Q. We went camping on the beach last weekend. It was fun, but the wind blew all night long and made our tents flap like crazy. It was so loud that it was really hard to sleep. Any advice?
— Sleepy Seth, Point Clear, Ala.
A. Same thing used to happen to me. But there’s an easy solution. The first mistake most people make when beach camping is they fail to properly stake out their tent. Don’t stake your tent out and you’ll have less ventilation and with the slightest wind will have your tent flapping like mad. Sure, the sand makes it difficult to pitch a tent, but you still should always set the guy lines off your tent (and/or tent fly) solidly into the sand. Regular tent pegs won’t really work in the sand. Instead you can buy sand anchors at some outfitter stores — or better (and cheaper!) you can just use stuff you find around the beach like pieces of driftwood, rocks, etc. to anchor your tent. For instance, find a smallish branch, tie your guy line to it, and then bury the branch below the sand so the line is taut. That should hold it well. Repeat for each of the lines of your tent.
If the wind is really blowing, which happens a lot at the beach, I usually push up a wall of sand all around the base of my tent. Sometimes I even cover the edges of the fly with a couple inches of sand. That’ll hold your tent fly tight, minimize flapping, and helps stop sand from blowing inside your tent all night long.