Camping can be really fun, but it isn’t easy. Whether you camp in a tent or enjoy the comforts of an RV, you can always use ideas that could make your camping easier and more fun. We’ve gathered 50 camping hacks that make your outdoor life easy.

These great camping ideas and tricks should save you money, time and frustration. From keeping your toilet paper dry to ways in keeping the kids occupied, we offer many hacks that you should find useful.

toilet paper

1. Protect your toilet paper

Keep toilet paper dry, and protect it from being crushed by making a toilet paper holder out of a coffee can. Pop the toilet paper in, and cut a hole in the side of the can for the paper to be dispensed. Save space by removing the cardboard from the center of your toilet paper, flatten it and keep it in a plastic bag.

​2. ​Divide up your soap

Campers need to stay as clean as possible to help keep bugs away. A bar of soap is wonderful until the wet soap has to go back in your bag. Losing your soap in the wild is another problem that many campers have experienced. Protect your soap by peeling it into smaller pieces using a vegetable peeler. Store these in a bag and grab one as needed, which will be especially helpful if you bathe in a lake.

​3. ​Safeguard your valuables

​Hide valuables in soap. Unfortunately, there are thieves everywhere. Hiding your valuables in soap is a trick that many scouts employ. Bore a hole in a bar of soap that’s big enough for small-sized valuables. Keep your soap safe.

​4. ​Keep your keys safe

​​Leave any keys that you don’t need at home. Then, attach the key or keys that you do need to a cork. By doing this, your keys will float, rather than sink, if they hit the water. In addition, the cork is also much easier to spot if you are looking for your keys around the campsite.

​​5. ​Preserve your matches

​Keeping your matches clean and dry is essential. Wooden and cardboard match containers can get crushed or wet. Protect them by packing them in a watertight plastic container, such as an old baby food jar. Use “strike anywhere” matches only. Stick some fine-grained sandpaper, preferably with an adhesive back, onto the inside of the container top. Glue will also work. If the weather is cold, use a metal tin, as plastic could break from the cold. The sandpaper will provide a coarse surface for striking, and it will stay protected in the waterproof container.

​​6. ​Keep your clothes warm

​When you are camping in cold weather, there’s a simple way to keep your clothes warm. Sleep in tomorrow’s clothes, or put them in the sleeping bag so your body heat will warm them while you sleep.

​​7. ​Construct a portable lantern

​It’s usually dark in the boonies. Water is a great conduit for light. Take a plastic gallon jug, and fill it with water. Tie a headlamp around it with the beam facing inward, and it will generate a lot of light. You can buy a headlamp at any camping equipment store. You can use any translucent bottle, but the best effect comes from plastic that is slightly cloudy in color, as most milk jugs are. The water in the container spreads the light, and then the opaque plastic of the bottle disperses it further.

​8. ​Repel mosquitos naturally

​​Instead of packing and using repellent sprays that put chemicals on your body, repel bugs naturally. Pack a few bundles of sage and throw some on your campfire. Sage has proven to be a natural deterrent for mosquitoes and other bugs. Sage also produces a sweet smell when burned. Dusk and dawn are when mosquitoes are most active, so have some sage burning at those times.

​​9. ​Carry biodegradable trail tape

​Getting lost in the woods can be scary. Trail tape is invaluable when you are hiking. Tie the tape along your trail, and just look for your tape on the way back to camp. Camping equipment store sell this biodegradable, and it is available in bright colors for visibility. Chalk can also be used, but it isn’t as easy to see, and it will wash off.

​10. ​Bring some duct tape

​Duct tape really comes in handy when camping. Space is usually limited, so wrap some duct tape around a water bottle.

orange peel

​​11. ​Use orange peels as a candle

Put a couple of oranges on your packing list. Enjoy the fruit, and then use the peel as a candle. Lemons, grapefruit and any citrus fruit can be used. Just kindle a bit of the peel, and light it.

​​12. ​Make a camping toilet

​If you or any of your fellow campers are not comfortable with squatting in the woods when you need relief, make a toilet. Take a five-gallon bucket, put it in a milk crate and put a toilet seat over the top.

​13. ​Waterproof your shoes

​If you don’t have waterproof shoes, apply beeswax compound to your boots or shoes for waterproofing to help keep your feet dry.

​​14. ​Keep your phone charged

​Your phone is a lifeline, and it serves as a means to communicate with others who are in the woods. Keeping your phone on and charged makes good sense when camping. Buy a battery pack or power bar that will power your phone once the internal battery runs low. Power bars are available that will last for several days. If you are camping for longer periods, buy several of them. If you have a car charger, keep in mind that you can use it to recharge the batteries when your car is nearby.

