17 Life Hacks Camping Tips that Will Save You Time and Money

Camping trips take a lot of organizing.

Storage space, unpredictable weather, and food supplies are just some of the things you have to consider when preparing a trip to the great outdoors.

This list of 17 life hack camping tips from GuideCool will tell you exactly what materials you need and how to put them together for the best trip possible.

Camping Hack #1 – Keep Your Keys Safe with Cork

Camping Hack #1 Keep Your Keys Safe with Cork

If you plan on being near the water on your camping trip then get on board with this simple but effective trick.

Gone are the days of watching your keys fall to the bottom of the lake.

Plus, attaching an old wine bottle cork to your key ring takes less than a minute.

What Do You need?

A screw eye

A cork

How Do You Do It?

Simply twist the screw eye into the cork. Then attach your key-ring and you’ve got a buoyant set of keys.

Camping Hack #2 – Light up Your Tent with a Water Bottle Lantern

Camping Hack #2 Light up Your Tent with a Water Bottle Lantern

A water bottle lantern will easily light up your camping tent or camping area with minimal fuss.

What Do You Need?

A head torch

A water bottle

Clear tape

How Do You Do It?

Firstly make sure the water bottle is full of water. Then point the torch into the bottle.

Once you have the best angle that gives you the lightest, attach the torch to the bottle with clear tape.

Camping Hack #3 – Use a Bowl Speaker to Increase the Volume of Your Music

Camping Hack #3 Use a Bowl Speaker to Increase the Volume of Your Music

Most camping fans listen to music or podcasts through our phones from time to time, but the sound is never loud enough for a group. Luckily, this simple hack changes that.

What Do You Need?

Smartphone

Camping Bowl

How Do You Do It?

Place your phone with the music or podcast playing into the bowl.

The key here is to point the phone’s speaker towards the bottom of the bowl.

The sound waves then reverberate around the bowl as it acts as a speaker, filling the air with sound.

Camping Hack #4 – Use a Watering Can Shower to Wash off the Day’s Activities

Camping Hack #4 Use a Watering Can Shower to Wash off the Day’s Activities

Smelling fresh and staying clean on a camping trip can be tricky, especially if you spend a few nights in the wild.

However, this homemade shower means the beauty of adventure doesn’t have to mean sacrificing hygiene.

Watering cans can take up valuable packing space, so it’s a good idea to use them for storage while they aren’t being used.

Packing them up with your bathroom products or plastic-wrapped foods like pasta works perfectly.

What Do You Need?

A good-sized watering can

Bungee Cord

How Do You Do It?

Fill the watering can full of water and put it out in the sun.

You can even leave it by your camp in the morning before you head out for the day.

When you get back your warm shower will be ready.

Your challenge is to find a place to hang the watering can at an angle so it pours the water evenly.

Loop the bungee cord through the handle. Then find a tree branch above head height to attach it to.

As the water slows down, simply move the bungee further along the handle to create an angle so the water keeps on flowing.

Camping Hack #5 – Keep Your Clothes Fresh with a DIY Washing Machine

Camping Hack #5 Keep Your Clothes Fresh with a DIY Washing Machine

Camping trips are almost always full of activities. And, while long hikes and kayak trips down river create amazing memories, they also create dirty clothes.

Luckily, this simple washing machine will have your t-shirts and shorts feeling home washed in no time.

What Do You Need?

A standard bathroom plunger

Water Container (Size varies on storage space)

Knife

How Do You Do It?

The water container can be of any size.

Big18 liter water buckets are perfect because the water really gets to move around.

However, standard plastic washing up basins also works well.

It all depends on how much space you have for storage.

Once you have the container, fill it up halfway with water and some laundry detergent. (Baking Soda is a great camping substitute for detergent).

Let your clothes soak for 10 minutes while you prepare the plunger.

Using the knife, cut six evenly spaced holes in the plunger.

They should be the size of the top of your thumb. About half an inch around.

Then start sloshing around the water with your plunger washing machine! The average item of clothing takes about 10 minutes to clean.

Camping Hack #6 – Eat Like a King (Even if it’s wet) on this Swedish Fire Stove

Camping Hack #6 Eat Like a King (Even if it’s wet) on this Swedish Fire Stove

The Scandinavians know their fair share about surviving outdoors. This Swedish Fire Stove can be premade and then used if the weather takes a turn for the worst.

What Do You Need?

Six logs of wood

Strong Wire

Wood Shavings

Fire Lighters

How Do You Do It?

You can either buy the wood before you go or go out looking for it once you’re at your campsite.

