Economically speaking, camping can be one of the less-pricey vacation options—if you plan well.
These camping hacks will easily and cheaply bring you into the age of "glamping" (i.e., camping + all the comforts of home)—or at least some of them!
Take a look at these innovative camping hacks and then read on to discover four great places to score discounted camping gear!
6 Awesome camping hacks
Try out these camping hacks on your next trip—and if your family has other favorites, we'd love to hear them in the comments!
1. Pre-make your breakfast.
This easy hack not only saves you time, but gives your food an extra level of protection AND preservation.
- What to do: Pour pancake batter into baggies and freeze. You can use them as ice packs and, as when they’re fully thawed, simply cut off a corner, squeeze the batter onto a hot griddle to cook and voila! You have breakfast!
2. Do everything with foil.
Foil is amazing—cook almost anything in it!
- What to do: Stuff whatever you want to make into a foil "dish." From breakfast eggs to burgers, potatoes to mini cakes, food placed in foil over the coals (or the burners) will cook up great!
3. Pre-pack your morning caffeine.
Tea bags can make this easy if you’re a tea drinker, but if you like coffee brewed from fresh grounds, try this simple trick.
- What to do: Just pre-portion out the grounds for each morning, dump each portion into its own little coffee filter, then tie the top closed. Place the whole filter in a cup of hot water and brew!
4. Protect your essentials.
If there’s one thing you don't want to lose to a sudden downpour, it’s your toilet paper. Or your matches. Or your soap. Here is how to protect these essentials.
- Toilet paper: Pack it in a Tupperware—even an old coffee can or bucket will work well. Cut a slit in the side to run out only the toilet paper you need.
- Matches: Buy "strike anywhere" matches and pack them in a secure container. Same goes for other firestarter materials you plan to use.
- Soap: Slice into slivers and pack one day's supply into a Ziploc.
5. Become a packing pro.
One of the keys to successful camping is packing more in less space. Here is how to achieve it.
- Cooler: Chill all items before packing the cooler! Put heavy stuff like cans at the bottom. Use your pre-frozen pancake batter and bottled water as "ice." Make sure any items in bags are at the top (where melting water can't seep in and ruin the contents). Pack the cooler full to keep all contents cooler.
- Backpack: With a backpack, the key is to put essentials within easy reach and use the harder-to-access areas for setup items (like your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, etc.). Use the outer pockets and top areas for maps, your camera, easy changes of clothes, hygiene items, etc.).
6. For chill mornings, keep your new clothes warm all night long.
All you need to do is sleep with your clothes (literally)—line the inside of your sleeping bag with your extra duds, and they will already be warm and ready to wear the next morning!
4 Places to save on camping gear
If you need to replenish or add to your camping gear, these tips can help you find deals and savings!
Coleman has several ways to help you save on reliable basics on an ongoing basis.
- Daily deals: Each day is a new deal, usually at 20% or more off retail.
- Weekly deals: Coleman also features weekly deals online.
- Email list: Sign up and get deals sent to your inbox.
- Clearance list: Clearance items range from tents to beds, stoves to lighting and more.
- Free shipping: Order $49+ and shipping is free.
- Free checklists: Coleman offers an awesome series of camping checklists—free!
REI is one of my favorite resources for outdoor wear…and it’s a great place to shop for super-low deals on camping gear too!
- Join the email list: And get 15% off certain items (enter your email on the homepage).
- Free shipping: Spend $50+ and shipping is free.
- Shop REI's Outlet: Save 50-70% on daily deals, weekly deals, and closeout items.
- Daily deals: Save 25-30% on one or more items for just 24 hours.
- Weekly deals: Every Friday, REI offers 50-70% off certain items for just one week.
Walmart may not be the first place you think of to shop for camping gear, but to my surprise, they have a rather extensive line of top-end brand names at reasonable prices.
- Join the email list: Enter your email on the home page to get savings sent to your inbox.
- Clearance center: Shop the clearance items for savings up to 50%.
- Free shipping: Spend $50+ and shipping is free.
- Rollbacks center: Shop all rollbacks for savings up to 50%.
A particularly neat thing about this site is their line of camping-ready snacks—many are in fruit pack form so they’re great for even the youngest campers on your trip!
Campsaver has three online stores:
- Campsaver: New releases, periodic sales.
- Outlet: Everything up to 75% off.
- Shed: Every Friday new items are added, including demos and samples. Items are priced up to 80% off.
- Free shipping: Order $50+ from any store and get free shipping.
- Join the email list: And get 15% off if you’re a first-time shopper (sign-up will be in a pop-up on their homepage).