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  1. #1
    Registered User Megapixel's Avatar
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    Default Beach Camping - SAND, etc. Considerations

    Hi All,

    I was hoping to receive some pointers and things to consider on camping on the beach in rather exposed conditions. My comfort zone with this has been limited to Cumberland Island , which is near, not on the beach camping with great shade and shelter. I am looking at a few days at Cape Lookout National Seashore with much more exposure to wind and zero shade. I have already purchased some 12" sand stakes for the tent. Is there a way to use a tarp for shade protection during the day? I'd rather not try to carry- hike in a beach umbrella. (Also, I have no tarp pitching experience or a tarp to pitch for that matter. Recommendations?) What else am I not thinking of for these elements? Much thanks and love in advance!

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  2. #2
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    I camped at beach a few times growing up in fla
    I wont contemplate it again. These were small group trips where someone thought it would be fun.
    Wind blows, and fine sand blows with it
    Everything full of sand. Everything. You and gear. Then your either coated with nasty sunscreen, or sunburned.


    Never try to roast a whole pig at beach on a barrier island. Just take my word for it. Unless you like raw sand covered pig. Its just too breezy.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 04-12-2019 at 09:59.
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  3. #3

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    No first hand experience, I'm just guessing. Do you have a tent where you can set the foot of it low, and into the wind? Fill some bags with sand and pin down the edge of the tent/tarp to keep sand out? I think I'd bring a small automotive type dustpan and brush as well. Sand in zippers seems like a easy way to ruin expensive equipment. I don't know how fine the sand is, would netting help?

    I kind of hate beaches in general. Soft sand is hard to walk in, and I actually got a stress fracture in my foot from training on sand. It seems like it's nice and soft, but it allows a whole lot of flex in your feet.

  4. #4

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    I took a 4 day kayak tri pout to capers island right outside Charleston, SC. Here is what I came away from on that trip. Don't camp in the sand. It gets everywhere. Everywhere...It took about 2 years to stop finding sand in my gear. The first 2-3 days of the trip I was overwhelmed with trying to keep the same out of everything and by day 4 I had finally gotten used to it. I would suggest finding a place near the sand but not in it for camping. However it was a great experience and I would do it again but probably not tent on the actual beach.

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    Last edited by Gambit McCrae; 04-12-2019 at 11:13.

  5. #5
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    Default

    I've camped on the beaches of the Northwest lots of times, and have always regretted it. Yes, sand gets in everything, regardless of how sealed up tight your tent is. I found condensation to be a particularly major issue as well on the shore. If it rains, you'll be sleeping in a wet-sand mudhole. Your gear will get very wet, dirty, and heavy regardless of the weather. I would definitely recommend setting up your shelter away from the actual sandy beach, in the dunes, forests, or whatever farther back.

    Also of note: seaweed is edible, and delicious.

  6. #6
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    Using a free standing tent solves some issues.

    Make note of wind direction. Face tent door opening away from the wind blown sand.

    As Gambit is saying, sometimes the sand further away from the water and sand right at water's edge(better place to hike) is more compact.

    If it's really nasty seek protection behind a dune, further back maybe in some coastal brush or tree line, some logs or sand buffer around perimeter(like Gambit is doing), dishing out a sleeping fox hole letting the wind blown sand blow over not deleting you. Think of it like above tree line with exposure. Now, choose a CS with less exposure.


    TIP: ascertain the general direction the wind blows pre hike for your beach time. Hike in a direction facing away from wind blown sand with it at your back. It can make a qualitative difference. Same with finding that sweet firmer ground near the water's edge rather than plodding through the deepest softest sand . You'll get less wind blown sand here too.

    I'm as much a beach rat hiker as forest, mountain, and ridge line hiker.

    I'll be taking the Coastal Crescent Trail through Cape Lookout Nat. Seashore finishing the MST as LASHes. Ironic, on the Oregon Coastal Trial on the other side of the U.S. I went through Cape Lookout SP.

  7. #7
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    I noticed that you can rent cabins there through NPS at Long Point on North Core Banks and Great Island on South Core Banks. Seems to be a mix of solo and duplex types some with electric, some wired for "bring your own generator." Nightly rates were $54 to $168 depending on size, amenities, etc. It's nice to come in from a day on the beach or day hiking, take a shower and get all the sand and salt off before settling in for dinner and the evening activities. It's an option.

  8. #8

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    I spent one night on the Lost Coast Trail on the beach which was enough,the rest of the nights were spent inland.I had my fill of sand that that one night.

