Camping — experiencing the great outdoors, exploring surroundings, becoming “one” with nature — whatever the reason for pitching a tent or taking the RV out on the open road, pretty much everyone could use a few helpful hints or camping hacks to make their stay more enjoyable and less chaotic.
Discover your inner MacGyver, Bear Grylls, or Survivorman Les Stroud and become the master — or mistress — of your domain with these cleaver camping tips.
If you find them interesting, please share with your friends or family members who also enjoy outdoor activities.
1. Beer Can Stove
With a knife and a bit of alcohol, you can make a stove out of a beer can that boils water in less than six minutes.
- First cut the can in half.
- Remove the inner lid from the top half.
- Squish indentations into the lower edge of the top half. This will help the flames reach what you’re cooking.
- Slide the top into the bottom and pour a finger’s worth of denatured alcohol in it.
- Light the fumes and you are in business.
2. Shower Curtain Disposable Tarp
Old shower curtains make great – -and free/cheap — tarps. Rather than throwing one away, just store it with your camping gear.
3. Toilet Paper Roll Fire Starter
This is one of the best hacks of all time. It takes two things you typically throw away and turns them into something that many people pay money for.
By filling a used toilet paper roll with lint from the dryer, you create an absolutely free fire starter that works every time.
4. Tea Tree Oil for Nearly Everything
Tea tree oil has many uses. You can use it as an antiseptic to prevent infections and it is great for treating poison ivy and bug bites. Better than treating, however, is prevention. By mixing 40 drops of tea tree oil with around 12-16 oz of water, you create an effective spray to dissuade ticks and mosquitos.
5. Park in the Shade
Keep your tent or motorhome cool by parking or camping in the shade. With this one simple act, you can reduce the heat of your quarters by about 10-degrees.
Maximize this effect by creating additional shade. Hang a tarp over your tent attached to nearby trees or use your camper’s awnings.
6. Bungee Cords for Everything
They are inexpensive and their use is limited only by your imagination. Use them to secure belongings. Use them with a tarp to create an awning for additional shade. Use them to hang food from a tree to avoid drawing wildlife to your site. As easy as this is, just buy them and use them.
7. Don’t Park Downwind
The camping tip that keeps on giving — make sure to pitch you tent upwind of your, and anyone else’s, campfire.
When you pitch downwind, you, your tent, and your belongings will smell like smoke. It sometimes can take multiple washings to get that smell out of your clothes and hair.
8. Bring Microfiber Towels
These are much more absorbent than paper towels, plus they are reusable. They also dry more quickly than regular towels, making them the obvious choice.
9. Bring a Tarp
A tarp can be used to create a dry plot of land or a makeshift cover. With a clothesline and a couple of tie-downs, clothes pins, or alligator clips, you can fashion a quick shelter.
Tarps can keep your belongings dry when it rains and add a second level of protection to your tent. They can even act as an awning for your RV.
10. Gallon Jugs of Frozen Water
When you freeze water in gallon jugs, they remain frozen far longer than when in cubes. This can keep the contents of your cooler icy far longer than they would be otherwise.
11. Chips as Fire Starter
Doritos, Fritos, Cheetos — actually any brand of chips work as a good fire starter. Although, the Cheetos brand work the best, perhaps due to the excess air in them, any chip works.
Full of hydrocarbons soaked in fat, they catch fire as quickly as birch bark.
12. Jug of Water/Head Lamp Camping Light
When you strap a headlamp onto a jug of water, the light illuminates the water making a larger lantern that brightens a larger area.
13. Altoid Container Survival Kit
Empty Altoid containers are great. They can be used as a mini-sewing kit for repairs on the trip or as a first aid kit. You can also use one to assemble a survival kit that is small enough to pack in your pocket.
Fill it with a lighter or matches, some bandaids, a Swiss army knife, a little plastic poncho, a wire saw, a small pack of dehydrated food, or whatever else you think may be necessary.
14. Swiss Army Knife
A Swiss army knife is truly the last knife you will ever really need. With a variety of blades and tools, some models come with cork screws, scissors, bottle openers, files, tiny saws, and even tiny forks. With this multi-tool knife, you can reduce the other tools and gadgets you pack.
15. Coffee Can Storage Containers
Plastic or metal — empty coffee containers have many uses. Metal ones can be used to make coffee can bread; simply place the dough in the can and cook over the campfire until it’s done.
Plastic ones can be painted and used as waterproof containers for dried goods such as flour and sugar. They are also a great place to stow rolls of toilet paper to keep them dry.
16. Know One Way to Build a Fire
Likely, the easiest way to build a fire that starts quickly and burns consistently is with the teepee construction method.
- Pile the tinder in a small heap — the tinder can consists of dry leaves or the prepared toilet paper rolls.
- Arrange smaller twigs around the tinder in a teepee shape. For a stronger construction, tie some twigs together with twine or string.
- Place the larger sticks around the smaller ones. Keep the size of the teepee small enough to be manageable in case it falls.
17. Homemade Coffee Bags
For small trips, and especially for backpacking hikes when you prefer to keep your pack small and light, consider making your own coffee bags.
Place 1-cup servings of coffee into individual coffee filters and tie them closed with pieces of string. When you want a cup of coffee, boil one serving over the campfire or beer can stove and dunk your bag to create a hot, delicious beverage.
18. Make a Hot Water Bag
Fill a water bottle with water and place it near enough to the campfire to warm it. Put it in your sleeping bag to make your evening warmer and more comfortable on a chilly night.
19. Don’t Forget to Waterproof
Waterproofing is a camping tip that, although it takes a bit of time and effort, is more than worth the trouble. When an unexpected shower interrupts your camping trip, it is too late to think about weatherproofing.
When spraying or rolling on the weather proofer, pay close attention to the seams and go over every inch. Allow the chemical to dry in the sun after applying it, before using it and before packing it back up. Waking up in a wet sleeping bag is no fun for anyone.
20. Solar Recharging
Invest in a solar recharging station to charge your phone, GPS, lamps, and batteries. Choose an option that is rugged for outdoor use and multi-purpose to get the most bang for your buck.
21. Emergen-C to Avoid an Emergency
Hygiene isn’t always guaranteed on a lengthy outdoor camping trip. If you are lucky, you have communal showers and bathroom facilities that may or may not receive regular cleaning and maintenance. Your health, however, is still a priority. Pack and use Emergen-C to reduce your risk of illness.
It is also a great resource for replenishing electrolytes. When the day is hot, this provides vitamins, as well as hydration. Just stow a few packets in your pockets or backpack and mix into a bottle of water or in your canteen when you feel the need for a pick-me-up.
As you can see, there are several creative hacks or hints that can make your trip more enjoyable, or at least less complicated. From starting a fire with ease, to keeping your tent cool, these are simple and quick ways to keep you comfortable. If you found these camping tips interesting or inspiring, please share with your friends and family members who like to camp or spend relaxing time outside. Become your own problem solver.