Camping tricks and tips are a dime a dozen, but this camping checklist is chock full of ideas we bet you’ve never seen before. From improvised camping gear to camping food prep, we’ve got you covered with truly unique camping hacks. To camp like a pro, read on and discover some of our unique camping tricks and tips!
Camping Tricks & Tips a Survivalist Should Know
1. Make a Strikeable Match Storage with Sandpaper and Container Lid
Sure, flints are amazing (in a Survivor series kind), but matches will never be outdated. They’re easy and safe to use in lighting fire. You only need to keep them bone dry (if they’re not waterproof matches). This camping hack will definitely work for you with your mason jar stash.
2. Create an Egg Carton Fire Starter
Don’t throw your egg cartons at camp just yet. You can throw them later at the fire or start the fire with them. Here’s how you can make your own DIY fire starter from egg cartons.
3. Create Outdoor Candlesticks for Easy & Portable Lighting
Make these easy candle tiki torches for a fun camping. This is really simple yet so fancy. For this camping trick, you only need candles and craft dowels.
4. Use Doritos as Kindling
Pull a MacGyver trick and make it one of your own camping hacks. Let Doritos save the day in your mission to start a fire. Learn how to in this video from MacGyvermedotcom.
5. Use Frozen Water Jugs for Long Lasting Cold in Your Cooler
Check out these camping food hacks to keep you fed and nourished in your appetite-boosting adventure. Keep your cooler cool for a long time with 3 1-gallon milk jugs.
6. Create a Pocket-Sized Oil Lamp From a Travel Shampoo Bottle
It doesn’t seem much but this pocket-sized oil lamp can burn for six hours which is more than enough for emergency situations.
7. Create Travel-Friendly Coffee Brewers From Filters and Floss
Coffee is an essential camping food, campers can never be without. But having a good coffee requires you coffee-making tools hassling to bring along to camp. Try this nifty camping tip for coffee: making individual coffee bags. You can enjoy a good coffee even while you’re outdoors.
8. Make Your Own Grill Out of a Tin Can
It’s impossible to forget a grill when camping but terrible luck happens. Luckily, you can make a grill while out at camp with large tin cans.
9. Waterproof Your Shoes With Beeswax
Candlewax and beeswax are not only items to help you start a fire at camp. They are also effective in making your shoes waterproof. It’s as easy as directly applying the wax generously on your shoes.
10. Use a Belt and Some Hooks to Fashion a Pot Hanger
A camp is a home away from home and keeping things in order is also a priority. You don’t want to pay the price of disorder when you are out in the wild. This belt hack to keep your pots and pans hanging is a smart organizing tip.
11. Dip Cotton Pads in a Wax to Make Easy Fire Starters
All the materials you need for this DIY cotton pads fire starter could be found right in your home now. It’s light and it doesn’t take a lot of space which is great for campers.
12. Create an emergency light out of some cardboard and tin can
This tin can emergency light also works as a fire starter for your campfires. It’s a great use for cardboards and tin cans you would otherwise throw away.
13. Keep a Jar Full of Candles Handy For a Quick and Easy Light Source
It’s super hassling to find yourself in a power outage and you have to fumble for candles, matches, and a candlestick. You’ve never come across this brilliant life and camping idea. It’s a candle and match storage, and candlestick in one.
14. Make a Portable Candle in an Altoid Tin
This camping trick with Altoid cans is really a no-brainer but still a nifty idea for camping. It makes for romantic meals outdoors.
Like camping tips? Check out The Basics of Hammock Camping and Camping Hammocks | Hammock Tent Review By Dave Canterbury!
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Learn these camping tricks and never be caught clueless out in the elements. This redneck-approved list can be used to add to your more traditional camping supplies for the ultimate camping experience. Impress your fellow campers with these unusual camping ideas and your seemingly never-ending supply of cool camping hacks!
Have you tried out any of these camping tips? Which one is it? Let us know in the comments section below!
