20 Ultimate Camping Hacks You Should Know

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Orange tent camping under some pine trees above a lake with mountains in the background. Ultimate camping hacks to make camping that much better!

There’s nothing as good as escaping the rat race and heading to nature. With the right camping hacks, you can return to work feeling utterly refreshed. 

If you want the best, most relaxing camping experience, you need the right amenities. As you start searching for gear, you might startle at the expense and the difficulty of some camping amenities and experiences. 

We’re here to say it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 20 camping hacks everyone should know.

1. Get a Portable Power Pack for Quick and Easy Charging

First on the camping hack list is a portable power pack to keep your electronics charged. You never want to be in the wild without a charged phone, a GPS, or maybe a lantern. These things are all essential for your safety in case something happens. It’s a bonus if you can get a portable power pack that’s also charged by solar.

2. Make Fire Starters

Learning to make your own fire starters will save you money and improve your outdoor skillset. 

Take old papers you intend to shred and tie them into a fire-starting log. Burning them in the fire assures they’ll be destroyed, so you’ll hit two birds with one stone! 

Another source of fire starter is lint from your dryer. Lint is highly flammable and easy to collect. 

A hand with a match reaches into a fire to light it. There are already a few flames on the small fire, and a blue pot hangs above to soon be heated for breakfast.

3. Make a Lantern with Headlamp and Jug of Water

Another great camping hack is using a headlamp and a jug of water to make a lantern. Shining the light against the jug causes the light to refract off the water in all directions. This helps spread the light just like a lantern.

4. Use Foam Playroom Floor Tiles in Your Tent

The fourth camping hack is using foam playroom floor tiles in your tent. They’re cheap and do a great job of hiding pinecones and rocks. It also keeps your sleeping bag further off the ground for a much more comfortable sleeping experience.

5. Attach Glow Sticks to Tent Lines to Prevent Nighttime Accidents

Light the way for midnight bathroom runs by tying glow sticks to tent lines at night. The last thing you want is to trip or walk into a line in the middle of the night. As a bonus, the light from the glow sticks can repel critters from your tent. 

6. Use Frozen Gallons of Water in Your Cooler Instead of Loose Ice

Fill old milk jugs with water or buy water by the gallon, and freeze it for cooler ice. It’s cheaper and lasts longer than small ice chips. It also keeps melting water contained in the gallon container and provides ice cold drinking water if you need it! 

7. Bring Lots of Lighting for a Cozy Campsite

While it’s lovely to turn off all the lanterns and observe the stars in pitch blackness, having a well-lit campsite can be invaluable.  

If you have a power source, you can bring string lights to drape around your RV and nearby trees. Another option is kerosene or propane lanterns. 

Battery-operated candles are a great source of light too. You can usually buy a large package for a few dollars and scatter them around your campground for ambiance. 

A campsite glows in the night thanks to string lights strung around the trees.

8. Get a Portable Camping Toilet. Trust Us

This camping hack is a game-changer, especially if you’re squeamish about portapotties. It’s a clean toilet that strangers haven’t touched, and it means you can camp anywhere that’s legal, even if there aren’t serviced outhouses on site. 

9. Baby Wipes Clean EVERYTHING

Baby wipes aren’t just for wiping baby bottoms. Grab a pack–or three–for your next campout, and you’ll be amazed. They clean everything–hands, tables, camping gear, mildew, shoes, faces, and so much more. 

10. Vinegar and Water in a Spray Bottle to Clean Dishes

Create your own cleaning solution for dishes. Vinegar is a more environmentally friendly option, it’s cheaper, and it’s less messy than soap if it spills because vinegar evaporates and dries odorless. 

Additionally, you can spray soiled dishes to polish and sanitize them without needing a rinse because any vinegar residue is safe to consume.

11. Burn Sage to Repel Mosquitos

No one likes dealing with mosquitos, and burnt sage is a neat trick to avoid them. Sage is affordable, and many people prefer the smell and low-impact compared with chemical candles. It just takes a couple of bundles well placed around the campground to make the area mosquito-free.

12. Do Your Food Prep Before the Trip

If you can prepare food before your trip, it will save you a lot of time and mess while at the campsite. You can have a decent home-cooked meal that only needs to be heated.

A woman sits outside of her tent in the sun while wearing a beanie, holding hot coffee, and bundled in her sleeping bag. There is snow on the ground around her tent and her sleeping bag.

13. Heat Your Sleeping Bag with a Hot Water Bottle

There’s nothing worse than getting into a cold sleeping bag before bed. Just warm some water over the fire or a cooking stove and pour it into a thermos. Then place it in your sleeping bag to warm it up.

Use a metal or silicone thermos for the best results. It retains the heat better than plastic, and it won’t melt if the water is too hot. This is such an easy and useful camping hack!

14. Make “Hobo Dinners” with Foil in Your Campfire

If you don’t have the cooking utensils for camping, place vegetables, meat, or other food items in tin foil, wrap it tightly, and throw it in the fire to cook. The tin foil will help cook the food evenly and prevent a mess, and you can use the extra tin foil in your pack to recover the food.

Here’s a quick hack: Use two-three layers of tinfoil with newspaper between the first and second layer. It helps to insulate the food, so it doesn’t cook too fast and burn. 

A young boy and two young girls are ready for a camping scavenger hunt. They have their camping gear in their backpacks, hiking poles, and a treasure map for their adventure.

15. Keep Kids Busy with a Nature Scavenger Hunt

If you travel with kids, a nature scavenger hunt can entertain them and give you a little peace. This is a fun way to get your kids exploring and digging into nature. Just make sure they don’t wander too far.

16. Put Tomorrow’s Clothes at The Bottom of Your Sleeping Bag So They’ll Be Warm

When waking up to a chilly morning, it can be hard to get out of your sleeping bag to get dressed. One way to help with this is to put your clothes you’re planning on wearing the next day in your sleeping bag. This way, when you put them on, they’re warm. If you’re really talented, you could even get dressed while staying inside your bag!

17. Know How to Identify and Avoid Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac

If you’re in an area with poison ivy, oak, or sumac, know how to identify it. Rubbing up on one of these plants will be painful and itchy. 

If you think you were exposed to one of these plants, immediately wash the area with soap and water. If you don’t have soap with you, use sand or mud from a nearby freshwater source and rub it on the area well. Then, rinse the mud with water.

The goal is to get the itchy oils off your skin before they embed in your pores and the rash runs deeper.

18. Use Microfiber Towels – Super Absorbent and Space Saving

Instead of bringing your big and bulky house towels, bring microfiber towels. They’re highly absorbent and are usually smaller to save space. They’re great for drying dishes, and even a small towel gets the job done after a shower. Such an essential camping hack!

19. Use Silica Gel Packets to Keep Cookware Rust Free

If you have a camping box that stores all your cookware, silica gel packets placed within the container can prevent rust. They efficiently absorb moisture and keep your metal utensils safe.

20. Rub a Candle on a Sticking Tent Zipper for a Snag-Free Zip

If your tent zipper keeps getting snagged, rub a candle along the zipper. The wax helps keep the zipper lubricated and does well to block fabric from getting caught.

Hopefully, these camping hacks will help you have the best camping experience yet! 

  1. These are lovely hacks, but I think it’s worth mentioning that baby wipes must NOT be put down an RV toilet. Catastrophe will ensue.

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