This is a guest post by Bily Bum: an electrical engineer, fitness fanatic, avid outdoorsman, and contributor for Techiezer.
This article is for all the camping enthusiasts out there, particularly those who like to get creative, make things, and save a bit of money.
I’ve compiled a list of 7 of my favorite camping hacks which are sure to make your next camping trip more enjoyable, comfortable, and satisfying (and by the way, 3 of them involve fire… so you’re definitely gonna wanna read on!).
Natural Mosquito Repellent
There’s nothing worse than chilling out at your campsite after a full day of hiking and adventuring, only to be relentlessly attacked by mosquitos once the sun goes down.
Most of us turn to bug spray and citronella candles to ward off these pests. But there’s an easier, more natural mosquito repelling method you can employ, simply by making use of a few herbs you may already have in your camp kit.
Try this genius camping hack: when you light your campfire, throw in a handful of sage and/or rosemary. You can be sure that mosquitos will give your camp a wide berth, as they apparently detest the smell of these herbs burning. And bonus: you get to enjoy a nice herby incense around the campfire!
Makeshift Pot & Pan Holder
Short on car space or can’t be arsed packing your cooking supplies away after every meal?
Make it easier on yourself by setting up a makeshift pot and pan holder. Here’s how you do it:
- Take an old belt and fasten it around a tree at your campsite.
- Attach a few hooks around the belt (the ones that have an open hook on either end are ideal).
- Hang your pots, pans, etc on the hooks.
A belt is sturdy enough to support the weight of frying pans and pots, while a rope or string wouldn’t be able to support their weight. Who would’ve thought an old belt would come in handy on a camping trip?
Save Space When Packing
Unless you’ll have a vehicle with you while camping, you’ll need to fit all of your gear into a backpack. The packing process quickly turns into a game of Tetris as you attempt to cram all your clothes, sleeping gear, and cooking equipment into one small bag. Then the challenge factor gets multiplied if you have to worry about trekking with your backpack on, because you have to worry about things like weight distribution and accessibility.
The backpack packing process merits an entire blog post on its own, so we won’t go too deep into it here. For now, here are a few clever ways you can save space in your backpack while packing for your camping trip:
- Make the most of every inch of space inside your bag by packing smaller items inside larger items, particularly ones that are hollow inside. Think: stuffing socks inside of a mug, or small accessories inside of a small pot.
- Take your sleeping bag out of its sack and pack it at the bottom of your backpack. Then pack everything else on top of it. The sleeping bag tends to act like water, filling up any free space around your other items, which makes it take up less space than it would if packed inside its sack and shoved in the bag.
- Use packing cubes to keep your clothing organized. Roll each item and pack them into the cube, which will save you both space in your bag and time when trying to access your clothing.
What’s almost as good as roasting marshmallows over a campfire? Making popcorn over a campfire!
Skip the premade popcorn packets and save space in your pack by assembling a popcorn satchel instead. All you need is a square of aluminum foil and a piece of string, which you’re likely to be bringing on your trip anyway.
Here’s how it works: Place the popcorn kernels in the middle of the aluminum foil, tie the edges up with the string so that the kernels are secure inside, and put the satchel indirectly over the fire. Just be sure to give the kernels lots of extra space inside the satchel and tie it loosely so that there’s enough room for the popcorn to pop inside. When serving, you can season the popcorn with salt or other seasonings if desired (this recipe looks delicious!).
Candle Stakes for Campsite Lighting
A great way to light up your campsite without lanterns and also ensure that your campsite is safe while you sleep is to use candle stakes.
As their name suggests, candle stakes are just long pieces of wood or sticks stuck in the ground with candles taped to them. Simply pick up some long, slow-burning candles for your camping trip, bring along some tape, and find some long sturdy sticks to tape the candles to at your campsite.
I recommend setting up your candle stakes along the perimeter of your campsite, so that there’s light no matter where you are. You might want to add a few more around an area you’ll be spending more time in, such as your cooking or dining area.
(Solar) Charging Your Phone
Hopefully you’re not checking emails or social media too much while on your camping trip, but still – you do need to have your mobile phone on hand during your outdoor adventures for safety reasons. In case of an emergency, you’ll want to ensure your phone has enough battery so you can call for assistance.
For short trips, a power bank or portable charger should suffice. But for longer trips where you’re unable to recharge it, solar battery chargers are a much better option. Depending on the charger and how much you’re able to charge it up, there should be enough juice in it to charge your phone several times over.
Best of all, solar chargers are eco-friendly and all you need is the sun to power them – which you can easily do just by strapping one to the outside of your pack while you’re hiking.
Photo via Goal Zero.
Ok, maybe you can get away without showering during your weekend camping trip. But what about longer trips, or more adventurous trips that have you getting exceptionally dirty and sweaty? Wet wipes can only do so much (and besides, they’re not an eco-friendly option).
Enter the portable camping shower! You can DIY by using some tarps, PVC pipes, and cable ties to construct the shower frame and walls, and then use a garden sprayer and hose nozzle to build the shower itself. It’s a pretty straight-forward process and could be a fun little project if you like to get your hands dirty and build things.