Camping is exciting because you get to experience a lot of things with nature. It allows you to live in the great outdoors, whilst absorbing natural health benefits such as Vitamin D and fresh oxygen.
Camping also means living with bare necessities and foregoing some of your daily conveniences. Packing everything you need for your trip whilst keeping your bag light might sound daunting at first. Luckily, others have already experienced camping and have shared their experiences and their best practices.
Here’s a collection of camping hacks which have been tried and tested by campers and passed on through word of mouth:
1. Maximise the use of a sleeping bag
a) Put dry clothes in your sleeping bag.Some nights can get very cold and your sleeping bag might not be enough to cope with the temperature. To keep you warm during the night, pack some dry clothes into the bottom of the sleeping bag. The dry clothes will keep your feet warm by absorbing the moisture and keeping your body heat.
b) Dry your sleeping bag properly.Air dry your sleeping bag inside and out for about two days. Keep it away from direct sunlight and rain. If your sleeping bag is down-filled, add two or three tennis balls or a pair of clean sneakers when drying it to preserve loft. The tennis balls will break up clumps as it dries and spins. Before packing it in the storage bag, make sure that it is thoroughly dry. Damp bags become clumpy and attract mildew. Clumpy bags also reduce their warmth.
c) Keep your sleeping bag clean.After a day on the trail, you will become dirty and sweaty and the dirt will transfer to your sleeping bag if you go straight into it. Dirty sleeping bags will trap moisture inside and will make it colder. To keep your sleeping bag clean, consider buying a liner. Liners are washable, and you can choose among cotton, fleece, or silk, depending on where you are going to camp out. You also have to sleep in clean clothes, socks and hat. To do this, set aside clothes and socks that will be used only for sleeping.
d) Avoid using a clumpy sleeping bag.If your sleeping bag is already clumpy or dirty,it is best to invest in a new one rather than suffer through the night which may spoil your camping experience. You can also opt to get a quality camping mattress or a thermal sleeping bag.
2. The water bottle has many uses
a) Use the bottle as a water lantern.Fill a translucent water bottle and then strap a headlamp on the bottle for ambient light. Make sure that the headlamp is facing inwards.
b) Use it as a heating pad.Instead of bringing a heating pad for your sleeping bag, you may fill your water bottle with hot water and place it inside your sleeping bag. In the morning, the water will still be warm enough for drinking. This means you can save space, and you have less things to carry on your back.
c) Pick a bottle with measurement.It is important to keep track of how much water you drink during hot summer days because you will be sweating a lot and you do not want to be dehydrated. When camping, bring a water bottle with printed measurements of ounces or litres.
d) Make tea.You can still have tea even in the wilderness. Instead of using a cup, you can put a teabag inside a water bottle, shake it, and let the tea steep for about 15 minutes. If you have an ice box, you can add ice and sweeteners, too.
e) Bring food mixes in a bottle.Water bottles are very convenient for storing dry food mixes and eggs. For eggs, you just need to beat the eggs at home and then transfer it to a plastic bottle. This makes it easier to transport eggs and you won’t have to worry about how to dispose of egg shells. Pancake mix can also be kept inside water bottles. Just add water when you are ready to cook it. Shake it and pour some of the mixture in a skillet.
f) Fill the bottle with ice.Would you like to drink something cold whilst hiking but do not want to bring an ice box or a mini-fridge?You can fill your water bottle, freeze it, and then pack it.
g) Carry nuts and pretzels inside the bottle.If you are worried that your nuts might not be crispy once exposed to the air, you can put the nuts or pretzels inside water bottles. This will reduce the possibility of contamination and makes storage easy. You won’t need clips or duct tape to secure them from animals.
3. Always bring duct tape to camp
Duct tape has many uses. It may be used to repair a tear in your tent, insulate your shoes, or to make a cricket trap to keep the bugs away.It can also be used to seal your food or support your sprained ankle until you can get help. You don’t need to bring the entire roll. You may roll it around your water bottle instead.
4. Keep your camping bag dry
Sometimes the weather is so unpredictable, so it is best to be ready for the worst. Even if your camping bag is water resistant, the zipper area might not be and water might seep in. To keep your things from getting wet, place all your things inside a garbage bag before placing them inside your bag. Bring an extra bag where you can put your wet clothes, if needed.