  9. #9
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    Embrace it all. LCT offers CS's in protected tree areas as a second line. Dont go first line with high exposure if the conditions, your set ups and desires dont warrant it.

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    In our younger and more adventurous days we routinely spent many nights at the Mediterranean beaches.
    Later I started to hate the absence of toilets and the aboundance of Moskitos.

    Sand never bothered me, its easy enough to shake it off. Biggest advantage of (fine) beach sand is, you can get your pots perfectly clean without using detergent.
    Over the last year's many desert hikes I learned to love (Cowboy)camping in the sand.
    Last edited by Leo L.; 04-13-2019 at 05:54.

  11. #11
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    Over the last year's many desert hikes I learned to love (Cowboy)camping in the sand.

    Same here.

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    i cowboy camped once in charleston with a buddy. we had no money. which is the best kind of money to have. we watched heat lightning off in the distance. we fell asleep. for 30 minutes. we both woke up at the same time.

    sand fleas!!

    holy god. give me the chicken pox.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliffordbarnabus View Post
    i cowboy camped once in charleston with a buddy. we had no money. which is the best kind of money to have. we watched heat lightning off in the distance. we fell asleep. for 30 minutes. we both woke up at the same time.

    sand fleas!!

    holy god. give me the chicken pox.
    There are ways to avoid that.

    OMG I hear you though. It was like a strong reaction to poison ivy

  14. #14
    Registered User middle to middle's Avatar
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    Difficult to hold a tent down in windy conditions on beach. There is a stake called
    a sand hog" a long stake with a triangle piece welded to it that will hold in a wind. I have seen wind blow beach campers tents in mass away.
    Old iindian saying "walk seven days away from beach before making camp,"

  15. #15

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    We did some family beach camping many moons ago at Assateague Island. In addition to the sand and wind, there were dive-bombing green biting flies that took chunks out of us before we could react, and also semi-feral ponies that went after unattended food. It was fun anyway.

  16. #16
    Registered User middle to middle's Avatar
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    I have camped Assateague also and when we went away from campsight ponies moved in looking for food and really tore the place up.

  17. #17

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    Yes, the ponies used to bare their teeth at the kids while they were at the water fountains, trying to get the kids to leave so they could get at the water.

  18. #18

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    I don't mind camping on the beach. Usually there's some rocks or driftwood around to tie a couple points on the tent to
    Sand has never bothered me much.

    Is there really zero shade, or maybe you can find the odd place for sun refuge? If not, since you haven't used tarps, a tarp sounds like it wouldn't be any easier than just setting up a freestanding tent for an afternoon shade break. Can turn into a sauna if there's no breeze, but otherwise it'd be ok if setup well

    Other considerations: some hikers get blisters is new spots (side of feet) with beach walking because of the continuous side-slope walking, so just be aware of any rubbing in places you're not used to and combat it early.

    If shade really won't be available at intervals, I think a sun umbrella is worth considering

  19. #19
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    Other considerations: some hikers get blisters is new spots (side of feet) with beach walking because of the continuous side-slope walking, so just be aware of any rubbing in places you're not used to and combat it early.

    Excellent pt. Side hilling is reduced or eliminated by walking safely closer to water's edge.
    It's flatter firmer ground there. Bathing beaches tend to be very gradually graded. Further away from the water nearer dunes is where the side hilling is ofte greatest

  20. #20

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    I car camped with family on Cape Lookout. Wind was strong. I had a sun shelter with a bug screen setup. I ended up digging holes and placing rocks with rope tied to it to hold the shelter down. I filled the sand holes in over the rocks. The wind bent one of the upper horizontal arms though. I did have sand stakes, I think these were mostly ok on the tents. I had a Megamid set up, ok for shade but slept in sand. You don't want a tent with mesh walls, the wind will blow the sand up under your rain fly. It's one place I think a cot would be nice to have. There are some breaks in the dunes that are more sheltered but without a vehicle you might not get to one or find an empty one.

    You'll want a bug shelter, biting flies if I remember correctly. Gorgeous place, we've considered going back and renting a cabin. You'll need all your supplies with you. I don't think the little stores sells anything except gas and maybe ice? Make sure you check the hours for the lighthouse, we miscalculated and it was closed the day we wanted to go there. Also, if you do drive, consider some boards/planks and a shovel in case you get stuck. We didn't, we dropped the psi down in the tires.



    I can't say we ever did get all the sand out of the SUV.
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