Camping is the best way to seek adventure, appreciate nature, and recharge your batteries. But you still have to deal with packing up your gear, laboring through chores, and solving backcountry snafus. Fortunately, you can save time and energy by implementing clever shortcuts and problem-solving.
We’re here to bring you the collective wisdom of campers all over the world, so you can kick back and enjoy your camping trip. We’ve scoured the internet to bring you the most ingenious, effective camping hacks you’ve ever seen.
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Best Camping Hacks of All Time
Whether you’re a camping novice or a backcountry pro, being at the mercy of Mother Nature can be, well, inconvenient. Make it easier on yourself by taking advantage of these tips, tricks, and DIY hacks that have been tested and proven by campers all over the world. These are the best camping hacks of all time.
- Make a quick, satisfying snack with campfire crescent rolls. Open the can and unravel a nice, thick slice of dough. Wrap the dough around a tree branch or roasting stick, and heat it over the campfire until it’s golden brown.
- Did you forget to pack the coffee maker? No problem. Just fill a coffee filter with your favorite grounds, tie off the top, and steep it in hot water for about ten minutes. You’ll have an instant cup of joe to help your day get started.
- Make an effortless protein-rich breakfast with camping omelets. Crack the eggs ahead of time and store them in a water bottle. Add extra flavor by tossing in some milk, cheese, hot sauce, vegetables, and seasoning. Come breakfast time, give the bottle a shake, crack it open, and pour it out that eggy goodness.
- The last thing you need is your food getting soggy in the cooler. Keep foods dry by placing a (cookie) cooling rack on top of the liquids. It creates an effective barrier, so the dry foods don’t fall through and get wet.
- Who doesn’t love a good flapjack breakfast first thing in the morning? You can make five-minute pancakes in camp by preparing the batter ahead of time. Mix the ingredients to make your batter. Pour the batter into an empty squeeze bottle or gallon ziplock bag. When you’re ready to make the pancakes, just squeeze the batter onto your griddle (or cut a small hole in the corner of your ziplock bag).
- Keep ants off your picnic table—and out of your food—by placing a small tray of water beneath each table leg. They struggle to navigate the water, making it even harder to climb up the table leg.
- Keep your cookware within reach, so you never have to search for supplies. Wrap an old belt around the nearest tree, and place a few S-hooks along the belt. Hang your pots, pans, and serving utensils around the tree by placing them on the S-hooks.
- Repeated exposure to the elements causes camping cookware to rust over time. You can avoid rusting by storing your gear with a few silica gel packets.
- Keep your food and drinks cold throughout your entire camping trip. Instead of using ice cubes, fill a few gallon jugs or bottles full of water and place them along the bottom of your cooler. They’ll stay frozen longer, and when they do melt, you have a ready supply of cold drinking water.
- Save kitchen space by storing spices, dish soap, and condiments in empty Tic Tac or pill containers.
- Make a DIY hand-washing station by filling an empty laundry detergent dispenser with water. Collect a dollop of soap, wash your hands, and use the dispenser’s spout to rinse the soap off. You can also hang a microfiber towel nearby or attach a roll of paper towels with a bungee cord.
- Replace your towels with compact microfiber towels. They’re lightweight, they dry quickly, you can hang them, and they’re super absorbent.
- Keep your camping kitchen organized by hanging a shoe organizer from your tree hooks, tent, or paracord. Place your kitchen items into the individual slots, so you always know where to find your gear.
- Mylar blankets (otherwise known as “space blankets”) are great insulators. Keep your tent warm by wrapping it in a mylar blanket, mylar side down. You can also use them to keep your tent nice and cool in the summer by wrapping the tent in a blanket, mylar side up.
- Prevent campers from tripping over tent stakes and guylines in the dark. Wrap them in LED lighting, reflective tape, or foam noodles—no more accidents on the way to the bathroom.
- Level up your comfort by covering the tent’s floor area with foam puzzle mats. They’re highly customizable, so you can cover the entire tent floor or just one section.
- Camping in the winter doesn’t mean you have to freeze through the night. Fill a water bottle or jug with hot water and place it in your sleeping bag. You can also toss in a few air-activated hand warmers or add insulation with dry clothes.
- Sleep peacefully through the night with a DIY pillow. Fill a pillowcase or stuff sack full of clothes and place it on your sleeping bag as a pillow. Don’t forget to fluff it up before bed.
- Keep your down sleeping bag (and jackets) in tip-top shape by drying them with four or five tennis balls. The balls bounce around the dryer, fluffing the loft to extend the life of your clothes.
- You’ll sleep better through the night if your feet are warm and comfortable. Keep a dry pair of wool designated for sleep in the bottom of your sleeping bag.
