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20 Camping Hacks That Will Make Your Next Trip Even Better

Photo by AleksandarNakic via iStock

Camping – whether you’re in an established campground or far off the beaten path in the wilderness – is a great way to connect with nature, get away from it all, and enjoy nature’s beauty.

But just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to rough it, nor does camping have to be difficult. In fact, there are all kinds of camping hacks you can implement on your next trip to make things more comfortable and enjoyable for you.

With that said, let’s dive into 20 of my favorite camping hacks.

Easy Camping Hack: Burn Sage to Get Rid of Mosquitoes

burn sage to ward off mosquitoes

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There are few things as annoying as mosquitoes, but you don’t have to sit and bear them buzzing around you and biting…

Just throw some sage on the fire and watch as the mosquitoes flee!

Here’s a hot tip…If you want to keep those pesky buggers away for even longer, light the sage on fire and then let it smolder next to the fire. The smoke will last much longer, and thus repel the mosquitoes for a longer period of time.

Need Firestarter? Use Corn Chips!

There will be occasions when you simply can’t find kindling to start a fire…

But your search for kindling can start and end in your food bag!

Corn chips like Fritos and Doritos have the perfect combination of chemicals, oils, and starches that make them combustible.

Not only that, but the corn oils used to make these kinds of chips will provide a steady burn, so it gives you time to get a nice, big fire going.

Direct the Heat from Your Campfire With This Camping Hack

direct the heat from your fireThere is nothing quite like a nice campfire, especially on a chilly evening or morning.

But what if I told you there’s a way to direct the heat from your campfire, that way you don’t have to huddle closely around it to stay warm?

There are tons of fire reflectors on the market, from ultra-cheap to pretty spendy.

I’ve tested a variety of fire reflectors over the years, and to be honest, I haven’t been overly impressed.

direct the heat from your fire 2

But I recently came across the Original Fire Reflector from MC Ranch Overland, and I have to say, this thing is impressive!

Not only does the Original Fire Reflector allow you to direct the heat from your fire wherever you like, but it’s also incredibly well made.

Cheap fire reflectors are often far too light and flimsy, and the slightest breeze will knock them down. This thing weighs 27 pounds, though, so you can rest assured that this bad boy will stay upright.

direct the heat from your fire 3

Now, obviously this isn’t something you’d take on a backpacking trip, but you can bet that it has a permanent home in my Turtleback Expedition trailer!

Full disclosure, though – this thing is not cheap. But it is an investment that will pay dividends for years and years to come. In fact, these things are so well made that they will likely last you a lifetime of camping!

Bring Sandpaper to Strike Matches

You might have matches to start a fire, but what if the strike pad is worn down?

A piece of fine-grain sandpaper will do the trick!

You can get adhesive-backed sandpaper that will stick to the matchbox so you always have it at the ready. Then place the box of matches in a waterproof container.

Not only will you have a nice, big strike pad for future reference, but it will also be protected from moisture in a waterproof container.

Simple Camping Hack: Put Silica Gel Packets to Good Use

put silica gel packets to good use

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Whenever you open a shoebox (or basically any other product you buy), you’ll find silica gel packets inside.

These little guys are used for getting rid of moisture, and they are very helpful for helping prevent items from rusting.

So, throw a handful of them in with your cookware to stave off any rust from forming in between uses. Obviously, it’s preferable to keep your cookware in a dry environment, but you never know when you might not dry your cookware quite well enough and shove it in your bag. Silica packs will help draw that moisture out.

Turn Your Soap Into Single-Use Sizes

Taking soap on a camping trip usually involves having to shove a wet bar of soap into a plastic bag that then goes into your backpack.

But why not turn that bar of soap into a bunch of single-use sizes?

Take your vegetable peeler and slice the bar of soap into strips. One strip equals one bath, so you don’t have to deal with a cold, clammy, and wet plastic bag full of soap scum!

Use Straws for Spice Storage as a Camping Hack

Use Straws for Spice Storage

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When you’re camping, you may or may not have a ton of space to bring along spices.

But with this camping hack, you can bring all the spices you want without taking up much room at all.

Take some plastic straws and melt one end of each one. Then fill each straw with your favorite spices. Seal the open end of the straw with tape or by tying it off, and boom – your very own camping spice rack!

Make a DIY Grommet

Be honest…how many tarps do you have with grommets that have been destroyed?

You don’t need to throw them away because you can make your own DIY grommet that is far stronger than those flimsy rings that come with a tarp.

Just find a round rock around the size of a golf ball, wrap the tarp around it, and tie a guy line around the tarp-wrapped rock.

