20 Summer Swag and Giveaways Ideas for Conferences

May 7, 2021

You really don’t want to know how much conference swag ends up in hotel room trash...

Looking for ideas for summer giveaways that will take your conference swag to the next level? You’ve come to the right place. Finding summer promotional products is easy—summer swag ideas abound. But the key to brand-building swag that keeps working long after your event is over lies in creating branded conference bag fillers (and bags) your recipients will love and use for a long time. That means whether you’re planning swag boxes for virtual events or summer giveaway ideas for an in-person conference, quality and usefulness matter as much as a fresh, on-trend aesthetic. Delight your attendees with the kind of summer company swag that will increase their positive feelings about your company every time they use or wear it. Because the more they use/wear it, the more they are advertising for you.

Quick Tips for Summer Swag Ideas

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you select your summer conference swag:

  • Think about your recipients and make it your goal to delight them.
  • Look for useful, quality items that will be used again and again.
  • Your swag container is important—don’t skimp on this.
  • Branding is important, but keep it subtle or super creative for maximum appeal.
  • Millennials and Gen-Xers are most concerned with the product quality and the environmental impact they have.
  • Attendees travelling by air have size and carry-on fluid restrictions (yes, sunscreen is considered a fluid) that you will want to take into account.
  • Avoid breakable items when you’re choosing items for your virtual conference swag.

Theming your giveaways beyond “swag handouts summer” can add to the overall appeal in conjunction with your event. Your summer swag ideas might be dictated by new product releases or new marketing campaigns being introduced at your event. If not, you might consider:

  • Beach promotional items
  • Ultimate summer vacation giveaways
  • Summer camping giveaways
  • Pool party giveaways
  • Backyard BBQ giveaways 

To curate the best swag for conferences, the rule of thumb is to choose one valuable impact item plus a few related items. Your impact item might be your container—cooler, beach tote or backpack—chosen based on your theme. A desirable and functional conference bag will have strong first-impression WOW appeal and a longer lifespan as a brand awareness tool for you. Here are just a few ideas for summer-themed bags:

  • CAMPING: waterproof duffle with compostable towels, water bottle, pocket blanket and sunscreen.
  • POOL PARTY: tote containing a beach towel, sunscreen, beach ball, and pool floatie.  
  • BALLGAME: clear waterproof backpack, portable fan, can cooler, and sunscreen.
  • BACKYARD BBQ: a tote with an on-trend tank top, classic ball cap, can cooler and, of course, grilling tools.  

20 Best Summer Swag

The following swag items also make terrific summer giveaway prizes for any activities you use to encourage engagement during your live or virtual event. Swag is always a great tool to incentivize conference participation, especially when you gamify your event and tantalize your attendees with cool prizes! 


1. Custom H2GO® Bali Bottle

As a summer swag tumbler, this glass bottle with threaded bamboo lid and protective silicone sleeve gets points for being wellness-related and eco-friendly.

2. Custom Topo® Cinch Tote

A sporty, lightweight cinch tote keeps your items secure whether you’re enjoying a summer day strolling along the boardwalk or heading off to the gym.

3. American Apparel®  Custom Sleeveless Shirt

Looking for weekend summer swag outfit ideas? You can’t go wrong with a classic tank with just the right coverage and layerability (is that a word?) that everyone will love. 

4. Custom Inflatable Beach Balls

Branded beach balls are lightweight and a cost-effective way to add a bit of fun to your summer swag bag. They will elevate your brand, um, in a different way than we usually mean. 

5. Custom Baseball Cap

Keep your brand top of mind (literally!) all summer (and all year) long by embroidering your company logo or conference logo on classic baseball caps. Every list of swag weekend summer outfit ideas has got to include one of these.

6. Custom Beach Towel

At the beach, around the pool, or in the backyard after a water balloon fight, a customized beach towel makes a big statement and will keep your brand high and dry in a good way. 

7. Public Goods® Sunscreen 

Sunscreen is a summer must-have item that everyone will appreciate finding in their swag bag. If you have a lot of attendees traveling to your event via air, pick a sunscreen container that doesn’t exceed airline carry-on liquids limitations.

8. Custom Beach Tote

Up your summer style with this classic striped tote when you’re headed to the beach or pool, or even on a weekend excursion. Sturdy cotton canvas and reinforced stitching for extra strength mean it will last for many summers to come.


