Summer is nearly here and you know that that means – Camping! If you’re like me, camping is the best part of summer, especially when you have a list of awesome camping hacks that help you to make the most of your trip. Whether you take your RV or you love to rough it in a tent, living the easy life, without phones, without the hustle and bustle of everyday life, well that’s something that you just can’t help but look forward to.
If you’re someone who loves to camp, I’ve got a treat for you. I’ve gathered 55 of the most amazing camping hacks. These easy tricks are guaranteed to get the Wow factor going, and sure to make spending time in the great outdoors even more special than it was before. All you need is your sunglasses and you’re ready for some outdoor rest and relaxation. Check out these other DIY camping projects to make your trip even more fun and adventurous.
From easier ways to cook your food to the simplest storage solutions, there’s a hack in here that you are bound to find useful. Whether you camp for the relaxation, or you just love soaking up the sun, you’re sure to find a useful hack in this collection. Don’t forget about my DIY backyard games collection, too. You can use so many of these to make your trip extra fun for the kids. So, grab those camping supplies, we’re about to learn some of the best, and easiest, ways to make yourself and your family more comfortable when you’re living the sweet life.
1. Duct Tape Mod
This is a great idea for keeping duct tape within easy reach. Everyone finds themselves in need of duct tape from time to time, especially when out camping. Instead of rummaging through your backpack or tent to find what you need, just wrap a bit of duct tape around your water bottle.
Chances are, you always have your bottle with you, so you’ll always have duct tape when you need it.
2. Easy Lighting
This gallon jug lighting is brilliant. You just strap a headlamp to a gallon jug and it gives off as much light as your living room lamp. It’s enough to fill your entire tent. You just need the jug and your headlamp, which you can pick up at any store that carries camping equipment, and they’re relatively cheap. This is great for those late night talks or even reading in the tent.
3. Tick Deterrent
If you’re planning to go camping, tick deterrent is a must. This one is all natural so there are no harmful chemicals and it’s perfectly safe for kids. You could even spritz it on your pets if you normally take them along with you. This is a great recipe not only for camping, but for keeping with you anytime you’re outdoors this summer.
4. Matchbox Holders
Keeping matches clean and dry during camping is a must, unless of course you’re skilled in starting a fire with flint. So, to keep those matches from getting ruined, use an old baby food container. Those plastic containers are great for protecting your matches and the lid keeps them firmly in place.
Source and instructions: craftaholicsanonymous
There are so many ways that you can save space when packing for your camping trip. Rolling shirts and stuffing them inside socks is a great way to make sure that you have plenty of room for all of your clothing.
6. Tic-Tac Boxed Spices
Take along your favorite spices without having to make room for those large jars and bottles. Empty Tic-Tac boxes make the perfect traveling boxes for spices. If you really want to be fancy, print out stickers with the names of your spices, or you could just write them in with a sharpie.
Source and instructions: seattlesundries
7. Camping Handwashing Station
This DIY handwashing station is awesome! You just use an old empty laundry detergent bottle, and create the perfect place for kids and adults to keep those germs at bay. You can even add a paper towel holder to the top. Just fill the bottle with water, sit a jar of liquid soap next to it, and you’ll be able to keep dirt and grime away easily.
Source and instructions: makingmemorieswithyourkids
8. Pot and Pan Holder
Take along an old belt and use a few hooks to create the perfect place for drying and storing your pots and pans while you’re camping. Instead of having your campground littered with dishes, hang them up. Just wrap the belt around a tree, add the hooks and you’ve got your own little kitchen storage area.
9. Campground Washing Machine
Who says you have to wait until you get home to wash all those dirty clothes? Imagine being able to wash clothing, linens, and towels while you’re camping. With a five gallon bucket, a plunger, and a few other supplies, you can create your own mini washing machine, and it does a great job of getting out the dirt. Just don’t forget to take along a little laundry soap!
Source and instructions: melissadimock
10. Fire Starter
Instead of buying those expensive charcoal brands that light quickly and easily, you can create your own campfire starter with a cardboard egg carton and regular charcoal. These are great, and really inexpensive. You just literally light the egg carton on fire and the charcoal picks up the flame. Remember to buy your eggs in a cardboard carton for a few weeks before you go camping. Foam cartons won’t burn.
Source and instructions: sewmanyways
11. Dorito Kindling?
Here’s a hack that’s been floating around for a while, and it’s one that really does work. When you’re camping, you need a campfire, right? Believe it or not, you can’t always find kindling, depending on where you are camping, or whether or not it’s been raining. Take along a few extra bags of Doritos, or if you have stale ones that the kids haven’t gotten to yet, just light those bad boys on fire!