Since the strain of the line on the tarp is distributed over a larger area, this DIY grommet will hold much better. Problem solved!

A DIY Lantern is a Great Camping Hack

DIY Lantern

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While we’re talking about DIY things, you might as well add a lantern to your list.

Just take your headlamp and a translucent bottle, like a gallon milk jug. Wrap the headlamp’s strap around the jug and point the light toward the jug. The result will be an awesome lantern that sheds like outward in all directions.

Use Bread Tags as Clothespins

Those little plastic tags that keep the plastic cover on bread closed are perfect for camping clothespins.

All you need is a camping clothesline to go with your collection of bread tags, and you’ll have a simple camping hack that allows you to dry your clothes without taking up a ton of room for real clothespins in your bag.

Learn More:

Dry Your Wet Shoes With Dirty Clothes

Dry Your Wet Shoes With Dirty Clothes

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Your shoes will more than likely get wet at some point on a camping trip, so you need an easy way to dry them out overnight.

All you have to do is take out the insoles and shove a dry, dirty piece of clothing into the shoes. Since water naturally likes to go from wet to dry places, the clothing will suck the moisture out of your shoes.

Then, just hang the clothes up to dry with your bread tag clothes pins (or clip the clothing to your backpack to air dry) and you’ll have dry shoes without any fuss.

Have Separate Clothes for Sleeping

It’s easy to have several sets of clothes if you’re overlanding or off-roading. But if you’re backpacking, space is limited and you might be thinking of leaving some of your clothes behind.

While you obviously need to pack your essentials, at the very least, have a separate pair of socks just for sleeping. Even if you have to wear the shirt you’ve sweated in all day, going to bed with some clean socks will make a noticeable difference in your comfort level.

Besides, with clean socks, all the dirt, dust, pine needles, and so forth from your day of hiking won’t make their way into the bottom of your sleeping bag.

Protect Your Gear from Moisture with a Garbage Bag

Protect Your Gear From Moisture With A Garbage Bag

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If your next camping adventure involves a backcountry hike, you can easily protect the gear inside your backpack with a garbage bag.

Just grab a kitchen-sized trash bag and use it to line your backpack. Then place all your gear inside the trash bag to keep it dry.

Sure, you can invest in a rain fly for your pack, but if you don’t have one, a garbage bag will do the trick!

Top Camping Hack: Add a Hot Water Bottle to Your Sleeping Bag Before Bedtime

Nothing is worse than sliding into a cold sleeping bag, but there’s an easy trick that will help you warm things up before you go to bed.

Boil some water and pour it into your water bottle. Then add the bottle to the foot of your sleeping bag (or wherever you most want the heat) and let it do its magic for a few minutes. No more uncomfortably cold bedtimes!

Or Use a Double Sleeping Bag…

use a double sleeping bag

Photo by AzmanL via iStock

Another great way to stay warm while camping is to use a double sleeping bag.

The body heat generated by the both of you will keep you both toasty warm. Of course, you probably need to like the person you’re camping with for this method to work!

Make Your Own Pillow

For some people, a pillow is a luxury that gets left behind for backpacking trips. But you can make your own by stuffing some of your clothes into your sleeping bag sleeve!

Simply gather up your softest clothing – a fleece, long underwear (if you aren’t wearing them!), extra socks, and so forth, and shove them into the sleeping bag sleeve. You can add more clothes for a firmer pillow or take some out for a softer experience.

Store Eggs in a Water Bottle

If your overlanding or off-roading adventure gets a little rough, you might find that the eggs you brought along are cracked and leaking everywhere.

But what if you crack the eggs ahead of time?

Since scrambled eggs are a camping favorite, just whip up enough eggs to pour into a water bottle. Then you have a way to easily store the eggs – plus an easy way to dispense them into the skillet!

Frisbees Make Great Plates

use a frisbee as a plate

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Plates are a luxury that you might not be able to take on a camping or off-roading adventure, but no worry, your frisbee will make a great substitute!

Flipping the frisbee upside down gives you a flat surface with a lip on it to contain whatever yummy food you’ve prepared for dinner.

It’s a great camping hack that can save space in your pack, vehicle or trailer, and it’s much more environmentally friendly than taking a bunch of paper plates along with you.

Plus, you can play with the frisbee once dinner is over!

Try this Camping Hack: Your Belt Makes a Great Drying Rack

When dinner is done and the dishes have been washed, you can use your belt and a few hooks to make a DIY drying rack.

Loop your belt over a tree branch and add a few s-hooks to the belt loops. Each hook can accommodate one pot or pan, which can then dry as you hang out around the fire. It’s as easy as that.

I hope you find these camping hacks helpful and that you can implement some of them on your next trip!

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