20 Simple Camping Hacks That’ll Blow Your Mind

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: September 11, 2018

Camping HacksAfter reading this article, you’ll start taking camping hacks seriously. Why? Because humans invent, humans create, and humans hack.

It’s something we’ve always done and will continue to do.

We’re just never quite content with how things are.

We’re always looking for new techniques, better ideas, and epic hacks.

Anything to make our lives a little bit better.

We crave improvement and progress in everything we do, including camping.

Since man began sleeping under the stars, we’ve invented new ways to improve camping.

Today we’ll be covering the following Camping Hacks:

  • Water Jug Lantern
  • Rock Grommets
  • Water Bottle Cooler Ice
  • Doritos Fire Starter
  • Plastic Straw Spice Storage
  • Packing Eggs For Camping
  • Easy Sleeping Bag Warmer
  • Hot Rocks Boot Dryer
  • Match Holder With Sandpaper Striker
  • DIY Waterproof Backpack
  • Stuff Sack + Spare Clothes = Pillow
  • Magic Biscuit Firestarters
  • DIY Toilet Paper Dispenser
  • Cook Everything With Foil
  • Hang A Bear Bag PCT-Style
  • Duct Tape Your Lighter
  • Fix A Sticky Zipper
  • Keeping Down Jackets / Sleeping Bags Fluffy
  • DIY Coffee Bags
  • Super Easy S’mores


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1. Water Jug Lantern

When cooking dinner in the dark or getting ready for bed, a lantern is better than even the best survival flashlight.

Lanterns create broad, even lighting.

So for specific tasks, full illumination is more helpful than a focused beam from a headlamp.

Luckily, you’ve probably got everything you need to MAKE a lantern already!

Just wrap your headlamp around your water bottle with the beam facing inward.

Any clear or translucent bottle will work, even a milk jug from the cooler.

These makeshift lanterns work great anywhere you need ambient light – and you don’t have to carry any extra gear!

2. Rock Grommets

High Quality Aqua Defender Tarp

High-Quality AquaDefender Tarp

When you’re setting up a tarp tent, occasionally, there are no solid grommets where you want to attach a guy line.

This won’t often happen with a survival tarp like the Aqua Defender but you never know…

Sometimes grommets can wear out beyond repair, leaving you no way to secure your shelter.

That is, until now.

With this camping hack, you add tie points anywhere you’d like.

Find a small round stone and place it in the location where you would like to attach a line.

Gather the tarp around the stone and tie your line around it.

This will capture the stone inside the “pocket” you’ve formed. Instant “grommet”!

Also, the line strain is more evenly distributed compared to a metal grommet.

So the makeshift stone grommet ends up lasting longer as well.

3. Water Bottle Cooler Ice

When packing a camping trip cooler, it’s easy to run out of space for ice once you add all your food and beverages.

Besides, the ice often melts fast, leaving your cheese and brats floating in gross water together – yuck!

Instead of pouring in cubed ice, freeze water bottles or jugs at home and use them in your camping cooler.

As they melt, the bottles leave you with a supply of cold, fresh water and a much cleaner cooler.

This is by far one of my favorite camping hacks because gross coolers are the worst! Not to mention it will significantly reduce your risk of food contamination.

Note: You could invest in an Icy Breeze camping cooler. It’s the simplest way to add a tent air conditioner to your “cool” camping gear list.

4. Doritos Fire Starter

I’ve been to many campgrounds where it’s easy to find (or buy) firewood, but finding good kindling is impossible.

Before spending hours splitting firewood into matchsticks, use a common campground snack instead!

A handful of Doritos makes a surprisingly good firestarter and an “impress-your-friends” camping hack.

The corn oil in tortilla chips burns easily, while the chip structure acts as a wick to draw fuel into the flame.

Just make sure you leave some for eating, or your camping partners might get mad.

This isn’t just a camping hack; this is also a survival hack as well.

5. Plastic Straw Spice Storage

When it comes to camping meals, I used to think of the word “bland.”

Most people don’t have more than salt and pepper in their camp kitchen. The problem is finding small containers for spices that you only need tiny amounts for each meal.

All you need for this camping hack are some plastic straws and a heat sealer. You can make single-serving packs of any spices or flavoring you want!

More curry for the noodles? Easy.

