With summer having arrived, so has our outdoor agenda—and camping is the best part of summer. Whether you take an RV or you love to rough it in a tent, a camping trip with the family is something that you can’t help but look forward to—especially when you have a list of awesome camping hacks to help you to make the most of your day, overnight, weekend or even week long trip.
You can thank us later for all these amazing camping hacks…after your next camping trip with the family!
1. Pack 1 set of clothes for each person for each day in its own large resealable bag. This saves on packing space and keeps things clean and organized. Pack bathing suits in their own bag.
2. Use foam floor tiles for a softer, more comfortable tent floor.
3. Add bundles of sage to a campfire to keep pesky mosquitoes away.
4. Refrigerate pre-marinated meats inside resealable bags and pack for cooking on the grill or fire.
5. Keep the kids busy with a nature scavenger hunt.
7. Speaking of duct tape, want to take along a manageable amount? Wrap some around a water bottle or any other cylindrical object, and there it’ll be, right at hand. Brilliant!
8. Make a simple to use soap pouch out of a washcloth folded and sewn around a bar of soap for convenient campsite scrubbing (of bodies and dishes!).
9. Drop a glow stick in your camping cooler so that you can easily get your drinks and snacks in the dark.
10. Send a gift to your future dirty, bug-bitten selves by hiding a favorite snack in the car—only to be consumed upon completion of a camping trip. A little cookie can go a long way.
11. The best camping dessert ever is a Banana Split S’More. Trust us.
12. After sunset, turn any translucent jug of water into a translucent jug of ambient light. Just strap your headlamp to your water bottle with the light facing inward.
13. Protect your camera from the rain with a camera poncho: cut a hole in a large-sized resealable bag just barely big enough for your lens to stick through and put the camera and lens inside the bag—use a rubber band to hold it tight to the end of the lens. Operate the camera with your hand inside the bag.
14. Always have a tarp on hand. For quick shelter of the picnic table when unexpected showers appear out of nowhere or sunshade when everyone’s had too much of the mid-afternoon rays.
15. Teach the kids how to make a sundial either on the ground or on a table with chalk, stones or sticks.
16. Never lose your keys in the water: attach your keys to a cork. Essential if you’re boating.
17. Make your own pillow with a pillowcase & clothes: space is always at a premium when packing. Instead of packing pillows, turn clothes and pillowcases into pillows. Pillowcases make great replacements for laundry bags as well.
18. Take the kids on a hunt to find flat, smooth rocks and make rock dominoes.
19. Use block ice in your cooler: Because it has less surface area than individual cubes, it will melt at a much slower pace.
20. Pack tin foil (lots of it)—you can cook anything from sausages to corn on the cob quickly and easily.
21. Use a sunglass case for storing your phone charger and headphones. No more having to dig to the bottom of your bag in the middle of the night to listen to some music if you can’t sleep.
22. Cover the openings of bottles of shampoo, conditioner and other liquids with plastic wrap and then screw the top on. This will keep them from spilling.
23. Don’t wait until dark to start setting up the tent! Dusk is the perfect time for games, cooking, and having all the fun that comes along with camping…so get the grunt work out of the way first (and get the littles to help!).
25. An old area rug is a great way to add a bit of comfort to your tent. It helps to manage dirt and feels great on the feet at bedtime.
26. Playing games outdoors that are fun and active tire the littles out and they’ll sleep better. It’s also a lot of fun—especially if they’re physical games like horseshoes, a bean bag toss or even tag or hide and seek. Just watch the difference in your kids after an hour of these games compared to an hour of iPad time…
27. Make a game out of cleaning up. Give the kids the task of finding any debris at the campsite that doesn’t belong. Kids love scavenger hunts!
28. Use tent rope to create a clothesline between two trees. It’s a perfect way to dry wet clothes and hang coats or boots.
29. Put solar-powered garden lights near tent stakes, so you don’t trip over the lines at night.
30. Sprinkle instant grits around your tent and campsite to deter ants from joining the party. While the grits don’t kill the ants, for some strange reason ants don’t seem to like piles of strange objects poured on the ground.
31. Conduct a test run. Try sleeping in a tent in the backyard first. Take notes as you think of things you’ll need on a full-blown trip.