Every avid outdoors-fan loves a good hack; these simple tricks can make your life easier in the most wonderful of ways! There’s a lot of fantastic advice out there on every different type of camping imaginable and so many ways that you could improve your trip. Practical advice such as tips for camping in the rain is very useful, but these camping tricks go further than the utility. Using camping hacks can make your outdoor experience much more enjoyable, and help difficult tasks to become easy.
In this article, we’re going to share 28 of the most ingenious camping hacks we could find. This includes tips for car camping, tent camping hacks, camper van advice, and much more! You can find advice on how to make your camping trip more convenient and more beautiful, and enhance your experience overall. Even if you’re already an experienced camper, there could be a nugget of knowledge in here to overhaul your entire camping game!
Tent camping hacks
Camping in a tent is the most popular way to experience the outdoors, as most people love to bring in their home on their back and pack it out without a trace in the morning. If you like to sleep under the stars using a tent, here are some tent camping hacks that could make a huge difference.
1. Always Bring Duct Tape
Many seasoned campers will think this is obvious advice, but there’s nothing more valuable than a roll of duct tape when you’re camping in a tent. Duct tape can fix almost anything out on the trail, and sometimes can be a vital component in saving your trip! Torn tents can lead to rain-outs and worse, but a roll of duct tape can patch it in a heartbeat. Even cracked plastic containers can be patched up with this tape. Broken poles and sleeping bags with holes are no issue either, so long as you remember your trusty duct tape.
2. Use Foam Puzzle Squares as Mats
Remember those colorful foam squares you had as a kid? Chances are, you still have them lying around, and they make the perfect DIY sleeping pad! These conveniently sized pieces can fit together in any configuration you desire, and are easy to pack away at the end of your trip. Foam squares are super comfortable and work perfectly with a sleeping bag. This cheap tent camping hack can make your night much more pleasant.
3. Try Hammock Camping Instead
Some people might see this as more of an alternative than a hack, but it’s surprising how many campers never consider using a hammock. We definitely think this qualifies as it can make your life so much easier- camping in a hammock is so convenient! Hammocks are much smaller and lighter than tents, and way more comfortable too. You don’t need to bring as much equipment along and we promise you’ll sleep soundly! If it rains, you might need a hammock tarp, but otherwise, this camping hack could be a stand-alone solution to all your backcountry problems.
4. Use Pool Noodles to Protect Tent Lines
This could be the best tent camping hack we’ve ever heard, and it’s so easy for everyone to use. Brightly colored foam pool noodles can be cut into smaller segments, and wrapped around the guy lines of your tent. This improves visibility (making stumbles less likely) and protects your lines from damage.
5. Use a Camping Checklist
Forgetting a piece of vital equipment can derail an entire camping trip, but this problem is easy to avoid. You can use a guide like our Ultimate Camping Checklist to ensure you never forget any of the important items you need. Remembering all the gear you need is difficult, but this simple camping hack makes everything much easier.
6. Make Toothpaste Dots
There’s no reason to take an entire tube of toothpaste on your next camping trip. It takes up valuable space and there’s no chance you’ll need the whole thing. You can make toothpaste dots by squeezing small drops of your regular brand onto a plate, and leaving them to dry for three days. After that, just sprinkle on a little baking soda and bag them up to complete this super convenient tent camping hack.
7. Carry Dryer Sheets
Dryer lint sheets are great at keeping your clothes fresh, but there are more benefits than this. Keep a dryer sheet in your pocket, or inside your tent while you sleep, and it will help keep creepy crawlies away. Gnats and other small insects dislike the scent of lint sheets, so keeping one nearby will help to keep these annoying bugs at bay.
8. Don’t Bother with a Pillow
There’s no point carrying a big fluffy pillow all the way to your campsite. Tent camping hacks are all about easy solutions, and there’s a much better way to sleep comfortably at the campsite. Stuff your spare clothes into a nylon or cloth bag, and use this as your pillow. This is much more storage efficient and just as comfortable as a proper pillow.
