Smart Hacks for a Fun and Hassle-Free Camping TripBy John P.
The great outdoors is a marvelous place to reset, refocus, and reflect. It is where we see spectacular views and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Camping is the best way to get close to nature. Indeed, there’s no better way to experience the wonder of the natural world than by sleeping outdoors beneath the starry sky. However, precautionary measures are still needed when you are planning a camping trip.
Some big items may be necessary for your trip, but bringing too many will only weigh you down. This is why we’ve compiled a list of easy hacks and tricks to improve your next camping trip. Get your pen and paper (or note-taking app) ready as we’re about to the most ingenious camping hacks the internet has to offer.
Create a Disposable Subwoofer
Music is a great way to celebrate the end of a hike or incentivize your tired friends to help you set up camp. Of course, it would be impractical to lug around a professional sound system. However, there’s a simple trick you can use to amplify the music coming from your phone.
Instead of bringing a boombox or huge speakers to the woods, why not use a simple plastic cup? Place your phone into the cup and then marvel at how well it amplifies and improves the sound.
A Cork for Your Keys
This simple hack will not only help you recycle old corks but will also save your keys if you ever drop them in a lake, river, or other body of water. How many of us have lost a key while enjoying outdoor activities? We are pretty sure we are not alone.
By reusing a cork and attaching your keys to it, you will no longer worry if you drop your keys in the river or lake. Corks are made from a buoyant material that can float.
Upcycle Your Old Ketchup Bottles
Here’s a trick that can be used anywhere and everywhere. For those who love camping with their family, there are instances when our young ones crave foods like pancakes. Since you are visiting the great outdoors, though, bringing all the extra kitchen utensils can be troublesome.
Instead, try repurposing an old ketchup bottle. Fill the empty bottle with pancake mixture and pack it in your cooler. It will stay fresh for a couple of days, and when you’re ready to use it, this trick takes all the mess out of preparing pancakes.
Cozy and Comfortable Bedding
Many adventurers like to rough it. They are against the idea of bringing artificial things to make camping easier. However, we think even the most hardened traveler could appreciate this hack, especially if they have a history of back problems.
While our camping tents and sleeping bags serve their purpose well, rocks, sticks, and uneven terrain can still mess with your sleep and leave you with aches and pains in the morning. That’s where foam puzzle mats come in. They’re easy to pack, take up minimal room, and add warmth and comfort to your tent.
Need Fire? Burn Some Doritos!
When this trick was first introduced on television, a lot of viewers were amazed. It seems like it couldn’t possibly be true, but we can confirm that Doritos make excellent firestarters.
As we all know, fire brings warmth, protection, light, and of course, the ability to cook. So, instead of munching all your Doritos, try to spare some as they can be used as a firestarter.
What a Romantic Idea
Okay, to be clear, this is not a necessity if you are planning to go into the woods. It’s no secret that having candles in certain regions is not a great idea. You run the risk of starting a wildfire if you’re not careful, and no one wants that on their conscience.
If you’re staying in an area that’s not prone to fires, and you have a plan to surprise your better half while camping, this hack may be perfect for you. All you have to do is push a stick into one end of a candle and then spike it into the soil. This creates a romantic atmosphere once all the candles are lit.
The Power Of Plastic Straws
Although plastic products are still considered harmful and hazardous to the environment, on the flip side of the coin, they are very useful as well. The first step in camping is packing your camping materials properly.
Sounds very easy, right? Well, not really. Instead of bringing the whole thing, you can store health essentials like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and even cooking oil in packets made out of straws. All you need to seal the packets shut is a lighter and a pair of pliers.
Let There Be Light
You can create a makeshift lantern out of any water bottle. All you need to do is wrap your head torch around the bottle and direct the light inside. As you can see in the picture, this will create a glowing lamp to light up your tent or camping area.
Although results may differ depending on the position of the light and the plastic bottle used, this trick is utilized by many of our more adventurous friends. We can’t wait to try it the next time we go camping!