Up Next: 7 Military Disaster Survival Tips | Survival Life
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on April 14, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
Winter camping means having to deal with harsh elements and cold weather. The latter is perhaps the most outstanding feature of the winter camping experience. Cold weather can be a source of great discomfort to many, but for some survivalists, camping in the snow poses an exciting challenge. It is a way to put their skills to the test, especially if you are camping in a blizzard. If you’re well prepared and know what you’re doing, winter camping can help you better understand your capabilities as well as your limits.
Tips For Winter Camping Every Survivalist Must Remember
Even though pitching a tent during winter months is not everyone’s idea of fun, it can still be made enjoyable and comfortable. The important thing is to be prepared as you will be needing more gear than you would while camping in the summer.
There are lots of benefits to be gained from winter camping. Unlike summer camping, there are fewer campers, more space, and cheaper fees. You won’t be bothered by bugs. If you are properly equipped, you will enjoy a restful sleep. The campfire also becomes more enjoyable in the snow. To make the most of your winter camping experience, you need the right gear, the right attitude and these tips that we have collected.
1. Prepare for winter camping
Winter camping requires a lot of preparation for everyone who is planning to embark on this “cool” adventure. Having the right or appropriate gear and clothing alongside mental and physical preparedness can lessen any hassle that winter camping may bring. In the event of a survival situation or when SHTF, how prepared and equipped we are will be one of the deciding factors of our fate. For more details on what to be included in your pack, check here.
2. Go to bed warm
Even if we can get some good insulation from a sleeping bag, sleeping pad or winter camping clothing, it is useless bedding down if you’re already freezing. Winter campers need to do a little bit of jumpin’ jacks before hitting the sack or perform sit-ups or press-ups while you’re in your sleeping bag. Find out more tips to stay warm when winter camping by clicking here.
3. Eat for warmth and energy
If you want to have warmer nights, then your food should adapt to it. Physiologically, our body burns sugar to produce heat for itself and eating warm food can increase its sensation. As we devour hot porridge or a steaming bowl of chicken soup, we become warm thus making us more comfortable. Remember, we need to maintain a certain level of body heat and energy to survive the cold weather. Find out more winter camping recipes here.
4. Pack the snow
Pack down your campsite before you set up your tent. Your body heat can melt the loose snow thus leaving you with uneven flooring to lay or sleep upon. You should also position your tent away from the danger of an avalanche or falling trees. Learn more ways how to set your winter tent here.
5. Stay dry
Whenever you’re winter camping, you need to stay dry at all cost. You will feel the biting cold especially when your layers get wet. Bringing extra clothing is always helpful and will protect you from the harshness of the cold. Staying dry also extends to your gears. Protect your winter camping kit with a waterproof layer or place it inside your tent or shelter.
6. Start fall and winter trips early in the morning
You must always remember that the sun goes down early during the winter season. So starting your trip early in the morning is always better than starting it in later in the day. It will be best to set up your winter tent or find the perfect site before it gets dark.
7. Snow is a variable matter and only rarely is one situation like the next
Before you set your winter tent, you need to pick a flat spot with a lot of trees around it. This will act as a natural windbreaker. Since snow is a variable matter, you need to be aware where you are setting up your tent. Anchor your tent safely and securely.
8. Keep your matches in a metal, not plastic, container
We all know the importance of fire in our daily lives. It helps us cook food and stay warm. If you’re one of those people who loves camping during winter months, it is advisable for winter campers to keep their matches in a metal container instead of a plastic one because it easily breaks when it gets frozen.
9. Put boiling water in your water bottle and sleep with it at your feet
If you want to have a non-frozen water that you can easily drink in the morning then you have to fill your water container with boiling water. Put it in a sock, place it at your feet or keep it inside your sleeping bag to provide extra warmth.
10. Don’t go alone
I know that there are times that you want to go camping alone and away from any distractions. But it is always best and safe if you have someone to accompany you. So in the event of an emergency, help is just around. And always leave a message or a detailed trip plan at home so your loved ones will be informed of your whereabouts.