Car camping hacks
Car camping usually means you have a little more space than tents, so there are more camping hacks available to you. These little tips can be applied successfully to every car camper’s experience, making your trip easier and more pleasant overall.
9. Store Eggs in a Bottle
Did you know that eggs can be cracked into a container and transported? Carrying a carton of eggs in your cooler is always a risky business, even if you’re driving out to the campsite. It doesn’t take much to crack those fragile shells, destroying the contents of your cooler while ruining your breakfast. Before you leave for your trip, crack all the eggs you need into a plastic bottle and beat them up. Not only will this keep them safe and fresh for the journey, but it also makes frying up much easier in the morning.
10. Pre-prepare Fruit and Veg
If you’re on a longer car camping trip, preparing your vegetables beforehand can save you a lot of time. It’s important to wash and dry your produce at home, as there’s no guarantee or clean water at the campsite. Additionally, chopping vegetables is much easier in the kitchen than the wilderness, so make your life easier by doing a little additional prep before your trip.
11. Make Mason Jar Lanterns
It only takes a little bit of effort to turn your campsite into a magical place, and we have some camping hacks to help you. One easy way to add some ambiance is by placing a few mason jars around camp to provide light. All you need to do is put a string of battery-powered fairy lights inside, and you’ve got a gorgeous setting for your night under the stars. Some of the best camping hacks are just simple ideas such as this one, but they can work wonders for your camping experience.
12. DIY Quick Firestarter
You can buy packs of charcoal designed to light quickly and fiercely, but these can be quite expensive. It’s easy to make your own at home, and it’s just as effective at starting fires. All you need is a few pieces of regular charcoal and an empty egg carton. Add a charcoal nugget to each of the holes in the carton, and use the whole box to start your fires. The egg carton will light easily and burn hot, just enough to get the charcoal going for your BBQ!
13. DIY Handwashing Station
One of the biggest disadvantages of car camping is the lack of tap and sink that most campers are equipped with. It seems simple, but having a basic setup allowing you to wash your hands easily can make your camping trip run more smoothly. To make your own handwashing station you need a large water jug, we recommend a 2-gallon container with a plug tap installed. Set the water just over a washing up bowl so there’s no dirty runoff, and provide a soap dispenser and paper towels for those freshly-cleaned hands. Creating a handwashing station is a vital element of your makeshift camping kitchen.
14. Convenient Camping Toilet
If you’re car camping it means you have space for a few extra items, and the comfort of this DIY toilet is worth it. You can make your own camping toilet out of an old milk crate, with a toilet seat on top and bucket beneath; it’s simple. All you need to do is empty it out regularly, and provide a bin for toilet paper. Then, you can use the handwashing station to clean up!
15. Store Your Spices in Tic-Tac Boxes
Storage is always at a premium when camping, so you can use this hack to save space inside. Empty Tic-Tac boxes are perfect for storing spices, allowing you to fit a huge selection into a tiny space. If you make the most of this car camping hack, you won’t have to sacrifice any flavor in your delicious camping recipes.
Wild camping hacks
Backcountry camping usually involves hiking to a remote location and being completely self-sustained. You aren’t treated to the usual privileges of a commercial campsite, so these wild camping hacks can be very useful indeed.
16. Protect From Ticks With Tea Tree Oil
There’s always a risk of getting a tick when you’re camping, but out in the backcountry, chances are much greater. Wild camping is an amazing way to get closer to nature, but that doesn’t mean campers want to bring home a parasitic souvenir. Unlike chemical insect repellents, tea tree oil is completely natural and great for your skin. Use this wild camping hack to protect yourself from ticks without falling out of balance with nature.
17. Turn Your Headlamp into a Lantern
Wild camping usually means packing light, so you’re unlikely to bring a huge lantern along. You will, however, pack out a sizable jug of water, and a headlamp for when the sun goes down. Put your water bottle into a DIY lantern by simply placing it on top of your headlamp. This easy wild camping hack can help you create an atmosphere at your campsite without having to bring any additional gear.
