What to Bring for Beach Camping
Sleeping the sand? Pack these 10 items to ensure a good time.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Imagine the sun setting into the ocean, a soft mattress of sand, and a goodnight lullaby from the sea. There’s a lot to love about beach camping and these 10 products will make the experience even more enjoyable.
Base Layer: NRS H2Core Slikweight Hoodie
Keeping yourself protected from the sun while camping on the beach is critical, but so it staying cool and comfortable in a potentially warm environment. The Silkweight uses a super soft polyester and spandex blend to wick moisture and stay loose-fitting and cool, while still protecting your skin with a UPF50+ treatment. A baggy hood comes up to protect the back of your neck without feeling constricting and thumb holes keep it in place. 11 oz., $59.95
App: Tides Near Me
Understanding the ebb and flow of the water your camping beside is a major piece of staying safe while on the beach. The Tides app will let you search and plug in a location near you and get a readout of when the tides come and go, as well as their expected height at certain times. Use this to make sure you set your camp high enough that it won’t be inundated in the evening, as well as ensure you won’t get stranded or trapped by rising tides. Free
Water Storage: HydraPak Expedition 8L
“Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink”… unless you carried it in yourself. If you’re beach camping in Olympic National Park or other oceanside destinations, unless you know the exact location of freshwater springs or other water sources leading to the ocean, you might need to bring your own water. The expedition carries enough water for 1 person for a night or two (depending on your meals) and uses a convenient spout that allows you to keep the bladder away from sand and closed to avoid contamination, even as you fill your Nalgene. 9 oz., $60
Tent Stakes: MSR Tough Stake
Beaches are windy and regular stakes are all but useless in sand. These beefy aluminum stakes drive deep into soft sand and their expanded surface area ensures they won’t pull out easily. Plus, a self-driving design means that when the steel cable is tensioned, they only drive themselves deeper. Available in two sizes. 5.5 oz. (medium) or 1.5 oz. (small), $39.95
Table: Helinox Table One Camping Table
Avoiding sand entirely on a beach camping trip is unrealistic, but with a packable table, you can limit the sand that gets into your food. The Helinox is light enough to be happy to carry long distances into camp but is sturdy enough to be a comfortably cook station for a crew. 1 lbs. 8 oz., $119.95
Cleaning: Coghlan’s Tent Whisk & Dust Pan
Again: Avoiding the sand entirely is impossible. But for extended stays, having a way to clean it out of your tent might boost your sanity. This outdoor-ready dustpan is light and sturdy, made from thermoplastic and with the whisk handle snapping into the dustpan for transport, making it a convenience worth adding to your pack. 3.5 oz., $7.24
Waste Disposal: Cleanwaste GO Anywhere Toilet Kit Waste Bag
Pooping on a beach is not as simple as digging a cathole. With the tides coming in and out and the sand constantly in motion, what’s buried won’t stay buried for long. Plan on packing it out. These kits are small and light but come with everything you need to do your business ready to go, while keeping everything sealed-up tight to avoid leaks. 3 oz., $34 (pack of 12)
Shelter: NEMO Aurora Backpacking Tent
When the sun sets over the waves and the stars finally start to come out, sequestering yourself under a tent fly is the last thing you’ll want to do. Light colored mesh makes spotting stars with the fly off easy. Vertical sidewalls and strong guyouts mean when an ocean squall rolls in, you can batten down the hatches and remain comfortable. Available in 2- and 3-person versions. 6 lbs. 8 oz., $299.95 (3-person)
Food Storage: Counter Assault Bear Keg
Bears love seafood, or any food they see by the sea. And with a limited number of trees to hang your food from, bear canisters are the best bet for beach camping. The Bear Keg featured a simple opening system and is easy to pack and stash a distance downwind from your camp, and, we’ve found, is easier to pack than other models. 4 lbs., $79.95
Dry Storage: Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sacks
Anything can happen. You can slip while hiking and hit the water, the tides can come in higher than expected and wet our tent, or a bout of fog can roll in off the water and dampen everything around camp. Packing the important items like clothing, sleeping bags, and electronics in roll top dry bags like these from Sea to Summit is an easy insurance policy. Plus, they’ll keep even more sand from finding its way into sensitive items. Available from 1 liter to 35 liters. 1.3 oz. – 5.8 oz., $14.95 – $29.95