Whether camping in the woods or trekking through deserts and forests, camping hacks can be a lifesaver. From the right camping gear to clever camping recipes, there’s a multitude of tips that can turn an average camping experience into one that’s simply amazing.
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of camping hacks – from simple life hacks to more advanced tricks that experienced campers swear by. Let’s dive in and equip you for your next camping trip!
- Packing hacks
- Hacks for setting up a camp
- Food planning hacks
- Camp kitchen hacks
- Cleanup hacks
- Tools hacks
- Campfire hacks
- Lighting hacks
- Have anything to add?
- Explore more about the ins and outs of camping
What you bring along and how you squeeze it all into your backpack will determine the quality of your whole trip. Yes, you get it right – packing is the first and the most vital stage of the adventure that hasn’t even started. So here’s how to make it right:
1. Use camping checklist
A camping checklist will help you ensure that you bring all the camping essentials and do not forget anything important. It’ll help you save time, money, and energy in the long run, as you won’t find yourself racking your brains about what gear you need and where to find it.
With some testing, you’ll be able to adjust the list and prepare the best version most suitable for your camp style. Keep in mind the first-aid kit, too (here’s the first-aid kit checklist which is just as important).
And if you’re a lady – consider these camping essentials for women to get the most comfort out of your outdoor trip.
2. Pack light
This one is more relevant to backpackers, but those who choose car camping or RV camping can take advantage, too.
Overall, it’s always better to pack lighter than heavier as it makes for easier transport of camping gear and less strain on your back. Make sure all the camping gear you bring is absolutely necessary, and there’s no extra weight in your backpack.
Choose multi-functional camping equipment such as a collapsible camping pot, a lightweight camping chair, and an air mattress or a double sleeping bag that can be rolled up tightly.
3. Use vacuum bags
Vacuum bags can make camping much simpler and more enjoyable, allowing you to bring camping essentials without sacrificing valuable space.
It’s nice for keeping items like clothes, sleeping bags, and camping supplies organized and protected from moisture and dirt.
For best results, choose vacuum sealer bags with extra protection layers and a double-zip seal.
4. Get a blackout tent
A blackout tent is an excellent way out if a little light makes you struggle to fall asleep. Or if you simply find it hard to get an undisturbed sleep away from home.
Blackout tents block the light and create a better environment for restful sleep, even in the daytime.
Hacks for setting up a camp
The prep stage is done, and you’ve arrived in the wild. Here are some hacks to set you up easier:
5. Use camping tarps
It’s hard to think of a more versatile camping item than a tarp. Tarps are definitely a must-have for any season, be it winter or summer camping. You can use them for many different tasks, such as creating shade, sheltering items from rain, creating a makeshift hammock, or as a tent footprint.
Basically, there can’t be too many camping tarps, as you’ll find where to utilize this fantastic add-on.
6. Pick a comfortable spot
Select camping spots away from neighbors and other disturbances, preferably with a sunrise view. Keep a safe distance from water sources, at least 200 feet away. Try to find areas with plenty of trees around – they’ll provide natural shelter and create a cozy camping atmosphere.
Also, set up your tent on flat ground without too many sticks or rocks underneath, so it isn’t too uncomfortable when you sleep or sit down inside.
7. Hang lights on trees
By hanging lanterns on trees, you’ll have light at every corner of your campsite without moving the light source from one place to another. It’ll also help you spot the area in the dark.
If you’re hanging them outside your tent, do that high enough off the ground so they don’t attract insects. Plus, mind your companions – aren’t your lights disturbing them?
On top, hanging lights create a warm atmosphere around a campfire and make the trip much more pleasant.
8. Use rocks for securing camping tents
One of the camping’s most convenient camping tips is using rocks for camping tent pegs. If you don’t have any tent stakes, this is a great alternative.
You can secure your tent with rocks, so they don’t blow away due to the wind. They’re particularly useful for tent camping in areas where there aren’t any trees.
Plus, using rocks instead of tent pegs is convenient and helps prevent damage to nature, as you won’t have to hammer them in, as is the case with stakes.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily go well with all types of tents, so use this hack wisely!
Food planning hacks
Food is one of the most important aspects of planning when camping. After all, you’ll be outdoors without your home kitchen – so it pays to prepare ahead of time.
9. Try vegetarian approach
While most traditional camping meals are meat-heavy, there are actually great vegetarian camping food alternatives that are easier to prepare, store, and transport.
Vegetarian foods are packed with nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, so you can boost your energy level without feeling bloated. Plus, you don’t need to solve puzzles on how to keep your food cold or take the whole fridge with you, as vegetarian options have a longer shelf life and don’t need such strict conditions for storage.
10. Prepare meals in advance
Preparing camping food at home allows you to save time while camping and makes carrying the food easier. Instead of packing the whole cooking equipment and ingredients individually, you can save space and weight by only bringing a ready-to-eat meal.
