Camping is pretty awesome, right? It allows people to head out into the wilderness, explore the natural world, get back to basics, and test their ultimate survival skills. While many people assume that camping is pretty boring, it’s fair to say that they couldn’t be any more wrong. After all, camping is so much more than sitting in a tent and watching the rain form a giant puddle in front of you. Camping is all about orienteering, exploring through woodland and natural landscapes, cooking with basic rations, fishing for food, and creating your own bed for the night. It’s perfect for adventurers.
However, anyone who has been camping will know that there are so many things to remember, and that’s not just in regards to the health and safety of the campers involved. Camping requires a huge number of materials and items that will make the whole process more efficient – and it can be easy to forget them. You don’t have to worry about all this, though. As long as you take note of these brilliant camping hacks, the only thing you need to focus on is enjoying the wilderness.
Pump up the volume
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than heading out into the natural world and listening to Mother Nature’s very own playlist. Hearing the birds chirp, the leaves rustle, and the stream rambling can put you straight to sleep – but there are many people who also like to listen to their own music to pass the time.
If you don’t want to take an expensive speaker on your camping trip, then we don’t blame you. Simply place your phone into a cup and let the plastic pump up the volume on its own.
Sip on that caffeine
If you’re the kind of person that can’t start their day without a delicious cup o’ Joe, then you might be a little concerned about your camping coffee situation. After all, you can’t grind up your beans and froth up your milk in the woods, can you?
Well, not quite, but you can make your very own filtered coffee. To do this, all you have to do is wrap your favorite coffee in a filter paper and tie dental floss around the top. Then, simply dunk it in like a teabag and taste the magic.
Keep them busy
Many families head into the wilderness every single year to enjoy some quality time together, but there’s no doubt about the fact that kids can get bored pretty quickly. If you want to keep them busy, it might be an idea to create your very own scavenger hunt from scratch.
This is pretty easy, and all you have to do is create a list of things that you want them to find, such as a pine cone or a bird feather. Provide them with this list and a bag, and let them make the most of their scavenger hunt.
Light up the night
When getting ready for a camping trip, it can be easy to buy yourself a head torch and assume that you’re ready for any nighttime adventure to the restroom. However, if you have ever used one of these things, you’ll know that they only really provide you with a small beam of light.
If you want to light up the whole night, wrap the head torch around a gallon of water. This will light up the large bottle and allow you to see much more clearly.
Floating to the surface
Although a camping trip allows you to head into nature and explore the wild outdoors, it’s important to keep your valuables on your person at the same time – because you’re going to need them when you go home.
The last thing you want is for your keys to drop into a lake or stream, but this is the perfect hack to stop them from sinking to the bottom. All you have to do is attach your keys to a cork, and they should float right to the surface.
Easier by the dozen
Being able to light a fire is one of the most important aspects of camping, as this will not only keep you warm but will also allow you to cook your food. Yet, who wants to carry a whole bag of coal with them to the camping site? Definitely not us.
Instead of taking the whole bag with you, fill up an egg carton with these coals before you leave, and leave the bag at home. Of course, you might need a few egg cartons, depending on the length of your camping adventure.
Staying minty fresh
Camping can make you feel pretty dirty and grimy, so it should come as no surprise to learn that most people start their day with a good tooth cleaning. However, there’s no need to take a whole bottle of toothpaste with you, as this will just take up space in your rucksack.
If you want to create single-use packets of toothpaste, all you have to do is cut up small sections of plastic straws, seal up one end using a lighter, fill with a small amount of toothpaste, and then seal up the other end.
Everybody loves pancakes
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s even more important when pancake mixture is involved. It’s pretty impractical to attempt to make pancake batter while in the midst of your camping adventure, though, as this will create all kinds of mess.
So, make it at home instead! When you have made your mixture, simply fill an empty (and clean) tomato ketchup bottle with it, and store it away in your bag. When you’re ready to eat them, just squeeze the mixture into a pan for ready-made pancakes
Hooking them up
Camping can make your clothes, your tent, and even your personal belongings pretty messy and dirty, but it’s always a good idea to keep your clean cooking utensils away from any kind of bacteria. Plus, you don’t want to put all of your cleaning to waste within just a few short seconds.
To ensure that your cooking utensils stay clean, simply tie a belt around a nearby tree and hang some hooks from the belt strap. Then, you can hang your utensils from these hooks.
