Camping Hacks that Will Make Summer Trips Perfect

Shannon Quinn - May 16, 2021
Frozen water bottles help keep food cool. Credit: Shutterstock

14. Pack Frozen Bottles of Water in the Cooler

If you’re going camping, you aren’t going to have refrigeration for at least 24 hours. Coolers do a good job of maintaining temperature, but they only work for so long. Instead of buying a lot of cooler packs, it is a lot more affordable and sensible to just freeze a lot of water bottles, and use them to surround your food. 

As the water bottles melt, you have drinking water! It’s basically a win-win situation. To some people, this tip seems obvious, and you have already been doing this. But what makes it a hack is that most people buy a bag of ice from the grocery store to surround their drinks and other items. This can make things soggy over time. So the frozen water bottles really are the best way to go.

This kitchen tool key ring is one of the most amazing camping food hacks. Credit: Esie Houzie

13. Mini Kitchen Tool Key Ring

If you plan to do any cooking on your camping trip, you’re going to need a few kitchen tools. However, if you start carrying a lot of kitchen tools with you, it’s just going to weigh you down. That’s why I absolutely love this mini kitchen tool key ring. It has everything that you need including a cheese grater, a pizza cutter, a bottle opener, and a veggie peeler.

It’s small enough where you can put it into a backpack and you are ready to go. Aside from camping, I can also see this being very useful on a road trip. It would also be great for someone who is trying out van life for the first time.

It’s possible to attach your hammock to your car. Credit: Hammock Universe

12. Hammocks that Hang Off the Back of Your Car

When most people put up a hammock, they tie it between two trees. While you can bring your hammock with you camping, there’s really no guarantee that you will find the right trees to make it work. But a company called Hammock Universe creates a product that helps you hang a hammock off of your car. So no matter where you go camping, you should be able to relax and take a nap while suspended in air. 

Sleeping in a hammock might be fun for reading a book or taking a nap, but just don’t sleep in it overnight. You could get bitten by bugs all night long, or even attract a predator. It’s important to still take shelter inside of a tent.

Instant stick coffee is great for drinking coffee on the go. Credit: Shutterstock

11. Use Instant Stick Coffee For A Quick Cup of Joe

Many of you have probably seen camping aesthetic posts on Pinterest that show adorable coffee makers. Some people like to use percolators or a French Press when they go camping, because it looks very rustic and cute. However, we can’t deny that bringing any kind of coffee maker is going to add more cleaning to your already busy schedule. And you’re also going to have to dispose of the coffee grounds somehow. In other camping hack blog posts, I saw people suggesting that you prep your coffee filters by filling them up with coffee, tying a rubber band around it, and letting it soak in water similar to a tea bag.

Personally, I think that’s a bit wasteful and over-the-top. The easiest way to drink coffee when you’re camping is to simply buy instant coffee. If you don’t want to buy an entire container of instant coffee, but the single-serve sticks. This way, all you need to do is heat up water over the campfire or on your portable cook top. Then you can pour the water and instant coffee into a mug. That’s all there is to it. These are available at most dollar stores, Walmart, and Target.

Duct tape is very useful when you go camping. Credit: Shutterstock

10. Bring Duct Tape (Because You Never Know if You’ll Need It)

Before you go on your next camping trip, be sure to buy a roll of duct tape. This is available at every dollar store, and it’s likely that you already have some in your junk drawer. All of my brothers went through the Boy Scouts when they were kids. The one piece of advice that I heard the most often was to bring duct tape. 

Duct tape is waterproof, and it is incredibly strong. It can be used to help fix something, but it also helps hold things in place if you don’t have a hammer and nails. Some people even use duct tape to cover injuries if you need to keep a wound dry.

Keep your clothes dry to prevent getting hypothermia. Credit: Shutterstock

9. Stay Dry As Much as Possible

According to the US Forest Service, hypothermia can still occur, even in relatively warmer weather above 40 degrees fahrenheit. This is why it is incredibly important for you to stay dry at all times. Even if you are just sweaty from a long day of hiking, it’s important for you to take those clothes off and get into something dry. Before you leave for your camping trip, make sure that you bring enough clothes to change into. 

Even if you’re only staying for one or two nights, bring double or triple the amount of clothes that you think you might actually need. This is especially true for your socks. You lose a lot of heat through your feet, so it’s important to make sure that you are keeping your toes toasty and prevent hypothermia from happening. 

This tape will help stop you from getting lost. Credit: Presco

8. Never Get Lost With Biodegradable Trail Marking Tape

Over 2,000 people get lost in the woods each year. When you go to a family-friendly campground, it’s not likely that you’re going to get lost. Campsites are very obviously marked, and the attractions like the pool and the trail are very easy to navigate. However, if you’re going to go camping in the middle of nowhere, it would be a good idea for you to mark your trail. 

