10 Camping Hacks From a Seasoned Veteran


Think you've got everything you need for your next camping trip? We have a few suggestions you might want to try out, just in case. Before you finalize that list of camping gear and gadgets for you next excursion, consider these camping hacks that include stuff you already have and inexpensive items you can get on Amazon or at the dollar store.

Whether it's your first time backpacking or you're a regular road trip junkie looking for some new car camping ideas, the following tips and tricks are sure to enhance your camping experience!

10 Camping Hacks to Make Life Easier

1. Bring Toilet Paper

Whatever you do, don't forget to bring toilet paper when heading outdoors for any occasion! You just never know when you're going to need it, and you can't always depend on public restrooms to have it stocked.

That aside, to save room when packing your things for camping adventure, it's always a good idea to remove the cardboard tubes inside toilet paper and paper towel rolls. In addition to reducing how much space these essential paper products take up, it also makes them easier to pack in plastic bags, which is always a stroke of genius since there's a hundred ways things can get damp when you're enjoying the outdoors.


2. Grab Reusable Containers

Solid, lightweight containers are ideal for storing food, fire starters, and other items you don't want to get wet, crushed, etc. From Doritos and pancake mix, to first aid kits and kindling, plastic containers with good seals are the best place for a lot of things if you want avoid trouble.

Pro tip: If you're using something like an old pill bottle to carry matches in, you can glue some sandpaper to the outside of it to use as a striking surface. This sort of homemade matchbox is much more sturdy than the factory issued versions.

3. Think About Fire Starters

Speaking of matches and kindling, if you want a surefire way to spark that outdoor rager the first time, try taking those discarded cardboard tubes we mentioned above and stuffing them with dryer lint. There are a lot of different approaches to doing this, some of which involve other components like wax paper. But no matter how you cut it, these homemade baddies will give your old Duraflame a run for its money.

4. Water Bottles: Not Just For Drinking!

Along with carrying the essential H20 you need to survive in the wild, water bottles can be put to work in a few different ways. For instance, you can fill them with hot water and tuck them in your sleeping bag to warm it up before you get hit the hay for the night. If you've got a translucent jug of water, you can beam a flashlight or head lamp through it turn create a DIY lantern. Finally, if you don't want to wake up to find a sticky egg carton full of broken shells at the bottom of your cooler, consider beating your eggs before you hit the road and storing them in -- you guessed it -- a water bottle.


5. Duct Tape Mends (Almost) Everything

duct tape

RELATED: 12 Items Every Camping First Aid Kit Should Have

Having duct tape on hand at all times is not only a great camping hack, it's one of the most important life hacks known to humankind. From fixing ripped tents and clothing, to making ad hoc band-aids, duct tape should always be included on any list of camping equipment.

6. A Hand Washing Station

If you're living outdoors, you've gotta get your hands dirty. While that might sound fun, it isn't the most sanitary thing imaginable when it comes to preparing food or performing first aid on minor cuts and scratches. There are a lot of ways to make dedicated hand washing stations for your camp that are convenient and easy to use. Using the water bottle and the duct tape mentioned above, feel free to get creative. Otherwise, just Google "camping hack hand washing station" and you'll get some instant inspiration.


7. Grab Glow Sticks!

Although glow sticks don't offer tons of lumens, they can help you highlight a range of obstacles, illuminate pathways, and add some flair to your campsite. Consider these applications:

  • Marking a pathway to the latrine
  • Establishing your campsite's boundary
  • Lighting your cooler at night
  • Keeping track of your dog
  • Nighttime fishing lure
  • Enhance you camp's glamping vibes

Pro tip: Non toxic glow sticks can be broken open and their liquid contents spread on surfaces to leave a lasting glow. Paint a mason jar to make a fun lantern, or even decorate your face with glow-in-the-dark designs!

8. Learn Your Natural Bug Repellents

Understandably, some people aren't into the sort of harsh chemicals that can be found in conventional bug repellents. For skin application, a range of essential oils will do the trick, not to mention more conventional liquids like vinegar and lemon juice. To deal with a general area, try throwing herbs like rosemary or sage on your fire.

9. Cook With Tin Foil

Some of the best camping meals are cooked in convenient aluminum packages over smoldering coals, eliminating the need for pots, pans, grills, and so on. Whether you're cooking hot dogs or warming up marshmallows for s'mores, these handy sheets of metal are all the camp kitchen you need. Along with making camp cuisine easier to prepare, tin foil can also save you time and energy where clean up is concerned.


10. DIY Washing Machine

While there are dozens of reasons for bringing the sort of 3-gallon industrial bucket you can get at Lowe's on camping trip, perhaps the best is washing clothes. For those who plan on being on the road for a while without any guarantee of a regular washer, consider getting the type of bucket that has a hole with a pour spout on top. These are generally the perfect in diameter for the haft of a plunger, which you can pump up and down to agitate clothes fight deeply embedded oil and grime. Of course, you'll want to make sure to get a new and dedicated plunger for the task, depending on the history of the one you already have at home.

Got any favorite camping hacks we missed? Share your outdoor secrets on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

READ MORE: Camping California's Central Coast: The Best Spots to Pitch a Tent on the Pacific

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