Clever Camping Hacks and Tips

Camping lets you connect with nature's quiet beauty, allowing you to recharge your batteries PLUS you get to spend quality time with family and friends.

Camping is a relatively simple activity. It’s mostly about learning to live outdoors rather than staying inside all the time with all the comforts of modern life.

Even if you think camping is too difficult for it to be fun, there are so many camping hacks, tips and tricks available to make camping easier and you can be sure that your time at the campsite is much more enjoyable.

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Camping Hacks for Beginners

If this is your first or second time camping, you could end up having a miserable time because you haven't yet learned the basics of camping. Here are some simple camping hacks and tips for those just starting so everyone can have the best time possible at camp.

Know How to Set Up a Tent

A tent is usually the most crucial part of a camping trip, so if you're a newbie, here are a couple of tips for setting up a tent.

The first thing you should do is practice pitching your tent before heading to the campsite. Knowing how to do it quickly and efficiently will make setting up more enjoyable.

setting up a tent

Avoid the bottoms of hills or valleys when looking for a place to set up. Try to find a soft, flat, “natural bed.”

You should always pitch your tent beneath a tarp to prevent it from getting damaged and prevent water from accumulating.

Treating Bug Bites

For bug bites and other itches, deodorant is great medicine. The itching will cease if you rub your deodorant over the irritated area.

Pack your camping bags with small deodorants or deodorant sprays for a cost-effective bug bite treatment. No one wants to be dealing with itchy bites the whole time.

Dress in Layers

Wearing layers is the easiest and most effective way to control your body temperature, no matter the season.

You should always come prepared by wearing layers of clothing and making sure that you have a set of clothes if the night turns cold, no matter how hot it is during the day.

Cooler temperatures are expected at night, and the temperature falls more than you would expect. Your body might not be able to handle the cold as quickly as you might think. Without extra layers, you end up becoming too cold.

compass and map

Learn to Use a Map and Compass

There's nothing worse than getting lost in a wooded area that has thousands of similar-looking trees. Before you even make the trip, make sure you know how to read a compass and map. This reduces the chance of getting lost.

Practice Basic Outdoor Skills

Lastly, practice basic outdoor skills such as building a fire, using a knife and keeping it sharpened, and tying a few basic knots. This knowledge may seem simple and basic, but it’s what separates the experienced campers from the beginners.

What Are The Top 10 Camping Supplies Needed?

It is essential to have specific items packed for a camping trip. We have put together the top supplies you might want to pack into your bag.

more camping gear

Navigation Gear

A map and compass are essential navigational pieces of equipment. Other navigation devices you can use include an altimeter, a GPS device, and a personal locator beacon.

If you are taking a short-day hike, you might want to take nothing but a map, compass, and personal locator beacon (PLB), while leaving behind your GPS and altimeter.

2. Headlamp or Flashlight

Light is vital during camping. You’ll never know when you’ll need a bright beam of light to guide your way. Also, make sure to bring extra batteries that fit.

3. Water

Water is the most important thing that humans can consume. People can survive for a few days without food but they cannot survive without fresh water.

4. Knife

A knife's versatile use can help you survive in a variety of situations. It requires resourcefulness to overcome obstacles, but you could make a spear to catch fish or use it to collect fruits from branches you can't reach.

A knife will also allow you to cut brush for a shelter, prepare food and protect yourself in a dangerous situation.

5. Sun Protection

At midday, the sun is scorching. You need protection. Items like sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses can help. Wear protective clothing and wear sunglasses when camping, especially if you're hiking.

6. First Aid Kit

When you’re out in the outdoors, anything can happen. If you cut yourself, you won’t have anyone to help patch up the wound. The blood may even attract predators toward you.

It is imperative to bring a first aid kit to a camping trip, no matter how small. Make sure the first aid kit contains bandages and adhesive bandages, as well as an insect repellent.

7. Fire Starters

During a camp, having waterproof matches for making a fire is the next most important thing. A campfire can help you in so many ways, which is why you'll need a few several items to use as fire starters.

