19 Camping Hacks and Tips

19 Camping Hacks and Tips

Surviving the family camping trip requires more than food, water, and shelter.

In order to return from the wilderness with your sanity intact, not to mention keep whining to a minimum, you need to keep your little zombies comfortable.

The best way to do this is to get organized, and getting organized starts with packing the car.

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Here are 19 camping hacks that will inspire you to get creative on your trip!

19 Hacks to Help You Get Started |

Camping Made Simple

Hack #1. Make Your Own Pillow 

Hack #1. Make Your Own Pillow

Space is always a problem when camping. Instead of packing an extra pillow, turn your clothes and a pillowcase into a pillow instead! The pillowcase makes a great replacement for an extra bag as well.

Hack #2. Bring Only the Essentials

Ever hear the expression, “you can’t take it all with you”? This applies to family camping trips as well. Instinct may tell you to pack for any eventuality, but smart and savvy packing will make the trip run smoother in the end.

Basic necessities like clothing and toiletries are fine because­ you’ll need those. But you should take a good hard look at each item you’re planning on bringing to the camping trip.

Is it necessary, and how many functions can it perform? 

Find items that can do double duty to cut down on clutter. If it only has one purpose, it doesn’t make the cut!

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Hack #3. Choose DIY Camping Equipment Over Store-bought ones

The first thing you’ll notice after checking out these hacks is you don’t need to purchase as many camping goods as you thought you did.

Don’t lug around floating water beds and sleeping pads for the tent, instead use an inflatable air mattress for both. My personal favorite hack is using a hanging shoe organizer to store all non-perishable food and kitchen tools.

You can roll it up to save space when you’re not using it, and easily keep track of all those small items.

All of a sudden, bringing the salt and pepper shakers from home doesn’t seem unreasonable!

Hack #4. Prep Your Meals at Home

Camping Hack #4. Prep Your Meals at Home

By prepping your meals before you leave on your trip, you can cut down on cooking time and the resulting mess.

If you know you’ll need to cut up ingredients for a meal, try chopping them beforehand.

Hack #5. Campground Washing Machine

Camping Hack #5. Campground Washing Machine

Who says you have to wait until you get home to wash all those dirty clothes? Imagine being able to wash clothing, linens, and towels while you’re camping.

With a five gallon bucket, a plunger, and a few other supplies, you can create your own mini washing machine, and it does a great job of getting out the dirt.

Just don’t forget to take along a little laundry soap!

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Hack #6. Easy Lighting

Camping Hack #6. Easy Lighting

This gallon jug lighting is brilliant. You just strap a headlamp to a gallon jug and it gives off as much light as your living room lamp. It’s enough to fill your entire tent.

You just need the jug and your headlamp, which you can pick up at any store that carries camping equipment, and they’re relatively cheap.

This is great for those late night talks or even reading in the tent.


Hack #7. Pack Frozen Water Bottles in Your Cooler

Camping Hack #7. Pack Frozen Water Bottles in Your Cooler

Keeping the family hydrated is the most important aspect of a healthy camping trip. In order to save space, pack bottles of frozen water in your cooler.

They’ll be used later as drinking waterand it also takes care of keeping your first meal at the campsite fresh.

Hack #8. Store eggs in a Water Bottle.

Fan of scrambled eggs?

Pre-scramble the whites and yolks and pour the mixture into a plastic bottle or mason jar.

Hack #9. How To Make Mosquito Repellent

Camping Hack #9. Mosquito Repellent

Camping is so much fun, but those mosquito bites are not. Instead of worrying with packing spray on repellent and being concerned that chemicals may be getting into your system, simply add some sage to your campfire.

Sage works as a natural deterrent to keep those pesky bugs away, and it smells nice, too.

Hack #10. Make a Homemade Fire Starter

Camping Hack #10. Make a Homemade Fire Starter

For a fire starter, we advise you to use the homemade version crafted from dryer lint and wax and stored in an egg carton. Speaking of campfires, the best type of fires for cooking is the log-cabin style, because it can support cookware.

