Are you looking for the best DIY camping hacks for your upcoming trip? Most survivalists live by the motto, do more with less, but it doesn’t stop at your emergency preparedness plans. It’s something you can take with you across all aspects of your life, especially for your next camping trip. So on that note, here are some awesome camping ideas to impress your friends and family and make your trip a lot easier!
What better way to experience camping than with these DIY camping tricks that are borderline genius. Of course, the traditional Boy Scout survival skills are always welcome, but it’s also refreshing to think out of the box sometimes. Check out these camping hacks we have pulled from our previous posts (plus some new ones!) Just remember, the great outdoors does not solely belong to you. The plants and animals have as much right to it as you do. Let’s share and enjoy nature together.
Camping Hacks For A More Awesome Outdoor Experience
1. Craft a “Drinkable Lantern”
This DIY drinkable lantern is one cool camping stuff. You can easily make an ambient lamp out of a milk jug. All you need to do is fill the milk jug with potable water and point a headlamp in it. It will create a soft light that is perfect for reading and writing inside the tent.
2. Camping Lantern
In today’s culture, if we need something, we buy it. Fortunately, improvisational skills can be learned and thanks to the vastness of today’s resources, it’s never been easier. Books on the topic of survival abound, but the real boon lies on the World Wide Web. A Google search for “survival tactics” yields 10,600,000 results! The following improvised lantern how-to was actually passed on to me by a friend some years ago. Read more about this project here.
Here is my recommendation for a camping trip lantern to have handy.
3. Silicone Drinking Cups
Plastic cups are not environment-friendly and they don’t really sit well with long travels because they get crushed by other camping gear. These break-proof cups are perfect for your camping trip as they are easy to use, wash, and transport. Get your cups here.
4. Soap Pouch
Make this out of a washcloth and a bar of soap for convenient campsite scrubbing. Who said you need to be filthy all throughout the camping trip? Click here to learn more about how to make your own soap pouch.
5. Cowboy Bed Roll
The basic idea of a cowboy roll is a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag all rolled up in a big piece of canvas. This makes sleeping on the ground, under the stars comfortable, warm, and weather resistant. The canvas is a waxed canvas that is not waterproof, but if dew falls at night, you will not get soaked. So the canvas should be a little more than twice as wide as your sleeping pad and a little more than twice as long. For more info about bedrolls, read more about them here.
6. Outdoor Toiletry Kit
Too often situations occur when a properly packed outdoor toiletry kit is truly needed. These times mostly happen when we’re outdoors, far away from the comfort of home or during desperate scenarios commonly labeled as emergencies. In short, everybody knows the uncomfortable and vulnerable feeling of having to use an unfamiliar latrine or simply having to go outside. Fortunately, though, there is a way to beat such a terrible dilemma by keeping properly prepared outdoor toiletry kits in the car, at home, and even with various outdoor gear in case such an emergency arises. Learn more about making your own kit here.
7. Tin Can Grill
Make your own grill out of a tin can. You don’t need to bring a large grille to make your favorite campfire food. Learn how to make this awesome tin can griller.
8. Natural Insect Repellant
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Do you have a problem with insects or birds in your garden? We used a mixture of soap, water and Kaolin Clay to treat some plants at the Grove Street Farm during our Plant Health field trip for Farm School NYC. Kaolin Clay has been found to control insect pests and disease as well as protecting against sunburn or heat stress. A natural mineral, it works by creating a barrier film, covering the leaves and fruit with a white powdery film, which adheres and keeps pests at bay. You have to wash the fruit and veggies prior to eating. It is non toxic and safe to use. #masonandlime #farmschoolnyc #brooklyn #GroveStreetFarm #planthealth #IPM #IntegratedPestManagement #justsaynotoinsecticides #kaolinclay #homemadeinsectrepellent #birds #urbanfarming #communutygarden #organicsolutions #insects
Sometimes, commercial mosquito and bug repellents are not enough. There are just those bugs that are too stubborn. Get Mother Nature to help you and throw a bundle of sage in the fire to keep away those annoying bugs. Find out more about these bug-repelling plants right here.
9. Egg Carton Firestarter
This is a fun little project for a rainy or cold day, any day. You just need a paper egg carton, wax, and dryer lint. Takes an hour from start to finish to make them and only about 10 minutes of your time. (Your wax will be cooling most of this time). Making fire starters is pretty cool and I needed some motivation to get my laundry done, anyway. Two birds, one stone. These light amazingly well. I never knew dryer lint would do that! Be sure to check out my burn test at the end of this post. Read more about this project right here.
10. Frozen Water Jugs for Your Cooler
Do you find it difficult to keep your food and water cool all throughout the trip? Use frozen water jugs for longer lasting cold in your cooler. Get more info about this cool trick right here.
11. Foam Floor Tiles
Sleeping bags can only do so much to provide us with a comfortable sleeping experience outdoors. But when you’re faced with rocky terrain, your sleeping bag will be as comfortable as a bag of rocks. Don’t sleep on the hard, uncomfortable ground! Put down some of these cheap and easy tiles for ultimate camping comfort. Know more about what else you need to bring for your sleeping needs in this article.
12. Solar Charger
You can create this one on your own or buy one off the internet! If you’re interested in the homemade version, find the full instructions, click here.
13. DIY Toilet Paper Dispenser
The call of nature is too difficult to resist, so if you need to go, it’s best to be prepared. Keep your TP clean and rolled up with this easy DIY. Find out how you can transform your Folgers can into a TP container right here.