If you don't have matches available, you may also use a lighter. You can't go days without food, so these things will be helpful for cooking. You can also include a portable stove for easy access cooking.

8. Shelter

You can’t camp out in the open! You have to bring some form of shelter like a tent. Predators may roam around your camp, so you have to ensure your safety with a sturdy shelter.

9. Food

You must have enough food to last beyond the minimum expectation. Always bring enough food to last for your entire trip and it's best to bring a little extra. If you are camping for days, you'll need to store it properly too.

10. Clothes

Wear practical and durable clothes and come prepared with extra clothes. If you are hiking, you should dress in layers.

You may want to bring extra tools if you are camping for days or if you are doing a survival campout. Based on weather, difficulty, distance from help, and duration of the outing, you should decide whether to bring certain items with you.

How Do You Get Good at Camping?

Make your first camping experience easy by doing just an overnighter, and consider renting or borrowing camping equipment to save money. When you know you enjoy camping and you're going to be camping more often, you should then start buying your own equipment.

Some people will discover that camping and experiencing the great outdoors is just the place that they can be themselves. But, there are certain things you can do before you consider yourself a “pro” at camping.

Tips to Remember on Your Next Camping Trip:

  • Make sure that you bring sufficient food and weather-appropriate clothing.
  • Fresh air and outdoor activities will likely increase your appetite.
  • Do not consider camping a long distance from home. Leaving camp is okay if things go wrong.
  • If there is a bad weather forecast, back out of your camping trip.
  • Leave no trail that you have been in the woods by always cleaning up after yourself.

You can learn as many camping hacks as possible from short weekend outings so that you can have the best time possible.

What Should You Not Do While Camping?

Outdoor activities like camping may be fun, but there are precautions that you can take so that you’ll be safe while having the best time.

Romantic evening camping

Do Not Set Camp at Night

You should avoid setting up camp at night. Building a camp at night is difficult and can be dangerous. Ensure your surroundings are as well-lit as possible if something happens and you have no choice but to set up at night.

Store Your Food Properly

Make sure your food isn’t left out for all the wild animals to smell. It is a good idea to tie up your food containers in a tree when camping in the middle of the woods.

When you have a vehicle, ensure the food is in the car and that it is wrapped up tightly or sealed well so wild animals do not smell it.

Having your food stolen by wildlife and left with nothing to eat is a bad experience and it could be quite dangerous.

Inform Someone Before Leaving For Your Camping Trip

It is always advisable to inform someone that you are going and when you expect to return. 

If you are going exploring while camping, tell someone where you're going and when you plan on returning. This way, if something happens, they can send out a search party for you.

Don’t Forget the First Aid Kit

Many unexpected things can happen out in the wild. A first aid kit is an essential part of your camping gear.

When you have a first aid kit available, you'll be prepared for various situations such as poison ivy, ticks, and cuts. Put your first aid kit in your car or store it right alongside your camping gear before you go.

During each new season, make sure your first aid kit is fully stocked and check to be sure the medicines haven't expired. Doing so will guarantee that the medication will still be effective when you need it most.

Use A Checklist For Proper Preparation

Take a checklist to ensure everything is in order. Don’t go camping without proper planning and preparation.

If you have camped only a few times, you should not overestimate your abilities and always think ahead of what can happen.

How Do I Camp if I Hate Camping?

Nature can be overwhelming for some people. But camping can be a great way to let go of all the stress and relax in a new environment.

If you hate camping, you could simply take the first step and try it out just to know what it feels like in the open. But, before you do that, you can take certain steps to make it more enjoyable for you.

You can make camping more enjoyable if you take along items you enjoy, set up a space that feels comfortable, and choose a campsite you enjoy, even if you hate it.

Just accept that you won't be able to watch TV, or use computers but instead, focus on all the amazing wonders that nature offers and the things you can do.

Outdoor activities like hiking, trekking, fishing, or just admiring nature are simple and beautiful things that only nature can provide.

relaxing by the camp

If you love starry skies, then camping might not be as bad as you think it is. During the night, the stars will shine so bright and you will see them as you've never seen them before when in the city.

