As someone who loves going camping as well as heading to the beach to soak up the sun, beach camping is the best of both worlds. Although it’s just another form of camping, you aren’t going to bring all of the same gear with you.
Sure you’ll want the classics like a sleeping bag and a hammock to relax in, but there are some other items you want to bring. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll look at all of the beach camping essentials you need to pack before you head out the door.
So you need to adjust your packing list accordingly. We’ll go over these items and much more in this beach camping packing list to make sure you have everything you need to bring for your next trip.
The most important beach camping essentials are:
- Pop-Up Tent & Beach Umbrella
- Cooler and Plenty of Water
- Beach Towels and Cooling Towels
- Beach Chairs
- Portable Solar Power Bank
- Lanterns or Flashlights
- Sunscreen and Bug Spray
- First Aid Kit
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I’ve personally spent nearly 100 days and nights camping at the beach, if not more. Plus, I’ve talked with other like-minded enthusiasts who can’t get enough of the beach, and together, we’ve come up with this complete list of what to bring to the beach on your next camping trip..
So let’s pack your bags and load up your camping vehicle of choice. It’s time to head to the beach.
Can You Camp on the Beach?
Before we get into the beach camping checklist, let’s tackle the biggest question many people have before they go beach camping. The question of whether it’s even legal or not. After all, you don’t want to pitch a tent and settle in for the night, only for the local authorities to show up!
We have a full article that dives deep into the legality of beach camping, so I’ll spare you some of the details here. But the bottom line is that it depends on the beach. The key to any successful beach camping trip is to check the local laws and regulations and see if overnight stays are allowed.
Many beaches will let you set up your tent during the day for some shade and to hang out, but when the sun starts to go down, it’s often time to pack up your tent. That said, there are plenty of beaches out there where you can spend the night without any issues.
That’s why it’s so important to check that particular beach’s laws and regulations. In any case, don’t take my word for it. I’m not a lawyer, just a regular dude who loves the beach and camping!
Beach Camping Essentials: Complete Gear Checklist
Here at Outdoor Andrew, we know you might be planning just a regular old beach day or a whole weekend, so I’m going to cover everything you’ll need for either one. These are the best beach camping essentials that you don’t want to leave the house without.
Pop-Up Tent and Beach Umbrella
No matter when or where you’re going camping, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a tent. While just about any tent will do, I’ve always referred pop-up tents when I’m staying on the beach since they’re so easy to set up and take down.
I have a list of the best pop-up tents on the market here, and the top-rated Coleman Pop-Up Camping Tent is a great option for your next beach camping trip.
But since the beach typically provides little to no shade, a dark room pop-up tent is your best option, and Coleman makes one that’s perfect for beach camping. It’ll block out 90% of the sun’s UV light, keeping you cool throughout the day, and providing you with a quick and easy way to get out of the sun and protect your skin.
While your beach tent will be your safe haven under the sun, you need a way to get some shade for when you’re not staying inside. That’s where a beach umbrella comes in.
You don’t really need anything fancy here, and I’ve always used something like the Fisqueen 8ft Beach Umbrella. It comes with a sturdy base, resits strong winds, and casts a big shadow to help you cool down.
Cooler and Plenty of Water
In the spirit of staying cool, let’s talk about water. Any time you’re camping at the beach, you need to make sure you bring plenty of water with you to stay hydrated and replenish everything you’re losing through sweat.
Warm water is better than nothing, but who wants to drink a bottle of water that’s been sitting in the sun all day? Bringing a cooler with you is an easy way to keep them ice cold and refreshing. Plus, you can always throw a few adult beverages in there for when you aren’t quite in the mood for boring old water.
Lugging a big, heavy cooler around the beach is tough with all the sand, so I typically opt for something small like the Coleman Soft Cooler Bag. It’s perfect for a 6-pack or a few bottles of water, and it’s easy to carry around.
If you have a multi-day beach camping trip planned, however, a small cooler like this won’t cut it. That’s where the Coleman 316 Series comes in that I’ve used for years. It will hold all your food and drinks for the whole trip while keeping everything cool for up to 5 days. Its giant plastic wheels also make it much easier to pull through the sand.
Lastly, I’m not going to forget about YETI coolers like the Roadie 24 and its built-in carrying strap that makes it easy to take on a beach trip. While I don’t necessarily recommend spending the extra money on a YETI vs Coleman, I can’t deny they work great!
Beach Towels and Cooling Towels
Any time you go to the beach — regardless of if you’re camping or not — make sure you bring along some beach towels. These versatile towels are perfect for laying out, drying off after taking a dip, or just keeping you away from the sand. Beach towels are a staple of any beach trip, and these Turkish cotton ones are extra soft and dry quickly.
