12 Must-Know Camping Hacks

Going camping? Check out these cool hacks for hiking, keeping a fire going, making your lantern last longer, keeping mosquitoes away, ID-ing your campsite from far away, and more!

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
3-minute read

Prevent Blisters When Hiking

If your hiking boots are rubbing you the wrong way, rub some bar soap or deodorant on the red spot before a blister forms. It will protect the area and reduce the friction that causes a blister.

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Super-Powered Fire Starters

Don't let rain ruin your camping trip! To keep a campfire burning, make these fire starters at home before the trip. Melt paraffin wax (available from the supermarket) in a coffee can inside a pot of water on the stove. Remove the can and begin to mix in sawdust until you have about 3 parts sawdust to 2 parts paraffin. Pour into paper cups and let cool. Then all you need to do is pop them out of the cups and store them in a Ziploc bag. Another great recipe is to smear petroleum jelly on some cotton balls and keep them in a Ziploc bag. Use them as bits of kindling to get your fire roaring.

Keep a Fire Going with Sugar

This was originally a tip for what to do if you run out of lighter fluid at a barbecue, but you can also use sugar to keep a fire going if you’re camping!

Obligatory Duct Tape Tip

Always, always pack duct tape when you’re going camping. It’s a must-have to repair rips or holes in tents and air mattresses and can be used to string up food out of bears’ reach. You can even use it while you’re hiking. Tape your pant legs to your boots with duct tape to avoid bites from ticks, flies, and mosquitoes.

Keep Away Wetness

Whether you’re on a big camping trip or your kids are just sleeping in the backyard for fun, place a long sheet of aluminum foil underneath each sleeping bag to keep moisture from sinking into the fabric.

Toasty Toes

This trick is an old family favorite. Wrap rocks in foil and place them in your campfire. When it’s time for bed, take them out and let cool until comfortably warm, then place them at the bottom of your sleeping bag for toasty toes.

Stuck Marshmallows?

It’s time for s’mores, but when you take the marshmallows out of the cupboard, they’re all stuck together. Separate them by adding a bit of cornstarch, flour, baking soda, sugar, or salt to the bag, then shaking vigorously. It will absorb the moisture that’s acting like glue, and they will break apart.

An Easy Way to Identify Your Campsite

Here’s a hack the kids will love that will also help you from getting lost: When going camping, mark your campsite by tying brightly colored helium balloons to a few trees nearby. Your tents will be easy to find even from far away.

Keep Mosquitoes Away

One thing that can ruin a camping trip, quick? Too many bugs! Make sure you don’t get too many bug bites with these tips for keeping mosquitoes away naturally.

Make Your Propane Last Longer

If you have a propane lantern, soak the wick in vinegar for several hours before you use it. This will prolong the life of your wick, helping you get more for your money!

Best Dog Bowl Ever

Taking your dog on your camping trip? Save some gallon jugs to create on-the-go water and food bowls with three empty gallon jugs of water or milk. The bottoms of two of the jugs will be the bowls—just cut them about a third of the way up with scissors and then stack one inside the other. Then fill the final jug with your dog’s food. It will fit perfectly inside the bowls for storage!

Looking for Worms?

If you’re going fishing on your trip, before you go to bed the night before, soak an entire newspaper with water, then spread it out in one hunk in the grass near your campsite. Lift it up in the early morning, and loads of worms will be underneath. To keep your worms alive until it’s time to use them, store them in a can with soil and coffee grounds. If you didn’t think ahead and don’t have any worms handy, use aluminum foil as a lure. Cover your hook with foil, then rip it away in small sections so that it will dance in the water. Fish will be attracted to the movement and reflected light.

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.