18. Top Up Your Waterproof Spray
Before every camping trip, you can reapply waterproof sprays to your hiking boots, tent, clothing, and anything else! Most people think waterproof products only need to be applied once every few years, but a little extra care before each expedition will make your camping gear last much longer. Additionally, it’ll increase your chances of staying dry on stormy nights.
19. DIY Mini First Aid Kit
On wild camping and backpacking trips when pack space is tight, create your own miniature first aid kit to take along. An old tin or prescription box is the perfect size to carry everything you’ll need in a minor emergency. We recommend including some band-aids and blister packs, as well as sterile gauze and a form of disinfectant. For more inspiration, check out this handy guide from Instructables.
20. Make a Tin Can Grill
If you didn’t bring along the camp stove, you can make a DIY grill from an old tin can. You need a large empty aluminum can, which you can cut up using tin snips. Make a bowl shape to hold some aluminum foil, where you can place the charcoal for grilling. Then, all you need to do is place a metal grill on top and get your BBQ started. Whether you’re grilling up burgers, hotdogs, or vegetable skewers, this mini DIY grill can do it all.
Universal Camping Hacks
These fantastic camping tips apply to every outdoor lover, and can always make your trip even better. Whether you like to sleep in a tent, a camper, or just under the stars, these universal camping hacks apply to all.
21. Premake Pancake Mix
No matter what kind of camping you enjoy, there’s no better breakfast than fresh pancakes. You can save a lot of time and energy on your trip by making pancake mix beforehand, and storing it in Ziploc or sandwich bags. Transport it to your campsite in the bag, and just snip off a corner when you’re ready to cook.
22. Use Sage as a Mosquito Repellent
If you find any wild sage around your campsite (or pack it in), throw a few bunches into your campfire. Natural insect repellent is much friendlier to the environment than harsh chemical products, so many people use sage as it can be just as effective. The strong herbal scent will repel pesky mosquitos and save you both the bites and the hassle.
23. Ditch the Cotton Towels
Although you might miss the soft feeling, cotton towels aren’t a good idea on camping trips. Microfiber towels and cloths are a much better choice; they’re more absorbent, eco-friendly, and will dry a lot faster too. That means when it’s time to pack out, you won’t have to carry heavy wet towels for no reason.
24. Deodorant Can Help Itchy Bites
If you forget to top up your mosquito repellent, you may end up with a bite or two. Most deodorants can help soothe mosquito bites and remove most of the uncomfortable itchy feeling. Just apply a small amount to your bite, and again after an hour to remove it entirely!
25. Use Corn Tortilla Chips as Kindling
If you forgot to bring a fire starter and are struggling to get the flames going, your midnight snack could be exactly what you need! Corn chips like Doritos burn very well so they make excellent kindling; this camping hack can make starting campfires so much easier.
26. Make a Personal Bar of Soap
Toiletries can take up an enormous amount of space on outdoor excursions, but there are plenty of camping hacks you can use to save on storage. When you’re at home, use a vegetable peeler to shave small slices of soap off the larger bar. Then, you can take these mini travel-sized soap bars to the campsite, and won’t have to bring anything back.
27. Make Oreo S’Mores
You can make a much easier and less messy version of s’mores using Oreos, and they’re absolutely delicious. You don’t even need marshmallows as the Oreo cream tastes the same! Just put a piece of chocolate in the middle of a cookie and leave it by the campfire to get toasty. This camping hack makes s’mores more simple, and is a fun way to mix things up too.
28. Don’t Discount the Dollar Store
There’s a surprising amount of quality camping gear that you can find at your local dollar store. So many cheap items can be incredibly useful on your camping trip, and you can get many of the supplies we’ve mentioned at the dollar store. Items such as pool noodles, fire starters, plastic containers, and many other useful products can be found at bargain prices.
This concludes a total of 28 camping tips, tricks, and hacks that you can use to improve your camping experience. From creating DIY toilets to natural insect repellents, these small morsels of advice can make a huge difference to your trip. Every camper has their own style and preferences, but we can all use some room for improvement! At least one of these helpful hacks should be useful to you, and create a better backcountry expedition every time.
Bonus tip: Check out this video to see a few different ways to make a tin can grill!