Camping hacks make camping more fun because the whole process is easier and feels less like work. After all, we go camping to enjoy the outdoors and our family and friends, not to be frustrated about a fire that won’t start, bugs that won’t leave us alone, or a mess that seems to happen every time we turn around.
Use these camping tips to add more enjoyment and less fuss to your next camping trip.
1. Lay foam tiles on the floor of your tent for added comfort.
If you have kids, you’re probably well acquainted with these foam tiles. But you don’t have to have kids to get your hands on some. Buy foam block floor tiles on Amazon and create a bit of cushion inside your tent. Not only will this make your footing more cushy, but it’ll protect the floor of your tent and make it last a whole lot longer.
This camping hack may add enough cushion to sleep on, and if so, more power to you! But nobody’s going to judge you if you also bring a camp pad or an air mattress.
2. Strap a headlamp to a gallon jug of water for a makeshift lantern.
Camping hacks that give ordinary things a new use are my favorite. For example, this one turns a regular jug of water into a night light or a makeshift lantern.
Just affix the head strap around a jug of distilled water and you’re all set. Chances are you already have a jug in your vehicle for emergency use, but if not get distilled water for cheap at Walmart.
3. Make crescent rolls over the campfire.
These aren’t your average crescent rolls! Sneak a square or two of chocolate into the middle for a pastry-style treat, just make sure you don’t let them burn! See more camping food ideas and hacks.
4. Place your phone in a mug to amplify your music.
This one is easy, but makes a huge difference.
If you like to listen to music while you camp, don’t bother bringing along a bluetooth speaker, just set your phone inside a regular mug and it’ll act as a sort of loudspeaker.
5. Use a vegetable peeler to make single-use soap squares.
Whether you’re using bar soap to wash your hands or your body while camping, this is one of a few camping hacks aimed at keeping your campsite cleaner.
Get ahold of a sturdy vegetable peeler on Amazon, then scrape pieces off the bar of soap horizontally. Put them in a sandwich bag and hand out the single-use slices as needed. Say goodbye to dragging a wet, slippery bar of soap all over the great outdoors!
6. Use this camping hack to create a hand-washing station out of a laundry detergent container.
Making it easy to wash hands will encourage everyone at your campsite to stick with the good habit, even if you’re outdoors. Here’s a list of materials you’ll need to turn an old laundry detergent container into a hand-washing station:
- 1 plastic 5-gallon bucket
- 1 empty laundry detergent jug
- 1 plastic paper towel holder
- 1 pack of paper towels
- Environmentally-friendly hand soap
Stock up on materials for this camping hack using coupons:
7. Fire starter camping hacks made out of a cardboard egg carton and charcoal will make your life easy.
This is one of a couple fire starter hacks I like, and I’ll list others too, just keep reading.
Best part is it works for starting a fire in a charcoal grill or a fire pit. Fill an empty cardboard egg carton with charcoal briquettes, close it, place it in the grill or fire pit, and light the cardboard on fire.
By the time all of the egg carton has burned away, the briquettes will be lit and ready to go.
8. Make fire starters with dryer lint and an empty toilet paper tube.
Here’s another great way to get your fire started quickly. No kindling to mess with!
Stop throwing away your dryer lint and toilet paper tubes in the weeks leading up to your camping trip. When you’re ready to start a fire, shove the dryer lint inside and use a barbecue lighter to set it on fire.
Get even more useful toilet paper tube hacks if you hate wasting household items. (Which I know you do!)
Don’t pay full price for toilet paper, use toilet paper coupons instead!
9. Need camping ideas for kids? How about a scavenger hunt!
Afraid your kids will get bored at some point? Try a scavenger hunt.
It can be as complicated or easy as you want, but all you need is a list of items you know are native to the location you’re camping, and some paper bags. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Pine Needle
- Green Leaf
- Plant with Root
- Pine Cone
- Blade of Wild Grass
- Tree Twig
- Bird Feather
10. Dip cotton balls or pads in wax for easy fire starters.
The first thing you need to do in order to make these fire starters is melt the wax. Once that’s done, put a few cotton pads into the melted wax until they’re saturated.
Use tweezers or tongs to remove the pads from wax and then put them on a tray to dry. When you need to use one, just stick it in the fire pit and light it up!
11. Freeze water bottles and use them as ice in your cooler.
This is two camping hacks in one. Not only will your food stay cool while you’re at the campground, but when the water inside the bottles melts, you can use them as drinking water.
You can do this with gallon jugs of water too, it doesn’t have to be bottled water, but I’ve found bottled water fits better inside the cooler. Really, it’s up to you.
12. Use Doritos to start a campfire.
It’s weird, but true. And it works, but only if you still have any uneaten Doritos lying around. (Which I don’t.)
You can also use crayons, Cheetos, dried spaghetti noodles or the cotton part of a tampon for the same result.
Use chips coupons to get a deal on Doritos and Cheetos for your next camping trip.
13. Fresh herb bundles are awesome camping hacks to keep pesky bugs away.
Lavender, sage, and mint are natural mosquito repellants and you can create little bundles to use while camping.
Wrap string around bunches of these herbs and let them sit on the outskirts of your fire pit so they can smolder, but not completely burn up.
You can also dry out the bundles and light them on fire at your campsite. Just be sure you place them in the fire pit or in a fire-resistant tray.
14. Or, put a dryer sheet in your pocket to keep bugs away.
Even though this was seen as an old wives tale for years, scientists are finding dryer sheets may help repel mosquitos.
Why? Dryer sheets contain a product called linalool, which is naturally found in herbs like lavender (see herb bundle tip above). They also contain beta-citronellol, which is found in citronella and repels mosquitos.
So, go ahead and stuff your pockets with dryer sheets to keep the bugs away, and use laundry coupons to get dryer sheets for a song.
15. Kill the sting from an insect bite with lavender essential oil.
Bringing lavender along might be one of the best camping ideas you’ve ever had.
This essential oil will reduce the sting or relieve any itching from insect bites. It’ll also soothe burns. Unlike other essential oils, you don’t need to use a carrier oil, go ahead and apply the essential oil directly to your skin.
You’ll experience relief from the pain of bee stings, spider bites, and fire ant bites especially.
16. Rent cheap camping gear.
REI offers rentals on camping and hiking gear in certain stores for people who don’t want to commit to the cost of camping. Local universities often rent this type of gear as well.
You can also rent camping gear at DICK’S Sporting Goods. Lots of options, so if you’re not ready to put a ring on it when it comes to camping, renting is a good way to try it out and see if it’s something you want to invest in.
17. Pack salt and pepper in a contact lens case for a smart camping storage idea.
This camping hack allows you to leave the actual salt and pepper shakers at home.
Just be careful when you go to use the salt and pepper, as it would be easy to overdo it or to not realize one side is actually open and spill the other side too. Pinch carefully to season food!
18. It’s possible to put a fire out with beer (if you have any left over).
This is certainly not going to be a first-choice use for beer at my campsite, but it’s possible to put a fire out with it. Beer, unlike liquor, is mostly water and therefore works as a fire extinguisher. Good to know in case of emergency!
There are so many other things you can do with beer (besides drink it).
Be sure to use beer coupons to stock up before your camping trip!
19. Look for free firewood.
Plenty of people have scraps of wood they want to get rid of and would be happy to unload it on you. Check construction sites too, but be sure to ask permission before you go job-site dumpster-diving.