Don’t get us wrong, we love camping. There’s nothing better than being outdoors with friends and family, hearing the crickets under a full moon and enjoying nature for all it’s worth. Unfortunately, like any outdoor activity, camping has its drawbacks. There are bugs, it’s not always comfortable and the weather can be fickle. Luckily, we’re here to give you some camping hacks to make your next trip to the wilderness as cozy as possible. Try out some of the tips below, and be sure to let us know any of your own camping hacks in the comments!
Repel the Bugs
By far the most annoying part of camping (and being outdoors in general) are the bugs. If you’re camping in a bug-heavy area (like pretty much the entire U.S.), you need a way to repel bugs without bathing yourself in chemical spray. If you’re in an area with a lot of mosquitoes, try putting sage on your campfire. Mosquitoes hate sage (but love cinnamon). If you’re not around a campfire, try using Johnson’s Baby Creamy Oil. We’re not sure why, but it’s an excellent mosquito repellant.
Ticks are even worse than mosquitoes. If you find a tick, try using liquid soap and a cotton ball. Douse the cotton ball in soap, then place over the tick. It will come out with the cotton ball. If you’re nervous the tick has been in for awhile, you can keep it in a container to later test for Lyme Disease (gross, we know). You can also mix tea tree oil and water to deter them.
Let There Be Light
Kerosene lamps are so 1890s. There are a lot of inexpensive ways to light your campsite without worrying about fire or flame. One of the easiest is to put a headlamp on a gallon water jug. This will give you a nice ambient light that won’t burn anyone’s eyes. Another one the kids might enjoy is to paint the inside
Another great option is a homemade solar lantern. Click the link to check out exactly how to do it, but these are really easy to make and will start to glow at dark without any additional work from you!
Lugging around a huge cooler is no fun, nor is eating the same thing day after day. Luckily, there are plenty of inexpensive storage options. You could store spices in empty Tic-Tac boxes for example, make tin-can sandwich bread or store cracked, already whisked eggs in a water bottle.
One of our favorites is the ever-useful Altoids tin. You can use these handy little tins for first-aid kits (old prescription bottles work as well), pocket games, snack kits and more. Check out some more Altoids tin hacks here.
Light Your Fire
It’s always smart to bring fire starters, but if you find yourself without, cotton pads dipped in wax work wonders. You can use corn chips (Doritos) for kindling, and if you want to save some cash, pack charcoal into an empty egg carton.
You know how you remove lint from your dryer before every wash (or try to)? That’s because it’s highly flammable. If you’re going on a camping trip, save it. It will light a fire in no time. Also, hand-sanitizer will get a flame burning quickly.
Don’t Get Lost
As we all know, the main goal in camping is to make it back home safely. If you’re in unfamiliar territory, or camping with kids, show them how to not get lost. One of the best ways is to use biodegradable trail marking tape as you hike. Place the tape on trees, rocks and the like as you explore. Kind of like Hansel and Gretel.
If you do find yourself lost, acorn shells work great as whistles. Here’s a tutorial. Also, try wrapping duct tape around your water bottle. You never know when you’ll need some duct tape.
Hopefully this gives you a few ideas on stifling some of the inconveniences of camping. If you have any camping hacks you’ve used, please let us know. We’re happy it’s finally camping season, and as always, happy exploring!