11. Improve zipper pulls
Zippers are important to winter clothes. They let you put on clothing quickly which is essential especially to those people who are exposed to extreme conditions. Most zippers that are included in jackets are not made for thick mittens or gloves. So you have to use a little ingenuity and improvise by adding a 3-inch lanyard. For more improvisation on a zipper pull, click here.
12. Regulate your temperature on your hike
Regulating your temperature is necessary for a winter hike. You don’t have to get sweaty or chilled, instead, you need to be aware or anticipate the weather coming your way. You have to act upon it before you even experience it. For example, it is better to put on additional layers before reaching the summit or a spot where the temperature is much lower.
13. Don’t cook in the tent
Cooking inside the tent is a recipe for destruction. Not only it can burn your tent but it can also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. You can always choose a spot outside your tent where you can set up a waterproof tarp. If the weather is intolerable, at the very least you can cook inside the vestibule but with sufficient ventilation. Find out more about cooking inside the tent vestibule here.
If you want to see more winter camping tips and tricks, then you need to watch this video below!
The unprepared will have to deal with the cold realities that winter camping might bring. To greatly enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of winter camping, you have to be prepared – and the preparation for this kind of trip needs undivided focus. Having the proper gear and arming yourselves with knowledge about camping in extreme weather conditions will make your wilderness exploration an adventure to remember.
Penny for your thoughts? Tell us what you think about these winter camping tips by dropping your two cents in the comment section below!
Up Next: Winter Storm Survival: How to Stay Warm and Survive the Cold
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**Disclaimer: All content on this site is for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer here**
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in February 2015, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
Are you looking for the best DIY camping hacks for your upcoming trip? Most survivalists live by the motto, do more with less, but it doesn’t stop at your emergency preparedness plans. It’s something you can take with you across all aspects of your life, especially for your next camping trip. So on that note, here are some awesome camping ideas to impress your friends and family and make your trip a lot easier!
Camping Hacks For A More Awesome Outdoor Experience
What better way to experience camping than with these DIY camping tricks that are borderline genius. Of course, the traditional Boy Scout survival skills are always welcome, but it’s also refreshing to think out of the box sometimes. Check out these camping hacks we have pulled from our previous posts (plus some new ones!) Just remember, the great outdoors does not solely belong to you. The plants and animals have as much right to it as you do. Let’s share and enjoy nature together.
1. Craft a “Drinkable Lantern”
This DIY drinkable lantern is one cool camping stuff. You can easily make an ambient lamp out of a milk jug. All you need to do is fill the milk jug with potable water and point a headlamp in it. It will create a soft light that is perfect for reading and writing inside the tent.
2. Camping Lantern
In today’s culture, if we need something, we buy it. Fortunately, improvisational skills can be learned and thanks to the vastness of today’s resources, it’s never been easier. Books on the topic of Survival abound, but the real boon lies on the World Wide Web. A Google search for “survival tactics” yields 10,600,000 results! The following improvised lantern how-to was actually passed on to me by a friend some years ago. Read more about this project here.
Here is my recommendation for a camping trip lantern to have handy.
3. Silicone Drinking Cups
Plastic cups are not environment-friendly and they don’t really sit well with long travels because they get crushed by other camping gear. These break-proof cups are perfect for your camping trip as they are easy to use, wash, and transport. Get your cups here.
4. Soap Pouch
Make this out of a washcloth and a bar of soap for convenient campsite scrubbing. Who said you need to be filthy all throughout the camping trip? Click here to learn more about how to make your own soap pouch.
5. Cowboy Bed Roll
The basic idea of a cowboy roll is a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag all rolled up in a big piece of canvas. This makes sleeping on the ground, under the stars comfortable, warm, and weather resistant. The canvas is a waxed canvas that is not waterproof, but if dew falls at night, you will not get soaked. So the canvas should be a little more than twice as wide as your sleeping pad and a little more than twice as long. For more info about bedrolls, read more about them here.