Makeshift Kitchen Shelving
Who’s familiar with Bear Grylls? The famed adventurer was the youngest-ever Chief Scout of the United Kingdom at age 35. Some call him the master of the wild who can do anything with what nature provides him.
Not everybody has the skills of Bear Grylls, but you can use one of his tricks. The next time you want to have a place to hang your camping materials, use a leather belt, strap it on a tree, then use S-hooks to hang small items.
Camping is synonymous with balance. Let us further elaborate. While it is true that you need to pack plenty of things to survive in the wilderness, you also need to avoid taking too much with you.
Having too much weight will just drag you down and detract from the fun of the trip. While a bar of soap is hardly a problem on its own, it can be one of many things that add up to a far too bulky pack. To be more economical with your space, shave off only the amount of soap you’ll need for the trip.
Beat Mosquitoes with Sage
We were not exaggerating when we stated that being outdoors is the best way to reset and reflect. There’s just something about being out with nature that makes a person’s body and soul happy. The same goes for mosquitoes.
When mosquitoes see people camping, it looks like a feast. Luckily, we can defeat them with the help of their long-time nemesis – sage. It might not get rid of all of them, but chances are, 60% will move away if you burn sage in your campsite.
Zipper Issues? Rub Some Wax On It!
A stuck zipper can be annoying at the best of times. A stuck zipper during camping is beyond frustrating! If you can’t get your tent zipped up, how are you meant to keep mosquitos, bugs, and other creepy crawlies out of your sleeping bag?
Instead of pulling on a stuck zipper by force, bring some candle wax with you and start rubbing it on those zippers. The wax will help ease the zipper lines, and there you go, problem solved.
Don’t Forget Coal for the Barbeque
This might not be considered a hack or trick to true adventurers. I mean, we get their point – use what nature provides because natural resources are plentiful. However, if you are not a wilderness expert, having coal on hand is important.
There’s no need to bring the whole bag. Instead, use an egg tray as a container for those lumps of coal. This protects the coal from getting crushed and protects your gear from getting smudged by the coal. Perfect!
A Game for the Whole Family
It’s nice to put your feet up after you’ve set up camp, but this is a luxury few parents get to enjoy. It’s no secret that young ones have boundless energy and tend to get bored if they are not given activities to do.
Thankfully, you can keep them busy with this clever idea. Depending on where you’re camping, you can modify this scavenger hunt game to keep the kids busy while you are preparing your tent and food.
Who Says You Can’t Enjoy Coffee in the Woods?
Probably the best thing during camping is waking up with a picturesque view and hearing the sounds of hummingbirds and other woodland critters. Nature is indeed priceless, and we can’t afford to lose it.
Apart from the view, a good cup of coffee is second to none. Before your camping trip, fill your coffee filters with caffeine and tie them off with dental floss. Steep one of these coffee bags in hot water any time you have a hankering for a delicious brew.
Protect Your Utensils
Again, this is only applicable to those who are beginners when it comes to camping or trekking. How you set up your campsite will have a significant impact on what your camping experience will be like. If you are planning to camp in a windy area, then you certainly need this hack.
A cake carrier can prevent those paper plates and other light objects from getting blown off the table. It is inexpensive, durable, and can be used anywhere. As a bonus, it also keeps bugs away.
Controlling The Forces Of Nature
Though the weather will always be unpredictable, there are few hacks we can use to remain dry and warm. Silica gel packets are central to one of these hacks.
For some reason, as soon as we see these gel packets, we automatically throw them away. However, according to science, silica gel is extremely helpful in decreasing humidity. Popping them into your food containers will prevent things like instant coffee and sugar from getting ruined by moisture.
The Tape Trick
Here is a method used even by experienced campers. This trick has already saved a lot of lives. It doesn’t require any talent, just an understanding of the proper placement.
Cloth or tape markers like the one in the image can be used to signpost the way to the toilet area. You can also use these markers on treks that don’t have the clearest path to ensure you find your way back to camp again.
