Genius Camping Hacks Every Camper Should Know

By: Riley Brown | Last updated: Aug 22, 2022

Camping can be a blast, especially if you have some tips to make your experience more comfortable. Saving space, staying warm, and keeping the mosquitoes away are all things that can improve a camping experience. We’ve collected some need-to-know tips and tricks for all of you outdoorsy types to help make your next adventure unforgettable.

Use Doritos to Start your Fire

Turns out, Doritos are not only delicious, but they can keep you warm as well. If you find yourself needing some kindling for your fire, chips such as doritos, fritos, or any other corn-based chip will do the trick. The oil in these chips catches fire quickly, so they can serve as an effective fire starter.

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Throw some chips at the base of the fire because they catch easily and then add some dry sticks and twigs on top. Place your logs on that and you’ve got yourself a worthy fire. No need to spend on expensive fire starter kits. Plus, your leftover kindling will serve as the perfect fire-side snack!

Burn Sage to Keep Mosquitos Away

It’s hard to enjoy your camping trips with mosquitos buzzing around. You don’t want to be itching while you’re trying to enjoy the great outdoors. Fortunately, sage acts as a natural repellent to these pesky bugs. Burn some sage leaves or a bundle of sage in your campfire to keep the mosquitos away. We recommend keeping your bug spray with you as well (just to cover all your bases).

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Another option is to bring some sage in the form of essential oils. The theory is that the scent from the plant is what keeps bugs away. Put some on your clothes or around your sleeping area. Plus, enjoy the natural perfume given off by this fragrant plant. Win, win!

Use Compact Cooking Sets

One of the things most campers always find themselves struggling with is space. How can you possibly fit everything you need into a backpack? One way to save space on your next camping adventure is to invest in a compact cooking set. These sets can come with anything from pots and pans to simple plates, bowls, and silverware so you can select what works for you.

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These sets are usually stackable and durable. So even if space isn’t a concern for you, consider the time you’ll save packing when all your cooking tools fit neatly together. Also, these products are made specifically with campers in mind, so they’re made from durable materials that won’t easily break during your travels.

Keep a Hot Bottle of Water at the Foot of Your Sleeping Bag

Staying warm in a tent can be tricky, especially depending on where you’re camping. When it’s time to leave the fireside and go to bed you might need this hack to keep warm. Fill up a water bottle with hot water and store it in the bottom of your sleeping bag. This will make your bed nice and toasty when it’s time to wind down.

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Keeping your feet and your head warm are the easiest ways for your entire body to retain heat. So having a natural foot heater at the bottom of your sleeping bag and a beanie on top of your head will help you stay warm throughout the night.

Use Solar Light Stakes to See at Night

As campers, we’ve all found ourselves waking up in the night and stumbling around in the dark trying to make it to the bathroom. Solar light stakes are a great way to help see if you have to get up in the dark. Plant them around your tent, camping area, or on your path to the bathroom.

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These will help light the way if you do have to get up in the middle of the night or early morning. Place them around in the daytime while you set your camp and allow them to charge in the sun. Then, let them guide you at night. No more stubbed toes and scrambling for the flashlight in the middle of the night!

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Use Foam Tiles in Your Tent for a Softer Floor

Depending on your campsite, your tent might be set up on some uncomfortable ground rather than the tempurpedic mattress you’re used to at home. One way to make your sleeping environment a little more comfortable is to bring some foam tiles to lay on the ground in your tent.

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These will add some much needed cushion under your makeshift bed. You may remember these colorful foam tiles from elementary school. They detach and are easy to pack and travel with. You can order a pack on Amazon for less than $20. Campers find this to be a small change that dramatically impacts comfort while camping.

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Meal Prep Ahead of Time

Eating while camping can be tricky. While you can make hot dogs and burgers over the fire a couple of nights, you might need some variety while you’re out in the wilderness. Meal prepping at home before you travel is a great way to minimize your stress during your trip.

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There are tons of simple meals you can make ahead of time that will be ready when hunger strikes: sandwiches, overnight oats, burrito bowls, pasta salad, and pulled pork, to name a few. You’ll want to prepare for some campsite meals as well as some on-the-go snacks. Like most camping tips, the key is to come prepared. When in doubt, make s’mores!

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Use Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap

One thing you can almost always guarantee about camping is that you’re going to get dirty. Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap is an excellent “all in one” option to clean almost anything. You can use it as body wash, shampoo, face wash and/or shaving cream. In addition, it can be used as dish soap and laundry detergent as well. Rather than bringing a bunch of toiletries, you can pack one bottle of this and you’re good to go.

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This natural, unscented, vegan formula is great for camping because it’s safe to clean almost anything! It’s also biodegradable and chemical-free so it doesn’t harm the environment. Feel free to bathe in that lake!

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Turn Your Headlamp Into a Lantern

Unless you’re glamping (glamorous camping), you’ll most likely find yourself needing a lantern in your tent or campsite. Lanterns can be bulky and heavy so if you don’t have the space to pack one, we’ve found a helpful trick.

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Fill a plastic jug with water (ideally a gallon). If you have a headlamp, stretch the head strap around the bottle for a makeship lantern. Turn the light towards the inside of the bottle. This will reflect the water and plastic, spreading light throughout your tent.

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Use Tic-Tac Packages to Hold Spices

Camping food doesn’t have to be bland! If you plan on cooking while you camp, you might want to bring some spices to add flavor to your meals. Packing spices can be difficult because they take up space and you don’t always want to bring an entire bottle of oregano for one or two meals. A simple hack is to use empty Tic-Tac boxes as travel containers for your spices.

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This way, you can bring the right amounts of the spices you need. They’re small and compact, so they won’t take up too much space in your bag. The containers also securely seal so you won’t end up with salt and pepper spilled all over your stuff!

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Use Cotton Pads Dipped In Wax As a Portable Fire Starter

This hack does require some DIY spirit before you head out for your camping trip. Outside of Doritos, cotton pads dipped in wax make for an excellent firestarter. To make these handy firestarters, melt some wax in a pot over the stove. Use tweezers to dip the cotton pads into the wax until it’s completely saturated. Lay the cotton pads on wax paper or foil to protect your counters from hot wax.

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Allow for the wax-dipped cotton pads to dry and then store them in a bag or container for your trip. These are a great backup to have in case your firestarter doesn’t work or you’ve eaten all your Doritos.

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