6. Outdoor Toiletry Kit
Too often situations occur when a properly packed outdoor toiletry kit is truly needed. These times mostly happen when we’re outdoors, far away from the comfort of home or during desperate scenarios commonly labeled as emergencies. In short, everybody knows the uncomfortable and vulnerable feeling of having to use an unfamiliar latrine or simply having to go outside. Fortunately, though, there is a way to beat such a terrible dilemma by keeping properly prepared outdoor toiletry kits in the car, at home, and even with various outdoor gear in case such an emergency arises. Learn more about making your own kit here.
7. Tin Can Grill
Make your own grill out of a tin can. You don’t need to bring a large grille to make your favorite campfire food. Learn how to make this awesome tin can griller.
8. Natural Insect Repellant
Sometimes, commercial mosquito and bug repellents are not enough. There are just those bugs that are too stubborn. Get Mother Nature to help you and throw a bundle of sage in the fire to keep away those annoying bugs. Find out more about these bug-repelling plants right here.
9. Egg Carton Firestarter
This is a fun little project for a rainy or cold day, any day. You just need a paper egg carton, wax and dryer lint. Takes an hour from start to finish to make them and only about 10 minutes of your time. (Your wax will be cooling most of this time) Making fire starters is pretty cool and I needed some motivation to get my laundry done, anyway. Two birds, one stone. These light amazingly well. I never knew dryer lint would do that! Be sure to check out my burn test at the end of this post. Read more about this project right here.
10. Frozen Water Jugs for Your Cooler
Do you find it difficult to keep your food and water cool all throughout the trip? Use frozen water jugs for longer lasting cold in your cooler. Get more info about this cool trick right here.
11. Foam Floor Tiles
Sleeping bags can only do so much to provide us with a comfortable sleeping experience outdoors. But when you’re faced with rocky terrain, your sleeping bag will be as comfortable as a bag of rocks. Don’t sleep on the hard, uncomfortable ground! Put down some of these cheap and easy tiles for ultimate camping comfort. Know more about what else you need to bring for your sleeping needs in this article.
12. Solar Charger
You can create this one on your own or buy one like it off the internet! If you’re interested in the homemade version, find the full instructions, click here.
13. DIY Toilet Paper Dispenser
The call of nature is too difficult to resist, so if you need to go, it’s best to be prepared. Keep your TP clean and rolled up with this easy DIY. Find out how you can transform your Folgers can into a TP container right here.
14. Cook with Foil
One of the biggest challenges when planning your camping meals is keeping food cold in advance. A great way to plan for this is to eat the food that needs to be kept cold first. Plan a meat-based dinner for the first night and then try to use canned or dry goods for the next day. Try to think outside the box when it comes to refrigerated foods. For more info on how to cook with foil, click here.
15. Know Which Plants to Avoid
Poisonous plants are everywhere. They’re in the woods, the forests and the mountains. In fact, some of them may even be in your garden. This makes bugging out look like a dangerous proposition when the SHTF. However, these plants would not cause harm if you did not eat or touch them. As you read our guide, you will realize how simple and easy it is to avoid these poisonous plants. Just stick to your regular food and avoid the bitter stuff. Avoid eating seeds and flowers. More info about these poisonous plants can be viewed right here.
16. Make Matches Waterproof
Whether you are getting ready for a weekend camping trip, a natural disaster, or the end of the world, you are going to need something to start a fire with. A firestarter is possibly the most important item you should have in your backpack or bug out bag. Learn more about how to make your own waterproof matches.
17. A Bathtub in the Wild
If you’re camping in or near a sand-river, dig yourself a nice pit and line it with a groundsheet — and voila, you have a makeshift bathtub. Heat some water on your campfire and pour yourself a whiskey as you fill the tub. Recline under the stars for the ultimate Al fresco soak and watch as the night unfolds around you. Know more about bathing in safety in this article.
18. Don’t Forget Your Knots
As any Boy Scout knows, knots aren’t a one-type-fits-all deal. Learn a few and it’ll make your camping (and your life) easier. From fishing to first aid, these knots can go a long way to make or break any camping experience. Learn more about the different knots in this article.
