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The best swimming pool junk on Taobao

Make a splash (yeah, we went there) with this Taobao junk

If you ignore the scare reports claiming that most Beijing bathing spots are mostly urine, going for a dip at one of the capital's outdoor pools can be a great way to beat the heat, get a nasty sunburn and possibly scare all the kids with your alarming amount of vaguely matted chest hair (you're thinking Sean Connery, we're thinking the contents of a shower drain).

If your pool pals are anything like ours, however, you're all more likely to get day drunk on convenience store beers, belly flop onto an inflatable stingray yelling 'tidal wave!', and generally act like you're in Magaluf/Cancun circa 2009.

With this impeccable standard of maturity in mind, here's our pick of the best crap off Taobao to take to the swimming pool. Keep on scrolling for amazing floaties, beer coolers, waterproof speakers and more!

Inflatable floaties that look like food

pizza pool

For stoners reluctantly dragged into the daylight hours with the promise of munchie-appropriate inflatables, this blow-up pizza slice is ideal. Bob around like Cleopatra, were she the Queen of Pizza Hut, or grab your buddies to take an entire pizza for a spin – kudos to you if you can get in formation to make a cheesy, squeaky PVC flotilla.


This watermelon is a bit more stylish, but just as likely to go bang if you tread on it. You can also get a big dumb pineapple, which, if we're talking pool floatie ergonomics, looks the most stable and therefore the easiest to nap on.

Pool noodles


Omniscient voice of Time Out, we hear you cry, these are boring! Not so fast, my beswimsuited friend. While these are a bit dull on their own (unless you're using them to stage more-painful-than-it-looks gladiatorial combat) look what you can use them to do! [VPN required].

Really ugly swimsuits

swimsuit swimsuit 3
Sailor Moon style... Lycra dress (think of its iron grip on your thighs once wet) or macramé nightmare? You decide!

Stand out like the Baywatch beauty you truly are with these monstrosities. Or just go to H&M like a sensible person, but if you were a sensible person you wouldn't be reading this list. Didn't think of that now, did you?

swimsuit 2swimsuit 4
For the guys, they're all tight and they're all gaudy. Because who wouldn't want nonsense words or jellyfish on their genitalia?

Water pistols!

water gun

Zap everyone with the aforementioned piss-filled water to your childish hearts' content with these wrist-mounted water guns. You could also fill 'em with booze for a sneaky shot – after all, who are we to judge?

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If your fantasies run more Ghostbusters than Spider-man, there's a backpack option that you might like a little more (at least, if you can get your meaty shoulders in the thing). Either way, you're going to be able to shoot people with sinister lukewarm liquid from metres away and then run off cackling. Win-win!

Waterproof bag


Stash yo' s**t in one of these tasteful waterproof bags, although we wouldn't recommend punting it into the pool as a way of testing out its professed H20 repelling capabilities (it's not very scientific, to say the least). This way, your precious 100RMB notes won't disintegrate into a tragic pile of magenta mush if some moron decides to accidentally drop your bag in the water (and again, trust us on this).

Waterproof phone cases


In the same vein, keep those pricey electronics in working condition with this might-actually-be-useful phone case. You're welcome.



We can testify that this vulva-style sack of air (Georgia O'Keeffe, eat your heart out) is possibly the most comfortable thing known to man. Equally unwieldy on land or liquid, once you've clambered into the Lamzac's squishy embrace and got your balance right you won't want to get out. It's portable, durable, available in a wide variety of colours and is guaranteed to make the prudes at the pool uncomfortable. All hail Lamzac!

Blow-up basketball

pool b

Everyone knows that summer is both the time to play 'sports' that don't get a look in the rest of the year – rounders, frisbee, ultimate frisbee, bat and ball type things – and the time where you pretend you play sports at all. Combine the two with this floating basketball set (or should we say, 'shootball'), which bobs around jauntily, providing the ideal catalyst for making friends with other lazy, uncoordinated people keen to prove their mad skillz.

Coolbox (for beer, obviously)


This goes without saying. Just don't let any scroungers pinch your tinnies.

Parasol chair


Sometimes, you don't want to sit on the ground like an animal. Sometimes, you just don't want to desiccate under the cruel, nonpartisan rays of the sun. With this natty chair-umbrella combo, you don't have to! Just plonk your bum on the chair, struggle with the folding mechanism of the parasol and wile away the hours safe in the knowledge that, at the end of the day, your skin will be more axolotl than angry lobster. Yes, the comfort it provides to your arse will be equal and opposite to the pain in the arse that is carrying the thing, but when you're sat smug in your throne, it'll all be worth it.

Waterproof speakers


What would summer be without the annoying friend who, overexcited by the sunshine and the occasional break in the AQI, yells 'TUNE!' every time a decent track comes on? 'THIS IS THE SONG OF OUR SUMMER GUYSSSSS' they cry, and you groan and regret taking them out in public. Well, with these nifty little speakers, there's no excuse not to take them to the pool to irritate everyone else! They're (supposedly) waterproof, and (supposedly) work by connecting to your phone or whatnot via Bluetooth.

Inflatable 'Star Wars' TIE fighter

star wars

Because... well, just look at it. It's incredible. Okay, so it's a blatant knock-off, and okay, so anyone dramatically bigger than the size of a child might have a bit of trouble fitting in the little seat, but this isn't just a blow-up spaceship – it's blow-up dreams. Sit back like an aquatic Han Solo, pilot yourself around ineffectually with your useless feet, attack people with the attached water gun/space laser and make, for the first time in your life, the swimming pool your conquered galaxy.

  • 4 out of 5 stars