9. Custom Nike® Fanny Pack

Fanny packs are a blast from the past—the 1990s to be exact—that have made a comeback simply because nothing else is as good at keeping the absolute essentials close at hand and your hands free. 

10. Custom Corkcicle® Arctican 

All of your favorite beverages come in a can these days, even coffee, so can coolers, also known as koozies, are pretty much a staple of  everyday life. You’ll make points when the can coolers you give, like this one, are a cut above with extra insulation to keep drinks colder longer.

11. YETI® Mini Cooler

This just might be a one-and-done summer swag item for spoiling those company executives or shareholders who never want to lose their cool. The legendary YETI brand name by association elevates your brand and makes people feel seriously appreciated.

12. Custom Pool Floatie

An inflatable pool floatie is summer fun just waiting to happen. It’s budget-friendly and easy to tuck into your conference swag bag. Makes a great what-did-you-bring-me gift for the kids, too.

13. Custom Nalgene® Bottle

Summer is a time when you just might need to guzzle your drink from a wide-mouth water bottle like this. BPA-free plastic is a selling point for the health-conscious. These are also an excellent choice for summer conference swag. 

14. Custom Puzzle 

Ease stress, boost brain power and creativity...these are just a few of the benefits of a jigsaw puzzle and why it makes great company swag. And if you have kids, they’ll just think it’s fun. For unique swag for summer, a great puzzle should top your list!

15. Compostable Pressed Towels

Make an eco-friendly, sustainability statement when you include these compressed, water-activated towels in your summer swag for an on-the-go refresh anywhere. The perfect complement to swag outfits for summer that even guys will appreciate!

16. Custom Waterproof Bag

Keep your gear dry in any wet situation (where the bag is not fully submerged) and protect your valuables from water, snow, mud and sand. One of the best business giveaways summer swag ideas they’ll keep all year round!

17. Custom Waterproof  Backpack 

This mini backpack is a clear winner in the summer swag category since it’s ideal for most concert/stadium guidelines and protecting your stuff near the water. If you need summer promotional giveaways for conferences, look no further than a go-anywhere backpack that keeps your essentials in view.  

18. Portable Fan

Ahhhh! This personal, portable fan provides an instant cool-down wherever you are—office, home, poolside, ballpark, playground, etc. Simple, yet essential summer swag for guys and gals alike.  

19. Matador® Pocket Blanket

Now you (and a friend) can have a dry, clean place to sit—anywhere, anytime—with this clever, super portable blanket. Folded it fits in your pocket, spread out it measures 63 x 44 inches! These make great conference swag giveaways ideas thanks to their small easy to pack design. 

20. Custom Grill Tools Kit

Get them fired up about your brand with these 5 stainless steel barbecue tools in a customized carrying bag—the perfect summer swag for guys (and gals) who aspire to be grill masters. Whether you use this for employee onboarding, customer reward gifts or swag for conferences, you can be sure, a custom grill tool kit will help make your brand sizzle!


If you’re looking for swag bag ideas for virtual events coming up, remember that a  company like Gemnote can not only customize amazing products like these for you, but they’ll also assemble your swag bags and then drop ship them to each of your virtual attendees. (Phew! That was easy!) And remember, for virtual event giveaways, you also have to think about when to send swag, and about meaningful ways that swag can be used for an interactive experience. For more ideas about virtual event swag, check out our blog.

Customizing Tips for Summer Swag

  • You don’t want to pick out great swag and then blow it with your branding customization. No matter how great the swag, obnoxiously large logos might get it relegated to the back of the closet or, worse, the trash bin. A less obvious logo may result in the item(s) getting more use and therefore providing more advertising for your brand as a result. 
  • Make sure your logo or slogan art is crisp and professional. Poor quality in this department will cheapen the look of your summer promotional products no matter how expensive and well-made they are.
  • Make sure you choose a customizing company who does quality work or you could end up with expensive swag that looks depressingly cheap. Check out our blog with design tips for making stylish swag.

Have fun creating the perfect summer swag bags for your conference! Think carefully about your attendees and what will surprise and delight them, and what will make them feel valued and appreciated. More than anything, that is what you want your swag to do—strengthen the relationship you have with the attendee and make them feel positive about their association with your company. When they, in turn, say positive things about your company (maybe in response to a comment about some super cool swag you gave them!) it will strengthen your brand image in a way that is far more valuable than any advertising you can pay for. 

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