12 easy camping hacks that will make you a happy camper

tent in the woods overlooking water

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Every summer, families across the world embark on unforgettable camping trips. It’s not difficult to imagine why — in addition to all the health benefits of quality time with Mother Nature,  camping also provides an easy, cost-affective way to create lasting memories.  Not to mention other perks like as fresh air, relaxation and “unplugged” connection with friends and family.

Whether you are a seasoned camper or plan to sleep under the stars for the first time, learning some tricks can make your time in the great outdoors even better. We’ve rounded up a few tips to save you time, money and (most importantly) frustration on your next camping trip.

Waterproof Matches

Being able to start a fire is crucial. Make your own waterproof matches by coating wooden matchsticks in melted wax, shellac or even clear nail polish.

Glow Stick Stake Markers

Since they don’t require batteries or electricity, glow sticks don’t cost much and are simple enough that even kids can use them. For instance, loop a glow stick bracelet or necklace around camping stakes to prevent painful stumbles after sundown. Having a kid wear them can also help you keep track of the little ones when the sun goes down.


MORE: 14 tips for having a fun and comfortable camping trip with kids

Upcycled Fire Starters

Start fires easily by recycling your trash. Stuff empty toilet paper tubes with lint from your dryer. The highly flammable rolls will have your campfire glowing in no time.

Water Bottle Warmer

Put a pot of water over the fire and fill a sturdy plastic bottle with warm water. Make sure it’s sealed tightly. Then tuck it into your sleeping bag to keep you warm on a chilly night outdoors.

No-Spill Dog Bowl

Your pooch can be the perfect camping companion, but keeping his food and water from spilling can be a challenge. Not anymore. Bring along a bundt pan for this easy camping hack from Reddit.

Here’s my pro tip for those of you with dogs that love to dump the water bowl. One tent stake, plus one bundt pan = no more spilled water bowl!
byu/JGCIII inGoRVing

Pool Noodle Port-A-Potty

When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. But you don’t have to squat in the bushes. Make a relatively comfy DIY camping toilet by slicing a pool noodle and sliding it onto a bucket.

Camp Clothesline

Chances are good you are going to get wet, muddy, dusty, sweaty or any combination thereof. Make a simple, self-contained clothesline by using a film canister, some nylon cord and a couple of carabiners. It takes up very little space but is sure to come in handy.


Not a DIYer? You can pick up a camping clothesline at Amazon or Walmart for just a few dollars.

Smoke Goggles

Smoke in your eyes is no fun and can be especially tough on kiddos. Keep your little ones safe by packing pint-sized goggles for nights around the campfire.

Foil Dinners

Wrapping meats, veggies and other foods in foil packets and heating them over the fire is a delicious and simple way to prepare camp meals. Prep the ingredients in advance for easy cleanup.


Pencil Sharpener Tinder

A small pencil sharpener will fit in any pocket and can help when dry wood is limited. Make fire-boosting tinder by grinding thin sticks like you would a pencil.

Baggie Omelettes

The fewer cooking utensils you have to bring along, the better. As long as you have a large pot, you can whip up delicious omelettes. Prep them in advance by mixing the ingredients in a freezer baggie and cook them—bag and all— in boiling water.

Creative Kids’ Beds

There’s no need for fancy or expensive camkiping beds for growing children. An inflatable pool float covered with a sheet and blankets works wonderfully for small children.

MORE: Best tents for family camping trips

Happy camping!

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