Get more out of your outing with these easy, useful shortcuts:
An abrasive ground will eventually wreak havoc on the underside of a tent if you don’t use something underneath, like a tarp. But a footprint cut for a specific tent can cost you anywhere from $40-70. Here’s a great DIY option that’ll cut down on the cost and weight. Make use of that unopened window insulating kit that you didn’t use this past winter. Most use polycryo, which is extremely lightweight. And more importantly, extremely puncture-resistant. The XL kits have 7′ x 10′ sheets that you can cut to size to fit your needs.
Need a reliable way to start your fire? Use the petroleum jelly/cotton ball trick. You can never be certain you’ll have perfectly dried kindling at camp, so bringing a reliable fire-starting backup is a great idea on any outing. A cotton ball saturated with petroleum jelly not only starts easily, but it burns strong and maintains a steady flame that lasts a few minutes. That’ll give you plenty of time to ignite even damp tinder. An empty prescription bottle makes for an ideal watertight container for this fire-starting wonder. Just saturate the cotton balls in petroleum jelly before your outing and throw them in this lightweight vessel.
Camping with kids? Then bring along some glow sticks. They provide cheap entertainment that’ll literally last for hours. And another benefit? There’s no hide-and-seek happening with these in hand, so you’ll know your kids’ whereabouts at all times. Buy these emergency light sticks in bulk as a 10-pk., 40-pk., or 100-pk. and hand them out to your camp neighbors, too.
We all know duct tape’s usefulness is endless, but carrying around a 20-yard role might be a little overkill. Instead, wrap your refillable water bottle with as much tape as needed for later use. When the time comes for a field repair, just slice off a portion. You’ll be surprised how well the tape holds up, even after washing your water bottle.
Place a couple of store-bought water bottles in the freezer the night before your outing. In the morning, add the frozen water bottles to your cooler, along with some ice. It’ll help maintain cold temperatures inside the cooler. And when they do start thawing out, you’ll appreciate the refreshingly cold drink when it’s 80°.
Use colorful ditty bags for organizing your camp items. Color code them in a way that makes sense to you. For example, use a red ditty bag for storing first-aid items. Or a blue bag for bathroom things. When it comes time to feverishly dig through your backpack trying to locate your toothbrush “somewhere in there,” you’ll quickly identify the right ditty bag by the color.
Transporting eggs, even if inside an egg holder, can leave you walking around on egg shells. If they break inside your cooler, you’ve got yourself one yokey mess. Save yourself from the headache and break them intentionally before your trip. Crack a few inside a heavy-duty Ziploc baggie, then add spices, bacon bits, sliced ham, diced onion—or whatever you like. Mix it together and seal it up. When you’re ready for breakfast, boil some water and throw the entire baggie in your cooking pot. In about 8-10 minutes, you’ve got yourself a delicious, mess-free omelet.
You’ve curated a great selection of adult beverages to share with your fellow campers and pre-chilled them on ice. It’s a humid 87° day and your camp chores are done. You hand one of these chilled specialties to your friend who says, “Thanks, bro. You got an opener?” Ooops. Don’t get derailed by the details. Just use a lighter to pop open the lid. You can even use the cap of another water bottle if need be.
Got camp hacks that work well for you? Share them in the comment section for your fellow campers to enjoy.