12. Rosemary Smoked
Instead of worrying over seasoning your steaks or fish, just put rosemary on the charcoal while it burns. It will give your meats a wonderful smoked rosemary flavor that even the pickiest of eaters will love.
Source and instructions: marthastewart
13. Mosquito Repellent
Camping is so much fun, but those mosquito bites are not. Instead of worrying with packing spray on repellent and being concerned that chemicals may be getting into your system, simply add some sage to your campfire. Sage works as a natural deterrent to keep those pesky bugs away, and it smells nice, too.
14. Biodegradable Trail Tape
If you’re planning a hike, keep yourself and the environment safe by using biodegradable trail marking tape. You can find this tape at most stores that sell camping supplies, and it’s a great way to ensure that you don’t get turned around on your hike and lose your way. It’s also a great way to keep the woods all natural and safe from chemicals and litter.
15. Camping Toilet
If you’re not someone who’s comfortable just going anywhere, this DIY toilet is a dream. You can make it easily with just a few supplies, like an old milk crate, a five gallon bucket, and a toilet seat. You’ll need to empty it of course, but for those who just can’t manage to go in the woods, this easy to put together portable potty is perfect.
Source and instructions: rootsimple
16. iPhone Charger
Okay, you want to say that you don’t need your phone when you go camping, but honestly, you know that you’ll want to keep it charged just in case of emergencies, or you know, if you want to listen to music or something. This solar powered charger works with your iPhone or iPad and helps you to avoid running down your car battery just to charge your devices. It’s also really easy to make and works like a dream.
Source and instructions: instructables
17. Orange Candle
Take a long a few oranges the next time you go camping. Not only are they a delicious and healthy snack, you can turn the peels into candles. You can use any citrus actually, like lemons, grapefruit, or limes, too. You’ll also need some standard kitchen oils like vegetable, olive, etc. Not only does this help light up your camping world, it smells wonderful!
Source and instructions: instructables
18. Comfortable Sleeping
Instead of really “roughing it” and ending up with an achy back and very little sleep, use foam pads to make then floor of your tent more comfortable. These little colorful foam tiles are not terribly expensive, and they will help you to avoid sleeping on rocks and twigs that may be under your tent. Plus, they help to spruce up the interior of your tent, too.
Source and instructions: alittlecampy
19. Backpack Checklist
First off, let’s check that backpack! If you’re planning to hike while you’re camping, this checklist is a must. It helps you make sure you remembered everything you could possibly need, plus it’s a great organization tool to make sure that you have room for everything you need. Just print it off and check those essentials off the list as you pack them.
20. Egg Storage
You know that taking whole eggs in a cooler when you go camping is just asking for trouble, right? I mean, there’s really no way that those eggs are going to stand up to all that rough country traveling. If you need beaten eggs, and you want an easier way to carry them, clean out a water bottle and put them in there. You just beat them beforehand and pour them into the bottle. Not only does this ensure you’re not cleaning broken eggs from your cooler, it makes it really easy to just pour your eggs out when you need them.
Source and instructions: cookiecrumbsandsawdust
21. Camping Shower
You know you want a good shower while you’re camping, but what if you’re not really near a campground that has this amenity? You make your own. And, it’s easier than you think. You need a rectangular water jug, and a few other supplies. This is such a great idea, and perfect for rinsing off after you get out of the lake when swimming, too.
Source and instructions: instructables
Here’s a great twist on traditional s’mores, and one that kids are bound to love. Instead of graham crackers, twist open an Oreo and then put a piece of chocolate and your roasted marshmallow. These are smaller than your average graham cracker, so they’re easier for kids to handle, and they are simply delicious!
23. Treat Bug Bites
Deodorant is a great medicine for bug bites and other itches. Just rub your deodorant over the itchy area and it will stop the itching. Pick up those little travel sized deodorants or something on sale and stock up for all your summer camping trips.
Source and instructions: wikihow
24. Secure Your Tent
By placing a stick in the center line of your tent, you can help to keep it level and ensure that it stays put. Depending on where you’re camping, you should find plenty of sticks. Just raise up the line a bit and place the stick between the line and the grommet.
25. Keep Food Fresher
Before you pack up the food that you’re taking with you, vacuum seal it. This will help you to keep food fresher longer. It also helps to ensure that ants and other bugs stay out of your stash, and you can save room because vacuum sealing pulls out air, so you’ll have a lot more room to fit things into your cooler or bag.
Source and instructions: livingonalatte
26. Campfire Popcorn
Make those nights of camping extra special with these popcorn satchels. These are like Jiffy Pop but a lot cheaper. You just fill the aluminum foil and then fold it over, adding a string that lets you shake your popcorn until it’s all popped.
