Top 13 items to bring beachcombing

beachcombing equipment

By Maureen Stanley

Do you have time to sneak away for a much-needed dose of Vitamin Sea? Before you head out the door, pack up these thirteen must-have items!


Even though you’re looking forward to enjoying peace and quiet, it’s important to stay safe. Always let someone know when you’re hitting the beach and be sure to bring your cell phone along. Should an emergency arise, help is just a phone call away, not back at your car. Pack a small backup charger and cable in case your “I’ll be back in an hour or two” turns into five. Store your phone in a waterproof phone pouch to avoid your phone accidentally getting wet or lost at sea. 


Bob Marley sang “In high tide and in low tide, I’ll be by your side.” It’s important to check the tide charts not only to find the optimal time for your sea glass hunt, but for safety in areas with limited access based on tides. Go high tech and download an app such as Tide Charts by 7th Gear or Tides Near Me by Shelter Island Mapping Company, along with a weather and map app. Load up your phone before you go with the best beachcombing apps.


Go ahead and channel your inner 1990s self with a new and improved fanny pack. Adjustable Neoprene waist packs are perfect to keep your phone and keys safe, and for carrying extras like lip balm, a camera, money, and a snack bar. Search online for “runner fanny pack” for a wide variety of colors and styles. Don’t forget your scrunchie!


Sun damage happens year-round, and you should wear sunblock every day—even when it’s cold outside. Be sure to apply a quality sunblock with broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection that has an SPF of 30 or higher to exposed skin. 


Keep those peepers protected! Polarized sunglasses with 100% UV protection not only protect your eyes but help cut out the glare. If you’re prone to losing your glasses from all of that stooping, add a sunglass retainer (also known as a tether or sunglass strap). Complete your look with a baseball cap, sun visor with large brim, or a snazzy fedora.


Leave the plastic bags at home! Mesh bags are perfect for storing your sea glass and shells. SunSport Canvas beachcomber wristlets and bags are handmade in the U.S.A. of an all-weather, tear resistant, fine open weave mesh that allows the sand and sea to drain.  


Flip flops are fabulous but can be easily lost in the tide or when walking in rocky terrain. A pair of water shoes or aqua socks will provide stability with an anti-slip sole without getting waterlogged. Have the flip flops handy to change into when you’re heading home!


If you’ve seen a person using a metal detector than you probably know about the hard-working sand sifter. Sand sifters are excellent for (you guessed it!) sifting sand to reveal beach glass. Sand sifters come in a wide range, from hand-held to telescoping poles.


Raid your gardening supplies! A hand-held garden rake is perfect for combing through shells, pebbles, and stones. Grab a mini rake and store it in your beach tote.


It’s easy to lose track of time and once the breathtaking sunset goes down, you don’t want to be stranded on the beach or on your way back to the parked car. Bring a small flashlight or use the one on your phone to light the way.


As beachcombers, we are gifted with the beauty of the ocean, sea glass, shells, and other treasures. Give back to Mother Nature during your outings by collecting trash that has been left behind. Plastic bags, beverage bottles and straws are a danger to wildlife and our ecosystem. Pack a disposable bag to collect trash and dispose of in a beach trash can or after you leave the beach.

Take beach clean-up one step further by participating in an Ocean Conservancy’s “Fighting for Trash Free Seas” International Coastal Cleanup. This is the world’s largest volunteer effort on behalf of ocean health.


How many times have you spotted a flash of glass nestled in the surf and gone after it? Every time! Whether the tide sneaks up on you or you decide to take a quick dip, bring along a beach towel to dry off and protect your car seat on the drive home.


Friends that beachcomb together, stay together! Whether you bring your two legged or four-legged best friend, it’s always wonderful to beachcomb with a buddy. read about Beach Safety for Your Dog.

beach bag with beachcombing gear

Heading on a beachcombing vacation?

Check out what to bring on our Ultimate Beachcombing Packing List, learn how to Plan a Beachcombing Getaway with friends, and get tips on How to Plan the Perfect Glassing Vacation.

This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine July/August 2019 issue.

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1 comment

I use the AARP insulated water bottle bags to seaglass pick. I have picked up 10 of these at thrift shops and give them to my family and friends. We all use them, put bottle of water and seaglass. They don’t leak . They are perfect. Keep 2 in my car.

LORRAINE RICHARD February 12, 2020

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