Camping is one of our favorite ways to immerse ourselves in our planet’s natural splendor. However, sometimes even the most seemingly perfectly planned trip can go awry.
Sometimes it’s because we aren’t prepared for unexpected cold weather. Other times, it’s because we are feeling overwhelmed by the pure sticker shot of our packing list.
No more! Whether it's your first time or you’re a local legend at your nearby campsite, we have a few unexpected camping hacks that are sure to improve your camping experience.
With these hacks, it’s never been easier to have the perfect camping experience. Pack your bags, gather your camping crew, and hit the road for your next camping trip.
1. Glue Sandpaper Inside Your Match Box
Being able to start a fire safely is vital to your camping experience.
Besides staying warm, campfires also provide a way for us to cook food (and s’mores) outdoors. No matter the weather, a campfire is indicative of an enjoyable camping trip. Matches make all of these things possible.
So what happens when we can’t use our matches because the strike pad is worn down or wet? You can make sure this party foul never happens by gluing some sandpaper into the inside of your matchbox. This provides a protected, foolproof surface for striking matches.
2. DIY Camping Lantern
Camping lanterns can cost you a pretty penny and don’t always hold up against outdoor conditions, and glow sticks can be wasteful and short-lasting. Making your own camping lantern adds to the experience and is a quick and painless process.
There are many variations of the DIY camping lantern, but here we’ll focus on just one:
Making your own camping lantern will require just two things: a gallon water jug and a headlamp. Strap your headlamp around the water jug so that the light faces inward. The light from the headlamp will shine into the water jug, and the water will spread the light so that it illuminates your surroundings.
3. DIY Grommet
A grommet is a ring through which your tent stakes are nailed to the ground. If you have been camping, you know that these play a vital role in your tent’s security. If your tent grommets have fallen out, we have a dollar store solution using material that you probably already have at home.
Simply reinforcing the missing grommet with duct tape will provide a durable, water-proof fix that can help you get a few more trips out of that old tent you’re not quite ready to replace yet.
4. DIY Mosquito Repellent
Mosquitos are the most surefire way to ruin a camping trip. Ensure that doesn’t happen with these DIY bug repellents.
Most bug sprays on the market are full of harmful chemicals that can lead to health problems with repeated exposure. While there are natural alternatives, you can pay quite a bit more for these. Try one of these DIY bug repellents to save money and protect your health in the long run.
There are a variety of different combinations for DIY mosquito repellents. Most are made from essential oils mixed with a base ingredient. There are a large array of essential oils that are known to repel mosquitos because of their pungent odors.
Some of these mosquito-repelling essential oils include tea tree oil, citronella, lavender, and thyme. Best practices include diluting these with a base oil like olive oil.
Burning sage in your campfire is also a known way of repelling mosquitoes without bug spray. Sage smoke repels mosquitos, allowing you to enjoy your campfire without any unwelcome visitors.
5. Trash Bag As Backpack Liner
As all outdoor adventurers know, the weather is unpredictable. Many have learned from the mistake of being unprepared for the rain. This miscalculation has left many with soaked camping gear and an uncomfortable night.
Try lining the inside of your backpack with a trash bag in order to protect the contents of your pack. Rain can easily penetrate your pack, soaking and potentially ruining everything inside. Preparing for the rain is always a great idea.
For an even simpler clean-up solution, make sure to invest in a softpack like the Backpack Cooler with an easily cleanable liner and splash-resistant material.
6. DIY Firestarter
If small sticks for kindling are out of reach, there are some items you may find around your house that can help with this.
Specifically, Doritos or corn chips, as well as dryer lint, can be great for kindling. The corn oil in Doritos or corn chips and other chemicals and ingredients used in making these chips cause them to have a highly flammable nature. Not only are they great for snacking, but these chips can also get your fire roaring.
Dryer lint also works well for kindling. Dryer lint is also highly flammable, hence why we must remember to remove it before our next load of laundry. Instead of chucking your lint, bring it with you on your next camping trip as a fire starter.
7. A Vegetable Peeler for Single-Use Soap
For group or family camping, this hack is particularly handy. Using a vegetable peeler on a bar of soap can create single-use strips of soap.
This makes cleanliness for the whole group possible without passing around the same bar of soap.
8. Body Heat To Warm Socks
This hack is great for winter camping when staying warm seems an impossible task:
Before going to bed, put a fresh pair of socks under your sleeping shirt. When you wake in the morning, those socks will be nice and toasty, courtesy of your body heat.
Now, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying the beautiful morning sunrise and birds chirping.
9. Pool Float as a Sleeping Pad
Oftentimes when we camp, we forgo a comfortable night's sleep. Using a pool float as extra padding under our sleeping bag creates a more luxurious sleeping experience at a low price.
Don’t spend big bucks on a bulky air mattress that doesn’t travel or store well. Pool floats are an inexpensive and easy way to create extra separation between you and the rocky earth.
10. Soften Tent Floors With Foam Floor Tiles
Another creative and easy way to provide greater comfort is by covering your tent floor with foam floor tiles. These colorful floor tiles can be found in most stores for a low price. They are a quick and easy way to provide you with a great night's sleep.
11. Keep a Shoe Organizer in Your Tent
Keeping a shoe organizer at the front of your tent next to the entrance keeps your tent floor clean of any dirt. With such small living quarters, it is essential to ensure you’re not tracking remnants of dirt near where you’ll be sleeping. Keep an extra pouch for jackets or wet clothes as well.
12. Use Pool Noodles As Tent Line Covers
Tent lines are sneaky, and if we’re not careful, we may trip over them once or twice throughout our camping trip. Threading a tent line through the hollow part of a pool noodle helps everyone in your camping party to be aware of the tent line at all times.
13. Laundry Detergent Bottle as a Hand Washing Station
Get extra use out of your old laundry detergent dispenser bottles by turning them into a hand washing station. All you will need to do is fill up the laundry detergent dispenser with water. Grab some hand soap and paper towels — you’re all set.
14. Crack Eggs Into a Designated Jar
Camping food is all about simplicity, hence a camper’s classic meals like hot dogs or marshmallows. Create a simple breakfast by cracking eggs into a jar before leaving on your camping trip.
It’s a huge time saver that creates a much more secure storage situation than carrying an egg carton on you. Not into eggs? Try filling a reusable container with pancake mix.
15. Use Frisbees As Plates
When it comes to camping, the goal is the pack light so that you don’t have to haul heavy packs over long distances. Using frisbees as plates is a great way to get more than just your conventional use out of this game.
Save space in your bag with this dual-use item. Utilize the top of your hard cooler as an eating space as well.
Great Tips for a Great Trip
When it comes to planning your next camping trip, there is no shortage of tips and tricks to make the most out of your experience. Try out these camping tips for your most memorable trip yet.