Either way, you will need six logs of a similar height.

Place the logs together so they make a circle and bound them with wire.

The key here is to leave enough space in the center of the logs to place your firelighters and wood shavings.

Mix the firelighters and wood shavings together before you push them into the center of the six logs. This way, when you come to light them you won’t have any trouble starting a flame.

You can also store the fire starter mix away from the logs until you use them together.

Once the flame is lit you can expect your stove to be ready in around 30 minutes. During this time you may need to gently blow into the logs to stoke the fire.

The logs will start burning within the center and create an enclosed heat perfect for cooking on. So just place your pot or pan on top of your stove and enjoy your meal!

Camping Hack #7 – Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with this Banana + Mars Bar Dessert

Camping Hack #7 Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with this Banana + Mars Bar Dessert

After a long day in the woods, there’s nothing better than a sweet bite of this campsite dessert. Plus, the banana offers a great source of magnesium to help with muscle recovery.

What Do You Need?

Bananas

Tin Foil

Mars Bars

How Do You Do It?

Make a cut in the banana from the top to the bottom. Do not cut all the way through.

Slice the Mars Bar into slivers. Then push the slivers inside the banana.

Wrap the Mars Bar filled banana in tin foil and then place into the fire. Try not to eat in 2 seconds!

Camping Hack #8 – Save time and Boost Energy with Pre-made Oats

Camping Hack #8 Save time and Boost Energy with Pre-made Oats

Oats are an amazing carbohydrate packed full of B-vitamins that help to metabolize your energy so you can keep going way past lunchtime.

It can be tiresome preparing them every day, however, so follow this guide for a tasty and convenient breakfast.

What Do You Need?

A Ziplock Bag or Jar

Rolled oats

Your favorite dried berries and fruit

Your favorite nuts and/or seeds

A dollop of honey

How Do You Do It?

There are two options. You can either make a large batch and store it all in one container, or make separate daily rations.

In both cases, you mix at a ratio of:

1 cup of rolled oats

Half a handful of berries/Fruit

Half a handful of Nuts/Seeds

A teaspoon of Honey In the morning, add two cups of water for every cup of mix. Heat gently and stir until your desired consistency is reached.

Camping Hack #9 – Take Corn Chips for Food and Fire

Camping Hack #9 Take Corn Chips for Food and Fire

Corn chips are cheap and, like all good camping hacks, are useful in more than one way.

We all know they are great for a trail snack on a long hike, but actually they make a decent backup for firelighters as well.

What Do You Need?

Corn Chips of any variety

How do You Do It?

The eating part is pretty straightforward, obviously. And actually so is the fire part.

Corn chips will burn a little slower than matches if you put a flame to them. Perfect for using inside your Swedish Wood Stove or tucked under some kindling in a traditional fire.

Camping Hack #10 – Throw Your Beans in the Fire, Get in the Cowboy Spirit

Camping Hack #10 Throw Your Beans in the Fire, Get in the Cowboy Spirit

This little camping hack dates way back to the American frontier, because cowboys didn’t much like washing plates either.

A tin of beans will go straight in the fire and start bubbling when they’re ready.

What Do You Need?

An open fire

How Do You Do It?

Peirce the top of the can with a knife. This gives the heat inside the can somewhere to go and stops the contents inside from burning.

It also acts as a whistle to let you know when they’re boiling.

Place your can of beans on the edge of the fire and wait.

Also, remember to use a wet cloth or a pair of tongs when you take the can back out of the fire.

Camping Hack #11 – Pack Vinegar for the Ultimate Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Camping Hack #11 Pack Vinegar for the Ultimate Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Vinegar is one of those special substances that can do everything.

First and foremost it’s a great cleaner because of its acidity.

It’s perfect for camping because it’s non-toxic, so you can freely clean with it without having to worry about your effect on the surrounding environment.

The same cannot be said about most generic cleaning agents.

What do You Need?

White vinegar is best for cleaning because it doesn’t have much of a smell.

Darker vinegars still work great but if you don’t like the smell of vinegar you may want to avoid them.

How Do You Do It?

If your cool box or any cooking equipment starts to smell, empty it out and soak it in undiluted vinegar.

After an hour or so wash it out with water and the bad smell will be gone.

If you have a propane lantern you can soak the wicks in vinegar for half a day and expect your lantern to burn brighter and longer that evening.

Camping Hack #12 – Use Candle Wax to Un-Jam Zips

Camping Hack #12 Use Candle Wax to Un-Jam Zips

There are few more irritating things than a jammed up sleeping bag zip.