14. Cook with Foil
One of the biggest challenges when planning your camping meals is keeping food cold in advance. A great way to plan for this is to eat the food that needs to be kept cold first. Plan a meat-based dinner for the first night and then try to use canned or dry goods for the next day. Try to think outside the box when it comes to refrigerated foods. For more info on how to cook with foil, click here.
15. Know Which Plants to Avoid
Poisonous plants are everywhere. They’re in the woods, the forests, and the mountains. In fact, some of them may even be in your garden. This makes bugging out look like a dangerous proposition when the SHTF. However, these plants would not cause harm if you did not eat or touch them. As you read our guide, you will realize how simple and easy it is to avoid these poisonous plants. Just stick to your regular food and avoid the bitter stuff. Avoid eating seeds and flowers. More info about these poisonous plants can be viewed right here.
16. Make Matches Waterproof
Whether you are getting ready for a weekend camping trip, a natural disaster, or the end of the world, you are going to need something to start a fire with. A firestarter is possibly the most important item you should have in your backpack or bug out bag. Learn more about how to make your own waterproof matches.
17. A Bathtub in the Wild
If you’re camping in or near a sand-river, dig yourself a nice pit and line it with a groundsheet — and voila, you have a makeshift bathtub. Heat some water on your campfire and pour yourself a whiskey as you fill the tub. Recline under the stars for the ultimate Al fresco soak and watch as the night unfolds around you. Know more about bathing in safety in this article.
18. Don’t Forget Your Knots
As any Boy Scout knows, knots aren’t a one-type-fits-all deal. Learn a few and it’ll make your camping (and your life) easier. From fishing to first aid, these knots can go a long way to make or break any camping experience. Learn more about the different knots in this article.
19. Stay Organized
You’re dealing with a ton of crap when you’re camping: millions of little things, gloves everywhere, socks lying around, a penknife, you have your boots lying somewhere. It’s really easy to lose stuff. Having a really well thought-out system for where you put stuff once you’re inside the tent means you don’t risk losing things. Learn how to organize your camping gear in this article.
20. Beer/Soda Can Popcorn
Popcorn in a beer can. Pour some popcorn kernels into an empty beer can (about ¼ of the way full), add some popcorn oil, and place the can on the edge of the fire. Allow the kernels to do their thing until the pops slow down to more than a couple of seconds apart. Cut the can in half and enjoy! Read more about this awesome trick right here.
21. Prioritize Your Sleeping Comfort
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Your choice of shelter is up for debate, be it a big tent, a small tent, hammock, or tarp. But don’t you dare skimp on an A-list sleeping bag and sleeping pad. They are the two most important deciders of your comfort when in the wilderness. Click here to know more about sleeping outdoors.
22. Practice Fire Safety with the Kids
Fire pits get hot to touch almost instantly. Use rocks to surround the fire pit. It makes the pit look great (style points!) and creates a bit of distance between kids and the flame. Explain the process of fire building to your kids so they understand what you’re doing and how it all works. Giving them an activity like collecting tinder can make them feel included. Establish a “one poker” rule. Kids will want to poke the fire but it can be avoided when the poker is in the hands of an adult. Consider what your children are wearing. Some synthetic garments can be dangerous when exposed to an open flame. Read more about fire safety here.
23. Easy-to-Spot Bear Bag
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Just a little preview… 19 liter flat bottom food bag (1.43 Dyneema), rock sack, 50’ Zing-it cord, mini carabiner and the Dutch Clips PCT stick. I’m stocked about the PCT stick, I have been playing with it for about a week and it works perfect every time! 3.2 oz total. #thruhike2018 #foodbag #bearbag #dyneema #ultralightbackpacking #ultralighthiking #hikingadventures #backpacking #thruhike #appalachiantrail #appalachiantrail2018 #pct2018 #pct #cdt2018 #cdt
I take a reflective cord for my bear bag. It lights up when your headlamp hits it and makes it easy to find at night or for an early morning departure. Tie your aluminum cup up with your bear bag near the clip so if something tries to get at it, you will hear it. See more examples of bear bags here.
24. Campfire Pizza
Surprise your family with pizza on your camping trip! Using pre-made pizza crust from a tube makes it a snap to prepare. Remember, any type of pizza you can make at home, you can make in a Dutch Oven! You can make your pizza over this camp stove kit. Learn how to make this delicious pizza here!
25. Duct Tape Around Your Lighter
Duct tape can be a lifesaver, but carrying an entire roll takes up valuable space inside a backpack—and you probably won’t need much tape. Wrap a couple feet around a Bic lighter, so you always have a short supply inside your pocket. Read more about it here.
26. Prepare Food at Home
Because I’ve grown somewhat tired of freeze-dried fare, these days I often cook something I like at home. Something in the one-pot category and freeze it in plastic, let it thaw in my pack, and warm it up over the old MSR XGK set on low heat. Get more recipes here.
Watch this video and check out the 25 most ingenious camping hacks ever!
Camping doesn’t need to be a stressful or expensive experience for you and for the whole family. With these camping hacks, you’ll be able to cut down on costs and maximize whatever gear, equipment, or food for the entire camping trip. But 26 is just the tip of the iceberg. You can come up with your own ingenious camping hacks. All have you have to do is let your creative juice flow.
Do you have other camping hacks in mind? Let us know in the comment section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.