sand castle forms you can also just wash them out and use them fo your wet-swimsuit caddy.

Take the bottom portion of the bottle, put your wet-swimsuit(s) in it, turn the upper portion upside down and push the point into the swimsuits so that the bottle pieces fit snugly together at their widest point.

Step 9: The Shovel


  • 1 2L bottle
  • A knife or multi-tool

A tool which could help you with your sand castle building and also your treasure hunting is a shovel. The plastic beach shovels you buy at the store are garbage anyway so we might as well make a new one out of repurposed trash.

Take your bottle and begin your cut at the point near the top where the “funnel” meets the “cylinder” and cut it at 35°-45°so that you end up somewhere around the middle point of the cylinder. Holding onto the bottle cap/neck you can use the bottle as a super sharp shovel for cutting through all that sand, digging for treasure and keeping sand from getting under your nails.

*If you make two of these but with the cut on the opposite end of the bottle and you have/find/make a small ball then you can play a lacrosse style game of catch!



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    5 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Awesome ideas!

    Very good!

    There is no more reasons to let these bottles on the beach (there wasn't). Great ideas.

    Great use of someone else's trash! Unfortunately, most bottles on the beach didn't come from someone leaving them there, they washed up from somewhere else!

    That's really cool