Since there’s no bright lights in the atmosphere, the skies will appear dark enough for you to view stars that aren't visible under normal circumstances.

In the daytime, you can lie on your back in the sunshine for a few hours, soaking up the breeze and watching the clouds roll by. People who love cloud-watching will really love doing this.

There are also other camping activities that you can do during the day, like roasting marshmallows, singing campfire songs, and let life just slow down for a while.

If you must go, don't think how much you will hate it and instead, enjoy the peace and serenity you’ll have. Live in the moment. No matter how much you hate camping, you’ll fall in love with how beautiful nature really is.

Essential Camping Hacks Every Camper Should Try

Every person is a beginner at one time. If you’re new to camping, you may find a few things confusing and overwhelming, but there are a few hacks that you can try to make it a more enjoyable experience, anytime you go on a camping trip.

This excellent collection of camping hacks can be used by everyone, regardless of whether you like relaxing at your campsite or just laying around, catching the sun.

Each camping hack on this list is easy to use and can even be done by a beginner.

Use Tick Deterrents

It’s always a good idea to avoid ticks by using a tick deterrent. It is best to use a brand with no dangerous chemicals, so your children will be completely safe.

tick deterrent

If you usually take your pets with you, you may want to spritz some on them, too. In addition to camping, tick repellents can be used whenever you’re outdoors this summer.

Matchbox Containers

If you’re unfamiliar with starting a fire with flint, you should keep matches clean and dry at all times.

If you don't want your matches to get wet, use a plastic container. An old used baby food container should do fine.

With the lid firmly attached, plastic containers keep matches in place while protecting them.

Use Tic-Tac Boxes to Store Spices

Perhaps you want to take your favorite spices with you without having to take too many jars and bottles. A Tic-Tac box can be a perfect container for storing spices when traveling.

You can put printed labels on your spice containers or simply write them in with a sharpie if you prefer.

You won’t ever have to eat a boring meal out in the woods again. Using this camping hack, you can enjoy the outdoors while eating good food.

Make A DIY Camping Handwashing Station

DIY hand washing stations are helpful to have in environments that have no running water. Before you decide to go on a trip, make this handwashing station to bring next time.

Using an empty laundry detergent bottle to make your own water dispenser for keeping the germs at bay. You may want to add a paper towel holder by attaching a bungi cord, if you would like it to be fancier. 

It's easy to keep dirt and grime away with just this handy bottle of water and a jar of liquid soap and you’ll be all set.

Making A Holder For Pots And Pans

Make a convenient space for your pots and pans by tacking hooks on an old belt. Hang up your dishes at the campground rather than leave them scattered.

The belt can be wrapped around trees and hooks can be hooked on the belt to create your own little kitchen storage area.

Biodegradable Trail Tapes

When you’re out hiking, you would want to mark your trail with a marking tape. But, many types of tape are not environmentally friendly.

By using biodegradable trail marking tape, you could protect yourself and the environment from harm.

You can find this tape at most camping supply stores, and it's a good way to avoid getting lost while hiking AND you will be keeping the woods safe.

Packing Breakfast in Bottles

You may like the idea of bringing boxes of pancake mix while you’re out camping, but that isn’t a space-saving way of bringing your food.

Prepare pancakes in advance and store them in old plastic bottles for easy use rather than packing a carton of eggs or hauling all the ingredients.

For Ready-to-Make Easy Stored Eggs:

  • Add eggs to an empty water bottle or reuse your coffee creamer containers 
  • Add seasonings of your preference
  • Shake before using

For Ready to Make Pancakes:

  • Use an easy-squeeze condiment bottle or empty bottle of your choice
  • Prepare the pancake mix according to the directions
  • Pour the mix into the bottle
  • When you are ready to make your pancakes, just squeeze out as much as you need for cooking

Fire Starters

Getting your campfire started can be difficult, especially when you are new to camping. You can use kindling but we found some easier ways to get your campfire up and going in no time.

