Surviving Beach Camping
I love camping. Yet despite having carried around a tent in my bag for nearly 18 months. There has only been a couple situations where I have used it.
Arriving on Kapas Island, there was anticipation. Kapas Island is on the east coast of Malaysia and I knew there was some campgrounds available on the island.
The following are some thoughts having camped right on one of Malaysia’s best stretch of beaches for six nights about preparing for beach camping rather than on the solid ground.
Bring A Door Mat
Beaches are sandy. Yep, I’m a rocket scientist.
Unfortunately, that also means sand gets everywhere regardless of how well you think you’re getting it off you before you enter your tent.
I really wish there was something I could have popped in front of the entrance to get the sand off. Every time I entered, I inevitably transferred some sand into the tent from my legs. After six days there was a mini beach inside the tent. This is one of the few downfalls to beach camping.
Figure Out The Bug Situation Fast
Depending on where in the world your beach camping you’ll have different bug and insect situations. In New Zealand, sand flies are a pain at the beach but on Kapas Island we had a swamp like area behind the campsite so it was mosquito prone area.
Every evening the two hours before sunset the mosquitos were out in force so in addition to applying repellent, we made sure to avoid the tent area before sunset. Snorkeling was a good plan!
Will You Need Backup Accommodation?
Given you’ve read this far, you like camping. Camping can get old however, even the most seasoned of campers appreciate a regular bed from time to time. Especially if the weather turns south.
On our first full day. We scouted out the different accommodation options on the island in case we got sick of camping. Turns out the weekend days in the state of Terengganu are Friday and Saturday therefore most places were booked out until Sunday.
In the end we lasted all six nights in the tent, but would have been miserable if we got sick of camping and then had no choice but to camp again due to nearby accommodation being booked.
Who Are Your Tent Neighbors?
Arriving on Kapas Island, Longsha Campground was the popular campground and where we first went. We quickly were turned off however as the tents were literally lined up peg to peg. Even if you have the most considerate of neighbors, the naturally rustling of a tent is going to be overheard.
We moved onto the Captain Longhouse campsite and found a spot next to a couple who had been camping for most of the last two years throughout Europe and Asia. We knew this couple were going to be respectful after a quick chat and happily pitched our tent beside them.
If we were looking for party animals, we would have stayed at Longsha and fitted right in.
Make The Sand Each Day Under Your Tent Smooth
Sand definitely has two personalities. When you haven’t experienced the feeling of sand between your toes, it’s heavenly, yet when you roll over at 2am and find your back in a divot of sand, it’s not so heavenly. We learned quickly each afternoon to lift up the tent and using a rake we found nearby, make the ground even. The sand would never be perfect, but this certainly helped a lot with comfort.
How Waterproof Is Your Tent?
Tent technology is awesome, with materials getting lighter yet more durable.
Unfortunately, a good quality tent may not be within your budget, like myself. Using a cheap $20 tent, I knew it wasn’t waterproof (water resistant, somewhat) and given it was still the rainy season on the east coast of Malaysia, having some kind of shelter was going to be important.
We pitched our tent under the longhouse which was perfect. We had a laugh one night when heavy rain unleashed hell on the island. The next morning many sleeping bags from Longsha were out on the sand to get dry.
Think About The Food Situation Carefully
This goes for all camping really but ants, as small as they are smart.
We brought peanut butter and jam to make sandwiches, making sure to close the lids carefully after use. Little did we know there was a smidgen of jam juice on the outside of the jar attracted them while we were out snorkeling and they still managed to weasel their way into the jam itself!
If you’re bring food that will be used over multiple days, bring highly sealable containers.
Beach camping is definitely a different kettle of fish to your traditional camping in a forest and ultimately it’s more or less the same.
Have you been beach camping before? Let me know any hacks you know of (or found out the hard way).
Guest post from Jub at http://www.tikitouringkiwi.com
Jub is a typical kiwi who loves the outdoors. He has been travelling the world since 2013 and has slowly started to realise museums are not the place for him. Rather, he would be out there playing and watching sports while going on adventures for a week at a time (like camping on Kapas Island).
You can find his blog at http://www.tikitouringkiwi.com
If you’d like to have a post published contact Jeff@myknowledguy.com