​​15. ​​​Use your car battery

​​You don’t have to rough it if you don’t want to. With an adapter plug for your car cigarette lighter, you will be able to use the car battery to power electrical camping equipment.

​16. ​Safeguard your valuables

​​Water is bulky and heavy, and it simply isn’t practical to tote heavy jugs of water through the woods. Pack water purification tablets, and then you can drink purified stream water.

​17. ​Use a backpack checklist

​​A checklist helps you to be sure you have packed everything you feel you could possibly need. Your list could contain these items: rain cover, tent, poncho, towel, food, stove fuel, water, trash bag, stove, cooking kit, sunglasses, toilet tissue, sunscreen, bug repellent, trowel, matches, first aid kit, toiletries, pocket- knife, plastic cups, forks and spoons, water tablets, dried food, foam pad, plastic tarp, clothing, nylon cord, flashlight, compass, whistle, map, sleeping bag, camera, binoculars, notebook, pen and field guides.

​​18. ​Vacuum seal your food

​Hide valuables in soap. Unfortunately, there are thieves everywhere. Hiding your valuables in soap is a trick that many scouts employ. Bore a hole in a bar of soap that’s big enough for small-sized valuables. Keep your soap safe.

​​19. ​Bring little tiki torches

​Fill an empty metal mints tin with folded cardboard. Then sprinkle some wax on the cardboard.

​20. ​Build a portable washing machine

​​If you will be in the woods for a long time and want to have clean clothes, you could build a washing machine. Take a five-gallon bucket. Cut a hole in the lid that’s big enough for the handle on a bathroom plunger. Put water and detergent in the bucket. Toss the clothes in. Clamp the cover in place with the handle of the plunger coming through the hole. Then just apply elbow grease, repeating the process without detergent to rinse.

two people sleeping with padding

​​21. ​Sleep better with padding

​Use interlocking foam tiles to add a little padding between your sleeping bag and the ground. You could also use a yoga mat.

​22. ​Keep your belongings dry

​A simple thing you can do is to use a plastic garbage bag to line your backpack.

​23. ​Keep some essentials on you at all times

​​​Put some essentials in a little tin that you have with you at all times. You never know what might happen in the woods.

​​24. ​Use a belt and hooks for your pots and pans

​​​Pack an old belt and a few hooks to have a place for drying and storing the cooking utensils. Wrap your belt tightly around a tree, and add several large S hooks. Hang pots and pans with the bottoms facing the tree, so the cooking surface is away from the bark.

​25. ​Pack cheese

​​Some cheeses do not require refrigeration. Parmigiana, aged cheddar and Gruyere will keep for a week unrefrigerated.

​​26. ​Keep the kids entertained with a scavenger hunt

​​​Write the items on a paper sack, so they have a container to put them in.

​​2​7. ​Multipurpose your water

​​Freeze some gallon jugs of water. Keep them in your cooler. The giant ice jugs will keep your food cold. Once the ice melts, you’ll have drinking water.

​​2​8. ​Keep your campsite kitchen organized with a shoe organizer

​​To keep your cooking supplies off the ground and organized, use a shoe organizer. Hang it on a tree, or hang it inside your tent. It gives you slots for everything that you want handy while you’re cooking.

​​2​9. ​Carry a portable charcoal grill

​​​​​Purchase eggs that are sold in a cardboard carton. Put some charcoal where the eggs used to be. Light the carton, and your fire will start.

​30. ​Love your tarp

​​A waxed tarpaulin can have many purposes. Use it as a waterproof blanket, a groundsheet or a tent cover.

a toothbrush with toothpaste

​​​31. ​Use toothpaste dots

​​​​​Camping is often about thinking small. Take toothpaste dots instead of a whole tube. Put some toothpaste dots onto waxed paper. Let the drops dry for several days. Add a pinch of baking soda, and place them in a re-sealable bag.

​​​32. ​Use bread tags for clothespins

​​​​​It’s all about the space. Bread tags are free, and they take up minimal pack space. Use them to keep your clothes securely fixed to your camp clothesline.

​​33. ​Keep your feet warm

​​Fill a water-tight bottle with hot water. Put it in your sleeping bag to help keep your feet from being cold. If the hard plastic is distracting, wrap some clothes around it.

​​​34. ​Use Frisbees as plates

​​​​​Let the Frisbees serve dual purposes. Play with them, and eat in them. Have one Frisbee per camper.

