Every year since 2014, one million new households have started camping. Not only is camping a highly affordable vacation option, but it also provides numerous other benefits such as fresh air, relaxation and “unplugged” connecting time with friends and family.
Whether you are a seasoned camper or plan to sleep under the stars for the first time, learning some tricks can make your time in the great outdoors even better. These tips can save you time, money and frustration on your next camping trip.
Waterproof Matches For Camping
Being able to start a fire is crucial. Make your own waterproof matches by coating wooden matchsticks in melted wax, shellac or even clear nail polish.
Glow Stick Stake Markers
Since they don’t require batteries or electricity, glow sticks don’t cost much and are simple enough that even kids can use them. For instance, loop a glow stick bracelet or necklace around camping stakes to prevent painful stumbles after sundown. Having a kid wear them can also help you keep track of the little ones when the sun goes down.
Upcycled Fire Starters
Start fires easily by recycling your trash. Stuff empty toilet paper tubes with lint from your dryer. The highly flammable rolls will have your campfire glowing in no time.
Water Bottle Warmer
Put a pot of water over the fire and fill a sturdy plastic bottle with warm water. Make sure it’s sealed tightly. Then tuck it into your sleeping bag to keep you warm on a chilly night outdoors.
Pool Noodle Port-A-Potty
When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. But you don’t have to squat in the bushes. Make a relatively comfy DIY camping toilet by slicing a pool noodle and sliding it onto a bucket.
Smoke in your eyes is no fun and can be especially tough on kiddos. Heather Norvold had the brilliant idea of letting her littles wear goggles around the campfire.
“Rain boots and zebra jammies are bonus,” she says.
Chances are good you are going to get wet, muddy, dusty, sweaty or any combination thereof. Make a simple, self-contained clothesline by using a film canister, some nylon cord and a couple of carabiners. It takes up very little space but is sure to come in handy.
No-Spill Dog Bowl
Your pooch can be the perfect camping companion. But keeping his food and water from spilling can be a challenge. Veronica Lyn came up with the perfect hack for her dog, Mr. Smith.
“Use a bundt pan with a tent peg in the middle to keep your dog’s water or food from being tipped over,” she suggests.
Wrapping meats, veggies and other foods in foil packets and heating them over the fire is a delicious and simple way to prepare camp meals. Prep the ingredients in advance for easy cleanup.
Pencil Sharpener Tinder
A small pencil sharpener will fit in any pocket and can help when dry wood is limited. Make fire-boosting tinder by grinding thin sticks like you would a pencil.
The fewer cooking utensils you have to bring along, the better. As long as you have a large pot, you can whip up delicious omelettes. Prep them in advance by mixing the ingredients in a freezer baggie and cook them—bag and all— in boiling water.
Creative Kids’ Beds
There’s no need for fancy or expensive camping beds for growing children. An inflatable pool float covered with a sheet and blankets works wonderfully for small children.
[h/t: Bright Side]