When you go camping, you make the outdoors your “temporary home”. Whether you’re staying for a couple of nights or a month, you want to make sure that you are safe and comfortable at your campsite, just like home.
We are all about investing on high-quality camping gear, especially if you plan to take a trip to the outdoors often. You can’t skimp on buying essential camping gear like a tent, sleeping bag or a lantern, but when it comes to the small stuff, don’t sweat it – there are plenty of items already in your home that will help make your stay in camp more convenient.
These camping hacks are all tried and tested by experienced campers and they all involve the use of a common household item! Just keep in mind that when taking a trip outdoors, your goal is to pack light – don’t take anything that you won’t actually use!
It may just be sitting in your kitchen cabinet, but aluminum foil is a superstar outdoors! When you’re out camping, heavy-duty aluminum foil can do so much for you than just being used for making campfire food packets.
Here are some of its awesome uses for camping:
- If you don’t have space to bring pots and pans, or if you run out of a clean bowl to eat out of, foil is the answer – create a makeshift pan for cooking or a plate/bowl for eating. You can make an even bigger bowl to collect rainwater!
- Finding it hard to maintain your campfire because of the wind? Create a windbreaker by creating a wall of foil around your campfire. This also helps to radiate the warmth of the fire back to you (which is useful for cool nights!)
- Use it for emergency situations – take advantage of its reflectiveness by using it as a signal for help during emergencies. Do so by tying some around tree branches (or anywhere that can be easily spotted from the road or from the air).
- Fish are attracted to shiny lures. If you don’t have bait, wrap some aluminum foil around your hook to create an instant (and effective) fishing lure.
- Use a crumpled piece of aluminum foil to sharpen dull scissors or knives, to remove rust from metal objects and to scrub dirty pots and pans.
The humble clothespin. It’s not uncommon to bring a few to camp to hang wet clothes, but there are more uses to it than its main purpose.
When it comes to camping and outdoor trips, here are other ways you can use clothespins:
- Use it to organize your string, twine or gadget cables. It’s useful to keep paper (like notes and receipts) in one place, too!
- Keep your tablecloth in place by clipping the sides of the cloth together under the table. Use it to secure trash bags, too! Now that’s wind-proof!
- Keep your snacks fresh while outdoors! Use clothespins to secure bags of unfinished snacks like chips and crackers.
- Down to the last bit of toothpaste on your tube? Use a clothespin to help squeeze out the remaining toothpaste. You can use one to create a “toothbrush holder” when traveling to make sure that your toothbrush doesn’t touch any dirty surface.
- Lighting your stove or a candle with a match? Use a clothespin to extend the distance from your fingers to the fire!
You’re probably asking, do people still use shower caps anymore? The answer is yes, and you probably have a couple at home (remember when you took some home from the last hotel you stayed at?).
Well, if you don’t have them, purchase a few disposable shower caps and take them the next time you go camping. They literally take zero space and are very handy to be around outdoors.
Here are some awesome uses for shower caps:
- If it starts to rain, add extra protection to your electronics like your camera and mobile phone by wrapping them in a shower cap.
- Have leftovers from your last meal? Use one to cover the plates of unfinished food to keep dust and insects away. You can also use it as a “bowl” for snacks like chips and nuts (and even a bowl for your pets!).
- Don’t have space for rain boots? Water-proof your shoes with a couple of shower caps. And when it’s time to go home, use shower caps wrap footwear before throwing them in your bag – this will protect your clothing from dirt. Use them to wrap wet swimwear and gear for packing, too!
Yup, you read that right! Dig through your boxes of old clothes and chances are, you have one. A bandana isn’t just a fashion accessory– in fact, it has been called the Swiss Army Knife of accessories!
So in case of emergency or you forget or run out of certain tools during your camping trip, a bandana might just do the job! A standard 22-inch bandana has plenty of surprising uses, particularly for camping and outdoor trips:
- A bandana can be used as protection when you’re outdoors. Turn it into a head band, head wrap or neck wrap for sun/sweat protection and warmth, a dust mask, kneepad and a hand wrap.
- When it comes to first-aid, a bandana can be used to improvise a sling, a tourniquet, a hot/cold compress, finger splint, splint tie, ankle wrap, wrist brace, pressure bandage tie and more.
- In emergency situations, you can use a bandana as a trail marker, a signal flag and a ground signal panel.
- A bandana can surprisingly be turned into a multitude of tools. It can be used to improvise a washcloth, towel, pot holder, bear bag, sling (weapon), plate, food wrap, a strainer, sponge, tea bag, a fire starter, a fire windscreen and many more!
If you drink coffee at home, you probably have loads of coffee filters. Take some the next time you go camping – it wouldn’t hurt to take something that takes up no space at all in your pack. They’re super inexpensive to buy if you don’t have them, too!
Here are some ways coffee filters can be handy when you’re outdoors:
- When you collect water in the great outdoors for drinking, pre-filter it with a coffee filter to remove larger debris before processing it through a filtration system or boiling. This helps extend the life of your water filters and makes the water you drink even safer. Use it to filter freshly-picked fruits to make juices, too!
- When you cook meat and other greasy food over the campfire, place a coffee filter under and on top of the cooked food to soak up the extra grease. The greasy filters, in turn, make a great firestarter for a campfire.
- Coffee filters are amazing for absorbing moisture. Place a few in your cast iron skillet when not in use to absorb extra moisture and prevent it from rusting. Wrap fresh produce (especially greens) in coffee filters before placing them in your cooler to absorb extra moisture which will keep the produce fresh and crisp longer.
- Pour some baking soda in a coffee filter, twist and secure with a rubber band or paracord – this makes an instant air freshener, useful to place in your tent, backpack, cooler or even your shoes!
- If you come in contact with poison ivy or develop any other rash, place dry oatmeal in a coffee filter, twist and secure then add it to your bath water – this will greatly relieve the itch!
These common household items are cheap and wouldn’t add weight to your camping pack. Bring some on your next camping trip – you never know when you might need them!
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