Camping is an activity that the whole family can enjoy — especially when done right. It’s always nice to get away from it all with your loved ones and experience the peacefulness of nature and being outdoors. But camping can be a difficult adjustment for some that are used to the finer things in life. In order to have the best time on your camping trip, you can’t rely on last-minute solutions. You have to plan ahead and be prepared. I’ve compiled a list of 20 handy camping hacks that will ensure your family will have a great camping experience.
Hacks That Will Improve Any Camping Trip
1. Travel-size Spice Containers
Tired of the same bland camping food? This brilliant idea from Seattle Sundries will make sure the food you eat while camping is full of flavor. Instead of hauling all of the different spices that you plan to use, think about utilizing old tic-tac containers and only pour the small amount you’ll need for your family getaway.
2. Simple Fire Starter
This innovative idea from Sew Many Ways is an eggcellent (sorry, we had to) way to start your fire without getting your hands dirty. Who would have thought you can start a fire with an egg carton? Simply place a piece of charcoal in each slot before transporting the carton to your campsite. Whenever you’re ready, throw the carton into the firepit and light it up. It’s important to note that you should only do this with the cardboard egg cartons and should certainly not use styrofoam egg cartons.
3. Easy Egg Storage
While we are on the topic of eggs, they’re a great source of protein for camping and keeping energy levels up for those long hikes during the day. Plus, they’re really easy to make. The problem is that they are a hassle to pack because they crack so easily. Although we recommend the camping hack of bringing an egg carton for other reasons, bringing an egg carton full of actual eggs is just a disaster waiting to happen. Cookie Crumbs and Sawdust solved this infamous camping problem by mixing the eggs ahead of time and placing them in a water bottle. Using a kitchen funnel, you can pour the lightly beaten eggs mess-free.
4. Anti-boredom Activity Bags
If you have children who tend to get bored at certain points during the camping trip, these anti-boredom activity bags from Creative Capital B are a great way to plan ahead to fight the boredom bug! Each activity bag has its own unique theme, with one bag consisting of everything needed to make friendship bracelets and another one encouraging your child to go on a hunt for the perfect pet rock to paint and decorate with googly eyes, glue sticks, and face stickers. You really can put anything you think the kids will enjoy in a ziplock bag and bring it along with you — it’s great to have options.
5. Toilet Paper Holder
Using the restroom when camping isn’t the most luxurious task in the world, but it’s certainly necessary. This camping hack from Living on Less in the Northwest will keep your toilet paper clean and dry! Take a large coffee container, wash it out, and then create a slit on the side that is large enough for the toilet paper to come through. This will create a high-end toilet paper holder for all of your camping bathroom breaks!
6. Coffee Bags
It can really be a hassle to make your morning coffee when camping because you no longer have access to your beloved coffee machine. 50 Campfires solved this problem by creating the idea of coffee bags — similar to tea bags! Simply take a coffee filter and place a few tablespoons of your favorite coffee grounds inside. Then grab some floss or string to tie the grounds inside of the coffee filter. After you wake up after a long night around the campfire, you can just boil some water and pop your coffee bag into your mug.
7. DIY Mason Jar Tiki Torches
I think we can all agree that pesky insects are not the most pleasurable aspect of camping. These DIY mason jar tiki torches from The Frugal Homemaker help to repel insects while also creating nice little decorative pieces for your campsite. This DIY craft will really make all of the difference when it comes to the number of bugs around your campsite — and you can make one in less than five minutes!
8. Match Storage
This match storage idea from The Burlap Bag is completely genius. The mason jar ensures your matches are always dry and ready to go. Adding sandpaper to the top of the mason jar will give you a place to quickly light all of your matches! It’s a one-stop-shop.
9. Trick Candles
Whoever thought of this idea should get a reward! Candles can be the main source of light while camping, so isn’t it really annoying when the flame of your candles gets blown out by that gust of wind that seemingly rushes through every few minutes? Lifehacker recommends that you buy trick candles instead of regular candles since they will keep relighting themselves when the wind blows them out.
Extra lighting is always a good idea when camping. This lantern hack from Creative Green Living is a super easy and effective way to light up your campsite. Simply tie a headlamp around an empty milk carton. The carton will illuminate and become a great source of light.
