Any outdoor enthusiast who ventured beyond a living room couch and Discovery channel knows the difference between a memorable outing and a crappy one often comes down to how well you are equipped for it.
Our OregonDiscovery Team went on hundreds of beachcombing and rockhounding adventures and learned what you need to make your trip fun and productive (not frustrating and miserable).
I took the guesswork out of what you need and saved you time shopping and reading annoying reviews from much less entertaining writers than me.
Buy once, buy quality, and let it serve you through the years and thousands of trips.
Here are our top-rated beachcombing gear picks for Oregon or anywhere else (Cancun, too; I am still looking for the Rolex in the sand!)
1. Portable Waterproof Dry Box
This is one of the most important, yet commonly forgotten, items (and cheap, too!)
A dry box is a dual-purpose piece of gear.
Firstly, you can use it to protect valuable items like phones, GPS navigators, and wallets from the rain and those pesky sneaker waves.
Secondly, you can use it to preserve the fragile and the most prized finds. While you can throw your agates into the backpack, items like sand dollars can easily be crushed.
Usually, what I do is have two sizes of boxes—a smaller one for electronics and the wallet and a larger one for items I find.
Make sure to get something to wrap fragile treasures you find because if one sand dollar crushes another one in a protective box, it defeats the purpose.
I either take clear rugs cut from old t-shirts or get some generic cheap cleaning cloths.
Seahorse 56 OEM Portable Waterproof Dry Box is the smaller of my two top choices.
I have it in bright yellow and keep my phone, wallet, GPS, and satellite phone (remove the antenna so it would fit in it).
This way, I can quickly identify it. Alternatively, you can use a clear plastic version. If it is see-through, others can find it fast and use it too if you are unconscious (to call for help using your satellite phone, not to steal your stuff).
Avlcoaky Waterproof Box Dry Box is a larger container I use it for items I find.
2. Sand Dipper Square Scoop
Sand Dipper Square Scoop might appear like a pet store item (well, actually, it is). But this is not to scoop your ferret litter box (for the love of all that is holy and sacred to a germophobe, use a separate one for your 4-legged family members).
This item has two purposes.
The most important one is to save you back from the constant bending. Believe me, it gets old even for me, an athlete with over a decade of experience.
And I am not talking about just picking stuff up. It is much easier to check if what you see is even worth bending for.
Imagine you see something shiny and hope it is Rolex (at least I do). You squat and find out it is just a gum wrapper or a can of Coors Light (empty!) covered in sand.
With a sand scoop, you can raffle the sand and get disappointed without additional calories spent on bending and squatting.
Also, it helps pick stuff from the hard-to-reach places. For example, to get things across the creek or reach out from the developed path without getting past the railing and on the sand.
Get a Mid-Adjustable one (it extends up to 41''!) for yourself. If you bring kids (or well-evolved dogs who can use it), get a Junior version.
3. Hazlewolke Metal Detector
Hazlewolke Metal Detector is THE BEAST of beachcombing.
It can find any type of metal, including gold and silver.
The best part is if you are dead-set on funding only expensive stuff (golden Rolex Daytona, I am coming for you!), you can set it up for those metals specifically.
Alternatively, you can be a normal person, unlike me, and look for all cool finds, from coins to chains and rings.
It is also cheap and reliable. I have mine in toxic green because I want everyone to know I am a professional.
PS Using a metal detector is legal without a permit in many spots on the ocean shore and at state parks. However, it is always a good idea to double-check the legalities of your specific area of choice. I don't want Officer Friendly to fine you.
4. CKG Sand Scoop for Metal Detecting
This is the ultimate upgrade to the shovel, which comes in a package with a metal detector above.
CKG Sand Scoop helps get the item you detected FAST! Quickly scoop the area and retrieve it.
At first sight, it might appear like an unnecessary tool. After all, you can just put your metal detector aside and use your hands and shovel to get the detected metal object out.
But now, imagine putting the detector down, kneeling, getting the shovel out, and digging. If you do it for every quarter, dime, and nickel, beachcombing will stop being fun pretty fast.
With the CKG Sand Scoop, you can get your items out FAST. You don't even have to put a metal detector aside. Have the tool in the opposite hand and get coins (and other things) faster than Mario on meth!
And the best part is this solid construction tool will last you a lifetime! I probably gathered enough quarters with it to pay for the sand scoop already!
5. Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles is a fantastic addition to your kit for hikes (beachcombing-related or not!).
This is a handy item for someone with a knee injury like me. While I can walk on a flat surface for a while with no problem, as soon as some elevation is involved and I have a load like a backpack full of items, my old injury surfaces.
In addition to current and past injuries, it is also helpful for people with artificial hips, knee replacement, and similar procedures.
However, even if you have nothing mentioned above, trekking poles can still be a lifesaver for extended hikes. You will decrease the pressure on various parts of your lower body and, as a result, no back, knee, foot, or hip pain the following day after the adventure!
My favorite part is that the poles are collapsible, weighing only 7.6 oz (215 grams) each!
This way, you can use it for the walk, fold it, put it away, and get your trusty metal detector and sand scoop!
Also, trekking poles double as safety equipment!
When you walk on or around the rocks, use poles for balance and traction.
If you are unlucky enough to be caught by a sneaker wave, ram them into the sand or gravel to remain stable and resist the water pulling you into the ocean.
6. Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag
While I use hard boxes for my beachcombing finds and smaller items, a large dry bag is mandatory for clothes and larger items like cameras.
I prefer the 30-liter model because it is small enough to function as an addition to your loadout or fit in a backpack, yet it is big enough to be a stand-alone backpack (it has shoulder straps, too!).
This is a great addition for any outing near water (it floats!) or where rain is expected. Frankly, the price is so laughable for a well-built and rugger piece of gear; I already want to pick up a few more after looking at the Amazon page (orange or yellow?)
So here it is.
Beachcombing might appear like an easy pastime; just wander around the beach and see what you can find. And you certainly can do it.
But with the right equipment, you will have much more fun and find more collectibles!
Our top-rated beachcombing gear picks will make the outing more enjoyable and productive.
If you need more general outdoor gear (for the beach and beyond), check out my guide here.
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