Consider dehydrating your foods for transport – this way, they’ll maintain the same vitamins and nutrients (and, more or less, the same flavor) while giving you ease by only requiring some hot water to eat them on a trip.
11. Freeze your food and drinks
One of the camping hacks that can help you save time, energy, and money is freezing your food and drinks before your camping trip. This will keep your food fresh and cool down drinks quickly without needing to use plenty of ice.
Frozen food or drinks can also act as an ice pack in a camping refrigerator – a great way to keep other foods and beverages cold.
12. Use reusable containers
Reusable camping containers made of stainless steel, plastic, or silicone are a must-have for camping trips. This is especially true if you bring lots of snacks and food with you. These containers help contain messes and keep your camping area neat and organized.
Plus, they’re easy to clean up and stack inside each other for storage when not in use. And they are environment-friendly as you’ll be able to reduce your trash output considerably by ditching one-use plastics and containers.
Camp kitchen hacks
The fact that you can’t bring your home kitchen with you outdoors doesn’t mean the food-prepping experience or meals should be any worse. Especially if you take these hacks in mind:
13. Bring camping cookware
A decent campfire cooking kit packed with all essential pots, pans, and camping utensils is a total game-changer for any outdoor chef. With all necessary and – most importantly – quality camp kitchen items in hand, you’ll easily make homelike (or even better!), super delicious meals with ease.
If you’re a light backpacker aiming to save as much space as possible, a camping mess kit might be worth a shot.
14. Invest in multi-purpose items
From frying bacon and eggs in the morning to making an outdoor-style pizza for dinner – with these multi-purpose camping kitchen gadgets, you’ll be sure everyone at the camp is always happy and well-fed.
Plus, multi-purpose cookware will make sure you have all the necessities while camping – without having to lug around bulky cookware.
15. Pack a spice kit
Spices can make all the difference between an average camping meal and a truly delicious one. So, before hitting the road for camping, pack a spice kit – with all your favorite camping seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili flakes – and enjoy meals like never before.
16. Get a camping tea kettle
That’s again about versatility. While on camp, you’ll need boiling water for preparing coffee and tea, hydrating pre-made meals, heating some water for dishwashing, and more. And camping tea kettle can be a great alternative to regular pots, adding extra convenience with its grip and spout.
17. Bring a camping table
You might think you don’t need it, but we promise there will be zero regrets once you get it. A foldable camping table can be used for all sorts of purposes, from cooking meals (imagine cutting those veggies without bending), storing food items and drinks, or even as an impromptu dining room table.
Camping tables are portable, collapsible, and lightweight, so you can easily transport them from one camping site to another.
Being outdoors doesn’t mean dirt and a lack of hygiene habits. Here are some hacks to keep you fresh:
18. Get a camping sink
A camping sink is often an underrated camping hack that every camping enthusiast should consider. It’s a simple but effective way to keep your campsite clean and organized when camping outdoors. And it’s definitely more comfortable than using a simple hot water bottle, for example.
You can use the camping sink for washing dishes, fruits, vegetables, hands, or any other cleaning needs you may have while camping. Plus, it will save you time and effort when camping as you won’t have to travel back and forth from the nearest camping facility just to wash dirty dishes.
And like most camping gear – camping sinks can be collapsed, stored away in a small size, and easily set up when needed.
19. Use biodegradable soap
Using biodegradable soap for camping is an ideal way to stay clean without damaging the environment. This type of soap breaks down quickly, leaving no residue behind – unlike regular camping soaps.
Plus, biodegradable camping soaps are gentle on the skin and do not irritate your eyes – making them an ideal choice for camping with kids or people with sensitive skin.
20. Compost food scraps
Instead of throwing away food scraps, why not compost them instead? Composting food waste is a great camping hack that’s convenient and helps reduce your camping carbon footprint.
It’s an easy and eco-friendly way to eliminate less biodegradable camping leftovers like foil or plastic packaging. Plus, it’s a great way to clean and tidy your camping area.
There are several composters you can use while camping – like countertop compost bins or even outdoor compost tumblers- so choose one according to your camping needs.
21. Take a camping shower
A camping shower will keep you fresh and cool during your camping trip. Not only that, it’s a multi-purpose essential that you can use for washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning up your camping gear (instead of bringing it back home in a trash bag), or even refreshing your furry friend.
They come in various shapes and sizes, from solar bags to portable homelike shower systems, so there’s really something for everyone.
And if privacy pop-ups into your mind when thinking about your outdoor showering experience – a shower tent can literally have you covered.
Having the right tools is essential to ensuring your trip is a success, especially if there’s something to fix or adjust.
22. Build a survival kit
Even if you’re out for a calm family getaway for a night, you’re still not immune to survival situations that might happen. And safety should always come first.
Familiarize yourself with the 5 C’s of Survival (cutting, combustion, cover, container, and cordage) and put on your survival kit accordingly.
23. Bring a multi-tool
A multi-tool is a must-have camping tool since it allows you to quickly and easily solve any camping-related situation. It’s perfect for fixing or adjusting camping gear, cutting down small trees, opening bottles, and much more.