19. Stay Organized
You’re dealing with a ton of crap when you’re camping: millions of little things, gloves everywhere, socks lying around, a penknife, you have your boots lying somewhere. It’s really easy to lose stuff. Having a really well thought-out system for where you put stuff once you’re inside the tent means you don’t risk losing things. Learn how to organize your camping gear in this article.
20. Beer/Soda Can Popcorn
Popcorn in a Beer Can. Pour some popcorn kernels into an empty beer can (about ¼ of the way full), add some popcorn oil, and place the can on the edge of the fire. Allow the kernels to do their thing until the pops slow down to more than a couple seconds apart. Cut the can in half and enjoy! Read more about this awesome trick right here.
21. Prioritize Your Sleeping Comfort
Your choice of shelter is up for debate, be it a big tent, small tent, hammock or tarp. But don’t you dare skimp on an A-list sleeping bag and sleeping pad. They are the two most important deciders of your comfort when in the wilderness. Click here to know more about sleeping outdoors.
22. Practice Fire Safety with the Kids
Firepits get hot to the touch almost instantly. Use rocks to surround the firepit. It makes the pit look great (style points!) and creates a bit of distance between kids and the flame. Explain the process of fire building to your kids so they understand what you’re doing and how it all works. Giving them an activity like collecting tinder can make them feel included. Establish a “one poker” rule. Kids will want to poke the fire but it can be avoided when the poker is in the hands of an adult. Consider what your children are wearing. Some synthetic garments can be dangerous when exposed to an open flame. Read more about fire safety here.
23. Easy-to-Spot Bear Bag
I take a reflective cord for my bear bag. It lights up when your headlamp hits it and makes it easy to find at night or for an early morning departure. Tie your aluminum cup up with your bear bag near the clip so if something tries to get at it, you will hear it. See more examples of bear bags here.
24. Campfire Pizza
Surprise your family with pizza on your camping trip! Using pre-made pizza crust from a tube makes it a snap to prepare. Remember, any type of pizza you can make at home, you can make in a Dutch Oven! You can make your pizza over this camp stove kit. Learn how to make this delicious pizza here!
25. Duct Tape Around Your Lighter
Duct tape can be a lifesaver. But carrying an entire roll takes up valuable space inside a backpack—and you probably won’t need much tape. Wrap a couple feet around a Bic lighter, so you always have a short supply inside your pocket. Read more about it here.
26. Prepare Food at Home
Because I’ve grown somewhat tired of freeze-dried fare, these days I often cook something I like at home, something in the one-pot category, and freeze it in plastic, let it thaw in my pack, and warm it up over the old MSR XGK set on low heat. Get more recipes here.
Watch this video and check out the 26 most ingenious camping hacks ever!
Camping doesn’t need to be a stressful or expensive experience for you and for the whole family. With these camping hacks, you’ll be able to cut down on costs and maximize whatever gear, equipment, or food for the entire camping trip. But 26 is just the tip of the iceberg. You can come up with your own ingenious camping hacks. All have you have to do is let your creative juice flow.
Do you have other camping hacks in mind? Let us know in the comment section below!
Up Next: How to Tie the Best Knots for Camping and Survival
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**Disclaimer: All content on this site is for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer here**
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in September 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
Camping hammocks have exploded in popularity in recent years, but are they all they’re cracked up to be? Over the past year, I’ve been toying around with my camping hammock, to see how it measures up to my tent. The results might surprise you.
Before trying hammock camping for yourself, check out our guide to basic hammock camping.
Trees are everywhere
At first glance, the camping hammock seems far more restrictive than the traditional tent – at least regarding finding the perfect spot to crash for the night. Surely it’s a pain in the backside to find the perfect pair of trees, right? Wrong. On most popular wilderness hiking trails, there’s never a shortage of trees.
Most national parks have plenty of trees, and even relatively sparsely vegetated regions still have plenty of spots to string up a hammock. You just think that they aren’t there because you haven’t been looking.
