BEACH CAMPING FOR BEGINNERS

Hitting the sand? Here’s how to squeeze the best out of your next coastal camping experience 

WORDS BY MICHAEL BORG IMAGES BY CAMPER TRAILER LIFESTYLE

Relaxing on the beach is nothing short of sensational, but not everybody has the same experience. In fact, there are a lot of campers that have made an absolute mess out of beach camping in the past. Poor weather conditions, lack of preparation, questionable access points and even your particular set-up all come into play making it easy to get things wrong. But alas, with a few little pointers here and there you can make your next coastal camping experience memorable for all the right reasons. 

TOWING ON SAND

IN THE KNOW

It’s important to take the time to research the beach you’re about to drive on. Find out when the safest time is to dip your wheels in a bit of sand and get an idea about how far the tide is likely to rise up the beach. Don’t be afraid to call ahead to a local shop, servo or pub to get a few pointers from the locals. Find out if the beach is camper trailer friendly, and if there are any particular spots to look out for. As the saying goes, “knowledge is power”, and when it comes to conquering a brand new stretch of sand, the more knowledge the better! 

TYRE PRESSURES 101

The idea of lowering your tyre’s pressure is to increase your tyres footprint and spread the vehicles weight over a larger surface area. This prevents the tyre from sinking into the sand too much. So, it makes sense to do the same for your camper trailers tyres, right?     

SAND TOWING TIPS

STICK TO THE RUTS: Less sand in front of your tyres, means less resistance. 

SWIFT GEAR CHANGES: Less time with the clutch in means minimal loss of momentum.

APPROACH DUNES STRAIGHT: This is especially important when towing as the campers’ weight could cause it to slip sideways before dragging your car along with it.

PARK DOWN HILL: Use the dunes to help you take off again, not hinder you!   

THE BENEFITS OF TRACTION BOARDS  

Thanks to the added resistance of sand, any recovery situation you find yourself in will encompass a lot of strain on your recovery gear. That being said, the first resort should always be a traction board, which doesn’t rely on brute force to literally drag you out of a bog. In fact, these should also be used during a snatch or winch recovery to help reduce the strain on recovery gear. 

BEACH CAMPING MADE EASY

SETTING UP ON SAND

When it comes to keeping the guy ropes secure, ordinary pegs aren’t going to cut it. Sand pegs are the way to go, and the bigger they are the better the chance of them holding tension if the wind picks up. A neat trick is to bury the peg in the sand horizontally, which offers a much more secure anchoring point. If you don’t have a peg you can simply attach the guy rope to a bag full of sand and bury that too – works every time!

BEATING THE BREEZE

PROTECTED LOCATION: Find yourself a bit of real estate that’s already protected from the wind. 

FIRE HOLE: Dig a fire pit to help protect your fire and have a think about moving your vehicle and/or camper trailer into a position to help form a wind break.
 

PORTABLE FIRE PITS: These not only help protect your fire but allow you to move it into a better position should the wind change. Plus, it means you don’t have to leave big clumps of charcoal scattered around the campsite when you’re done.

AWNINGS AND TARPS: Always position the camper trailer so the awning is on the opposite side of the winds’ direction. This not only helps block the wind but prevents it from getting up and under the awning.

TIPS: BEATING BUG BITES 

BUG REPELLENT: Don’t forget it! Also, bring fly spray just in case your tent gets swarmed unexpectedly.

LESS ATTRACTIVE LIGHTING: Most bugs are attracted to white lights, so it’s a good idea to carry orange LED lighting. It’s not as bright as white but offers you nice and gentle lighting without being swarmed. 

STOP THE ITCH: If you do get bitten by mozzies, try wiping the bite area with some hand sanitiser to help reduce the itch. It’ll sting at first, but really help in the long run.