Camping is always associated with fun outdoor activities that bring us closer to nature and closer to each other. It is a moment of peace for our souls and it refreshes us from the busy every day life of the city. Many people struggle finding the right motivation to go camping mostly because some of the tasks seem hard – keeping yourself clean, starting a fire, gathering wood, cooking, eating, sleeping. I mean, it’s like transferring your life to a place where suddenly you have none of the comforts of your home on purpose, right? That is why, apart from the camping basics, I decided to share with you a few tricks I learned throughout my years as a vivid camper.
Having a few camping tricks up your sleeve is always a welcomed thing especially when out into the wild. From being able to wash your clothes, to starting a fire quicker, these are all things you might want to use at some point of your camping trip. These aren’t things you necessarily need to know when heading into the woods and you can probably do just fine without them but they will make your journey far more pleasurable and let you enjoy your off time far better.
In this article I decided to handpick 10 of my most favorite tricks, while leaving the major tips I have for any future camper to a different article. So, shall we begin?
1. Lighting Up Your Tent
Most of the issues with camping for more than just a day come with when the sun goes down. One of the major issues is temperature and I will touch on that in a moment. Now, I want to give you an advice on how to make your tent far brighter. If you have been smart enough to bring your own water supply in water jugs then you are already 50% done with this trick. The next thing you need to do is strap your head lamp to the water jug. That way it will illuminate far better and will create a great light source for you and your friends. Fun fact, they actually use such techniques in parts of the world where electricity is scarce. The water bottles are filled with water and put through holes on the ceiling. When the sun shines those bottles reflect and refract the light creating a powerful enough light source that can replace an 80W bulb.
Unfortunately, light might attract additional guests to the party…
2. Repelling Mosquitoes
If you camp in areas around lakes, rivers, or just overall places with a damp environment, you will need to tackle mosquitoes somehow. Sure, repellents work but they can trigger allergic reactions in some people and are generally not great for your skin. A more natural solution to this is to wrap some sage around a stick and light it up. If that seems like too much work to you, just throw a few leaves into the fire pit from time to time and you should be set. The only downside of this trick is that it doesn’t have a huge range, so if you want to not get bitten stay close to the camp.
3. Keep Your TP Dry
Every camper knows the struggle when toilet paper runs out or simply gets wet. For those who don’t want to feel like Tarzan when going for a number 2, there is a more elegant solution. Place your toilet paper inside a coffee jar or any other type of cylindrical container and slice a vertical hole on the side of it. Put the lid back on and you have a box for your toilet paper. You can additionally attach a string to it and hang it on a tree. That way you will protect your most pressure resource.
4. Teabag Coffee
If you aren’t a morning person and you can’t do well without your morning coffee there is a great solution to that issue. Just put your ground coffee in a filter paper and wrap it up with dental floss. Place those improvised teabags in your backpack and treat them as literal teabags whenever you want a mug of coffee. Just boil some water and dip them in.
Throughout my years as a camper I found one particular firestarter to be the best kind of them all. Get some cotton and dip it into Vaseline. Wrap the whole thing in tin foil and put it in your backpack. When the time has come to make a fire, cut an X-shaped hole into the tin foil ball and pull out some cotton. Twist it around and light it up on fire. If done properly, this should last you at least 10 good minutes before it runs out. That is more than enough time to do a proper fire.
Another great camping trick is to use Doritos as fire starters. They are ideal for that purpose and burn relatively slow.
If you want to learn how to keep your fire burning after it has already been set, then head over to my dedicated article on the topic.
If you are camping out in the cold and wear gloves all the time, a great trick is to place rings on all of your zippers. That way they will be far easier to grab and you won’t have to take your gloves off every time. Use keychain rings for the best (and cheapest) results.
7. Soap Tricks
One of the oldest boy scout tricks is to hide your belongings in a soap. Simply carve out a hole and put your keys/coins there. Afterwards just place the carved out soap in the whole and make it seem like it has nothing there. For crowded camping spots, this is an ideal thief prevention system as you can imagine that nobody will target your soap.
Another soap trick you need to know is how to use it properly and efficiently. Cut your soap into small sheets of soap and place them in a bag. Every time you need to wash yourself just take a single sheet and use it fully. That way you don’t risk losing your soap or making it all dirty.
8. Sleep With Your Clothes
That is obvious, you might say but I am not talking about the clothes you are currently wearing. If you plan on having different clothes on the next day, place them in the sleeping bag with you. That way you will stay warmer during the night and the clothes will be warm when you wake up on the next day.
9. Tic Tac Spices
The fact that you are outdoors doesn’t mean that your food shouldn’t be delicious. Store your spices in tic tac boxes and you will never need to feel the bland taste of an unsalted steak when camping out.
I have created a whole article on the topic where I discuss various tips about outdoors cooking. Click here if you want to check it out.
10. Tin Foil Everything
If there is one universal rule among campers is that you can literally cook everything in tin foil. One great trick that more and more people are using is to create camping cones out of tin foil. You just pick your favorite food, place it in tin foil, wrap it around like a burrito, and throw it above the fire. Wait a few minutes and you have yourself a nice warm meal of whatever you put in there.
That eliminates the need for bringing dishes and washing them. If you do bring, though, use a belt around a tree and a few hooks as a hanger for all your pans and tools.
Tin foil can also be used to keep your vegetables and fruits fresh by wrapping them before you go.
How Do You Keep A Tent Cool While Camping?
Well, this depends on a lot of factors but let’s just say you are in the most scorching heat possible. Make sure you place your tent at a place where the sun doesn’t shine directly. Keep your windows open during the night and minimize hot air flow during the day.
How Do You Wash Dishes While Camping?
If you have a river nearby you can wash them there. Just make sure you dry them well before eating again in them as mountain water can carry bacteria that causes diarrhea and other stomach issues. If there isn’t a water source nearby, using a napkin is a good enough way to take the grease out of your pans.
Knowing which are the best camping tricks won’t always come into play for your trip but is something that you should always have in your arsenal of ideas. After all, the whole point of camping is to let your mind rest, be creative, and have fun while out in the nature. If you want to explore other interesting things I have shared with my audience, check out the tips & tricks section of the website.