Coastal Camping Tips - The Camping and Caravanning Club
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Coastal Camping Tips

When it comes to camping experiences, it’s hard to beat waking up just a stone’s throw away from rolling dunes or a beautiful bay.

Whether it’s a family getaway in a picture-perfect Cornish village, or a walking adventure through the Western Isles, camping makes the UK’s treasure trove of coastal locations accessible and affordable, whatever the weather.

There is, of course, the chance of rainy or windy conditions to factor in, but inclement weather doesn’t have to mean putting your coastal camping adventure on hold. Nonetheless, it’s important to plan ahead to make sure you and your family stay safe and comfortable. So, from choosing the right kit through to pitching up on a wet and windy day, here are our top tips for an enjoyable coastal camping trip.

1. Ensure your tent is suitable for wet conditions

Does your current tent have what it takes to deal with wet, blustery conditions? ‘Weatherproof’ tents are often only suitable for dealing with occasional or light rainfall. What you really need for a coastal adventure is a ‘waterproof’ tent, and for this, it’s vital to check the strength of your tent’s PU waterproof coating.

You can do this by looking at the tent’s Hydrostatic Head (HH) rating. In simple terms, the higher the rating, the more rainfall the tent can cope with, without water penetrating the weave of the nylon fabric. Technically, a tent with a HH rating of 1000 or above can be described by manufacturers as waterproof, but look for a model with a HH rating of at least 3000 for a reassuring level of protection against heavy rainfall.

2. Create a storage area for wet gear

Even if there are just two of you camping, a slightly larger family-size tent can be ideal for wet, coastal camping; this is because they often come with a tent porch, which provides the ideal area for storing wet and sandy boots and outer clothing. All of this can go a long way in keeping the inside of your tent clean and dry. It’s also worth having a ‘no shoes inside the tent’ rule, and bring with you a generous supply of plastic bags and bin liners for storing wet clothes and keeping kindling and other equipment dry.

If this means investing in a new tent, it’s worth remembering that a good-quality structure will serve you well for many years of camping. What’s more, with camping insurance in place, you can protect not just the tent itself, but also your holiday should your tent become unusable or stolen whilst away. So a waterproof, practical tent can be a wise investment for multiple coastal camping adventures.

3. Useful equipment for coastal trips

A sea breeze tends to come with the territory in coastal locations. The good news is that with the help of one or two strategically placed windbreaks, it’s easy to shelter your pitch. If high winds are expected, look for a windbreak with reinforced poles and guylines. What’s more, a windbreak can come in very useful on family seaside trips; so it’s worth looking for one that comes with a carry case.

While we don’t need to tell you that barbecuing inside isn’t something we’d recommend for a number of health and safety reasons, a small pop-up gazebo can be ideal if you need to cover a small stove or a prep area. As an alternative to sitting outside on an evening, you might also want to consider a day room tent, which is essentially a separate ‘utility tent’ with plenty of interior height, typically with daylight panels across the roof. This type of structure can be great for meal times, and entertaining — or simply for sitting back and relaxing, whatever the weather. 

If a little rain isn’t going to stop you getting out and exploring the coast, remember to pack a change of dry clothes for each day of the break. For longer holidays, drying rooms and laundry services available on some campsites can be useful too, so look out for what facilities are available at your campsite in advance. A ‘goody bag’ of toys and games for the children can be invaluable — as can a tablet computer loaded with their favourite games and movies — for those rainy days when you can’t get out and explore.

4. Pitching up with safety in mind

Broken seams are the most frequent cause of tent leaks, so inspect the seams before you set off, particularly if you’re using an older tent. Apply a seam grip adhesive to reattach any fraying seam tape, and in cases where the tape has deteriorated significantly, remove the tape completely before applying seam grip directly along the seam itself.

Rainwater will accumulate in dips and hollows, so always aim to pitch on level ground. Your ground sheet is essential for preventing water seepage and condensation, so when pitching up, always make sure it is tucked tightly into the seams and that it doesn’t extend further than the footprint of the tent. Ensure that the tent is pulled taut, as this prevents water pooling — which can damage the fabric — and also makes the structure as rigid as possible, so it’s able to fend off gusts more effectively.

Are you ready to explore some of the UK’s best coastal camping spots? Search over 2,000 sites in our campsite directory today.