Holding that paper
There’s no doubt about the fact that camping isn’t glamorous, and this is pretty obvious when it comes to using the restroom. If your campground doesn’t come complete with restrooms – or if you just get caught short in the woods – sometimes there’s no option but to do your business in the wilderness.
Keeping your toilet paper dry and clean can be difficult when there’s mud all around you, though. So, slice into a circular pot and feed the paper through it when you need it.
A sweet treat
Over the years, s’mores have become synonymous with camping. After all, there’s nothing better than roasting marshmallows over an open flame and sandwiching it between melting chocolate and graham crackers. But did you know that there’s another sweet treat that’s making the rounds?
It turns out that roasting a Starburst candy on a fire can satisfy all of your sweet cravings and make a delicious mess at the same time. If you can’t enjoy a huge amount of sugar while camping, then when can you?
The hard ground
One of the main reasons why some people don’t like to go camping is because they don’t want to sleep on the hard ground, and you can’t exactly take a queen-size mattress into the wilderness with you. That doesn’t mean that you have to rest your head on dirt, though.
Foam tiles are normally used in children’s play areas, but they are actually perfect when it comes to your camping adventures. Not only are they soft and comfortable, but you can make them into any size you want.
A quick meal
Many people assume that rice is the ultimate camping food, but that really isn’t the case. Sure, rice is pretty delicious and can be used for any meal – but it also takes a long time to cook.
Couscous is very similar to rice but takes a fraction of the time to cook, which is why it might be a good idea to eat couscous on your next camping adventure instead. To cook it, simply pour boiling water over a bowl of couscous and let it sit for around five minutes.
Starting a fire
For rookie campers, starting a fire can be one of the most difficult things they have to accomplish, but it shouldn’t be that way. Starting a fire is the hard part, but keeping it going is pretty easy, which means that you just need something to get the flames roaring.
Thankfully, you can do this if you have a bag of Doritos to hand. When you set a pile of these chips on fire, they will burn pretty impressively, and leave you enough time to pile on the wood to keep the fire burning.
Adding some spice
It’s easy to stick to simple and bland foods when you go camping, and that’s largely because people don’t want to fill their bags with too many ingredients. However, it really doesn’t take a lot to take a few herbs and spices with you to add some pizzazz to your meals.
If you have any old Tic Tac boxes that you no longer need, simply wash them out and fill them with your favorite herbs and spices. Just remember to label them, so you don’t get confused and put salt in your coffee.
Keeping things cool
Although most people take coolers with them on their camping trips, there’s no harm in keeping your food and your drinks extra cool. Filling them with ice can make everything very wet, though, and you don’t want that.
So, you can feed two birds with one seed by filling gallon jugs full of water and then freezing them just before you leave. Not only will that keep your cooler extra cool, but it will also provide you with extra drinking water if you need it.
Wash your clothes
There’s a high chance that you have a plunger just sitting in your garage because most of us have very little use for one. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take one on your camping trip, though. A plunger can actually come in pretty handy if you want to wash your clothes.
That’s because you can fill a bucket of water with your clothes and some detergent, and then use the plunger to move everything around and rid your clothes of any dirt.
Keep the mud away
This might be a trick that you use when you’re packing your luggage for a luxury vacation, but storing your shoes in shower caps can also be a great tool when you’re camping.
At the end of a camping trip, your shoes are going to be pretty muddy, and the last thing you want is for that mud to go all over your clothes or all over your car. By wrapping them up in a shower cap, you can ensure that the mud stays where it’s supposed to be.
Repelling the mosquitoes
Exploring the great outdoors and sleeping under the stars is pretty exciting until the mosquitoes come out to play. These pesky critters can leave you itchy and red, and they aren’t too fun to be around.
Of course, you could just spray yourself in man-made mosquito repellent, but most of these products are full of chemicals. If you want something more natural, simply burn some sage on your campfire and let the natural herb keep the flies away. It will work wonders and leave you bite-free.
Lighting things up
There’s no electricity in the woods, which is why you need to make your own light when you go camping. While you can use things like solar-paneled lights and flashlights, there’s something so natural and magical about candles.
If you want to surround your campsite with natural firelight, drill a hole into the bottom of your candles and then stick them on the top of craft dowels. This way, you can raise them off the ground around you and keep everything as light as possible. This can also keep animals away.
Mark your route
When you head off into the wilderness, you normally lose signal. Because of this, it’s important to mark out the way that you are walking to ensure that you don’t get lost. After all, there’s no phoning for help when you’re in the middle of the woods.
