Sand has a sneaky side. It plasters itself onto the roots of your hair, finds a home deep in your swim trunks and decorates your ankles like an au natural kind of body art. Sand gets everywhere, and oftentimes no matter how carefully you stretch the corners of your beach towel to prevent those tiny sand mounds from collapsing inward, you’re still stumped when you realize the hotel room floor suddenly resembles Waikiki Beach.

There’s actually a new secret weapon with which many people have yet to be armed – a sandless mat. The military originally developed it to keep sand and dust off of desert operations when helicopters and tanks neared. The 64-foot square mat has two layers of patented woven polyurethane that acts like a sifter. It’s not only convenient for sunbathing but for picnicking at Kapiolani Park. The mat filters any grains that get onto its surface, including dirt, dust and water. Metal d-rings at each corner keep the mat from blowing away when you go for a quick dip in the ocean.

But if you’re like my boyfriend – who believes the more beach he takes with him, the better (ugh, you should see the inside of his car!) – then maybe this mat isn’t for you. It does cost about $70 online, so perhaps a free hotel towel will have to do or a more affordable memento from an ABC Store; they’ve got nice, soft towels with Hawaiian designs for less than five bucks.

White, sandy beaches will forever be one of Hawaii’s most sought-out features, but escaping the adhesive grasp of those tiny little granules just may be impossible. It’s a huge part of the overall experience that you really shouldn’t miss out on. And if sand still doesn’t stick on you the right way, then maybe this will. After flying home and opening your suitcase to unpack, you will find yourself smiling uncontrollably at the sneaky buggers that found their way home with you. They may have been a pest before, but at that moment, you will realize how they’ll be nice, little tokens to remind you of your vacation in the Islands.


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