Camper Trailer Beach Camping
What you need to know about camper trailer beach camping and setting up on the sand to go from good to great.
There’s something quintessentially Australian about holidaying by the beach, and there’s no true bluer way to experience it than camping under the stars right on our shores. The sounds of crashing waves rolling in on a balmy night can be near hypnotic — but it takes more than a pair of flip flops to make it work, what with tides, winds and flies causing playing havoc with the unprepared.
Never fear, we’re here to word you up on what you need to know to get it right.
If accessing your camp involves any kind of beach driving or you’re just free camping on the shore, it is important you do your research first and know what the tides are doing before setting off. It’s no secret tides can swallow entire stretches of beach, effectively blocking access to and from camps at certain times of the day. If you phone a local shop, servo or pub ahead they’ll usually keep you up to speed. If you’re hauling a camper trailer you’ll also need to know whether or not it is camper-trailer friendly, and if there are any particular spots to look out for. Think about what you pack as a heavy load can go against you when you’re driving on sand and brush up on your sand driving skills before setting out with a load.
Choosing your site
There are many brilliant campgrounds set back on harder ground but if you’re looking for that real Robinson Crusoe experience with water views, there are a few things you can do make things easier.
You’ll need to find a site that’s protected from the wind. A bit of shrubbery, or up behind the main dunes and away from the traffic for when the wind picks up.
If you are behind the dunes, make sure it is not at a site that is driven over, as you’ll be hard to see especially at night.
Setting up camp
Sand provides unique challenges to campers but a sensible strategy will help.
If you’re towing a camper trailer, a few planks under the jockey wheel and tyres will make it easy for you to level up it up, and allow you to move it when you’re hitching up.
You’ll need sand pegs, which are wide and flat, as regular ones won’t hold up in the sand. Laying them on their side will make them more secure and help keep your ropes nice and taut. Alternatively, bags filled with sand also make good anchors.
Position your setup so the main awning is on the opposite side of the wind’s direction to block out the wind and stop it from getting in under the awning. Lowering the awnings slightly will improve the aerodynamics of your setup and minimise strain on securing ropes.
You’re pretty exposed when you’re camped out on sand, so comforts really matter. Happily, this is easy enough to do if you take a common sense approach.
The coast often attracts bugs and bugs love white light, so fit yellow lamps for use early in the evening when they tend to be at their worst.
Wind is a fact of beach camping but it wreaks havoc when it comes to fires, making them difficult to manage. So build a fire-pit to help protect your fire, and set it up behind your vehicle out of the wind.
A portable fire pit will also protect your fire and save the beach from coals. The great thing about these things is you can place them in a different place if the direction of the wind is expected to change. Make sure you bring your own fuel for your fire as the trees help hold the foreshore together.
It can get cool in the evenings at the beach if the wind picks up, so make sure you’ve got a warm hoodie or beanie and blanket.
And for the day, think about sunscreen, sunnies, hat, and lightweight long sleeve clothing to help combat exposure from the sun.
Beach camps out on the sand are less likely to provide amenities such as power and water so make sure you have good communications, sufficient food and water, especially if access to your site is restricted by the tides.
Having showering facilities to rinse off the salt and sand is all well and good but you can chew through a fair chunk of fresh water if you don’t take care. A DIY shower made from a 2L soft drink bottle and low flow shower head will do the job. And if you paint it black and leave it out for a few hours it will give the water a chance to heat up in the sun.
Finally, a broom and a small broom and shovel will help manage grit and sand at camp.
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