Essential Beach Camping Gear

We spent about 8 months traveling through Mexico and Central America.  We love beaches, and a large portion of our time was spent camping on beaches.  What was the beach camping gear we loved to have and what would we have changed?

Moby and Hero parked on a beach along the Nicoya Peninsula.

Moby and Hero parked on a beach along the Nicoya Peninsula.

Get a Good Brush / Hand Broom

The first step to keeping sand on the beach and out of your camper is to buy a good hand broom.  You can use it to sweep the sand off your feet before you climb in your camper, and when sand gets inside (it inevitably will), you can use it to sweep it out.

Get a Good Bucket or Dish Pan

When we can’t get all the sand off our feet with the hand broom, we will fill a bucket or dish pan with sea water and leave it next to the steps of the camper.  Just dip your feet, let the sand wash away, and you are set.  Since the dish pans are rectangular, they generally work better.

Rubber Door Mat

The final piece of the puzzle for keeping sand out of the camper was getting a floor mat.  We found one in a Mega on the Baja Peninsula and have used it ever since (on and off the beach).

12-volt Vacuum Cleaner


When sand inevitably gets in the camper, we use a 12-volt vacuum cleaner to get it out.  Side note: Carpe Viam told us a little trick if your camper ever fills up with little bugs.  Just use your 12-volt hand-vac and suck them up!  Shove a paper towel in the front to keep them from escaping.

Beach Umbrella

I know what you’re thinking: “but my rig has an awning!”  Yeah, we’ve got an awning too, but we would trade it any day for a beach umbrella.  Why?  You can take the beach umbrella anywhere you want on the beach to create a nice little patch of shade.  The awning is stuck to your rig and is likely way more expensive than a simple beach umbrella.

Solar Shower

After a day on the beach when you are covered with salt from the ocean, sun screen, and sand, it sure does feel nice to take a shower (even if it is a salt water shower).  We wish we had brought a solar shower along with us.  Since we don’t have one, we just snake the XPCamper shower outside and use it instead, but we put purified water into it, a solar shower with unpurified water would have been great.  Either way, you’ll appreciate it if you have a way of rinsing off at the end of the day.

Beach Towels

If you have space, bring a beach towel.  We use smaller micro-fiber towels for showering, but there’s nothing like a big beach towel when you just want to lay out on the sand.

We've loved our beach towels and camping chairs while hanging out on the beach.  Now if only we had a beach umbrella!

We’ve loved our beach towels and camping chairs while hanging out on the beach. Now if only we had a beach umbrella!

Camp/Beach Chairs

We have some camp chairs similar to this one.  Works equally good around a camp fire or on a beach.

ENO Double Nest Hammock

Erica chillaxes in our ENO Double Nest Hammock.

Erica chillaxes in our ENO Double Nest Hammock.

This great little hammock packs down so small it will hardly use any of your storage room.  In addition, these straps make the setup and tear down take only minutes.  We have used this everywhere, although it is easier to use on jungle beaches that have lots of palm trees.

12-Volt Fan

When it’s hot and you are trying to sleep, there is nothing like having a fan to help cool you off.  I highly recommend purchasing a 12-Volt fan.  We personally have the Endless Breeze by Fantastic Fan and we love it (and use it all the time).  There are also some interesting options for USB-powered fans (so you can power it off a USB-battery pack or even your laptop if you are desperate).

Other Gear Advice

  • Bring a couple pairs of cheap sunglasses.  We personally like the sunglasses from REI that are polarized.
  • Bring at least two swimming suits.  Erica has four and she uses every one.
  • Bring lots of sunscreen — for some reason it is more expensive outside the USA.
  • Bring a good hat.