A camping trip is supposed to be an easygoing and enjoyable time where you get to be out in the splendor of nature and cast off your worries for a few days while you relax. But as many have found out the hard way, a camping trip can turn out to be harder or more inconvenient than expected. You may have packed in a hurry, forgetting valuable supplies, or forgot to plan for certain events, such as a change in weather. Many times people don't realize how much room items can take up until you try packing everything into a few bags or try storing everything in your vehicle. Whether you are camping alone, with a small party, or with a large group, everyone is always looking for ways to save on space, money, and make everyday tasks easier while out camping. This month we go over some hacks, tips, and suggestions for making your next outdoor camping vacation easier and more fun for everyone.
1. Keep matches dry by storing them in a closed container such as a glass jar, or a sealable plastic container. Glue some sand paper or grit paper on the inside of the lid for easy striking.
2. For easy fire starters, keep dryer lint and store in the compartments of a cardboard egg carton. Pour melted wax over the lint and let harden. When it's time to start a campfire, pop one out or cut the section off and use the cardboard carton too. Along the same lines, you can store charcoal briquettes in a carton and take those for starting fires too. Another tactic is to take cotton balls, soak in petroleum jelly, and stuff into straws. Cut the straws into sections and store in a plastic bag, just take one out when you need to start a campfire. Another popular type of kindling is using corn chips due to the oil in them catching fire easily.
3. Reuse a water bottle or creamer bottle to store already cracked eggs. This way you only need to pour out the liquid gold into your pan to cook up an easy breakfast.
4. Keeping with the breakfast idea, storing pancake batter in a plastic zipper bag is also a time saver. Just cut the corner and use the bag like an icing bag, squeeze out the batter onto your pan for some easy flap-jacks.
5. For keeping your food cold in a cooler, freeze up some water bottles ahead of time, or you can even use gallon water jugs too. Although, if you use smaller water bottles, you can distribute them evenly through out the cooler, then when they thaw, use them for drinking.
6. Reuse small containers such as pill bottles or candy containers for cooking spices, or first aid supplies. You can pack a mini first aid kit for everyone's backpack to quickly treat a scratch or blister.
7. Easily create a glow lamp by strapping a headlamp/ flashlight to a gallon jug filled with water. This will cause the light to radiate in all directions, which is great for inside a tent.
8. Buy cheap foam tiles used for kids play rooms or gym tiles to create a softer tent floor, which will be easier to walk on, lounge on, sleep on and insulate you from the cold ground.
9. Use a shoe organizer to store your camping kitchen or bathroom items for easy access and organization. These are the type of organizers that hang up and have many pockets. They are easy to roll/ fold up when done too. A shower caddy can also work if you don't have a way to hang up the organizer.
10. Use a large coffee can to keep toilet paper dry. The can will also help keep its shape and not get squashed. An alternate method is to get the plastic coffee cans, cut a slit in the side for TP to come out, and cut a hole on the top and bottom of the can, use a cut wire hanger to insert through the holes and TP role. This way you can hang it and have it be the TP dispenser also.
11. If you are handy with a sewing machine, you can make soap pouches out of wash clothes, this way it is harder to drop your soap on the dirty ground. Another easy hack is to peel off soap shavings with a vegetable peeler, you can store these in a dry container and take one out when you need one, which will help conserve your soap and you don't have to sew anything extra if you don't want to.
12. For a DIY camp toilet, get a 5 gallon bucket, trash bag, cat litter, and toilet seat or pool noodle. Place the plastic bag in the bucket, and pour some cat litter in it. Then place the toilet seat on top, or use a pool noodle, cut it down one length of it so it will slide over the edge of the bucket for a makeshift seat with no lid.
13. To keep bugs away, disperse some tea tree oil in water in a spray bottle and spray around yourself and your bags to keep ticks and other insects away. Another way to keep mosquitos away is to burn some sage in your campfire.
14. Use trash bags to line your bags and backpacks to keep your items dry in case of rain.
15. Tie a large belt around a tree and use S hooks through the holes to hang cookware from it.
16. Use a plastic weekday medication container to keep different pills in without having to carry a bunch of different bottles or packs with you. You can keep pain medications, antihistamines, anti-diarrheal, upset stomach chewables, vitamins and more all in one easy to find location.
17. To keep from packing a whole roll of duct tape, you can wrap some around an object (ideally plastic) so that you can easily find it to use and pack it more efficiently. This can be a water bottle, other bottle, flashlight, or tool like a lighter. You never know when you will need some tape.
18. Make a checklist for your packing ahead of time so you can plan out how everything will fit in the vehicle or in your bag. This will come in handy when it is time to repack everything and go home.
19. Solar powered garden light stakes make for nice lighting around the campground. You can leave them out all day to charge and then at night you can see where you are going. Keep one by each tent, the cooler, and the toilet. You can make it easy to move by inserting a stake into an upside down terracotta flower pot.
20. You can make a DIY camp shower by reusing a large water jug, the one or two gallon type that have a handle on the side, and punching holes into the lid, or making your own shower head to attach to it. There are different ways of doing this that can be found through an internet search. If you are very crafty, you can tie this onto a sturdy tree branch so it will hang over you as you rinse off.
Here are some general tips to help you save money:
1. Reuse any container from home you think might be useful such as glass jars, medicine bottles, food bottles, mint and candy tins. Anything that can be washed out and re purposed for camping saves you from having to buy a different version of it.
2. Zippered plastic bags are handy for storing just about anything and keeps it from getting wet.
3. Check out dollar stores for cheap supplies to take on your trip. You can find pet supplies, containers, baskets, trash bags, rope, tape, carabiners, tools, utensils, matches, personal care items, pool noodles, ponchos, solar lights, table cloths, and much more.
Well, we hope this list of hacks and tips will inspire you to go camping soon and try some of these out or create some of your own shortcuts and inventions. Many of these are great whether you are camping for a weekend or for longer, and if you are in an RV you can still use most of these, you don't have to be tent camping to appreciate money-saving and space-saving tips.
See you out on the trails, happy adventuring!