21 Camping Hacks For Beginner Campers
Are you a beginner at camping? I love camping and I made a list of camping hacks I can share with everyone. Check out these hacks below so you’ll have a wonderful (and safe) time in the wild with your loved ones!
Helpful Camping Hacks for Any Beginner Camper
I have enjoyed camping with family and friends since I was around six years old. I remember camping trips that were cushy and camping trips that were tough. I will never forget a particular winter camping trip with the Boy Scouts during which my socks froze solid and had to be melted over the fire.
I am actually a wilderness survival specialist, so my son and I often go out into the woods intentionally trying to make the situation more difficult. However, I have also learned several shortcuts or hacks over the years that can make camping easier and more fun. In this article, I will show you all of the ways that camping can be more enjoyable for you, your family, and your friends.
Last weekend, I decided to take my son camping despite the current COVID situation. It is an excellent time to get some fresh air and enjoy nature. I did notice lots of turkey hunters in the area, but we were left alone for the most part. We went out and found a primitive campsite with no fire ring, no picnic table, no bathroom, no water, and no electricity.
We enjoyed the blooming dogwoods and the sounds of birds and squirrels. It was a wonderful experience despite the pouring rain at 3 am. I highly encourage you to use these camping hacks to get out and enjoy nature while you may have some extra free time:
1. Keep your toes warm
When it is cold outside, extremities like your toes are the first parts of the body to get cold. To help fight this, pour hot water into a water bottle and put it at the end of your sleeping bag near your feet. It will keep your toes warm for most of the night.
2. Light up your camp
If you don’t have a lantern but brought flashlights or headlamps, you can make a lantern. You probably have a big jug of water with you. Any translucent jug will do.
Either tape your flashlight facing into the jug or reverse your headlamp so the light shines inward. When it hits the water, it will shine light in every direction to keep your camp well lit.
3. Keep backup socks
Dry socks can be incredibly important when camping or hiking. If it rains, it seems like just about everything gets wet no matter how hard you try to avoid it.
Always keep backup socks and other backup clothes in your sleeping bag. Even if everything else gets wet, you know those items will stay dry.
4. Bring garbage bags
Not only can you use trash bags for keeping the forest clean but also to make camping easier.
Before you load up your pack, put any items that need to stay dry in a garbage bag. Then just load it into your pack.
You can also fill a garbage bag with dry leaves or clothes to use as a pillow if you don’t have one.
5. Keep a reward at the car
I always like to keep some drinks and snacks in my vehicle for the end of the camping trip.
While you may be roughing it for days, you will feel better on the way home if you are hydrated and have a full stomach.
6. Protect your cookware
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You probably throw away dozens of those little silica gel packs that come in your packages. They are designed to absorb moisture.
If you store your cookware with a few gel packs inside, they will prevent the pots and pans from getting rusty.
7. Dry out your shoes
Whether it is from puddles or from sweat, wet shoes make for an uncomfortable hike.
When you get settled, pull out the insoles and stuff your shoes with dry clothing or newspaper. It will draw the moisture out of the shoes so they are good to go the following morning.
8. Bring fire starters from home
If you are dealing with damp firewood, getting the fire started can be tough. There are items you can bring from home to help. Pack up some dryer lint or rub cotton balls with petroleum jelly.
Bring trick birthday candles or buy waterproof fire starters like Wetfire cubes or Firestix.
Bring a bag of pencil shavings from your pencil sharpener. Use hand sanitizer as an accelerant to get the fire going. You can also grab a bird’s nest or birch bark for natural fire starters.
9. Forget the paper plates
Use a plastic frisbee for a dinner plate. You will not have to worry about trash from paper plates. You can also wash it off and have a fun game with family or friends.
10. Bring your spices with you
Often campers forgo seasoning when cooking over a campfire. Instead, use a pill organizer to store your seasonings.
You can also load up sections of plastic straw with spices and then melt the ends to seal them up.
11. Replace broken grommets
When we go camping, we usually have a tarp or emergency blanket with us to block the rain or keep the bottom of the tent dry.
They have metal grommets at the corners, but over the years these grommets fall out. Just grab a small stone or small piece of a stick. Wrap the corner of the tarp around the stone or stick and then tie the end of your cordage around it.
You can then secure your corner to a stake or tree.
12. Don’t worry about clothespins
If you plan to dry out your clothes on a clothesline, there is a better solution than a bag of clothespins. On a windy day, bread tags do the job.
Those little plastic ties that hold your bag of bread closed will also keep your clothes on the line, and they take up less space than clothespins.
13. Take better pictures without gear
Instead of lugging around a tripod or selfie stick, make your own. You just need some sticks, some cordage, and a little knowledge about lashings.
You can accomplish the same great shots without having to bring gear with you.
14. Always bring rice
Rice can add some much-needed carbohydrates to any meal with just a little water and some seasoning. It is light and takes up little space in your pack.
Also, if you drop any electronics in a stream or lake, you can put the device in the rice to help dry it out.
15. Keep your sleeping bag fluffy
Down sleeping bags are great to keep you warm and comfortable when camping.
However, when you wash them and dry them the down tends to clump up. If you throw a few tennis balls in the dryer with the sleeping bag, it will stay nice and fluffy.
16. Foil pack your food
Sure, you can bring a bunch of ingredients in your cooler along with a cutting board, knife, pots, pans, and utensils, but why bother with all of that.
Prep your food in advance. Precook anything you can such as meats, pancakes, and veggies and load them into foil packs.
Scramble eggs with salt and pepper and pour the mixture in a plastic soda bottle. Load up ice cream cones with chocolate chips and mini marshmallows and wrap in foil for super easy smores. Throw foil packs in the fire and flip them a few times before pulling them out to eat.
17. Leave your freezer packs at home
These days most people have several freezer packs to throw in the cooler.
Instead, fill 2 Liter bottles with water and freeze them. Then put them in the cooler.
They will keep your food and drinks cold and provide ice-cold drinking water as they melt.
18. Bring popping corn for a snack
You will probably have some empty soda cans lying around after a few hours. Add some popping corn at the bottom of the can and a little cooking oil.
Then just throw it in the fire. Once the popcorn pops, cut open the can and enjoy.
19. Make an easy cup of joe
Put some coffee grounds in a filter and tie or staple it shut. Bring them with you camping and then drop the bundle in hot water. You will have hot coffee in just a few minutes.
20. Stay organized
Bring a hanging shoe organizer with you from home and hang it from a tree.
Then load up all of the cubbies with tools and supplies to keep them off of the ground.
21. Don’t worry about citronella candles
Just wrap up some rosemary or sage in a piece of foil. Poke a few holes and dunk it in water. Then throw it in the fire.
The smoke will keep mosquitoes away for hours.
Try These Camping Hacks Next Time!
As you can see, you can make camping much easier with a little planning and creativity. Try out a few of these camping hacks on your next camping trip and let us know what you think. I use these tips just about every time I take my son out into the woods. It gives us much more time for fun and games.
Do you have other go-to camping hacks? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section!
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