This is it—the day you’ve been training for has finally arrived. You and your partner finally ready to tackle a tournament. But now that you’re signed up and ready to go, you might be wondering just what you should bring on the day of the tournament. Do you really need all those things that you see people lugging to the beach with them, or will a towel and water bottle cut it? Read on for our list of essentials for the big day.

1. Water. Preferably cold water, if you can manage to bring a cooler. If a cooler is out of question, then freeze some of your water bottles the night before. Don’t worry, they will definitely thaw on the hot sand while you’re playing, and you’ll be grateful for the refreshment.
2. Food. You’ll want to pack lots of light but energizing snacks to keep you going. You might not have all that much time to eat in-between games and on your breaks, so make sure your food is quick and easy. You can’t go wrong by stocking up on lots of good energy bars with lots of protein. There probably will be at least one longer break, so bringing a full-on lunch is a good idea as well.
3. Umbrella. Yes, this one is a must in our opinion because the sun saps your strength faster than you might think. When you finally get a rest in-between games, you’re going to want a real rest, which means hanging out in the shade.
4. Volleyball. While it might seem like a safe bet to assume that your tournament director will provide a ball, this is not always the case. And if your director does provide a ball, it might just be for games, leaving you on your own for warmups. You definitely want to make sure to warm up with your partner before your match starts.
5. Sunglasses. You’re already playing against another team, so you don’t want to be also playing against the sun. Keep your eyes sheltered and protected so that you can focus on the task at hand by bringing a good solid pair of sunglasses, preferably polarized lenses. If you know you’re extra sensitive to the sun, you might add a hat as well.
6. Sunscreen. While we’re thinking about how brutal the sun can be, let’s add sunscreen to the list. You’ll want to cover up with long sleeve shirts and be in the shade as much as possible, but when you are out on the court you need to be wearing sunscreen as well.
7. Sand socks. These might be the type of thing that you look at and think, I won’t need those. Trust us, you don’t need them until you need them. Badly. The sand can go from bearable to scorching quickly on hot days, and you won’t be able to continue playing without some sort of protection.
8. First aid kit. You never know what might be hiding in the sand just waiting to cut open your foot. Be prepared with athletic tape, bandages, ice packs, and pain relief medication.

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