We’re aware of how strange this sounds — but pack lots of oranges when you go camping. Spaceships and Laser Beams lists several ways that oranges can improve your camping experience. While they are a quick snack that will fill your body with nutritious vitamin C, the camping hacks really come after the oranges are consumed.
Cut your oranges in half and then gut them; eat the gutted parts of the orange if you’d like so there’s no waste. After that, you can utilize each half of the orange. One way to use half of a gutted orange is to make cinnamon rolls or brownies inside of it.
Another great camping hack that utilizes oranges is to turn the halves into fragrant candles! Make sure that you leave the center core-like stem in place before pouring some cooking oil inside; then you can light the stem! This candle will smell of oranges and burn for hours.
12. Outdoor Kitchen Organizer
Do you have a shoe organizer in your home? Spaceships and Laser Beams gives us this idea which repurposes that shoe organizer into a kitchen organizer for all of your cooking needs for the camping trip. This is a great camping hack to keep your campsite neat and organized, especially if you’re planning a longer trip.
13. DIY Hand Washing Station
This DIY hand washing station from Do It And How seems to be slightly more efficient than other methods people use to wash their hands while camping. Place a plastic holder that will hold paper towels onto the top of a water jug. Secure the jug and holder together by wrapping two bungee cords around them. After you fill the jug with water, you will have an effective hand washing station to keep your hands clean after eating all of those messy s’mores! Place a bucket underneath the spout of the jug if you don’t want a muddy puddle underneath. And don’t forget some liquid hand soap!
14. Laundry Basket for Shoes
It’s great that kids love to run around and explore the great outdoors while camping, but it’s not so great when they track dirt into your tent. This super simple camping hack from Kid Friendly Things to Do only requires a laundry basket that you probably already have lying around your home! Bring that laundry basket camping and place everyone’s shoes inside — watch how your tent magically stays so much cleaner!
15. DIY Pot Holder
It’s so incredibly important to effectively manage your space when camping. This camping hack from DIY & Crafts works as a great way to stay organized and save some valuable space! Grab a belt and some hooks, and secure your temporary pot holder around a tree to hang your pots!
16. Doritos for Kindling
Who knew Doritos were not only tasty but highly flammable? Perhaps they aren’t the healthiest snack choice, but Lifehacker recommends using Doritos for kindling. Apparently, any type of chip will make a good ignitable solution when you don’t have better options to kindle your fire with.
17. Foam Pads
As peaceful as sleeping in the wilderness with our family may sound, the reality of sleeping on the hard ground is not the most relaxing aspect. A Little Campy came up with a great camping hack to make your camping nights a little more comfortable. Simply place a yoga mat or some toddler foam tiles underneath your sleeping bag for some extra padding.
18. Shower Caps
If you’re camping on a hot summer day, your food will likely become unsafe to eat after a couple of hours. The Krazy Coupon Lady suggests bringing a shower cap along on your camping trip. You can fill the cap with ice and place your bowl or pot inside to keep your food nice and cold. You can also use shower caps to cover your foods if your family is eating a buffet-style meal.
19. Mesh Bag
The thought of washing and drying dishes when camping sounds like a hassle because we no longer have the modern-day conveniences we’re accustomed to, like a dishwasher, for example. Buzzfeed suggests a really easy way to dry dishes when camping with really no effort at all. Just grab a mesh bag and throw all of your dishes and cookware in there to air dry.
20. DIY Drink Covers
Nobody likes when an insect lands in their drink — which is why Schneiderman’s came up with the easiest way to protect your precious beverage! Gone are the days when you had to cover your drink with your hand because now you can use a cupcake liner to keep both dirt and insects out. Here’s what to do: lay the cupcake liner inside-up on the glass, use your fingers to seal around the rim of your cup, and then stick a straw through the liner.
Whether you decide to pack an extra shower cap or those two oranges that have been sitting on your kitchen counter for the last week, we hope that you can take some hacks off this list to improve your next camping trip. You’ll likely find that you’re more relaxed when you properly plan for a trip into the great outdoors. Utilizing some of these hacks will allow you to problem-solve before the problem even exists. Now that we’ve provided you with some camping hacks that should make your trip run rather smoothly, you can focus on creating memories with your loved ones. Happy camping!