One of the best ways to do this is to use biodegradable tape that you can wrap around branches. Not only does this keep you on track, but it’s also kind to the environment.
Camping chairs are great, but most people find that they either break after one camping trip or that they become so caked in mud that it’s easier to just throw them in the trash. What if you could sit tight in a car hammock, though?
These things are incredible and are designed for those who want to stay comfortable while they’re camping. They attach to the back of your car and are lifted off the ground, so they don’t get ruined. They look pretty awesome, right?
One of the best items that you could take on your camping trip is a roll – or two – of duct tape. This stuff will keep you safe in various situations and get you out of some sticky situations every now and then. If you’ll excuse the pun.
For example, duct tape can be used to prevent blisters on the back of your heel, it can be used to tape up your broken shoes, it can be used to fix any holes you may have in your tent, and it has multiple uses.
There are many dangers out there in the woods, which is why it’s important to take a first aid kit with you wherever you go. This doesn’t have to be a huge trunk full of medical supplies, though.
If you want something that’s efficient but also won’t take up a lot of space, then it might be an idea to pack a mini first aid kit in a prescription bottle. You can stuff this with band-aids, bug repellent, ointments, and more.
Wash with ease
Camping can make you want to shower more often than you normally would, but that’s not always possible when you’re staying on a campsite with basic washing facilities. That doesn’t mean that you can’t wash yourself at all, though.
If you want to wash your hands on the go, you probably won’t want to take a whole bar of soap around with you. Instead, simply slice up a larger bar with a vegetable peeler to create smaller bars that you can take with you.
A cracking idea
Eggs are a great source of protein when you’re rambling through the woods and embracing the great outdoors, but the last thing you want is to carry fragile eggs in your backpack with you.
There is an easy way to continue eating eggs on your camping adventures, and it involves some eggs and a plastic bottle. Before you leave for your camping trip, crack as many eggs as you can into the bottle and make sure that the lid is on tight. Then, you can pour the mixture out when you want to.
Keeping things sanitary
When you’re touching bugs, pushing branches out of your path, and taking a drink from a freshwater stream, you’re going to want to wash your hands before making dinner. So, how about making your own handwashing station?
It’s important to keep things sanitary when you’re camping, and you can do this by hanging a jug of water from a tree. From that same jug, hang a bar of soap wrapped in a pair of pantyhose. Then, all you have to do is wash away the dirt.
Make your wet bag
It’s easy to rely on one backup when you head out into nature, but when you’re carrying water, medication, and other wet items, you want to make sure that these don’t leak and ruin this backpack. One of the best ways to do this is to create your very own wet bag.
You don’t have to buy a fancy or expensive one yourself, as you can simply line your own backpack with a plastic bag. This should do the job perfectly.
Lighting a match
Matches are essential when you go camping, but there’s nothing worse than realizing that your matches have got wet. This means that they are totally unusable, and that means that you can’t light your fire, cook your food, or keep warm.
You can ensure that this doesn’t happen, though. It’s best to find a pot that comes with a small lid, and then fill that pot up with your loose matches. Then, when you need them, simply pop open the lid and take as many as you need.
Zip things up
Tents can shelter you from the elements when you’re camping, but they can also keep you safe from any animals that might want to join you in the tent. This can’t happen when your tent zipper gets stuck, however.
Nobody wants that to happen just because the night dawns, and the full moon makes its debut, so it might be an idea to rub your zipper with a candle before you zip it up. This should stop it from getting stuck.
Heat things up
It’s pretty easy to get cold at night when you just have a sleeping bag and a tent protecting you from the outside world, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you want to warm up your sleeping bag before you head to the land of Nod, all you have to do is fill up a thermos full of hot water and place it at the end of the bag. By the time you want to go to sleep, it should have left you feeling nice and toasty.
It’s important to save space when you’re packing for a camping trip, but you’ll be happy to know that you can often use certain items in two different ways. Take a frisbee, for example.
While you can use this to keep yourself entertained in the wilderness, you can also use a frisbee as a plate. This means that you can save space in your backpack while also ensuring that you have something stable to eat your food off of. Pretty neat, huh?
Keep things packed
While exploring the outdoors is the main priority when it comes to camping, it’s also important to ensure that you are stocked up on food. This means that you have to cook, but how do you stop your pots and pans from rusting when you’re in the great outdoors?
Well, it seems as though silica gel packets may become your new best friend. Instead of throwing these things straight in the trash, you can use them to absorb any moisture that may want to clog up your pans.