It’s also lightweight and compact, so it won’t take up much space in your camping bag. Plus, you’ll have all the camping solutions you need in one single tool.
24. Take a repair kit
No camping hack list is complete without a camping repair kit. It’s the perfect camping gear in case something breaks or needs adjusting – from tents and camping chairs to camping cookware.
It’s important to have one, especially if you are camping with kids who tend to break things more often. You won’t have to worry about buying a new camping item as you can easily repair the broken one.
A camping repair kit should include duct tape, safety pins, scissors, and a swiss army knife. Check if everything is in it before you leave for your camping trip.
25. Use duct tape
Whether you need to repair a broken tent pole, mend your camping chair or just secure an object in place – duct tape can do it all. It’s great camping gear, and its versatility makes it an invaluable tool you won’t regret bringing camping with you.
Plus, it’s lightweight and easy to store, so you won’t take up much space in your camping bag.
26. Utilize paracord
Paracord is an incredibly versatile camping tool that’s great for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. You can use it for various tasks – from tying down camping items to hanging up your camping clothes – making it one of the essential camping supplies you need.
There are different paracord sizes, each best for some specific use case. The most versatile is a 550 paracord.
A campfire is usually the centerpiece of any camping trip, but starting a fire and keeping it going takes skill and know-how. Here are some camping hacks for getting the most out of your campfire:
27. Choose the best spot
Having the right camping spot is crucial for your camping success, and when it comes to camping fires – even more so.
When selecting a camping site, make sure you check if campfires are allowed (remember – the Leave No Trace Principles always go first). Then look for a spot that’s not too close to any trees or bushes and away from flammable materials.
Try to find an area that has dirt or gravel ground since camping fires need air to stay lit.
28. Use campfire starters
A campfire starter is a perfect camping tool to get a campfire going – fast. They’re convenient (most come in small packages and take up little camping bag space) and safe since they are made with non-toxic materials.
You can also make your DIY fire starters with some home-found materials like cotton, wax, and toilet paper.
29. Master fire temperatures
It’s vital to learn campfire temperatures to know when and how to cook your meals and what cookware to use to not get it melted. Different flame colors can give you an idea of your fire temperatures.
30. Monitor carefully
This camping hack (or maybe a rule is a more appropriate word) is probably the most important when it comes to camping fires. It’s essential to keep an eye on it at all times since campfires can quickly get out of control and cause severe damage when left unattended.
Be sure to have a water container nearby just in case you need to put out the fire quickly. Make sure to douse everything before you leave the camping site, and never leave the campfire unattended. In short – remember that safety while camping should always be a number one priority.
31. Make colored fires
It’s one of those fun camping ideas to make your camping trip unique and memorable. This camping hack allows you to create campfires of different colors, ranging from reds to blues and purples. The best way to do this is by using fire color changers.
Fire color changers are a camping tool that helps to turn your campfire into different colors without the use of any toxic chemicals or materials.
When camping, proper lighting is essential for a safe and cozy camping experience. Here are some camping hacks that will make sure your camping trip is well-lit:
32. Take a camping lantern
A camping lantern is a convenient tool since you can use it to illuminate your camping spot without having a bright light shining in your eyes, allowing you to get proper sleep and rest. Plus, it creates a relaxing experience on those long evenings around a campfire.
It also helps when there’s no power around – making it one of the essential camping supplies you need to bring on a camping trip.
33. Bring multiple camping lights
Having multiple camping lights is a camping hack that will help you save time and energy. It’s important to have different kinds of camping lights depending on the activity, such as headlamps for walking or camping lanterns for lighting up campsites.
Once you get your camping site set up, it will be much easier to move around and do activities or just relax in the camping area when you have multiple camping lights to provide proper illumination.
34. Choose LED bulbs
When camping, it’s important to consider camping tools and supplies that require less energy consumption. LED bulbs are a great camping hack since they use up to 80% less energy than incandescent light bulbs, so you won’t ever have the hassle of running out of power or batteries.
They also produce a much brighter light too, so you’ll get more illumination from your camping lights. You’ll also save some money in the long run since LED bulbs last much longer than regular camping lights.
35. Utilize natural light
If possible, take advantage of natural light sources like the sun, moon, and stars. This will help save on energy and give your camping trip an extra dose of ambiance.
Try setting up your campsite and do all the needed work while there’s still daylight. For the evening, leave the relaxation part.
36. Bring spare batteries
Last but not least, it’s crucial to bring spare batteries. Not only for the camping lights but for any other battery-powered tools you bring along. This camping hack can be a lifesaver if you suddenly run out of power in the middle of a camping trip.
Keep some backups handy, and you won’t have to worry about an unexpected power outage.
Have anything to add?
With so much camping has to offer, these camping hacks are just a tip of the iceberg, and the list could continue on and on. We know you have lots of cool camping ideas and hacks in mind – feel free to share it in the comments!