Camping and Outdoors Hacks

camping and outdoors hacks

We’ve talked about a lot of hacks for packing and traveling, but those who enjoy camping can get truly creative when it comes to preparing for a trip. There are so many things that go into the planning, including where you’ll set up camp, what you’ll bring to sleep in and what meals you can bring to easily cook.

Setting Up Camp Essentials

Once you’ve chosen a campsite, which may or may not have a bathhouse nearby or power hookups, it’s time to set up your tent. Make sure you’ve brought everything you need, including your sleeping bag and chairs to sit around the fire with.

Speaking of fire, dipping cotton swabs in wax or corks in rubbing alcohol make for easy and transportable starters. And when it’s time to start cooking, keep your charcoal in an old egg carton to keep it safe and dry.

Put all essential items in something like a plastic over-the-door shoe rack hung from a tree or the side of your tent. This can be where you store things that you will always be looking for, like flashlights, sunscreen and bug spray. You can even set them in the rack before you go and roll it up like a towel and tie it with string, keeping everything together.

toilet paper hack
Toilet Paper Hack via Pinterest

The most important item of all, toilet paper, can be kept in an old plastic coffee container to keep it dry. Cut a small slit down the side so you can pull out pieces without opening the entire container.

Hacks for a Camp Kitchen

Keeping your food away from critters is one of the challenges of camping, as is creating meals with what you were able to carry. You can use all sorts of things to store essential spices and seasonings, like straws that you’ve melted the ends of, TicTac boxes and pill containers. See our container packing hacks post for more ideas.

It’s also a good idea to plan what you’re going to cook in advance so you can mix all the ingredients at home and be ready to cook when you get there:

  • Pre-marinate your meat in plastic bags.
  • Pre-make breakfast burritos wrapped in aluminum foil.
  • Mix pancakes in a squeeze bottle in your cooler so that when you wake up, all you have to do is dab them out on a pan.
  • Make your own coffee bags by placing grounds in a coffee filter and tying it off with floss. Use it like you would a tea bag.

Freeze water jugs before you go and throw it in your cooler, which will keep the items inside cool while traveling and will melt into clean water when you arrive.

camping belt
The uses for an old belt, via Pinterest.

Another handy trick is to organize your pots and pans by using the trees around you. Take a standard belt and loop it around a nearby tree. Then take standard “S hooks” to hold up your pots and pans. This is also a good way to air dry them before using them again. And you can use this method to hang up other items, like jackets and shoes, in addition to kitchen supplies. Carabiners should work in place of hooks if you can’t find them.

Additional Tips

We’ve already talked about toothpaste hacks, which can save room when it comes time to go on your trip. When you need to wash some clothes, bring a big zippered plastic bag, add water and soap. You can also use a bucket with a lid and a new plunger to clean clothes.

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Gear We Use


Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.

Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.

Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking! – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

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