Getting ticked off
Although many people assume that campers need to steer clear of the biggest animals in the forest, it’s actually the smallest ones that can pack the biggest bite. Ticks need to be picked off as soon as you notice them, as these little blighters can cause some serious damage if left on for too long.
One of the best ways to remove them quickly and safely is to soak cotton balls in soap and then press it onto the tick for around 20 seconds. It should lift off pretty easily after that.
Hang things up
If you’re the kind of person that loves to keep some semblance of a normal life while camping, you may love to wash your clothes and ensure that they are clean for the next wash.
Where do you hang them, though? It’s pretty easy to hang some wire between two trees, and while you could simply hang your clothes over this wire, it’s better to fasten them in place. You can do this using bread tags, as this will keep them in place for hours on end.
Make it yourself
One of the best things about camping is that it forces you to think creatively – and this is especially true if you run out of spoons to eat your morning porridge with.
If you don’t want to fill your backpack with metal or plastic spoons, it’s super easy to make your own spoon out of a discarded plastic bottle. Simply cut a spoon shape out of the bottle and then let the food do the talking. It really is as easy as that.
A no-fly zone
When camping, there’s no doubt about the fact that you’re exposed to the elements. This means that the wind can whip around you and blow your belongings into the air without a moment’s notice.
This can cause all kinds of issues when you have placed your napkins, paper plates, and cutlery on a picnic bench. To ensure that these items do not fly all the way home, you can utilize your cake carrier to keep them contained in one place.
Safe from harm
If you like to venture away from the beaten path and set up your very own campsite wherever you want to, it’s important to make sure that this makeshift campsite is safe. You can do this by placing traps around the perimeter.
This doesn’t have to be a fancy trap, though. All you have to do is set up a mousetrap and attach a glow stick to the top. Once you attach a tripwire, you will be alerted to any intruders by the almighty snap of the glow stick.
Make use of your noodle
If you have a pop-up tent, you’ll know that they are great in terms of saving space and putting them together for your night’s sleep. However, they can also be pretty flimsy, which doesn’t really help anyone out when it’s rainy or windy.
To prevent your tent from falling down, all you have to do is place a pool noodle between the poles and the canvas. This will keep things upright and keep you from going to sleep in a wet bed.
Whistle for help
Even if you’re one of the most experienced campers that the world has ever seen, there’s always a chance that you could find yourself in trouble, or separated from your group. It’s best to be prepared if that time ever comes, which is why you should whistle for help.
If you have left your whistle at home, though, you can use the nature around you to garner attention. Simply hold an acorn cap as pictured, and then blow into the cap to create a whistling sound.
Take the sled out of the closet
Camping is supposed to be a way to get away from the daily grind and all the complications of modern life, but let’s face it, it usually ends up being pretty complicated in its own right.
By the time you’ve finished packing what you think are the bare necessities, you have more than your fair share of bags to tug along with you wherever you’re going. This is especially cumbersome if you’re at a hike-in spot. To combat this, bring along a sled and pull your stuff with it.
The magic of six-packs
This is a great trick whether you’re planning on bringing a six-pack of beverages or not. No matter what was originally inside the packaging, it can be a pretty useful organizer once it’s empty. You can use it for whatever you’d like, really, but we definitely recommend using it as a neat place to store your utensils and other small eating items.
A six-pack has enough sections to properly sort them and is also tall enough that your utensils will fit in nice and snugly.
Dry the dishes
Everyone likes the idea of a warm, delicious meal eaten at a campsite right by the fire. You’d be crazy not to! But one thing that all campers hate is the aftermath of a great meal. You have dishes to clean, and even when that annoying step is done, you still have to wait for the dishes to dry.
Believe us when we say that you’d be hard-pressed to find a campsite with a drying rack installed. Instead, bring along a mesh laundry sack, tie it to a tree, and put your dishes in it.
The ultimate way to transport duct tape
In case no one’s ever told you, we’re more than happy to let you know that duct tape is a pretty indispensable part of any camper’s arsenal. Seriously, there’s so much that you can do with duct tape that we’re not even going to try to list all of it.
However, bringing along a whole roll can not only take up a bit of space in your pack, but it’s also easy to lose. To avoid this, wrap some tape around your favorite water bottle and you’ll never misplace it.
Check the trees
This is less of a hack and more of a safety tip, but it’s one that all campers should be aware of (unless you exclusively camp in the desert, in which case more power to you, we guess). While camping next to trees provides shade and a quiet, natural, relaxed environment, trees can also pose serious dangers.