Source and instructions: realsimple
27. Tent Line Protectors
A pool noodle cut into short strips will help you to protect your tent, and yourself, from trips and falls. Just cut the noodle into smaller sections and place those sections over your tent lines. This serves as a line marker, so you’ll always know where the lines are, which prevents tripping over them and helps to keep your tent intact.
What could possibly be better than pancakes cooked on a campfire? If you plan to do the big breakfast by campfire, and you want an easier way to make and transport your pancake mix, here’s a really good hack. Just fill baggies or sandwich bags with your premade pancake batter and store in your cooler. Be sure to tie off the ends tightly. When you’re ready to cook, just snip the tip off and you’ve got the perfect pancake pourer.
Source and instructions: amumntheoven
29. Waterproof Your Shoes
Before you leave, waterproof your shoes with some beeswax compound. This is a great idea for those who plan to hike while camping. It ensures that your shoes, and your feet, stay dry and helps to prevent your shoes becoming stinky and ruined from excess water.
Source and instructions: brit
30. Activity Bags
Camping is great, but sometimes it gets boring for kids, especially after dark when they can’t swim, hike, or fish. Ward off that boredom by preparing some activity bags for them before you leave. Just take gallon sized Ziploc bags and fill them with fun things for the kids to do. This is also a great idea for just in case it rains and you are stuck in the tent.
Source and instructions: creativecapitalb
31. Homemade Calamine Lotion
Calamine lotion is a must for camping. Whether you end up with poison ivy, poison oak, or you just find yourself bitten by loads of bugs, this lotion can help to ease itchiness. Before you leave for your camping trip, make a batch of this homemade calamine lotion. You just need a few basic supplies, and you’re all set.
Source and instructions: everydayroots
32. Easy S’mores
When you pack up your camping gear, add a rake. That’s right, a rake. Use the rake for making s’mores. This is a genius idea and will certainly make it easier to create those little desserts. You just put the graham crackers with chocolate on the rake and use the tines of the rake to roast your marshmallows. You can make a s’mores treat for everyone at the same time!
33. Dollar Store Camping Gear
From ropes for drying laundry to just about anything else you can imagine, the Dollar Store has everything you need for a great camping trip. You can find so many things that are cheap and make great alternatives to amenities that you may miss from home. Take a look at your local Dollar Store and see what you can find.
Source and instructions: ontariofamilycamping
34. Condiment Station
A muffin tin makes the perfect station for your cooking out condiments. Just use the individual sections to hold your mustard, ketchup, onions, or whatever else you want to put out. You can cover it with plastic wrap and use it again and again, and it saves you from having to wash multiple dishes.
35. Homemade Bobber
If you’ve forgotten to pack your fishing supplies – perish the thought – then you can create some of them from things that you may have remembered to bring with you on your camping trip. Take that bobber for instance. If you don’t have one, or you’ve lost your line to a huge fish, and he took the bobber with him, you can use a foam earplug, which works perfectly as a brightly colored bobber!
36. Soap Pouch
This DIY soap pouch not only keeps your soap from getting lost, it makes showering while camping so easy. You will need a washcloth that you turn into a pouch, which holds your soap and doubles as a sort of bathing sponge. Once the soap is gone, you can just add another bar and use it again and again.
Source and instructions: whimsy-lov
37. Kitchen Utensil Organizer
A shoe organizer makes the perfect organizer for your kitchen utensils. Just hang it on a tree or inside your tent, and you have slots for all of your spatulas, spoons, and other items. You could use some of the slots to also hold silverware and other items that you want to keep handy and within easy reach while you’re cooking.
38. Camping Speaker
This DIY speaker that doubles as a holder for your iPhone or iPad is genius! You just cut a slit into an empty paper towel holder and use two plastic cups to help hold it in place. The cups also help to make your phone speaker louder, so you can broadcast your music without worries of a battery operated speaker that may lose its charge while you camp.
39. DIY Fire Starters
Here’s another great way to make your own fire starter. Start gathering dryer lint a few days, or weeks if you don’t do much laundry, before you leave for your camping trip. Just insert the dryer lint into an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll, and when you’re ready to build that campfire, just light the lint.
Source and instructions: greenhomesteading
40. Toilet Paper Holder
You certainly want to make sure that your toilet paper is safe and protected from water and other problems. An empty coffee can makes the perfect toilet paper holder and dispenser. You can cut a slit into the side and feed the toilet paper through it. The plastic can helps to protect the paper from rain or other moisture, and ensures that it stays clean and dry.
Source and instructions: livingonlessinthenorthwest
41. Pack Your Cooler Smart
We’ve already covered how to pack your backpack, but you also need to know how to pack your cooler to ensure that you have room for everything. The right packing will also help you to keep essentially cooler things cold. Take a look at the graph, which shows you how to save space and keep that food fresh longer.
