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.
Here are some of the best camping hacks we’ve found!
Camping hacks for beginners
Easy ways to start a fire
1 – Dip cotton swabs in wax (or vaseline) or corks in rubbing alcohol, and then store them in a container or zip lock to use as easy fire starters.
2 – Keep charcoal in an old egg carton to keep it safe and dry when transporting.
3 – If you’re not confident with your knife skills, bring an old-school pencil sharpener and use it on small twigs to make kindling to start a fire.
PRO TIP: Once you have your fire started, toss some sage leaves into the fire to keep the bugs away.
Keeping your camping essentials organized
Organize your items using an over-the-door shoe rack with transparent pockets, so you can easily see where your things are.
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.
If you’re crafty, you can also make your own roll-up organizer specific for your needs.
Another alternative to keeping your camping essentials organized is to use a clothesline or a rope and hang your items using a carabiner.
Keeping your toilet paper dry
With toilet paper being a hot commodity, especially when you camp, it must be kept dry yet easily accessible.
You can fashion a toilet paper dispenser from 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.
An alternative to that is to take out the cardboard core from your toilet roll, flatten it, and then put it inside a ziplock bag.
Camping hacks for food and water
Keeping your food fresh and cold
While it’s easy to just buy a bag of ice cubes to keep your cooler cold, you’ll just end up with a pool of cold water and soggy food. Block ice takes longer to melt, so this can be a great alternative to buying party ice cubes.
You can make your own blocks of ice by reusing empty juice boxes: rinse them out to remove all the juice residue, fill up with water, and put in the freezer.
You can also repurpose empty milk jugs and fill them up with water. Put the containers in the freezer at least a couple of days before your camping trip. This ensures that your jug of water is very frozen, and would take a little longer to defrost.
This way, there’s no wasted space in your cooler, and you have jugs of water that you can use when it has completely melted.
Put them in your cooler at least an hour before you pack your food, so what when you put them in, the cooler is already cold.
It’s also important to organize your cooler to minimize the number of times you open it. Put frozen food at the bottom, and fruits and snacks near the top.
It’s also a good idea to make a meal plan so you organize the items in your cooler in the order in which to take them out.
Make camping cookouts easy
Marinate your meat in sealed bags, and then freeze them for easy storage and cooking.
Mix pancakes in a squeeze bottle (or an old ketchup container), so you can just squeeze them over a hot griddle in the morning.
Make a cold brew concentrate ahead of time, and just mix with boiling water for a hot cup of delicious coffee in the morning.
Camping hacks for rainy days
A tarp can be an all-purpose tool when camping. It can provide shade and shelter from the rain. Bring an extra tarp to put under your tent to protect it from the ground and help keep the inside of your tent dry.
Keep your things dry by putting them in dry sacks. Pack extra plastic bags or garbage bags for bulkier items.
Camping hack for a comfortable sleep
Don’t have the time or budget to buy a portable air mattress? A yoga mat can be a good added padding between your sleeping bag and the ground for a more comfortable sleep.
If you have them, foam tiles can do as well. They also provide insulation inside your tent from the cold ground.
Camping hacks for cold weather
Keep your toes warm and toasty with sock liners. Sock liners worn over your socks while you’re walking the trails or when you go to sleep.
Handwarmers are not just for your hands. Put a handwarmer inside a sock, and tuck it inside your sleeping bag before you sleep. Once you’re ready to go to bed, you’ll find your sleeping bag will be a warm cocoon to burrow in.
An alternative are flat river stones. Warm up the stone by the fire or grill, wrap it in a sock or towel so you don’t burn yourself.
Camping hacks for camping with kids
Make individual shower lanyards to keep your shower kit organized and would not touch the ground. You can make these using hanging squeeze bottles, and reuse lanyards from conferences.
If you have a restless toddler who loves running around, put a bear bell on their shoes so you can hear if they are close by, or have already run far from your campsite.
Camping hacks for camping with your pets
Always keep the leash accessible and easy to find by hanging it from a hook. These hooks are available in most DIY stores and can be easily screwed into a tree. If you have a clothesline or hammock line up, you can also hook it there using a carabiner.
Keep your dogs mobile yet contained within your campsite with ziplines. You can make your own using nylon ropes and spring clasps.
These are some of the hacks we find useful for our camping trips. What are yours?