Design-forward outdoor and beach brands are outfitting today's leisure seekers

Today's trend-forward outdoor and beach brands are rethinking a dated category by making stylish products that last.

Launched in June, ITA Leisure offers design-forward chairs, towels, and bags. (Photo: ITA Leisure)


The way Americans traveled abruptly changed last year. In place of a trip to Europe or a Caribbean cruise, travelers kept itineraries closer to home. Road trips and local beach vacations topped the list of types of trips people took in 2020, while others flocked to national parks and went camping.

One result of all that activity: brands that helped people get outdoors have taken off. Renters and homeowners have outfitted their backyards with new outdoor furniture brands, upgraded their grills, and leveled up their at-home gardens. Look only to the $4.5 billion hard seltzer category, or the wave of sunscreen brands that have hit the market for further evidence that brands that help you socialize while enjoying the sun are booming.

As these brands start up, they're bringing fresh takes on design, function, and community. From rethinking swimwear to be more size inclusive, to design-conscious newly-launched entrants like sunscreen brand Vacation and reef safe Bask Suncare or BIPOC-owned outdoor goods company ITA Leisure, it's clear that today's upstart outdoor businesses are looking to build their brands differently than those sold at traditional drug stores and surf shops.

"Overall, quite a lot of the products and the tools have been left behind in the outdoor industry," says ITA Leisure founder Jade Akintola. "From a product standpoint, it feels a little dated."

Launched in June, ITA Leisure focuses on making outdoor and beach essentials like chairs, towels, and bags more inclusive and relatable. That means providing a much-needed update to staples that haven't changed in decades, such as beach and outdoor-friendly chairs, tables and bags.

This new generation of customers are prioritizing design and function and are interested in thoughtful products that keep them in mind, Akintola believes. "The same way that you would approach [updating] your home, you can now bring that to your outdoor tools."

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