If you are a camping enthusiast, you know what it feels like to have the itch to get out there in the wild. Hopefully you already have some camping trips in mind for this upcoming summer. But as amazing as camping is, it does have its challenges.
Depending on your preferred method of camping, you can be going without a lot of everyday luxuries. So of course you are bound to have a few issues along the way. That is a part of the fun of it though. And nothing makes a better camping story than a tale of how you narrowly escaped disaster. Having said that, here is a list of the top 5 camping hacks for you to put into action this summer.
1. Wear non-cotton clothing.
Especially essential for backpackers, non-cotton clothing is key. But even for car campers or those with RVs non-cotton clothing is a good idea for outings into nature. Non-cotton clothing will dry much faster when it gets wet which will keep you more comfortable and even more safe in some cases. Everyone has had a time when they accidentally slipped into a stream or got caught in the rain on a day hike. Cotton clothing will stay wet for hours while non-cotton clothing dries out much faster. Most athletic gear you have is probably non-cotton. But double check the tag! You may be surprised to find some of the clothes you thought were great for the outdoors are not.
2. Use GPS pins on your phone.
Some map applications on your cell phone allow you to drop a pin at your location so you can find your way back to it. This is a great tool for several reasons. First, if you find a great camping spot you haven’t been to before you will want to be able to find your way back there another time. Saving that pin on your phone will eliminate the whole, “I think it was just down this one dirt road a little more…” debacle forever. Also, using pins can help you find your way if you are hiking and using the GPS on your phone as a tool.
3. Meal prep ahead of time.
This hack is perfect for those camping in an RV or camper with a refrigerator, but of course can be modified if you are car camping or backpacking. The last thing you want to be doing when you are camping is spending time cooking. You’d probably rather be out fishing, hiking, exploring, or relaxing in a hammock. So save yourself the time and energy and do the meal prep at home before you leave. If you have access to a fridge and oven, prepare a breakfast casserole and some dinner dishes to have ready to throw in the oven when the time comes. That way you can maximize your time on your trip instead of spending precious daylight cooking.
4. Shop REI garage sales and Craigslist.
While camping is a less expensive vacation option than flying somewhere, there is a lot of gear needed and that can get pricey. There are a few great ways to get the best gear for much lower prices than retail. If you are an REI member, you can go to an exclusive event—called the REI Garage Sale—where members can buy returned merchandise at a huge discount. Oftentimes, there is nothing wrong with these items or they simply need a minor repair and they are as good as new. Instead of getting rid of returned gear, REI gives their members a chance to buy them at a highly discounted price. If you aren’t near an REI and can’t come up with an excuse to travel to one, there is always Craigslist. You can get used camping gear on Craigslist for a good deal if you know what to look for. This option is also great for someone who needs to gear up quick or wants to try out different brands without investing the whole retail price.
5. Know the many uses of a water bottle.
When you camp, many things become multi-purposed that wouldn’t need to be at home. For example, there are so many uses for water bottles! One way to make sure you always have duct tape—because who doesn’t end up needing duct tape at some point when they are camping?—is to wrap duct tape in layers around your water bottle. This way it is always with you because you will almost always have your water bottle and you won’t have to pack a roll of duct tape. Patch a whole in a tent, put tape over a blister, really the options are endless. Another use for a water bottle is to use it to bring eggs. If you don’t have space to pack a carton of eggs, crack them ahead of time into a water bottle for more convenient storage and a quick breakfast. We are sure you will find your own handy uses for water bottles as well.
With these five summer camping hacks you can save time, money, and hopefully spare yourself a disaster or two. So the next time you load up the car or RV for a camping trip, make sure you grab your non-cotton clothes, cell phone, prepped meals, new-to-you camping gear, and some spare water bottles. Your trip is bound to be smoother and more enjoyable.