Hey campers, I hope you have been staying dry out there. Today I am going to give you a quick run through my top 6 beach camping tips to tie down this year. This is not to say that you will not enjoy yourself if you don’t follow each of these tips to the letter, but as we all know, anything that gets us closer to spending more time doing what we are there to do and less time tending to the campsite has to be a good thing right?
So grab a cool drink and let’s see what we can come up with…
1. Know the high tide marks
This is probably an obvious place to start but if you are heading to a beach for a bit of camping, the last thing you want is for everything to get washed away as the tide comes in. Make sure you know not only where the high tide mark is, but where it could get to if you happen to be there on a king tide as well.
See if there is a good spot behind the dunes or as close to them as possible. This way you will be safe and dry when the water rises.
Note: Beach dunes form a critical part of the beach structure protecting them from erosion. You should only camp on the dunes if there is a clear space for camping that does not damage the plant life or collapse the sand. Check local regulations as many areas ban driving or camping on the dunes themselves for this exact reason.
2. Stay protected
Those of you who have spent any time on a beach will know that things can change extremely quickly throughout the day. Wind and rain can appear in seconds as well as all the biteys that like to come and play at night. Let’s run through the main elements to protect ourselves from below:
- Wind – As above, wind speeds can get quite high on a beach and changes can be on us in seconds. When setting up your campsite, try and find a spot that provides some protection from wind or sudden gusts. As above, a good spot behind the dunes can assist with this. And it also helps to do your research to see where the wind usually comes from on that particular stretch of sand.
- Sun – If you are lucky, then your camping experience is a sunny one. This means that apart from wind protection, it is recommended that you try and camp in a spot that has some shade. This will not only keep you cool, but your tent and belongings as well. And of course don’t forget the sunscreen.
- Insects – As the sun goes down, the insects come out to play. If you have a fire, the smoke will help however a good insect repellent is a must when camping.
- Animals – Never forget that we are not the only things that like the beach. Plenty of animals live in the dunes as well so make sure that you always:
- Close your tent up when not in it
- Cover all food or keep it within a storage container
- Keep a lid on your trash/rubbish bin (or tie your bag in a tree)
- Do not bury your rubbish – take it with you
3. Sand is soft
As we are trying to keep ourselves away from the water (see tip 1 above), then there is a good chance that you will be setting up in sand that is a little soft. This is fine, except that it is important to keep in mind that unless there is harder sand underneath, then anything you push into the ground is not going to grip as well as it might if camping on grass or harder ground.
For soft sand, I have two tips that I highly recommend:
1. Get some sand pegs – the longer the better. Bags full of sand tied to the pole rope rather than pegs can work well here too.
2. Use some sort of flooring in your ‘living areas’ such an in front of your tent and camp kitchen. I use simple green garden shade cloth however there are also made-for-purpose options available. Just make sure that it is not a solid material (such as a tarpaulin etc.) as the sand needs to be able to filter through until it hardens underneath.
4. Sand gets everywhere
And whilst we are talking about sand, my next tip is to keep in mind that sand gets in absolutely everywhere. We have already discussed using a good, porous flooring above which will absolutely go a long way to keeping sand away. However, there are some other things that you can do to keep your campsite as sand-free as possible. These include:
- Keep food in plastic containers – not just in their original packaging
- Keep cooking utensils in plastic containers – in fact, keep everything in plastic containers
- Close everything when not in use – BBQ lids, coolers, bags and so on
- Cut some extra large mats to keep in front of your tent for wiping of feet (a water bucket can help here too)
- Store as much as you can on a table or camp shelf off of the ground
- Zip up your tent when not in use – and keep the kids out – they are sand generating machines
Oh, and as a final tip, if you do have little ones covered in sand – a little baby powder make removal so much easier as well.
5. Take water
Even though you are probably surrounded by water, keep in mind that most of it is undrinkable. Make sure you have enough water (or desalination tablets at the very least) whenever you go camping. My suggestion here is to take bottled water for drinking and a large container for cooking etc. That way if you do run out, you can use your tablets for the cooking water and not for drinking.
6. Look after the environment
Lastly. There is nothing worse than driving/walking along the beach to locate the perfect campsite only to find out once you get there that it is covered in rubbish. Apart from the fact that if you get caught, you will probably be fined, camping is all about leaving the grounds/beach as you found it when you leave. Obviously picking up all rubbish and broken gear is a good place to start however there are other factors to consider here including:
- Fires – Only light fires in designated spots or if none available, ensure that you light them in an area away from surrounding trees and bushes. Always check with local authorities to ensure that there are no fire bans in place or that you are within seasonal allowances. Also, use it to toast marshmallows, not your camping refuse.
- Firewood – And whilst we are discussing fires, bring firewood with you and limit the amount of underbrush or logs that you take from your surroundings. These are critical to the wildlife and also limit erosion etc. on the dunes.
- Dispose of waste properly – as mentioned above, burying of waste is not great for the environment – and neither is burying it in the sand. Bag and take all waste with you when you leave.
- Manage human waste – I will try and keep this as clean as possible however there is nothing worse that driving a nice long sand peg into the ground and hitting ‘doodoo’. If there are not amenities blocks in the area that you are camping, build a proper latrine arrangement with a deep hole away from general camping areas. And no, depositing all over the dunes is not good compost!
- Don’t feed the animals – as mentioned above, one trick to beach camping is to keep your food and campsite secure from animals wandering for a nice feed of hot dog rolls. Of course this problem is only made worse by either feeding them, or leaving food waste around for them to eat. Not only is processed human food really bad for them, but it will only make them come back for more next time – usually with a few friends in tow.
So there you have it, my 6 beach camping tips to tie down this year. Have you tried anything else that has worked well, or not so well for you? If so, please comment below and we can have a chat.