5. Use household items as fire starters
a) Hand sanitisers are not just used to keep your hands germ-free; they are also very convenient fire starters because they are alcohol-based. Damp a cotton ball or tinder with a few drops of sanitiser and it won’t take long to start a camp fire. This is far safer than bringing gas.
b) Lint is also a great fire starter. Instead of buying starter logs, you can make your own by using common household items. Put dryer lint inside an empty egg carton and tie it with dental floss or jute. You can make it waterproof by dipping the egg cartons in melted candle wax.
c) Birthday candles are also good fire starters because they are weather-proof. Instead of throwing them away after the party, why not save it for the next camping trip? They are easy to light, and it takes time for them to melt completely.
d) Corn Chips are great snacks during a campfire and can also double for kindling. As they have hydrogenated oils, corn chips burn quicker.
e) Char cloth, lint and duct tape are also a good combination to start a fire. You just need to roll a six-inch duct tape and place lint inside. The char cloth will then be used to cover the side of the duct tape. Char cloth are easy to ignite because it only needs a small spark and lasts for about seven minutes.
f) Use match and sandpaper.Put the matches in a small plastic box and glue sandpaper on the lid. This will make lighting the match easy whilst keeping it dry.
6. Tap solar power
Portable solar panels are making camping a lot easier. Aside from giving light, it also allows other conveniences like use of the electric grill, hot shower, and even a mini-fridge. A good example of a portable solar panel that is great for backpacking and camping is the solar panel 40-watt.
a) Use solar heated portable shower.Instead of bringing a bulky water container for your showers, you can go for a solar heated portable shower. If you fill it with water in the morning and place it under the sun, you will have an instant warm shower.
b) Have a back-up energy source.The solar panel 40-watt is a 12V single solar panel with 40W maximum power output and can provide power to solar lamps and recharge your electronics, too. You can set up solar lights around your tent and on your campsite to keep accidents from happening.
7. Consider the following food hacks:
a) Spices storage.If you don’t want to bring bulky condiment containers, you can put the spices inside Tic-tac boxes and label them. Tic-tac boxes are compact and are easy to keep. You may also use pill organisers. Some individuals would recommend cutting straws and putting the spices inside and then using a lighter to seal both sides. This is great for single cooking. However, you have to be mindful of your waste.
b) Tin-can sandwich.If you are craving for some sandwiches and you did not pack bread, you may cook your own bread in tin cans. Do you remember the pancake mix that you have put in the plastic bottle? You can use that mixture for bread, too.
c) Travel coffee.If you are a person who needs coffee every morning and will not settle for anything but brewed, you can make your own coffee bag. Scoop coffee grounds into a coffee filter and then use a dental floss to the tie the bag up. Just drop it into your cup, the same way you make tea with a teabag, when you are ready for your coffee fix.
d) Omelette.You can boil eggs, tomatoes, and onions inside a Ziploc for a camp omelette.
e) Vacuum-sealed food.Vacuum-sealed and frozen food will last longer because of the reduced moisture around the food. However, sealers bought from the store are often expensive. You can use water to vacuum-seal your bags. Put the food inside the Ziploc bag and submerge the bag in water, leaving a small part open. The water will remove the excess air inside the bag. You may also insert a straw inside the Ziploc bag and try to remove all the air inside it.
8. Mind your hygiene using the following:
a) Toothpaste.Bringing the whole tube of toothpaste is a waste of space if you will only need a little bit. Instead of buying the smallest tube of toothpaste in the shopping market, dry small globs of toothpaste by putting them on a plate and leaving it for a few days. You may add baking soda to make it dry faster. At home, you may use a big amount of toothpaste so it generates a lot of foam. In nature, leave-no-trace practitioners advise swallowing the toothpaste. You may also replace your toothpaste with plain baking soda instead.Baking soda is also great for cleaning your utensils.
b) Soap.Use a vegetable peeler to get very thin single-use soaps. You may also try shampoo bars that can easily be packed away after a shower.
c) Microfiber towels. Towels can be very bulky, and some would forego one when camping. Try microfiber towels because they are very light, can absorb water very fast, and dry in under an hour.Nowadays, they even have a microfiber blanket counterpart.
9. Pack repellents and a first-aid kit
a) You may use an old medicine bottle or a prescription bottle for your first-aid kit. Pack Band-Aid and other over-the-counter medicines for allergy, colds, and headache.
b) Add sage in the campfire to keep bugs and mosquitoes away for the night.
c) Ant bites can be very painful. To keep ants away from your tent and campfire, you can sprinkle some grit around.
d) If you have an insect bite, use deodorant to relieve itchiness.
e) A foam noodle placed on tent ropes and awning strut will prevent injuries. It is very light to carry and can be used as a pillow too. Another use of the foam noodle is to serve as a protective cover for hot dog pokers, knives, or roasters if you decide to bring some that do not have their own cover.
Camping will be fun and comfortable if you use these camping hacks and the correct camping gear. Whether you are a first time camper or a seasoned backpacker, you can buy the best camping equipment at Outbax. You may choose from guaranteed products including portable solar panels and camping mattress. Call 02 888 10 333 to discuss your camping needs with us!