If you’re still unconvinced, then try this experiment: next time you go for a walk in the wilderness, try keeping a count of how many suitable hammock camping sites you see. Odds are, you’ll count far more than you expect. So in the tent vs. camping hammock debate, trees just aren’t as much of a factor as you may think.
That means more campsites!
In practice, I’ve found that locking in a good hammock camping site is usually much easier than finding a tent site. While trees are everywhere, so is uneven, rocky ground. This is particularly true of wooded areas, where tent campers have roots and stones galore to contend with.
How many times have you settled down in your tent at the end of a long day, only to have some sneaky rock jab you in the back? What about those moments when you discover the ground isn’t nearly as even as you thought it was, and now you’re stuck sleeping on an annoying slope?
The reality is, once you switch to a camping hammock, you’ll find you usually have more flexibility than tent campers. For example, when was the last time you tent camped right next to your water source, or up a slope to the side of a crowded campsite?
Speed of set-up
This one may be contentious, but I’m going to say it: hammocks are quicker to set up. Between spending less time looking for a site, clearing a square, smashing those pegs in and the like, tents take a few minutes for even the pros to get set up.
Camping hammocks, on the other hand, just involve clipping straps around two trees. You’re done in mere seconds, and it couldn’t be easier. Cleanup is a breeze too. Put simply, the question of which camping method is quicker to set up is well and truly settled.
Protection against the cold, wet ground
Who enjoys waking up to discover they’re camping on slush? We’ve all had those nights when the rain comes down, and all of a sudden that perfect campsite becomes a mushy, wet, mess of misery. You won’t get that with a hammock. Ever.
Overall, hammocks are more comfortable than even the best camping mattress. Maybe you’re hardcore and like to say you don’t care about comfort, but let’s be honest. Deep down inside, all any of us really want is a decent night’s sleep, and camping hammocks provide that much more consistently than any tent. So concerning which is more comfortable, the hammock wins every single time.
Perhaps not the most important factor for everyone, but camping hammocks are a bit cheaper than most tent set-ups. My cheap hammock set-up cost me less than $100, while my tent was a few hundred. Evidently, there’s a lot of room for variation here, and the price difference may not even matter to most campers.
Frustrating learning curve
I’m not going to sugar-coat it: my first few camping hammock escapades were pretty lame, mostly because I spent half the time wrestling with a somewhat uncooperative hammock. I’m not alone. Most campers are used to tents, and switching to a hammock can a learning curve. Getting the height right and making yourself comfortable takes a bit of practice, not to mention a time investment.
While it’s possible to make a camping hammock set-up lighter than the average tent, it’s not easy. In fact, the most significant complaint new hammock campers have is the additional weight. The hammock itself isn’t the problem; it’s the tarp, the bug net, the straps, and other gear that ends up making this set-up just a few kilos heavier than a tent. Unfortunately, hammocks lose in the weight department, though perhaps not all of the time.
For a good light-weight camping hammock, check out this tactical hammock review.
Casual camping on well-trodden trails
For casual camping trips to your average national park, camping hammocks are just so much better than tents. You’ll never have trouble finding somewhere to sleep in even the most cramped of camping sites. Not only that, but you’ll sleep better than anyone else.
When you’re camping in woodlands
Any heavily wooded areas lend themselves well to hammock camping. While tent dwellers are struggling with the afore-mentioned roots and rocks, you’ll be chilling a few feet above the ground in style and comfort.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I’ve had no success with beach hammock camping. It might sound idyllic to merely find a few palm trees and sit back with a beach-side piña colada, but odds are it won’t work out that way. In reality, you’ll end up miles away from the shore, trying to find a half-decent tree by the roadside. For beach bums, tents are way better.
When you’re doing a serious hike at over 4000 above sea level, camping hammocks are pretty much useless. The extra weight will drag you down, and good luck finding a single tree. Even if you do manage to find somewhere to camp, you’ll be knocked around all night by the wind. Stick with your tent for intense hikes.
What do you think? If you’ve had your own experience with hammock camping, let us know in the comments below.