originally posted June 3, 2016
Summer is here and of course, that means camping. We are a nation of campers. We’ll try everything. A hike in the hills with a backpack, bedroll, and a tarp. Tents of all sizes and constructions. Or right up to the most luxurious, fully decked out trailers. But whatever your choice is for embracing the outdoors and enjoying Mother Nature there are always ways to make the trip easier, more organized and therefore more memorable.
Camping hacks, the “technical” term for all these nifty little tricks and tips, can be found everywhere. Any Google search, however minimal, can net tons of resources. From ideas as basic as how to pack simple single-use products to something as detailed as building your own pizza oven for use with your barbecue.
We love to turn off the rat race of everyday living and head for the hills. But we still need to bring a little bit of home into the wilderness with us. There’s always that stuff that needs doing every day no matter where we are. Things like showering, brushing our teeth, making meals, packing away our clothes… you get the picture. And all these things require specific tools to make them happen.
But anyone who’s tried packing for a trip without planning has probably discovered how overwhelming that can be. Not to mention sometimes impractical, as well. So since necessity is the mother of invention, we start looking for ideas to get us out there and keep us going as maintenance free as possible.
Ideas like keeping a roll of toilet paper handy and dry. Just slice a lengthwise cut into an empty plastic coffee can, such as a Folger’s can. You feed the toilet paper out through the slice. To hang it up you attach a string or hank of twine through two holes, one in the lid plus one in the bottom, knotted on the inside. And you’re good to go even in the rain.
Or what about carrying soap for those quick cleanups after hiking through the bush? You can make single use soap leaves with a bar of soap and a vegetable peeler. Pack a few in a small ziplock bag and you’re set.
Several years ago, the New York based social news and entertainment company, BuzzFeed, posted a comprehensive list that recirculates through the camping world every year. The list, entitled 41 Camping Hacks That Are Borderline Genius, shows up on every Google search I’ve done. I’ve also found it repinned on Pinterest by many camping enthusiasts. Its popularity makes sense when you consider campers are always on the lookout for quick, easy to use and ingenious ways to make the camping experience better each time.
Of course, not every hack will prove useful to every camper but that’s the joy of having a list this large. There are bound to be tips to suit everyone’s personality and style of camping. Check out BuzzFeed’s post through the following link. Even the tips you don’t use are fun to read.
For outdoor enthusiasts looking for a one stop, “how about everything” kind of site, check out Ken Ralston from Flagstaff, AZ. He operates a couple of websites that tackle a more informational look at camping. His camping-tips.com page links to everything from basic camping tips to gear and equipment to how to build a good camping first aid kit. He also offers a free 50 page PDF download outlining everything from the site, complete with hot links that will take you to any of his pages.
From there you can link to his blueskykitchen site. Here you can sign up for his newsletters and access information on putting together your own camp kitchen chuck box, or portable kitchen. Links take you to reasonably priced plans for various types and sizes of camp kitchens. Once you register, you can access videos that work in tandem with your plan booklets to help you through the process from start to finish. If you’d prefer to design your own chuck box, Ken offers instructional plans on how to do it.
The variety of camping styles are as varied as the people who do it. And so are the ways that make camping fun. Check out the links and give a few of the ideas a try. Some look to be as much fun as the camping itself. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get ideas that’ll show up in a future list of your own.
For tips from some more of the experts – survivalists, adventurers, safari guides, chefs and more – check out this post on GearPatrol.