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Blissful Beach Camping

how to beach camp
Beach camping in Hong Kong
Beach camping is one of those outdoorsy things that sounds like a great idea. Spend your day fishing, swimming, and soaking up the sun then drift off to sleep to the sound of the crashing waves after a glorious sunset.

Our imaginations tend to gloss over the not-so-nice realities of our daydreams. Just like dreaming of moving to Paris means you'll have to learn French and pay 5 euros for a coffee, camping at the beach comes with a few challenges that can make for a miserable time. Has one of your beach camping trips ended in disaster or misery?
Things that (usually) Suck about Beach Camping
    The worst line in any Star Wars movie? I think so.
  • It's hot
  • Sunscreen is sticky and gross
  • There are bugs that bite
  • Your tent blows away in the wind, or leaks when it rains
So while I can't magically make any of those things go away for you, I can share the tricks I've learned that make camping on a beach actually really wonderful.

Dealing with Sand
Sand is everywhere and seems to stick to everything. It's coarse and irritating and can totally ruin your trip- unless you follow my advice below! 

Slather on powder?
No really, hear me out on this one. This stuff is MAGIC. Seriously. It makes the sand fall off your skin. Because science, or magic or something. The worst thing about beach camping is that sand gets EVERYWHERE. It's terrible. Plus you're sweaty and probably salty, when combined with the grit of the sand just makes life miserable. Enter baby powder.

Here is how to feel so fresh and so clean clean when camping on a beach
1. You should be ready to head to bed. Don't try this if you're soaking wet.
2. Open your tent door and sit in your tent with your feet/legs sticking out.
3. Get our your baby powder.
4. Dump baby powder on your feet and calves and rub. Keep rubbing and using baby powder until the sand is gone
5. Get in your tent, but not in your bed and strip down to your skivvies.
6. Dump baby powder into your hands and rub all over yourself.
7. With a nice clean body, snuggle into your bed.

Pitch Your Tent Like a Pro
Before I go any further on this topic- using the right kind of tent is critical to successful beach camping. Absolutely do not take a tent you can stand up in- even with the strongest sand stakes, the tent will fold in the wind. You need a tent that is as low as possible, the lowest you can stand to use. It should definitely be shorter than the dunes. 

4 things you must do for successful beach camping before you leave home:
  1. Have a low-profile tent
  2. Use sand stakes: COGHLANS 12 inch Sand Stakes 
  4. Watch my YouTube tent pitching video below

Make Yourself Some Shade
Real shade on a scorching day can change your experience from misery to bliss.
Pitch a tarp on the beach with the following:
  • A silver tarp or a tarp with a silver layer
  • 4 to 6 COGHLANS 12 inch Sand Stakes
  • 2 tarp poles, spare kayak paddles, trekking poles, or strong sticks
  • Rope for guy lines

Keep the Bugs Away
Here are the basics to keep those annoying bugs away. 
1. Treat your skin: with repellents
  • DEET is the most powerful and effective, but comes with a host of problems. 
    • It is bad for our brains, so make sure to not inhale any, don't use it on children under 8, or if you are pregnant.
    • High concentrations can eat through plastic, rubber and synthetic clothes
    • Only use products with less than 30% DEET 
  • Picaridin won't eat through your gear, and studies show it is as effective as DEET for mosquitoes and black flies, more effective for no-see-ums and less effective against ticks.
  • All-Natural Repellents
2. Treat your clothes with Permethrin

3. Use a physical barrier by wearing long, loose fitting, tightly woven clothing. Mosquitoes can bite through knit clothes like t-shirts and leggings. 

Know Before You Go

tide chartTide Charts
Saving a tide chart of your beach can be really helpful. If you're planning to build a fire, it needs to be between the high and low tide line. If high tide coincides with the time you're planning to have a fire, you'll be in for a soggy surprise.

moon phase
Lunar Calendar
Other helpful info is the moon phase and the marine forecast. Moon phase tells us whether the high tide will be higher or lower than the day before which helps us make sure our tents won't get wet. 

Marine Forecast
Make sure to check the marine forecast before you go and throughout your trip. The National Weather Service will broadcast general forecasts for your area in addition to immediate threats and changes via radio. Knowing an unexpected storm is heading your way is crucial information!
Buoy Weather - 2 day marine forecasts for any location in the world

Local Knowledge
I can't stress how important it is to ask a local for information on the place you'll be camping. Many remote beaches are notorious for rip currents or dangerous shore breaks and don't have lifeguards on duty. Some inlets have tidal currents that make swimming and paddling nearby too dangerous.

Happy Camping!

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