​35. ​Waterproof your matches

​​​​​Use strike anywhere matches. Coat them with shellac, and they’ll still work even they get wet.

​​​36. ​Create a music speaker

​​​​​You don’t need big speakers or a special plugin for your phone. Simply put your phone or music player into a ceramic mug.

​​​37. ​Enjoy seasoned food

​​​​​You don’t have to eat bland food when you are out in the woods. Use Tic Tac containers to hold small amounts of your favorite spices.

​​​38. ​Create camping activity bags

​​Sometimes camping can get boring for kids. Keep the kiddos entertained with activity bags. Take gallon-sized Ziploc bags, and load them with things for the children to do.

​39. ​Pack your cooler right

​​​​​Start with a clean cooler that is cool to the touch. Store food items in watertight reusable containers. Pack the cooler full to minimize warm air. Put cans and bottles on the bottom of the cooler first, as that’s where they’ll stay cooler longer. Freeze gallon jugs of water, and use them as ice. Chill everything first before packing the cooler.

​40. ​Pack your backpack carefully

​​​​​Pack your camera, map, guides and essentials on top. Then pack clothes, cooking gear and food, tent, sleeping bag and pad. Roll shirts and stuff them inside socks to make the best use of limited space.

​​​41. ​Make coffee easy

​​​​​Put a little coffee in a coffee filter, and tie it with dental floss. Then drop it in hot water, and use it like a teabag.

​42. ​Use Doritos as tinder

​​​​​If it has rained and you can’t find any dry kindling, grab the Doritos. The corn oil in Doritos is flammable and should allow you to start your fire. You can also use lint from your dryer’s filter.

​​​43. ​Keep a pair of socks for sleeping only

​​​​​When camping, clean socks seem to provide mental and emotional comfort. Wearing these “fresh” socks will be more comfortable, and this will keep the dust, pine needles, splinters, dirt, bark and whatever else that’s attached to your daytime socks from finding their way into your sleeping bag.

​​​44.​ Dry your shoes overnight

​​Wet shoes are a problem and a discomfort while camping. Remove the insoles. Then stuff some dry, dirty clothing into your shoes. In the morning, dry the dirty clothing by the fire or air-dry it by strapping it on your backpack.

​​​45. ​Make your zippers easier to zip

​​Put a keyring on your zippers. It will be especially helpful when you are wearing gloves or mittens while camping in cold weather.

​46. ​Use firestarters

​​​​​Coat a cotton ball with Vaseline, and wrap it in aluminum foil. To start a fire, cut an opening in the foil, and pull out a little of the cotton. Twist the cotton into a wick. Then light it.

​​​47. ​Pack additional firestarters

​​​​​Dip circular cotton pads in wax for an excellent firestarter.

​48. ​Treat ticks

​​If you or a fellow camper has a tick, soak a cotton ball in liquid soap. Put the cotton ball on the tick, and leave it there for 20 seconds or so. The tick should eventually stop chewing, and you can remove it with the cotton ball. You may want to keep the tick in a container to be tested for Lyme disease.

​​​49. ​Prepare your eggs in advance

​​​​​Taking whole eggs on a camping trip just doesn’t make sense unless you are camping in an RV. The solution is to break the eggs, beat them, and store them in a water bottle. A bottle should hold eight eggs, take up less space and ensure that you won’t have broken eggs in your cooler. Just pour out your eggs when you need them.

two kettles cooking on a campfire

​​​50. ​Become a great campfire cook
  • ​You can cook just about anything in tinfoil. Three cheese potatoes. Nachos. Burgers. Lumberjack breakfast. Sausage. Pineapple upside-down cake.
  • ​Make mini calzones by cooking them directly over an open fire in cupcake tins.
  • ​Make campfire cones with fruit and chocolate that’s grilled in foil.
  • ​Smoke meat with rosemary by putting it on the charcoal under the meat.
  • ​Roast Starbursts.
  • ​Pre-make your pancake batter, and put the batter in plastic bags. Freeze the bags. The frozen batter bags will double as ice packs. Thaw and cook.
  • ​Wrap meat in cabbage to keep it from burning.
  • ​Forget pasta, and use quick-cooking alternatives like quinoa, polenta or couscous.
  • ​Cook cinnamon rolls (the canned kind) over a campfire using a hollowed-out orange.

Make Your Outdoor Life Easier With These Camping Hacks

There are many innovative ideas that can make your camping easier and more fun. Save money, time and frustration with these 50 camping hacks that make your outdoor life easy.

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