Speaking of towels, if you are camping at the beach and know you’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun, consider bringing some cooling towels to help you stay comfortable. I’ve been using Sukeen Cooling Towels for a while as they’re affordable and work great. Simply get it wet and drape it over your neck. Through evaporation, these towels will cool you off and last for hours.
If you have extra room in your vehicle and you don’t plan on carrying your gear too far to your campsite, you should always bring along some beach chairs. Towels are great for sitting on, but nothing beats the feel of a high-quality beach chair plopped down in the sand, just begging for you to take a seat.
We typically think of Coleman for camping-specific products, but they also make a heck of a beach camping chair. The Coleman Utopia Breeze sits low so it’s almost like you’re in the sand, making it easy to dip your toes in and let the waves crash over your legs.
Plus, it has a built-in cup holder so you can stay hydrated with some water — or enjoy an adult beverage or two. These lightweight options are the best camping chairs that are perfect for the beach and make it easy to soak up the sun.
Portable Solar Power Bank
I’ve hit on the fact that beach camping trips involve a lot of sun, right? Beaches are usually pretty wide open, which means the sun is constantly beating down on you all day. While it might get physically punishing after a bit of time, there’s a big advantage to all that sunlight: nearly unlimited solar power.
With a solar power bank or generator, you can harness the power of the sun and keep your phone, headphones, tablet, or anything else charged. Something like the Anker PowerCore Solar 20000 is ideal for keeping your phone charged all trip. Plus, it’s small enough to toss in your backpack and take with you if you go on any hikes or long walks on the beach.
If you’re planning on bringing a bit more extensive camping setup to the beach with you, consider getting a solar generator that can power everything you have. I’ve been using the Geneverse HomePower ONE for years now, and it’s one of my favorite purchases ever. Use it to keep your devices powered up, cook with an electric grill, and more.
Just plug in the two solar panels (when you bundle them together) and you’ll have nearly limitless power all trip. A solar generator like this really takes your camping experience to the next level and is one of the best beach camping tips and tricks I can give you!
Lanterns or Flashlights
Lanterns and flashlights are part of just about any camping checklist and are vital for almost all camping trips. After all, most places where you’ll be setting up a tent are going to get pretty dark at night, if not pitch black. At the beach, it’s usually the latter, and it can be impossible for you to see and for others to see you once the sun goes down.
Since both lanterns and flashlights have their uses while beach camping, I prefer to use combination lights that include both. Something simple and affordable like these Collapsible Portable LED Camping Lanterns are easy to use and act as both lanterns and flashlights. I’ve been using off-brand lanterns for years and have never had any trouble.
Sunscreen and Bug Spray
Two essential items of any beach camping trip that you simply cannot (or at least should not) go without are sunscreen and insect repellent. All that sun might be good if you’re working on your tan, but too much UV exposure is never healthy. So make sure you bring along some high-quality sunscreen like Banana Boat that will protect you. Bonus if it’s waterproof!
If you’re camping on the beach, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume you like the heat, at least a little bit. Do you know what else prefers warm weather? Mosquitoes and other insects! Regular old bug spray might work, but I hate the feeling of spraying all that stuff on me, especially if I’ve already applied some sunscreen.
That’s why I use the Thermacell Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller. Simply slip in the pod of repellent and turn it on. This device creates a 20’ dome around you and your campsite, warding off mosquitoes and other annoying pests. I’ve taken mine on every camping trip I’ve been on recently and it’s worked absolutely amazing.
First Aid Kit
Regardless of if you’re camping on the beach, setting up camp in the middle of the woods, or just going on a hiking trip, you should always bring a first-aid kit. These are one of those things that you simply don’t want to leave the house without any time you’re planning an outdoor adventure.
This 298-piece all-purpose emergency kit is far and away the most popular kit on Amazon and has everything you need for any small emergency that pops up. From bandages and ointments to painkillers and specialized tools, this kit is the perfect addition to any beach camping gear checklist.
Enjoy Your Beach Camping Adventure
With all of this beach camping gear and equipment, you have everything you need for the perfect trip. These items will help you beat the heat, soak up the sun, and enjoy your trip as much as possible.
Some of them might be the same as the rest of your camping gear, but everything won’t match up between a regular camping trip and staying at the beach. So make sure you bring along the essentials like extra shade, plenty of water, sunscreen, and more.
In any case, don’t be afraid to head to the beach for your next camping adventure. Just make sure you check with the laws and local authorities before pitching your tent for the night. I hope to see you out there.
Let’s take our camping game to the next level together!
- Always make sure you have plenty of shade, water, and ways to stay cool while beach camping.
- Bring sunscreen and bug spray to protect your skin and keep insects away.
- Check local laws and regulations before any overnight beach camping trip.