This tape is biodegradable, so you can mark it on trees without having to worry about negatively impacting the environment. Some people will just leave a small strip of tape, while others tie it around a plant. Personally, I like it when people create literal arrows pointing back to the direction of camp. (Seeing someone else’s tape arrow has saved me before when I was lost in the woods.)

This tool has pretty much everything you need for camping. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Multi-Tool So You’re Ready for Anything

When you go camping, there are a surprising number of times when you need tools for things. You might need a hatchet for cutting branches, a hammer for nailing in tent stakes, and so much more. But you can’t exactly bring an entire tool box with you. (This is especially true if you’re hiking, and weight is an issue.) 

That’s why this multi-tool is so cool. It has pretty much every tool you would need while camping. If you have this, you’ll never forget any vital tools at home. Something like this would make a really great Father’s Day gift.

Bring plastic bags to cover dirty boots and laundry. Credit:

6. Bring Plastic Bags for Dirty and Muddy Supplies

If you’re new to camping, you would be shocked just how often you things are going to get dirty.  Even just hiking through the woods is likely to leave your boots very muddy.  As soon as you get back in your car for the drive home, you are going to get the dirt everywhere. Same goes with dirty laundry inside of your tent. This is especially true if you are anywhere near a beach. 

Wet and sandy clothing is never fun to mingle with your other belongings, and it can even lead to mold and mildew inside of your tent. Because of this, you should always bring plastic bags with you. Just hold onto the plastic bags you get whenever you buy your supplies for the camping trip. I promise they’ll come in handy later.

Canopies attached to RV’s and vans give you built-in shade. Credit: Canva

5. Attach a Canopy to Your Trailer or Van

For anyone who is thinking about camping in their car or van life, You may want to consider buying a canopy to attach to your trailer or van. This is a great way for you to get some shade even if you are in a bright and sunny area. It would also obviously come in handy if it started to rain during your camping trip. This would give you some shelter, especially if you want to store some things outside of your van or RV. 

Sometimes, an RV will have a built-in canopy. But most of the time, you’ll need to buy your own. You can find these canopies almost anywhere, like Amazon or Walmart. The price changes drastically depending on the size.

This portable cooking stove is very useful for remote camping. Credit: Canaway

4. A Portable Camping Stove Helps You Cook From Anywhere

If you plan to cook on your camping trip, it might be more difficult than you can imagine. Many camping sites will already have a grill or a fire ring for you to cook on. This makes it very easy. However, if you plan to go somewhere remote and cook in the middle of the woods, that’s where you may run into problems.  Some people like to have a portable gas cooktop, but this can be very heavy if you are trying to hike to a campsite.That’s why this little camping stove is perfect. It is small enough to fit in your backpack, and it is not likely to catch anything else on fire. 

Depending on where you are camping, it might not be safe at all for you to create a fire in the woods. Because of this, you might need to get an electric hot plate to plug into a portable battery. If you plan to make a fire in the woods, please check out the US government’s forest fire prevention tips, first.

A wind shield will help you cook in bad weather. Credit: Shutterstock

3. This Wind Shield Helps Keep the Fire Going

If you have ever tried to start a fire on a windy day, you already know how frustrating that can be. In fact, if it’s too windy, I just completely give up on having a campfire. But if you planned out your vacation weeks or months ahead of time, you’re not going to know the weather. And unless you’re willing to eat cold food all weekend, you need that fire to start and stay lit. That’s where this wind shield comes in. 

As you can see in the photo, it’s small, and is really made for one of the smaller cooking lamps that I mentioned earlier. I can totally imagine someone out there creating their own DIY version of a wind shield. Maybe that could be your very own camping hack.

Keep your knives away from everything else in this knife safe. Credit: CamCo

2. Keep Sharp Tools in a Knife Safe

If you plan to bring a cooking knife with you on a camping trick, transporting it can be tricky. I can personally attest to a time in my early 20’s when I put all of my kitchen utensils into a duffle bag to go camping, and the knife ended up ripping a hole through it. Not only is this dangerous, but it can lead to you losing your items everywhere. 

There are a couple camping hacks you can use for this problem. First is to wrap the blade of a knife with cardboard and tape. Second would be to only use a pocket knife. Third would be to buy a knife safe. I personally like this product, because it would also come in handy if you were to ever start doing Van Life. It would also help a lot if you were moving somewhere, and needed to keep the knives out of the way.

This tiny survival card has everything you would need to survive in the wilderness. Credit: Liiiikes

1. Save Tons of Space With This Survival Card

Earlier on this list, I already mentioned a multi-tool that you could bring camping with you. But this next one isn’t just a camping hack. It’s just an overall very cool James Bond gadget. It’s called The Survival Card, and it’s in the shape of a credit card. So it can fit in your wallet, but it breaks apart into pretty much anything you would need in an emergency situation.

Since it’s so small, it’s perfect to take with you if you’re hiking in the woods or camping overnight. It’s nice to have something just in case. This might also be a great gift for Father’s Day.