Keeping Shoes and Sandals Clean
Staying comfy and warm will always be the goal while you are about to sleep in your tent. However, it’s also important to make sure your shoes and sandals stay clean.
How do we do this while we are outdoors? All you need is a shower cap. This will keep your shoes in one place and prevent the dirty soles from touching other valuables. Pretty clever, right?
Eggs in a Bottle
As we move forward, we can now reflect and see that plastic bottles are versatile to use. Our first hack involved filling them with a pancake mixture. Now, we are delighted to introduce the eggs in a bottle trick.
Bringing eggs the usual way is troublesome, especially when you are camping. The trick is to beat the eggs already and put them in a bottle. Add some markings so you know how much to tip out each time you cook. Easy!
Tic Tac Boxes for Your Spices
Cooking in the woods can be tricky and challenging. You have to create a makeshift table to prepare your food and set up a dependable cooking area. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t cook a sumptuous meal.
With the help of tic tac boxes, you can easily store spices of your choice. Label them as they go so you don’t forget which spice is in which container. Then you can enjoy gourmet meals while camping. ADVERTISEMENT
Cook with Couscous
To survive nature and the outdoors, one must eat a load of carbs. Bear Grylls has stated it well – water is central to survival, but carbs are a close second.
If you don’t have time to cook rice while camping, couscous is a great replacement. It is quicker and easier to cook and doesn’t need much attention.
The Backpack Protection We All Need
Heading out into the wild can pose unique challenges. That is why it’s imperative to have some protective measures in place. Though you’ve probably packed a first aid kit to look after yourself, your backpack could use some protection too.
Backpacks are destined to get drenched with sweat and rainwater. To protect all the items you have stored inside, line your backpack with a plastic bag.
While you need a tent to sleep in, it’s also nice to have a portable gazebo under which you can gather with your loved ones. That way, you don’t have to retreat into your separate tents if the weather turns bad. Of course, these structures come with a whole new set of problems.
When heavy rain sets in, it can form puddles on your gazebo roof. To stop this from happening, all you need is a pool noodle. Just copy what you see in the picture above, and you’ll never have to deal with sagging puddles of water in your gazebo roof again.
Toilet Paper Safety Trick
Since the pandemic started, toilet paper has become a highly sought-after commodity. While we don’t condone panic buying more TP than you need, we do support clever TP camping hacks like the one pictured here.
This clever trick will safeguard your precious toilet paper. If you have an old coffee container, don’t throw it away. Just mimic the picture above, and you’ll have your own homemade toilet roll dispenser.
Cold Feet Solution
As Andre 3000 sang in the famous Outkast song, “you can plan a pretty picnic but you can’t predict the weather.” We couldn’t agree more!
What’s the quickest remedy if you have cold feet while camping? Pour some hot water into your water bottle, secure the lid, slip it into your sleeping bag, and it will serve as a DIY heat pack.
Soda Bottle Spoon
No matter how well you prepare, it seems to be a law of camping that you’ll always forget something. If it’s ever a spoon that you forget, we have the perfect hack to solve that problem.
If you have a spare empty soda bottle, you can turn it into a spoon. Just draw a spoon pattern on the plastic bottle, then cut along the lines that you have created. Easy!
Hand Washing Station
If you are camping in an area where water is scarce, this simple trick will help you throughout your stay. You’ll just need a medium size water bottle, soap, and an old pair of stockings.
Living outdoors can be messy, so staying clean is imperative. By placing soap inside the old stockings (as shown in the picture), not only will you save water, but the soap won’t mysteriously disappear.
Long-Lasting Ice Blocks
Keeping your food fresh while camping is a high priority, but having ice cubes in your coolers is never enough. Those little cubes tend to melt within the first day or two, leaving you with a soggy mess in the cooler. Thankfully, we have a hack that will solve this problem.