Dryer Lint and Toilet Paper Rolls

Between every dryer cycle, you have to clean the lint trap to prevent a fire and to keep your dryer drying clothes.

camping fire starter homemade

This fuzzy stuff can be used to ignite a fire. Do not throw away any of it in the trash. Keep it airtight in a disposable zipper bag or container.

It's amazing how well lint can start a fire and it's especially useful when you stuff it inside a cardboard paper towel roll. This can really save the day while camping.

To make this work, simply stuff the cardboard toilet paper roll with dryer lint and use it like you would use kindling to start your campfire.

This is a great alternative for kindling and keeps you from having to throw away the lint and toilet paper roll after use.

Pine Cones And Wax

If you don’t want to spend money on fire starters, pine cones can be quite useful when starting a fire. If you live in an area where pinecones are abundant, this can be a great fire-starting alternative.

Your pine cones need to first be dried in your oven at 150 degrees on a cookie sheet. Once they've opened up, you'll know they're dry. This usually takes about one to two hours.

Melt some candle wax on a double boiler while you wait for the pine cones to dry. This is an excellent use for old candles that you may have lying around the house.

If you don't want to mess with cleaning up the double boiler, you can use tea light candles, cupcake papers and your oven. Just place the candles in the cupcake papers and place in a 200 degree oven until they melt.

You can dip the pinecones in the wax and then place in an egg carton or somewhere to dry and harden. Just bag them up for your next camping adventure.

Comfortable Sleeping Hacks

What fun is camping if you can't sleep. The following day, you will be too tired to do anything and this could ruin the entire trip.

Foam Pads

Instead of sleeping on the floor of your tent and getting a sore back and little sleep, using foam pads can help make your tent floor more comfortable. This is an inexpensive way to avoid sleeping on stones and twigs that may be under your tent.

Sleeping Bags

You can also bring a sleeping bag to make your sleeping area more luxurious. Sleeping bags are a great alternative for people who like the outdoors but don't want to leave the comfort of their bed.

Sleeping Bag

Tent Line Protectors

Keeping your tent and yourself safe with a barbed pool noodle can make a big difference. Simply cut the noodle into smaller pieces and wrap the sections around your tent lines.

A marker is useful for keeping track of the tent lines so you don’t trip over them if you have to get up during the night to go to the bathroom.

Buy a Double Sleeping Bag

Investing in a sleeping bag for two is a very good idea if you are sharing a tent with someone that you sleep with.

It is the body heat we generate throughout the night that keeps us warm. A sleeping bag's purpose is to reflect body heat and then retain it. This means that one bag with two bodies inside will store more heat and keep both of you warmer.

Sleeping bags are typically made of synthetic materials or down feathers. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Synthetics dry more quickly than natural fibers but take quite a bit of space.

A down sleeping bag is more expensive, retains moisture, and collapses into a smaller compartment for packing. They are also typically warmer. 

The use of a twin, down-filled sleeping bag will provide more heat plus it can be stuffed inside a small, carry-on bag for easier transportation.

Whatever sleeping bag you choose will entirely be up to your preference.

Put A Bottle of Hot Water At The Foot Of Your Sleeping Bag

Using water's heat-storing properties, we can get heat to our most distant extremities, our feet.

When we snuggle into our sleeping bags, our feet are the last parts of our bodies to warm up.

Fill a water bottle with hot water and place it into your sleeping bag's footwell before you retire for the night. With this hack, your feet can stay warm all night long.

You also need high-quality water bottles since you don't want a wet bag to wake you up.

Try softening the impact of your water bottle's presence while sleeping by burying it in a couple of clean shirts. 

Use These Camping Hacks and Tips For The Very BEST Time

Camping is a great activity to experience. You can enjoy it to the fullest extent by acquiring the essential knowledge necessary to have the most relaxing time possible while outside.

Gaining experience and finding the best camping hacks means that any outdoor adventure will become more manageable and more fun. 

About the author 

Susan  -  I love camping and everything that goes along with it. I live in a part of the states that has four seasons so I mostly just go during the summer. I find the best camping hacks and the best camping equipment, so you don't have to.

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