- Save money and effort by making your own waterproof firestarters. Get that fire blazing with Vaseline-soak cotton balls, a trick birthday candle, cotton pads dipped in wax, toilet paper rolls, dryer lint, or chips (like Fritos, Cheetos, or Doritos). If you are using matches, store them in a waterproof container with a patch of sandpaper.
- Studies have shown that sage, citronella, pine, and rosewood are effective mosquito repellants. Drop some essential oil or leaves onto your fire grate to get rid of those pesky bloodsuckers.
- Get your fire blazing in no time with charcoal. Fill an empty cardboard egg carton with charcoal briquettes and toss the whole thing on the fire.
- Don’t break your back hauling a bunch of heavy gear into camp. Stack all your gear onto a sled and pull it into camp. Most sleds glide effortlessly over the snow or grass.
- Duct tape is the ultimate all-purpose tool. You can use it to patch, repair, or weatherproof your gear, make rope, treat blisters, start a fire, wrap injuries, or catch flies. Store your tape by wrapping it around your hiking poles, water bottle, or other gear.
- Camping in wet shoes is the worst. It’s uncomfortable and makes you more vulnerable to frostbite and hypothermia. Dry your shoes out overnight, so they’re ready for you first thing in the morning. Remove the insoles and stuff them with dry (dirty) clothes or crumpled newspapers.
- Waterproof your shoes and other gear with candle wax or beeswax. Just take a piece of wax and rub it generously over your shoes until they’re completely covered. Make sure you get it into the small crevices too.
- It’s important to have dry clothes on hand, especially if you’re camping in the winter. Dry your clothes overnight by hanging them on a clothesline. You can use bread tags to pin the clothes to the clothesline.
- Make a campground speaker by placing your phone inside a curved container, like a cup. The shape of the container helps amplify the sound coming out of the speakers.
- Parachute cord (otherwise known as “paracord) is another excellent multi-purpose tool. You can use it for shoelaces, guylines, tie-downs, tourniquets, clotheslines, dog leashes, and fishing lines.
- Keep your gear dry in a rainstorm by lining your pack or duffel bag with a large garbage bag or trash compactor bag. Cinch the top of the trash bag before you close the pack.
- Make a DIY lantern to create a comforting camp ambiance. Fill a jug, bottle, or bear canister with water and wrap your headlamp around it (with the light facing in). For a more subtle glow, place your headlamp into an empty jug or water bottle.
- Keep your zippers from wearing out, catching, or sticking by coating them in candle wax. Just rub a candle or piece of wax up and down the zipper a few times.
- Make it easier to find essential gear in the dark—wrap the reflective tape around things like water bottles, headlamps, tent poles, and cooking supplies.
- PVC tarps are another great multi-use tool. They make effective footprints, tent covers, canopies, and waterproof blankets.
- Save space and weight in your toiletry bag. Use a vegetable peeler to shave off single-use strips of soap.
- You can make a DIY washing machine with a plunger and a five-gallon bucket. First, cut a few holes into the plunger and another one in the center of the bucket lid. Fill the bucket with clothes, detergent, and water. Make sure you secure the lid, then slip the plunger into the bucket through the hole you cut. Use the plunger as an agitator by moving it up and down until the clothes are clean.
- Make an emergency toilet by placing an old toilet seat over the top of a five-gallon bucket. And you can attach a wire to hold your toilet paper.
- Save even more space and weight in your toiletry bag by making single-use toothpaste and ointment packets. Cut up a straw and fill the individual pieces with toothpaste or ointment. Use a lighter to seal the ends. When you’re ready to use your supplies, just snip open the sealed ends with a knife or scissors.
- You can also make single-use toothpaste dots. Squeeze pea-size drops of toothpaste onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle some baking soda onto the dots so they don’t stick together, and dry them overnight. You can pop one in and chew it for a quick clean or dissolve it with a dab of water on your toothbrush.
- Whether you’re backcountry camping or in a campground with outhouse restrooms, you’ll want to bring your own toilet paper. Keep your TP dry by storing it in an old coffee container or plastic bag.
- It’s hard to go camping without facing bug bites or plant rashes that lead to uncomfortable itching. You can relieve itching by applying a little deodorant or antiperspirant over the affected area. They contain some of the same ingredients as anti-itch cream and work surprisingly well.
- Save water by packing wet wipes or hand sanitizer.
- Some campgrounds offer free or coin-operated showers. Keep your shower supplies handy by attaching travel bottles to a neck lanyard. You can hang the lanyard from the showerhead, giving you instant access to everything you need.
- Make a natural tick repellant by mixing one part tea tree or eucalyptus oil with two parts water. Put the mixture into a spray bottle and spray it onto your shoes, socks, and cuffs.