Check the trees that you’re camping by to make sure they’re healthy and won’t drop any limbs on you. Look for damage and fallen off limbs before setting up your tent to ensure your safety.
Make a list, check it twice
One of the first steps many people do before they go on a trip is make a list. You want to know everything that you’re going to need, and you want to be able to make sure you actually have all of it before you go.
No matter how hard we try, though, we inevitably forget things. One camping hack is to hold onto your list until you get home from your trip. Once back, add whatever it is that you realized you need for next time onto the list, then reuse it.
Sharpen your tools
While this was initially thought of as a trick that helps out with fishing, it really applies to any type of camping just as effectively. The hack is this: bring a knife sharpener with you. Yup, that’s it.
Over the course of your trip, your fishing equipment can dull out, so keeping a mini-sharpener on you is surprisingly helpful. Of course, it doesn’t need to stop there. If you’re cooking often, you can use it on your cutlery, and a good, sharp knife is something all campers should have.
No more crushed snacks
There’s something about camping that just makes food that much more satisfying. A hot dog isn’t exactly a gourmet meal when you’re sitting at home, but it hits the spot insanely hard when you’re sitting by the fire. The same goes for snacks.
But snacks sadly often get crushed in the car or in backpacks, leaving you with salty or sweet dust to eat. That’s no fun. Instead, pack up your crushable treats in empty plastic water bottles. They’re way less likely to be pulverized when they’re kept like this.
Glowsticks, glowsticks, what CAN’T you do?
If you haven’t given glowsticks much thought since you were a little kid, we don’t blame you. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like they would have all that many material uses. But it turns out they definitely can serve a function while camping! For parents, they’re a great way to keep track of your kids.
Give them a glowstick as a necklace or bracelet and you’ll never lose sight of them at night. You can also toss a few glowsticks in your cooler to make midnight snacking that much easier.
A lot of people would tell you that making a fire isn’t rocket science. Cavemen did it, after all, so we should be able to, right? Well, sometimes it isn’t that easy. Wood can be damp and air can be humid, and sometimes the conditions just don’t align for a roaring fire.
To help you actually start a successful fire, you can ditch the twigs and other fire starters you’ve been using as kindling and instead opt for a TP roll stuffed with cotton balls. It lights instantly and burns for a while.
A neat place for your toilet paper
Going to the bathroom while you’re camping is a very different experience than going to the bathroom while at home. We won’t delve into the specifics, and we certainly don’t have any hacks to actually help you…uh, do your business, but we do have a toilet paper hack.
This one involves dusting off your old CD container and using it to store your bathroom tissue. It’s a neat place to keep it and it’ll prevent your paper from getting dirty, which is obviously far from ideal.
If you’re an avid fisherman, you know that you have to take a variety of different knives and other equipment with you. The same goes for anyone that is hunting or that is just into knives for whatever reason. It’s cool, we don’t judge.
Anyway, a nice way of organizing and keeping track of all of your different tools is by using PVC pipes. It sounds a bit weird, but they actually make great places to store smaller knives. Labelling them makes everything that much more organized and clear, too.
Keep your bags smelling good
There’s a certain level of nastiness that we accept when we’re out camping. Your hair is probably gonna be a bit greasier than normal. You’re gonna have a bit of dirt under your fingernails. You’re not gonna smell like the perfume section.
That’s just a part of the outdoors, and we kinda like it. But you can cut down on the stink of your bag that you’re keeping stuff in. All you need is a few dryer sheets. Just toss them in there and it’ll brighten up your bag.
Stop losing your bags
Plastic bags are, on their own, a huge life hack while out camping. They can be trash bags, lunch boxes, waterproofing and a ton of other things. But no matter what your plan for them is, you can count on them to be one thing no matter what: lost.
For whatever reason, plastic bags get lost in crevices like nothing else. Here’s a nice trick to prevent that. Take an empty tissue box and put them in there. Easily accessible, doesn’t take up much space, well-organized. You’ve gotta love it.
Keep your tent clean
It’s no secret that tents get pretty messy over the course of a camping trip, particularly if you’re using them for more than just a weekend. If you have dirt when you climb in, you can rest assured (in your sleeping bag) that all that dirt is falling off and accumulating on the floor of your temporary abode.
To deal with that, take a trip to the dollar store and buy a small brush and dustpan. It sounds like a lot of work while camping, but it can really make a difference in how comfortable your tent is.