42. Candle Stakes
You can create great outdoor mood lighting around your tent, or just use these DIY candle stakes to make your camping area seem a bit safer during the night. Just add taper candles to relatively long dowel rods and you’ve got the perfect camping accessory; lighting that’s easy to create and beautiful to look at.
Source and instructions: asubtlerevelry
43. Coffee Bags
Instead of worrying over taking along a coffee pot and waiting on the perfect brew, make up these individual coffee bags. You use them like tea bags, so you just have to boil your water and then add the bag, allowing it to seep until it’s the perfect strength for you. This is also the perfect way to make sure everyone gets coffee the way they like it.
Source and instructions: makethebestofeverything
44. First Aid Packs
Instead of packing an entire tube of antibiotic ointment, or even toothpaste for that matter, create these little mini packs that are much easier to take along on hikes and other activities. When you need some ointment, you just snip them open and you’re ready to go. They’re small enough to fit in your pocket, which makes them perfect for those of you who tend to overpack those backpacks.
Source and instructions: briangreen
45. Portable Fire Starters
Cotton pads, which are about a dollar for 100 at the Dollar Store, dipped in wax from your melting candles make great fire starters. Instead of worrying with quick start charcoal or lighter fluid, just throw a few of these on your campfire and watch it ignite almost instantly. Also, you get to smell the melted wax, so choose a scent that you love.
46. Glow in the Dark Lanterns
Take some old mason jars, or any empty jars that you may have on hand, and paint the insides with glow in the dark paint. These make beautiful lanterns to take along on your camping trip, and you don’t have to worry about charging batteries or lighting wicks. You can find paint that “recharges” in sunlight, so your lanterns will last your entire camping trip.
Source and instructions: lindsayandandrew
47. Pocket Sized Oil Lamp
If you plan to take a hike, or several hikes, while you’re camping then you want to be sure that you’re prepared for anything. This easy to make pocket sized oil lamp gives you light when you need it most, and especially when you are away from the campsite. It’s easy to make from travel sized lotion or shampoo bottles.
Source and instructions: instructables
48. Mini First Aid Kit
Using an empty prescription bottle or an old Altoids mint box, you can create a mini first aid kit that’s perfect for camping and hiking. Use those small antibiotic pouches that you created from the idea above, and add Band-Aids and other items that you may need.
Source and instructions: instructables
49. Easy Strike Matches
One of my biggest pet peeves is not being able to get a match to strike. If you’re storing your matches to keep them dry, then you may not even remember to bring along the box that has the striking strip. Consider gluing sandpaper to the top of the jar or box that you’re storing your matches in. This gives you the perfect place to strike them.
Source and instructions: theburlapbag
50. Tin Can Grill
If you’re camping out in the middle of nowhere, and you need a grill, you can use an empty tin can. Just slice the can to hold in the charcoal and heat and you have the perfect place to cook those burgers, hot dogs, or whatever it is that you’re grilling up. This is a great idea for cooking in a pinch.
Source and instructions: dianthomas
51. Acorn Whistle
If you’re hiking while camping, you need something that ensures you’ll be found if you get lost or have any other sort of trouble. There’s a great trick to making a whistle out of an acorn. You should be able to find an acorn just about anywhere you’re planning to camp, so learn how to make a whistle from the acorn cap, just to make sure you don’t have any unexpected issues.
Source and instructions: wikihow
52. DIY Water Purifier
So, what happens when you’re camping if you forget to bring along enough drinking or cooking water? You learn how to purify it yourself. There’s a great DIY water purifier that every avid camper should know how to make. You’ll need a few BPA free buckets, and some other minor supplies. It’s an easy project and very much worth it when it comes to drinkable water.
Source and instructions: instructables
53. Outdoor Drink Holder
So, you’re sitting there at your relaxing campsite and the ants just won’t leave your drink alone. What do you do? You make this easy DIY drink holder that puts that drink up off the ground. This is a great project, and one that’s actually good for at home, too when you’re grilling out. Make one for everyone on your camping trip to ensure that your drinks stay bug free.
Source and instructions: positivelysplendid
54. Camping Air Conditioner
Okay, I know the whole idea of camping is to get away from it all, and that includes modern amenities. However, if you’re camping during summer, the heat can really get to you. Be prepared with your own DIY air conditioner. You can make this easy with a Styrofoam cooler and a few other key supplies, and it will keep you cool for a couple hours at a time. It’s a great idea for those nights when the humidity just won’t let you sleep.
Source and instructions: ehow
55. Repel Gnats and Other Insects
Before you head out to your campground, grab a box of dryer sheets. Not only are these great for keeping your camping clothes and linens smelling fresh (just place one in the bag with your clothing), they’re also good for repelling pesky gnats and other insects. Just keep one in your pocket or lay it somewhere inside the tent while you’re sleeping.