To achieve this type of fire, stack kindling at right angles, overlaying each piece so that it balances on the ones below it. Use the largest pieces on the bottom and the smallest on top.

When choosing your location to build the fire, keep in mind nearby objects, but also keep an eye out for low-hanging branches overhead. 

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Hack #11. Dorito Kindling

Camping Hack #11. Dorito Kindling

Here’s a hack that’s been floating around for a while, and it’s one that really does work.

When you’re camping, you need a campfire, right? Believe it or not, you can’t always find kindling, depending on where you are camping, or whether or not it’s been raining.

Take along a few extra bags of Doritos, or if you have stale ones that the kids haven’t gotten to yet, just light those bad boys on fire!

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Hack #12. Rosemary Smoked BBQ Recipe

Camping Hack #12. Rosemary Smoked BBQ Recipe

Instead of worrying over seasoning your steaks or fish, just put rosemary on the charcoal while it burns.

It will give your meats a wonderful smoked rosemary flavor that even the pickiest of eaters will love.

Hack #13. How To Make Campfire Popcorn

Camping Hack #13. How To Make Campfire Popcorn

Make those nights of camping extra special with these popcorn satchels. These are like Jiffy Pop but a lot cheaper. 

You just fill the aluminum foil and then fold it over, adding a string that lets you shake your popcorn until it’s all popped.

Hack #14. How To Make a Camping Toilet

Camping Hack #14. How To Make a Camping Toilet

If you’re not someone who’s comfortable just going anywhere, this DIY toilet is a dream. You can make it easily with just a few supplies, like an old milk crate, a five gallon bucket, and a toilet seat.

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You’ll need to empty it of course, but for those who just can’t manage to go in the woods, this easy to put together portable potty is perfect.

Hack #15. How To Make Whistle

Camping Hack #15. How To Make Whistle

Use an acorn cap as a whistle if you get lost

It’s remarkably easy to get lost whilst camping. Here’s a full tutorial on how you can transform an acorn into a whistle!

Hack #16. Use Biodegradable Trail Tape

Camping Hack #16. Use Biodegradable Trail Tape

If you’re planning a hike, keep yourself and the environment safe by using biodegradable trail marking tape.

You can find this tape at most stores that sell camping supplies, and it’s a great way to ensure that you don’t get turned around on your hike and lose your way.

 It’s also a great way to keep the woods all natural and safe from chemicals and litter.

Hack #17. How To Sleep Comfortably 

Camping Hack #17. How To Sleep Comfortably


Instead of really “roughing it” and ending up with an achy back and very little sleep, use foam pads to make then floor of your tent more comfortable.

These little colorful foam tiles are not terribly expensive, and they will help you to avoid sleeping on rocks and twigs that may be under your tent.

Plus, they help to spruce up the interior of your tent, too.

Hack #18. How To Dry Your Shoes 

Camping Hack #18. How To Dry Your Shoes

Grab a newspaper from your recycle bin and keep it handy in case your shoes get wet and stuff the newspaper inside your shoes while you sleep.

Hack #19. Which “Luxury” Camping Gear in Worth Bringing?

Once you’ve created some much-needed space by cutting down on needless stuff, you can work in some “luxury” camping goods that will add exponential value to your trip.

Water shoes, insect repellent candles and clothing, and a durable hammock will all make your family much more comfortable on your trip.

A sun shelter is the most expensive item on this list, coming in at around $150. Sun shelters actually straddle the line between luxury and necessity, as they’re designed for comfort.

But if you’re camping in an especially hot area, they can help your children stay cool during those peak sunny hours. 

A trek to the river or beach can end up being cut short because of the blazing sun.

Bring a large golf umbrella, that way you’ll have protection from excessive sun or rain!

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These tips serve as a good primer for your first family camping trip, but the best way to come up with new ones is to get out there yourself!

Getting your children into the wilderness early on in their childhood is crucial if you want them to love camping because taking surly teenagers for the first time isn’t a walk in the park. 

What are your go-to hacks when camping? Share them with us in the comments section below.

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