Before packing a thing, determine how far you have to hike to pitch a tent or how far do you have to paddle to your destination.
Before departure, check the weather forecast carefully. But even if the forecast is perfect, be prepared for sudden storms or unexpected winds.
When you get there, set up camp first and securely before swimming.
I dream of grilling a nice ribeye while beach camping, but it’s not very practical because sand gets on the steak and it’s difficult to control the heat of the campfire. Stick to one-pot meals — such as franks and beans, chili or pasta dishes — and prepare in advance so you can freeze them and stick them in the cooler to keep everything else cold.
Expect sand to get into everything.
__ Tent with stakes that securely anchor in the sand. If possible, the tent should be twice the size that you need to allow air circulation.
__ Sleeping bags matching the weather. Lightweight if you hike. Or blankets and pillows.
__ Sleeping mat or mattress, if needed.
–– Tarp is handy but not essential. Besides ground cover, a tarp can be used for an emergency shelter or shade.
–– Headlamp, flashlight, bug repellent, sun screen.
__ Beach umbrella and/or pop-up shelter with tie-downs and sand anchors.
__ Beach chairs.
__ Sturdy trash bags.
__ Small broom to sweep sand out of the tent.
Don’t bring in what you can’t bring out.
__ Backpacker’s propane stove, lighter and waterproof matches
__ Cooking pot, coffee pot.
__ Reusable utensils, plates or bowls.
__ Multi-tool with knife, can opener, pliers and corkscrew.
__ Optional: Firewood and grate. There’s nothing like a beach campfire, if you can. Often, you can find driftwood on the beach or in the dunes. You can dig a hole in the sand and put a grate over it to cook food.
FOOD AND WATER
__ Soft-sided cooler if you’re hiking, max-cold cooler if near your vehicle.
__ Gallon jugs of frozen water. Provides drinking water as ice melts.
__ Gatorade, if you can carry it. Hydration is an issue when camping on the beach.
__ One-pot meals, pre-cooked frozen or freeze-dried backpacking meals.
__ Cold cuts, fresh bread, fruits, yogurt, coffee and tea bags.
__ Broad-brimmed hat or flats hat to cover neck.
__ Lightweight, breathable rain/wind jacket
__ Quick-drying shorts, shirts and pants
__ T-shirts (one long-sleeve).
__ Water shoes.
__ Sweatpants and sweatshirt if drop in temperature is possible.
__ Toothbrush and toothpaste.
__ Towels for beach and bathing.
__ Biodegradable soap.
__ First Aid kit.
__ Shovel and biodegradable toilet paper if a toilet is not available.
__ Sunscreen, bug repellent.
__ Don’t forget your medicine.
__ Frisbies, footballs, snorkel gear, beach balls, noodles.
__ Beach wheels for kayaks, paddleboards, surf gear. Can also be used to transport other gear.
__ Life jackets