What to Pack for a Coastal Hike

Summer has returned and the time for planning camping trips along coasts is now. With beaches, forests and mountains covering the coastlines, the variation of scenery keeps any attentive hiker captivated. However, before you journey towards the roar of the Pacific or Atlantic, make sure to pack accordingly. Lacking the proper supplies could leave one susceptible to dehydration and unexpected tides. The following checklist will help first-timers gear up, and remind experienced hikers about what they forgot.

Tide Tables
If you prefer not being swept out to sea while camping on the coast consider bringing a tide table. These tables estimate what time to expect low and high tides based off the hour, season, and lunar cycle. Although some variations may be caused by weather conditions, this tool remains an essential for anyone hiking on shores.

Typically, coastal hikes require trekking through brush and trail to reach the sandier portions. Even then, places like Cutler Coast and Tillamook Head Trail have rocky ledges jutting into an ocean that only the toughest feet could handle “comfortably” barefoot. Hiking footwear grants wearers access through most conditions. But, once you’ve arrived at the beach, sandals may come in handy.

It seems the smallest items are always the easiest to forget. However, a body covered in sunburns often struggles the remainder of the trip, thirsting for shade and sparking after back pats (in such a condition, these never feel as “encouraging” as the patter intended). Check the SPF (30-50) to see if the block is appropriate for conditions and that it offers full-spectrum protection.

Pots and Pumps
Load up the pack with a pot and compactable cup—you know, the finer outdoor kitchenware–to boil water and cook dry food for overnight stays. Also, having water purification devices such as pumps and LifeStraws will make surrounding streams and creeks more accessible for drinking.

Sleeping Bag
Does sleeping outside beside a fire with the ocean in the background sound appealing? The Lost Coast remains warm enough during summer months for hikers to sprawl out on the beach and watch the stars all night. Tents may suit campers heading to Washington’s Shi Shi Beach whose temperature fluctuates with those chilly Northwest gusts.