8 Camping Hacks That Will Make Your Trip a Breeze (PHOTOS)

campingThe season of camping is upon us! If you're like me, you love getting back into the great outdoors. Sure, I can be a bit of an electronics junkie, and a comfort queen, but returning to nature and really connecting with your surroundings and your family? That's what it's all about.

Okay, gushy moment over, I promise. While camping can be awesome it can also be exhausting if you aren't properly prepared. It can take you more than a few trips to get your bearings and figure out what works for you and your camping mates.

There are so many resources about how to make camping trips easier that they can actually wind up being overwhelming. What's practical, what's neat in theory but hard in practice, and what's just totally useless? It can be hard to tell without trying all of them out for yourself.

More from The Stir: Camping Gear That's All About Comfort For Moms

Luckily, I've been camping for many moons and come to you with 8 of my favorite camping hacks. I share them because they WORK, not just because they are awesome. Although admittedly, they are also awesome.

camping hacks ideas

My big concerns when I camp are as follows: Convenience, safety, and speed. I want to be able to cook delicious things fast and safely, I want to see what I'm doing in the dark, I want to keep all those bugs at bay! To that end the tips I've provided are things I've picked up over the years and used ever since. I hope you find them helpful!

What are you best tips for beginning campers?

 

Image via Arup Malakar/Flickr (top) and ©iStock.com/xylke (bottom)

  • Keep Your Cooler Cold But Slush-Free

    1

    Worried about keeping your cooler cool, but hate all that slush ice leaves behind? Just fill an empty milk gallon with water and half a cup of salt and boom! Instafreeze that won't get all melty and gross.

  • Drier Lint Fire Starters

    2

    Got drier lint? Got empty toilet paper rolls? Than presto! You've got the best campfire starters around.

  • Pancakes to Go!

    3

    Is there anything better than pancakes cooked over a campfire? YES. Doing it this ridiculously easy way: Clean out an old ketchup bottle and prep your batter before you head out. Once you're ready to cook, a gentle squeeze gives you easy, perfect, cakes.

  • Stay Organzied -- And Clean!

    4

    If you're staying at a place with communal showers, this shower caddy is the business! Keep all your soaps organized and easily accessible -- no more scrambling around for those annoyingly hard to find mini bottles in your bag.

    Available at Camping Shower World, $12.95

  • Toilet Paper Station!

    5

    While "going" in the woods will never be exactly luxurious, this hack can totally make it seem that way. Take an empty coffee canister, put a roll of toilet paper in it, cut a vertical passage for the paper to pulled through and voila! Insta paper protection.

  • Bring Along the Spices

    6

    Have a tasty recipe in mind but dread lugging along all your spices? A pill organizer can be the perfect substitute for all your spicy needs.

    Available from Amazon, $14.95

  • Keep Your Tent Bright

    7

    Keep your tent brighter than the moon with a milk gallon lamp. Fill a milk jug with water and then place a headlamp around it, and your tent will glow like magic!

  • Natural Bug Repellent

    8

    This one might sound a little hippy-dippy but I stand by it! Dried sage leaves hung from a tent or all around your site not only make it smell divine, but they also repell bugs that bite -- like mosquitos and spiders. All the effectiveness without the nasty chemicals.

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