Beach Camping Checklist: The TOP Essentials Things to Pack

Planning your next beach camping trip and wondering what gear you ought to bring?

Our beach camping checklist has all the information you need.

While beach camping can be a spectacular way to get outside and enjoy nature, there’s a whole lot of pre-planning that goes into pulling off a successful seaside adventure. 

Plus, when it comes to gear selection for beach camping, the sheer amount of equipment you need to pack is enough to make anyone’s head spin.

In this beach camping checklist, we’ll discuss some of the most important pieces of gear you ought to bring on each trip. 

1. Water bottles

blue water bottle on a beach

First, you should never head to the beach without plenty of water bottles.

That’s because, whether you’re planning a summer trip to the beaches of Acadia National Park or Olympic National Park, dehydration is always a concern when you hang out by the ocean.

To combat dehydration during your beach adventures, always come prepared with some trusty water bottles, such as Camelbak. The more water you can drink outside, the better.

So, it’s best to have two or more 1-liter water bottles on hand for each person in your camping group.

Read More : How Much Water Should You Bring to Camping?

2. Coolers

blue cooler on a white sandy beach

No beach camping trip is complete without a cooler. While a cooler is an integral part of any car camping adventure, the hot weather and sunny conditions at the beach make packing a quality cooler even more important.

In particular, you’ll want to look for a durable cooler with thick insulation to help keep your food as cold as possible at the beach.

Opting for a relatively portable model, such as the Coleman Rolling Cooler, is important, too, because carrying heavy objects over long distances in the sand or rocks isn’t very fun.

Oh, and don’t forget that you’ll need some reliable ice packs, too, to help keep your food and drinks as fresh as possible while you’re out and about.

3. Camp tarps

The beach can be wet and windy sometimes. Therefore, having a sturdy camp tarp on your gear list can make a big difference when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

However, remember that you likely won’t have any trees while beach camping to use as anchors while you pitch your tarp. So, plan to bring other pieces of gear, like hiking poles, to use as you prop up your tarp.

You may also want to pack some extra tent stakes to help anchor your tarp in the sand.

Read More : How to Stake A Tent Correctly

4. Blankets

red and white blanket on a white beach

Lying down on the beach and getting sand in every little nook and cranny isn’t fun.

So, if you want to sit back and relax in the sand during your beach camping adventures, you’ll need a set of blankets.

Although everyone’s lounging and blanket needs vary, we generally recommend one blanket per person for beach camping. Doing so helps ensure you’ll have a sand-free place to relax at the end of a long day of adventure by the seaside.

5. Solar panels

portable solar panel charging a cellphone

Beaches are known for their sunny climates, so you can take full advantage of those conditions by packing some solar panels.

Of course, you could just bring a portable generator for your adventures, especially when camping near your car. But, a set of solar panels and perhaps even a solar-powered generator can provide more than enough green energy to power your essential devices when you camp.

As a bonus, you could also bring a set of portable battery packs to charge off your solar panels. Then, when you’re out hiking for the day, you can still access a reliable and eco-friendly power source for your GPS and other devices.

6. Towels

blue beach towel

If there’s one thing you should never head to the beach without, it’s a set of towels.

Whether you’re a fan of boogie boarding, surfing, or simply going for a quick dip in the ocean, there’s no substitute for having a set of towels on hand while at the beach.

Additionally, you’ll want a set of towels to dry off after using a camp shower to rinse off any sand and salt that tends to accumulate after a day of lounging around by the seaside.

7. Camping table

small camping table at the beach

While many standard campgrounds come with picnic tables and other amenities, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a picnic table while camping at the beach.

Consequently, you’ll want to pack your own camping table to ensure that you have a place to cook, eat, and relax while at camp.

Depending on your personal camping style, you may want to consider bringing a set of camping chairs. Although you could also sit on your blankets and eat during mealtimes, having a set of chairs can make things more comfortable during your trip.

8. Portable fire pit

portable fire pit for beach camping

Having a campfire is one of the most exciting and enjoyable parts of camping. However, when camping at the beach, you’ll have to take certain precautions to help ensure that you follow Leave No Trace guidelines to minimize the impacts of campfires.

Depending on where you are in the world, you may be allowed to have a fire on the beach below the high tide line. Doing so means that the sea will wash away the fire scar left behind in the sand by your fire within 24 hours.

However, this isn’t always a convenient practice, especially if high tide occurs in the evening during prime campfire hours. The solution? A portable camping fire pit.

Bringing a fire pit with you on your beach camping adventures can help you enjoy your campfire without damaging the environment. Of course, you’ll still want to follow local campfire regulations, but a fire pit is often an acceptable option.

If you do want to bring a fire pit, remember to pack tinder, lighters, and firestarters, too. That way, you can enjoy a roaring fire during your adventures.

9. Camping toilet

portable toilet inside tent

When camping at the beach, you often have to get a little creative with your waste disposal options, especially when it comes to using the toilet.

In general, if there are bathroom facilities provided at your beach campsite, then those facilities are your go-to options for answering nature’s call. However, if there aren’t any facilities available, you’ll likely need to bring your own personal camping toilet.

Although digging a cathole with a shovel is an acceptable human waste disposal strategy in some places, such as in the backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s not ideal at the beach. That’s because the lack of microbes in beach sand makes human waste disposal a very, very slow process.

So, Leave No Trace advocates for the use of camping toilets when in a coastal environment. Using these toilets and packing out your waste is often the best option when toilet facilities aren’t available. So, don’t forget to pack your own camp toilet (and some toilet paper!) on your next beach camping trip.

10. Lanterns

woman carrying a lantern at the beach

If you’re looking for a nighttime illumination strategy for your beach campsite, a set of lanterns might be the answer.

While string lights might be the ideal choice in a forested environment, like Yosemite National Park, they are unsuitable for use at the beach due to the lack of trees.

So, packing lanterns in addition to your headlamps and flashlights can provide plenty of nighttime lighting for evenings at your beachside campsite.

11. Body wipes

woman cleaning hands with body wipes

Hanging out at the beach all day is a great way to get covered in sand and salt. Although using a camp shower regularly is also a great idea while beach camping, using body wipes can be a simple way to stay clean by the ocean.

A good set of body wipes can help eliminate dirt, salt, and sand build-up on your body while at the beach.

Using one wipe a day can make a big difference towards preventing rashes from the saltwater and toward general personal hygiene.

Be sure to pack out all of your used wipes to prevent trash from being left behind at your campsite.

Gaby Pilson

Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.