Nehalem Bay Camping in the Pacific NW


Pacific NW style… Prepare for rain and be happy if it doesn’t! 🙂


I spent weeks preparing for camping. Shopping, food prep, laundry, packing and more packing. I’m starting to feel like all the prep for only 2 nights of camping is not enough time camping! My body on the other hand is definitely ready to sleep in my own bed after two nights on the air mattress with a wiggly teething toddler. That being said it did not rain (whoot!) and we had a blast!


A couple years ago I declared that I would never camp at the beach again, I had actually said I never wanted to go camping again but I knew that wouldn’t stick. It wasn’t the campground (which I actually liked) it was the fact that it was 80 plus degrees in Portland and 50 something and drizzling practically the whole time, it got freezing cold at night, I was 3 months pregnant with our second and our first (who was 16 months at the time) was teething and had started to get a cold after we got there. We also were just not prepared.


Fast forward to now and we were invited to camp at Nehalem Bay State Park with some friends so I decided to suck it up and get ready for camping at the beach. With three kids in tow I am all about being prepared, which is why we pack so much stuff! This is what we have found successful (or not), I feel like a lot of this stuff is known about but who knows maybe you need a little guidance on your camping set up and prep so hopefully this helps someone 🙂


Camp set up: Hammocks, table to eat at and kitchen area

Camp Kitchen

Camp Kitchen

Before you go camping check the weather of the location you will be at! It will help guide how much you pack of what, I always bring a bit of everything but the weather definitely sways what to bring extras of.

Clothes List

  • tank top, t-shirt & long sleeve shirt (one of each per day)
  • pants (my girls like leggings), at least one pair for each day
  • comfy fuzzy pants (like sweat pants or similar, one pair per day)
  • shorts (one pair per day)
  • underwear (several per day)
  • socks (2 per day or more if its going to be rainy)
  • rain boots
  • sandals
  • tennis shoes
  • warm hat
  • gloves
  • warm coat
  • light rain jacket
  • sweatshirt/hoodie
  • swim suits
Kids sleeping

Kids sleeping


Carver Naping

The girls have sleeping bags and this trip shared an air mattress but I found they wiggled around so much that would end up on the ground by morning. I’m thinking I should make something to keep them on the air mattress or just stick to sleeping pads. I bring a couple extra warm blankets to put on top of them at night too but if its warmer that isn’t needed. My husband and I share an air mattress and 2 sleeping bags zipped together, I have found that I stay the warmest with just one layer but sometimes I wear a hoodie if its a bit cold. I also like to sleep in a warm hat that I can slip over my eyes to keep out the morning sun.

Good use of kitchen torch

Good use of kitchen torch



Gear (for family of 5)

  • large tent
  • 2 air mattresses
  • 4 sleeping bags (2 kids, 2 adults)
  • extra warm blankets
  • pillows
  • canopy and/or screened in tent
  • big cooler (we borrowed a 50 qt one but plan on getting a bigger one around 70 qt)
  • fold up table
  • 2 outdoor table cloths
  • propane lantern
  • 3 flashlights & 2 head lamps
  • propane camp stove & propane tanks
  • butane camp stove (our favorite) & butane tanks
  • lighters (or kitchen torch)
  • air pot (like this one but I got mine at walmart for $17)
  • cast iron skillet
  • cheap metal tea pot
  • a couple old pots and pans of various sizes
  • Large bowl for mixing pancake batter etc…
  • plastic and metal spatulas
  • large metal tongs
  • can opener
  • wine bottle opener
  • silver or plastic ware
  • measuring cups
  • 2 plastic cutting boards
  • paper plates
  • paper “boats” (I get them at Costco)
  • foil and plastic zip lock bags
  • 2 plastic tubs for washing dishes, dish soap, sponge
  • ove glove and pot holders
  • 2 extendable sticks for hot dogs and marshmallows
  • 2 hammocks
  • 4 camping chairs
  • first aid kit
  • axe
  • rope
  • infant/childrens ibuprofen & thermometer
  • kids scooters and helmets
Hammocks are a must!

Hammocks are a must!

If the site has electricity I bring some extras:

  • twinkle lights & light
  • stereo (with ipod plugged in)
  • heater (we brought one for the tent for at night but ended up not using it)

We have large rubber bins and a plastic drawer unit that holds all of our camping stuff, it is supposed to stay set up so we can just pack and go but I always go through it to make sure everything is clean and there.

I’d really like to get a cast iron griddle for the camp stove, we had a steel one but it had warped and was either too hot too fast or just too cold (we actually threw it away this trip since it was just not working) and I’d like to bring ear plugs, I am such a light sleeper that maybe that would help.

Even in all the prep and planning I still forgot some things, our bathroom bag was forgotten with our tooth brushes, tooth paste and most importantly my contact case/cleaner and glasses. BIG OOPS! I wear hard contacts and can not sleep in them, next time I am just going to put my contact stuff in my purse which I would never leave with out. I also didn’t grab pillows this time and I now know they are definitely needed.

I brought a couple things which we ended up not using, one of them being a Pinterest thing to fill up empty tp rolls with dryer lint for a fire starter, we didn’t use them and maybe if it had been wetter out we would have but I don’t think I’m going to make them again. I also brought a second smaller tent (purchased years ago at a garage sale) I set it up for the kids to play in so they wouldn’t get my big tent dirty but with the weather being so nice I didn’t even see them get in it! I do think if it was rainy they would have played in it and do plan on always bringing it, just not setting it up unless I know its going to be used.

Amazing sunset!

Amazing sunset!

We stayed at Nehalem Bay State Park in sites B16, B18 & B20 for 8 adults and 7 kids, we could have fit a couple more small tents or a big tent. we were convienetly located to the bathroom and great play ground and also close to the beach access. I can’t wait for our next camping trip! I better get on planning it 🙂


I might write another post about our food and camping menu but I’m still working out what works for us so that might be next time.



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