Camping Tips You Need This Summer
With stay-at-home orders becoming more relaxed, local and state parks have started reopening, which can only mean one thing. It’s time to get outdoors! Camping is a great way to get away from large gatherings and public spaces, but it doesn’t have to be a completely primitive experience.
Whether you’re an experienced pro, or this is your first excursion, we’ve compiled eight great camping tips that will make your trip more enjoyable.
1. Use Garbage Bags for Water Protection
Camping in the rain can be less than a fun experience. Once you’re inside your tent, you’re usually in the clear, until you discover that all your clothing and your sleeping bag are soaked. Waterproof backpacks and duffel bags are expensive, but garbage bags are affordable.
Use one to wrap your sleeping bag. Use a second one to line the inside of your backpack, then put all your clothing and gear inside of that. You’ll be a much happier camper with dry supplies, and you can use the garbage bags for trash at your campsite or store your dirty clothes during the trip.
2. Use a Headlamp and Water Jug as a Lantern
Packing a lantern takes up extra space, and if your vehicle is as cramped as mine is on a camping trip, that could be a big deal. Why not make your own campsite lantern using two items you’ll likely already have with you?
You should have at least one jug of water with you, and if it’s the kind that looks like a milk jug (slightly opaque sides instead of clear), that’s even better. Simply wrap the headlamp around the outside of the jug, with the lamp facing in toward the water, and let there be light!
3. Burn Sage in your Camp Fire
Mosquitoes are my number one nemesis when I’m camping. I don’t like using chemical repellents, and the non-chemical options (fans, clip-on deterrents, etc.) don’t seem to work very well for me. This tip may just be a game-changer for your campsite if you’ve found yourself in the same situation.
Sage smoke naturally repels mosquitoes, so adding a bundle of sage to your campfire is a great way to keep them at bay without whipping out a can of spray. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, which tend to be when most people have their campfires burning, so it doesn’t take much effort to just throw a bundle in while you go about your business.
4. Invest in a Double Sleeping Bag
If you’re camping with a significant other, or someone else you don’t mind sharing a sleeping bag with, a double sleeping bag is an excellent investment. Body heat is how we stay warm at night, and sleeping bags reflect and retain the heat. If you’re sharing your sleeping bag with another body, it’s that much easier to get and stay warm throughout the night.
If you have the room in your budget, a down sleeping bag is a better choice than a synthetic one. Down compresses into smaller shapes and generally heats up more than synthetic options, which tend to be bulkier. A double-bag made of down will easily fit in the same space as a single-bag made with synthetic materials.
5. Freeze Jugs of Water for Your Cooler
Instead of taking up valuable cooler space with loose ice that’s just going to make all your food packaging soggy as it melts, try this tip. Freeze jugs of water, juice, or any other liquids you are already planning on taking with you. Use those frozen items as your ice insulation for your cooler. You’ll stay hydrated, and your food will stay cold without melting off all the exterior labels.
6. Try Some of these Camp Fire Starter Tips
Getting that first bit of fire going can be a massive hassle if there’s rain or dew coating everything. Try one of these fire starter tips to keep your frustration at bay.
- Cotton pads pre-soaked in wax: Use any candle wax, and dunk some cotton pads like you’d use to remove makeup. Keep a small area of the pad wax-free for easier lighting. Assemble a small baggie of these and throw one in with your kindling to get the fire burning faster.
- Doritos or corn chips: As strange as it sounds, these make excellent kindling! Once you see how well this works, you might question whether you want to be eating something that burns that well, but at least you’ll be warm!
- Used cardboard egg cartons: Keep your leftover cardboard egg cartons. Fill them with shredded paper or dryer lint and candle wax. Toss that into the fire, and it will burn long enough for the larger pieces of wood to catch.
- Toilet paper rolls: Hang onto your toilet paper rolls, stuff them with dryer lint, and wrap them in waxed paper. Use the waxed paper as the wick and toss it into your fire pit.
7. DIY Your Pillow
Pillows take up a lot of space in your camping gear. You can use a sleeping bag case stuffed with clothing as your pillow instead. It might not be quite as comfy as your lush down-filled pillow from home, but it gets the job done. This tip also saves you quite a bit of space when you’re packing your gear.
8. Duct Tape Your Water Bottle
Before you head out on your camping trip, wrap layers of duct tape around the outside of your water bottle. You never know when you’ll need it, and that will take up much less space than bringing the whole roll. Several feet of duct tape fit around one water bottle without much difference in the overall size or shape.
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