Yes, going camping is all about “roughing it” and getting away from technology to better connect with the natural world. But a few creative family camping hacks will add a little hominess to your campsite (and a little more safety, in some cases.) This collection of 10 favorite hacks from experienced campers has some simple ideas that will go a long way in adding a little comfort and convenience to your family camping experience.
1. Bag Your Hygiene Items
Avoid a wet, dirty roll of toilet paper by keeping it in a plastic bag to carry it back and forth whenever “nature calls.” Some camping experts use a large-sized empty coffee can as a clever and waterproof TP holder. It’s also a good idea to give each family member a plastic bag for personal items such as toothbrushes and hair brushes.
2. Invest in a Good Camping Table
Make your campsite more like home with these camping table options. You’ll find yourself doing more than eating meals at the table like playing cards, board games, or simply sitting around the table to chat. Choose a good, sturdy one that won’t buckle underneath you or wear out from too many family camping trips.
3. Place a Basket for Shoes at the Tent Entrance
Keep your tent’s floor cleaner and more sanitary by placing an empty laundry basket at the entrance for all those dirty sneakers. Toss in some bug spray and sunscreen too so they will be easier to find and provide a visual reminder to slather up to keep pesky insects away and avoid painful sunburns.
4. Place Solar Lights Around Your Tent
Placing a row of inexpensive solar light stakes outside the tent leading to the bathroom area will light the way and help prevent stumbling around in the dark. Some savvy campers also give each family member glow-in-the-dark sticks for safer nightly trips to the loo. You’ll have enough light to stay safe without disturbing sleeping neighbors. Or, if you are car camping in your Tesla, you can just use their fun camp mode which has a fireplace included!
5. Use Pool Noodles on Your Tent’s Guy Lines
Use neon-colored pool noodles to cover the guidelines on your tent and prevent tripping over them. Simply cut the pool noodles into sections. Then make a slit in them and slip them over the guy lines.
6. Pack the Cooler With Gallon Jugs of Frozen Water
Bringing ice on a camping trip can get messy as it melts and creates a watery mess. Solve the problem by freezing water in gallon-sized plastic milk jugs. The melted ice will stay intact, and unlike melted ice, you can also use it for drinking water eliminating the need to carry extra drinking water. If you’re short on space, use smaller-sized plastic containers.
7. Stay Organized by Using a Hanging Shoe Organizer
Many seasoned campers swear by using a hanging shoe organizer with clear plastic pockets to organize kitchen items and other things like cleaning products and personal items. You’ll spend less time looking for stuff and more time having fun. It will become a must-have for all your camping trips.
8. Use Corn Chips or Doritos for Emergency Kindling
Gathering small sticks, pine cones, and other natural items to burn for kindling is one of the first things campers do after setting up the campsite. And it all seems to run out all too quickly. One smart camper discovered an unusual source for kindling in a pinch—corn chips and Doritos! It turns out that the corn oil, starches, and chemicals in these familiar, salty snacks can help light your fire.
9. Set Up a Handwashing Station
Get grubby little hands clean before meals with this clever idea for a handwashing station. Save an empty large-sized laundry detergent with a spout. At the campsite, fill it with water and place a bottle of Softsoap nearby. Kids will love using it, and you’ll be glad to know their hands are clean before they eat.
10. Make Mini Survival Kits out of Empty Medicine Bottles
You’ll feel safer out in the wilderness if each family member has their own little mini survival kit. And you’d be surprised how many items you can stuff into an empty medicine bottle. Suggested items include a cotton ball for tinder, waterproof matches, a small folding razor blade, individual ointment packets, a Bandaide, a tiny whistle, a button compass, and water purifier tablets. Wrap the bottle with a few feet of Kevlar cord and drop in a couple of fish hooks and monofilament for catching a meal. Add a split ring and a clip for attaching to clothing or a lanyard.