Apart from maybe a jammed up tent zip.

The process of delicately trying to move the zip without breaking either your sleeping bag or tent door can be a painful one.

Luckily, that spare candle you packed can get rid of this problem forever.

What Do You Need?

Any candle, preferably unscented. You want the wax to be as pure as possible.

How Do You Do It?

Gently rub the wax onto the jammed area.

Then gently move the zip up and down. The wax will act as a lubricant and help you to slide the zip to safety. Do not use too much wax initially. This can lead to the wax itself jamming the zip.

Camping Hack #13 – Stop Stifling Hot Mornings with an Emergency Blanket

Camping Hack #13 Stop Stifling Hot Mornings with an Emergency Blanket

Waking up in a hot, sticky tent can take the fun right out of camping.

There is a really simple way of making life a lot more bearable when the sun beats down through the trees, or if you’re staying in an open campsite.

What Do You Need?

An emergency blanket (Foil Wrapped)

Reflective blanket

How Do You Do It?

Place the blanket over the tent where you expect the sun to hit in the morning.

You can use more than one although consider the weight and how it may affect your tent’s structure.

Well placed, the reflective blanket will keep the sun at bay until you’re good and ready to start your day.

Camping Hack #14 – Keep the Mosquitoes Away by Burning Sage

Camping Hack #14 Keep the Mosquitoes Away by Burning Sage

Burning sage is an effective and natural alternative to keeping mosquitoes away from your campsite.

The plant has also been found to clear almost all bacteria from the air, creating a much cleaner and hygienic living area.

What Do You Need?

Sage leaves. Bundles of sage are available to buy online for less than $4.

How Do You Do It?

Light the sage and blow gently so it begins to smoke.

Then place your bundle near to where you are sitting so the smoke wards off any mosquitoes.

Camping Hack #15 – Stop the itching from bug bites with household items

Camping Hack #15 Stop the itching from bug bites with household items

It’s never fun getting bitten by a mosquito, especially when you forgot to pack a soothing gel and the itchy pain won’t go away.

Interestingly, there are loads of household items that will help to soothe the irritation. Below is a list of the most effective ones.

What Do You Need?

Vapour Rub – The Eucalyptus extract helps to soothe.

Aspirin – Salicylic Acid is an anti-inflammatory

Thousand Island Dressing – This really works! How? It’s just one of life’s big mysteries.

How Do You Do It?

Crush the aspirin down with water to make a paste and then cover the bite.

The vapor rub and dressing can be gently applied to the area.

Camping Hack #16 – Store Your Seasoning in Tic Tac Boxes and Make Your Campfire Food Taste Great

Camping Hack #16 Store Your Seasoning in Tic Tac Boxes and Make Your Campfire Food Taste Great

Slow cooking on a campfire is one of the best ways to eat food.

So it makes a lot of sense to bring your favorite spices and seasoning with you.

The problem is that they often come in odd-shaped bottles and are prone to spill.

That’s why those refreshing little mints provide excellent storage cases for travel-size seasoning supplies.

What Do You Need?

Empty tic tac boxes

A marker pen for labels

Elastic band

How Do You Do It?

Fill the little boxes with your chosen delights and label them.

Store them by tying them together with an elastic band.

Camping Hack #17 – Use an Old Tool Belt to Keep your Camping Essentials Organized

Camping Hack #17 Use an Old Tool Belt to Keep your Camping Essentials Organized

It’s so easy to forget where you put the torch when you need to leave the tent at midnight.

An old tool belt is a brilliant camping hack when it comes to storing your essential items.

Plus, it’s a reusable item that’s just been sitting in the garage collecting dust in its many useful pockets.

What Do You Need?

A multi-pocketed tool belt.

How Do You Do It?

Make a list of the items you think you will need the most during your trip.

That will depend on the type of trip, but in most environments, you’re going to want a torch, a knife and some rope tucked into the conveniently place pockets of your new storage system.

Conclusion

Little improvements to your camping experience can make a huge difference to your enjoyment and safety in the great outdoors.

Preparation is everything.

We hope these 17 Lifehack camping tips will set you up for a great trip and remember to share them with other people on the trail.

Bio

I am Jacob, the man behind GuideCool. I’m an incredibly enthusiastic (my friends would say nigh-on fanatical!) outdoors person and spend a lot of my time either in the mountains or planning my next trip. And my wife? She is passionate about seeing new places, meeting the people who live there, and immersing herself in another culture. We create GuideCool to share our travel life with others. I hope you enjoy our 17 life hacks camping tips.



 

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