29 Camping Hacks From REI Experts



Father son roast marshmallows | REI Camping | Featured

Camping is a lot of fun until you realize it actually also involves a lot of work. Make your camping trip a little easier with this list of REI camping hacks every camper should know.

RELATED: Camping Safety: How To Avoid Wild Animal Encounters

REI Camping | 29 Genius Camping Hacks for Every Camper

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1. 3 Simple Hacks To Avoid Cold Feet

Nobody likes having cold feet when sleeping. Here are some quick solutions to this common camping dilemma:

  • Fill a bottle up with some hot water and place it at the bottom of the sleeping bag.
  • Use your dry clothes to soak any moisture around your feet. Plus, you can wrap your feet around them for that extra warmth.
  • You can also just keep a sacred pair of dry socks handy. Use this pair of socks only for sleeping and not for anything else.

2. 2 Ways to Sleep Softly & Cozy

Colorful interlocking foam tile | REI camping

If sleeping on the ground isn't for you, try these instead:

  • Stuff your clothes into a sack and use it as a pillow.
  • Bring cushioned jigsaw-like tiles and cover the floor of your tent with foam floor tiles to do the trick.

3. Make a Lantern From a Bottle of Water and a Headlamp

After sunset, it can be hard to go around your campsite without a lantern to carry around. Unfortunately, whether you go with an old-school oil lamp or a more modern rechargeable one, lanterns can be heavy and bulky to carry around.

Fashion a lantern out of any spare, translucent bottle or jug of water by filling it with water and attaching your headlamp to it. With the light facing inwards, you can now start telling your scary campfire stories under the jug's ambient light.

4. Use Silica Gel to Keep Metal Things from Rusting

Save those silica gel packs and keep them in your bag. This is especially useful for making sure your cookware does not get rusty especially after they get wet.

5. Waterproof Your Things with a Garbage Bag

Black garbage container | REI camping

Use a plastic garbage bag to line your backpack before filling it up with things. This is a quick way to waterproof it and make sure it remains immune to the elements.

6. Get Rid of Wet Shoes

Man hiking boots | REI camping

If your shoes got wet from the trip, remove the insoles and stuff some dry, used shirts in them overnight. An alternative camping hack is to use a newspaper if you do not want to get your clothes wet. Better yet, avoid getting your shoes wet in the first place by coating them with beeswax or waterproof spray.

7. Avoid Wet Matches

Wet unused matchstick | REI camping

Keep your matches dry by transferring them inside plastic containers instead of the matchboxes they come in. Additionally, make sure to bring an extra set of matches in a separate container in case something happens to the other one.

8. Save Your Mobile Device from Water Damage with a Bag of Rice

Rice clear plastic bag | REI camping

Bring a bag of rice with you on camping trips. If you accidentally drop your phone in the river, just stuff it in the bag and you'll raise the chances of saving your mobile device.

9. Use Bread Tags as Clothespins Camping Hack

Plastic tags bread | REI camping

Start keeping those bread tags that come with the loaves of bread you buy. These are the best lightweight alternatives to clothespins, and will certainly come in handy when you're drying your wet clothes at your campsite.

10. Use Hand Sanitizer or Lint to Start a Fire

Your hand sanitizer is not just for disinfecting, it's also a clever alternative for starting a fire. If you're saving your hand sanitizer up for something else, lint is another lightweight option you can look into.

11. Use Trick Birthday Candles on Windy Days

Cake colorful candles | REI camping

A trick birthday candle is also great for starting a fire. Those pesky things that you can never seem to blow out are especially handy when starting fires up in those windy mountains.

12. No Need to Bring Water, Have This Instead

Bringing bottles or jugs of water is not only heavy, but it also consumes a lot of space you might need for other things.

Get rid of this problem by bringing some water purification tablets instead. This way, all you have to do is gather water from a nearby stream, mix the tablets along with them, and voila! Clean drinking water.

You can also purchase a water filtration system that instantly filters naturally-gathered water as you put it into a water bottle.

RELATED: Top 10 Best Portable Camping Grills

13. Keep Ants Away with a Little Water

Ants can be a real pain, especially during mealtime. If you're not careful, they can easily overwhelm your entire table and ruin a good meal.

One of the best and easiest ways to combat this is to place a small tray of water under every leg of the table where your food sits on. Ants will not be able to navigate these waters, allowing you to consume your meal in peace.

14. Use Tinfoil for Cooking Food

Tinfoil is an often underrated camping gear to have. What most people do not know is that you can cook practically anything as long as it is wrapped in the material. All you have to do is wrap that fish you just caught in the river in tinfoil and throw it in the middle of the fire to cook.

15. 3 Great Uses of Emergency Blankets

Emergency blankets can be very flexible in terms of their uses. They are one of the best and most lightweight things you can bring on a camping trip that will help keep you warm. What most people don't know, however, is that it also has a ton of other applications.

  • An emergency blanket's silver coating is great for reflecting sunlight when it is placed on top of the tent to keep it cool when camping during the warm season.
  • Its reflective properties are also a great way to signal first responders if you find yourself in an emergency situation that requires rescuing. This one is definitely a great camping hack for when an emergency situation arises.
  • Since emergency blankets are waterproof these are perfect for covering the things you do not want to get wet. You can even use it to cover any remaining food you might have lying around.

16. 5 Amazing Ways Duct Tape Will Save You

Duct tape is an extremely versatile item with a ton of applications that most survivalists know about and take advantage of. When it comes to camping, duct tape can be used to:

  • Patch small holes in your tent
  • Waterproof certain items
  • Hold things together
  • Treat blisters
  • Protect the skin

17. Use Candles as Zipper Lubricant

Hand lighting wax candle | REI camping

Nobody likes a tent zipper that won't go down, especially right when you're about to go to sleep. A quick camping hack for this problem is to use candle wax as a lubricant. Just make sure your candle isn't lit when you slide it across the zipper.

18. Store Spices in Sealed Straws

Hand holding plastic straws | REI camping

Don't want to bring entire containers of spices on your camping trip? Flame-seal sections of drinking straws instead and use them to hold your spices.

19. Fashion a Selfie Stick out of a Real Stick

Male tourist wooden stick | REI camping

For some reason, a lot of people seem to forget their selfie sticks when they go out. As an alternative, you can just look for a real stick and attach your GoPro to it.

20. Arrange Trekking Poles to Make a Tripod

Backpack trekking poles | REI camping

Want to take a picture with a large group? Use the same stick above, pair it with your trekking poles, and arrange them to form a tripod.

Better yet, don't forget to bring your selfie stick or tripod next time. If it's too bulky for you, there are small, handy, smartphone tripods available nowadays.

Here’s a video infographic guide. Don’t forget to download, save, or share this handy infographic for reference:

For the inexperienced camper, camping and other outdoor activities can be very hard. Make life easier by following the REI camping hacks listed above.

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Are there other REI camping hacks you know about? Share them with us in the comments section below! 

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