Camping is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors while also exploring new places. Even if you want a rustic experience, a little preparation can make your trip more comfortable. Follow these camping hacks that are great for backcountry camping, campground camping or car camping.
Tips for packing less in your camping bag
Assess your food and water needs
One of the best camping hacks and tips for backpacking is to balance the amount of food and water you need with the amount of weight you carry. Focus on calorie-dense foods that are either freeze dried or dehydrated, as they will be lightweight compared to canned food. Research water source locations before you hit the trail so you don’t need to load up on jugs of water. If there isn’t a potable water source, bring a water filter and purifier like a LifeStraw so you can safely drink from a natural water source.
Pack the right sleep gear
Pack your bag with all of the essentials, including a small tent, sleeping bag and inflatable pillow. Other useful options to consider are a nylon hammock with tree straps, mosquito netting and a tarp in case of rain.
Bring the essentials
As you compile your packing list, evaluate the true necessity of each item. Get creative and think of multipurpose items for cookware, tools and entertainment. Your back will thank you whether you’re hiking with your pack or unloading and reloading your car.
Top camping tips and hacks
1. Pack a camping bin
If you’re a frequent camper, store all of your gear in a plastic storage container so you don’t have to dig through your home to collect items before every trip. Plus, keeping all your things together in a camping bin prevents them from getting crushed or lost.
2. Plan out your meals
Meal prep is an essential camping food hack. You’ll save time, money and energy by planning your meals in advance. Calculate how many meals you’ll eat, then shop for and bring what you’ll need so you don’t waste time in nature by driving back and forth to the nearest grocery store.
3. Use an app to find car camping locations
Looking for the best car camping hack? Download a campground locator app before you get on the road. The Dyrt is a good one: It lists reviews from other campers, nearby amenities and other details to ensure a safe and comfortable trip.
4. Pitch your tent on level ground
When you’re tent camping, look for a tent site with flat, level ground so you can sleep comfortably. Also remember to remove visible rocks and sticks to avoid puncturing your tent or waking up in the morning with a sore back.
5. Keep your materials dry
Avoid dampening your spirits by keeping your belongings dry. Get a rain cover for your backpack, place electronics in a waterproof bag and pack clothes and toilet paper in a plastic bag.
6. Pack first aid essentials
At a minimum, be sure to pack the following items as part of your camping first aid kit: bandages, gauze, sunblock, bug spray, blister treatments, antiseptic towelettes, essential medicines, antibacterial ointments, alcohol pads, splints, tick remover, hydrocortisone cream and burn gel. You can create your own kit or, better yet, buy a ready-made kit so there’s no doubt you have everything you need.
7. Repel mosquitoes with sage
In addition to bringing bug spray, you can use sage as a natural mosquito deterrent around your entire campsite. Throw bundles of the dried herb directly into your campfire. As the smoke drifts, you should notice a drop in the number of mosquitoes nearby.
8. Bring low-maintenance activities for kids
Looking for camping hacks with kids? Bring some low-maintenance entertainment to keep them busy when you’re not hiking or enjoying the amenities of your campsite. Some favorites include a pack of cards, an outdoor scavenger hunt worksheet, a journal or sketchbook to record memories and animal track identification cards.
9. Keep shoes at the front of the tent
A clean tent is a comfortable tent. A great hack to help with this is keeping your shoes contained to the entrance of the tent. Either put them in a basket or secure the soles in a plastic shower cap to ensure dirt doesn’t get tracked all around your tent. If you leave them outside, you may find a spider or other bug inside next time you slip them on.
10. Carry some cash
When traveling through small towns, the local general stores may not have credit card readers. Keep a small amount of cash with you in case you need supplies and cards aren’t accepted.
Camp comfortably with Avail
When planning your next camping trip, consider borrowing a car from Avail to reach your destination. Along with competitive rates, there’s no extra fee for adding a second driver. Plus, every trip is protected by Allstate insurance for added peace of mind. No paperwork at check-in means you’ll get on the road faster to start your memorable adventure with friends or family.