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Beach Camping

How To Truck Camp On the Beach

Bob Gray on required beach equipment, beach driving, beach protocols, beach fishing, beach friends, and recommended post beach rig cleaning.  First tip: Zip Wax everything.

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We have always been beach people.  We go boating, fishing, and take vacations up and down the coast.  We even owned a house by the sea.

Bob Gray on required beach equipment, beach driving, beach protocols, beach fishing, beach friends, and recommended post beach rig cleaning.  First tip: Zip Wax everything.

We’ve long been sea loving people who boat, fish, and take vacations up and down the Mid-Atlantic coast.  We even owned a beach house.  So it’s no surprise that when my wife and I spotted truck campers on a misty fall Cape Cod beach several years ago, we knew immediately it was something we just had to try.  Already shopping for a new pick up for plowing snow, I added truck camper research to my quest and was off and running.

Truck Camper Magazine and RV.net were terrific newbie resources where I read everything I could find about truck camping rigs.  I directly credit seasoned and knowledgeable beach campers Mike Layton and Ron Humphress, and their Truck Camper Magazine articles, for helping usher us into the world of beach camping and enjoy it to the extent that we do today.

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After narrowing our search to a new Ford F350 diesel, and determining that a Lance 950S fit our needs best (and was within truck payload), we inked a deal with Parkview RV in Smyrna, Delaware and began our new adventure.  We used that great camper for two seasons, quickly realizing that our new beach camping hobby required extra space and, more importantly, additional fresh, grey, and black water capacity and upgraded to our current Lance 992.

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Above: Deirdre and Bob Gray enjoying their time on the beach

Here are some beach camping basics that we’ve learned from advice, experience, and old fashioned trial-and-error!

Each Beach Has a Protocol

Every beach we’ve been to has different rules, different vehicle requirements, and definitely their own protocol.  They also all have different fees and different limits on how many days you can stay out on the beach.

For any beach you plant to visit, check the beach website before you go for specific rules and regulations and possible closures.  And don’t be afraid to talk to the people on the beach – they will help you out.

Our very first beach camping outing was to Assateague National Seashore a few years ago.  As we pulled up and began to air down, fellow truck campers and friends Ron and Michelle Humphress pulled up right behind us.  Realizing that we’re kind of new at this game, they cheerfully greeted us with “This is how it’s done,” and offered to lead us down the beach.  We camped with them for the weekend, learning a lot about best beach camping practices for Assateague.

Essential Beach Equipment

Every beach camper will tell you, it’s not “if” you’ll get stuck in the sand, it’s “when” you’ll get stuck in the sand.  Be prepared.  The following equipment list is applicable to most beaches.  Again, check with each beach website you plan of visiting before planning a trip, as they may have their own equipment requirements for their beach.

1. Heavy Duty Tow Strap – Go to an auto parts store (like Pep Boys) and buy a heavy duty wet tow strap.  Try to get the longest one you can, 10-feet at a minimum.  It’s easier for another vehicle to pull you from farther away.  In most cases, if you can get moved five to six inches, you can climb out of hole.

2. Vehicle Jack – A regular car jack won’t do for a truck camper rig.  A heavy duty jack is a smart investment.  I carry a hydraulic 10-ton bottle jack.

3. Boards – The minimum requirement is usually a 12”x12”x 3/4-inch plywood board.  I carry four 3-foot, 1” thick plywood boards on my cooler rack.  I have used them only once to jack my vehicle up out of the sand without assistance.  I dug out, put the boards in front of my wheels and drove right out.  You can also use these boards under your camper jacks.

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