Are you ready for a quick trick? Instead of ice cubes, why not freeze an entire water bottle? This will act as an ice block, and since it’s large and contained, it will melt slower. Then, instead of all that water sloshing around in the cooler, it’ll be in a bottle, meaning you can drink it once it melts. How convenient!
Here’s another hack that will give you an easy light source while camping. The water bottle light we showed earlier was clever, but this trick is even better.
If you have an extra mason jar and glow-in-the-dark paint, this is all you need to create a light source. It won’t be as bright as your headlamp, but it will provide enough glow to see in the dark.
Store Your Bread with a Twist
For some, this might seem like a crazy hack, but if you like to bake, your curiosity will definitely make you want to give it a go. You can bake your favorite kinds of bread or cake in a can or oven-safe jar. This means it will already be in the perfect storage container for camping.
If you are planning to stay for more than a week, this is a great alternative way of storing food. There are plenty of recipes online that will show you exactly how to do it. Happy baking!
Research, Plan, Execute
These three simple words summarize everything you need to do before going on a camping trip. Doing your research will keep you a step ahead of anything you might encounter in the woods.
Knowing which plants are safe and which are dangerous can save you from some very painful situations. For example, the last thing you’d want to do if you were short on toilet paper is pick up a poison ivy leaf. However, if you don’t do your research, how will you know which leaves are safe?
Safety Matches for Your Bonfire
While having a lighter is more convenient, having matches is important. Let’s say you had to cross a river on your hike. If you forget that your lighter is in your pocket, you might find that it’s no longer functional when you try to light your fire that night.
This is why it’s a good idea to have a backup supply of matches. Store them in a waterproof container, and keep them in one of the compartments of your backpack for emergencies.
Move Over Marshmallows, Enter Crescent Rolls
Campfires need marshmallows. They are like peanut butter and jelly – destined to be together. However, if you are bored with roasting marshmallows, we have a new snack that might tempt you.
Crescent rolls might look complicated, but they’re actually easy to make. The most important thing in creating a crescent roll is to perfect the dough. After that, you can put any filling inside.
Invest in a Bigger Sleeping Bag
While we are not a fan of big camping tents, we are in favor of having oversized sleeping bags. There are various reasons why this can be a good idea.
If you are camping with your other half, instead of using single sleeping bags, why not get a big one and be bag buddies? Having two people in one sleeping bag provides extra heat, so you’ll be cozier on cold nights.
Camping Chairs 2.0
This is a great hack for those who have trucks, vans, or larger vehicles. All you need is the right attachment, and you can hang comfortable hammock chairs from the rear of your vehicle.
These seats are far more comfortable than your typical camping chair, allowing you to lounge around the way you would in a hammock, but in an upright position. They even have little footrests!
Attention, Caffeine Addicts!
You can save money by creating your own coffee bags using the hack we shared earlier in our list. However, if you’re strapped for time, this backup trick will help.
Many coffee brands sell ready-made sachets that give you the precise amount of coffee you need for one serve. Yes, they do come with extra packaging. However, if you’re an eco-warrior, you should be able to find a brand with recyclable or biodegradable packaging.
Campfire Snack Hacks
After a day of trekking and activities, everybody needs to replenish their energy stores. Creating snacks outdoors can be challenging, but we still need to observe proper hygiene. Instead of having everyone dipping their dirty fingers into the snacks, why not do something transformative?
First, set out a bunch of snack options, including marshmallows, chocolate chips, fruit, and any other favorites. Then, use a spoon to load your desired snacks into an ice cream cone. Wrap the cone in foil and heat it over the campfire. Carefully unwrap it, and you’ll have a delicious treat.
Mini First Aid Kid
Camping can be dangerous, even for seasoned veterans. So, it is a must to have a first aid kit handy. While you should always have a full kit back at camp, on hikes, you may be able to get away with a mini kit.
What better way to repurpose an old medicine bottle than to use it as a portable first aid kid? It might be small, but it can hold more than you might think. This is a simple but clever idea.