Some extra cajun seasoning for that freeze-dried jambalaya? No problem.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our Ultimate Camping Essentials Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

6. Packing Eggs For Camping

While my daily breakfast is a cup of coffee and a granola bar, camp breakfasts sometimes call for more.

Eggs always seem to please a crowd, but bringing them on a camping trip is asking for trouble.

If they’re not protected in the cooler, they can crack – leaving you with a mess and no breakfast.

Instead of risking it, do a little prep at home and crack them into a plastic water bottle ahead of time.

This lets you pour out as much as you need, quickly cap the rest, and toss it back in the cooler.

No mess, no risk, and a faster breakfast? It sounds like a great start to the day!

7. Easy Sleeping Bag Warmer

On a frigid evening in camp, it’s always hard to get into a cold sleeping bag (unless you have a tent stove).

Even in the summer, it seems like your feet are freezing and will take forever to warm up.

Rather than shiver, fill a water bottle with hot water just before you head into your camping tent.

Wrap it in a spare shirt or pair of socks and shove it down to the foot of your sleeping bag for warm toes all night.

Just be sure to secure the lid all the way – a wet sleeping bag quickly becomes cold!

8. Hot Rocks For Dry Boots

Wet shoes on a hike can be more than just uncomfortable.

They can leave your feet blistered and torn up, making it hard to keep up the pace or get around at all.

Drying them out in rainy or humid conditions can be a real chore.

For this camping hack, remove the insoles from your shoes/boots and set them aside. Then fill the shoes/boots with rocks heated in boiling water.

Rocks can retain a lot of heat, allowing you to dry out even soaked shoes/boots easily.

9. Match Holder With Sandpaper Striker

Even if you’ve got one of the best survival lighters, there are situations where a match is a better tool.

Lighting candles, a kerosene lantern, or a portable stove are far easier tasks with a survival match.

But most matches are fragile. It seems like something always goes wrong with them.

The box gets crushed, the striker wears out, or they get wet somehow – now they’re worthless!

Instead, protect those matchsticks using a small metal mint tin (the start of so many great camping hacks). Then add a bit of sandpaper to the inside lid of the tin.

This quick DIY project ensures you’ll be ready when you need a match.

If you can find fine-grit sandpaper with adhesive backing, it’s even easier!

I like keeping a spare striker inside the tin; make sure you keep it way from the match heads!

10. DIY Waterproof Backpack

It’s one thing to deal with the weather when you’re car camping and can call it quits early and head home…

Shelter from the weather may not be an option if you’re backpacking, and dry camping gear can be a lifesaver.

So before you pack your gear, use this camping hack to line the inside of your gear bag with small trash bags.

Do this before loading all your clothes, sleeping bag, and survival tent.

It’s a simple insurance policy against a cold, wet night that could end in hypothermia!

11. Stuff Sack + Spare Clothes = Pillow

I have a great pillow at home, but it’s far too heavy and bulky to take on the trail.

I’ve seen a lot of inflatable camp pillows on the market these past few years – and even tested a few myself.

While they work fine, they inevitably add bulk and weight to my backpack.

Instead, buy a stuff sack with a flannel lining and fill it with your spare clothing.

A good drybag-style stuff sack will keep your clothes dry inside your pack all day.

Then convert to a pillow at night, serving double duty with no extra weight!

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our Ultimate Camping Essentials Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

12. Magic Biscuit Firestarters

Try this camping hack project if you’ve got a few extra candles lying around the house.

One that will leave you with all the fire starters you’ll need!

Just dip cotton makeup remover pads in melted wax and let them cool. Seriously, that’s it!

They’ll be nearly waterproof and light easily.

This gives you a clean, dependable flame to start your campfires!

If you want to make it even easier, pick up an inexpensive slow cooker to make melting the wax foolproof.

I got mine for $5 at a garage sale and toss all our candle scraps in so they’re ready to melt when I need more magic biscuits.

13. DIY Toilet Paper Dispenser

When it’s time to go, it’s time to go unless you’re camping!

Taking care of business outdoors takes a little more planning than a quick trip to the restroom.

Way too often, you have to deal with damp or squished rolls of TP and missing hand sanitizer.

Fix these problems by transforming a large plastic coffee can into a TP container!

It’ll make EVERYTHING much easier!

14. Cook With Foil

If you’ve been to summer camp, chances are high that you’ve cooked at least one meal wrapped in aluminum foil.

I know my first attempts leaked juices and came out a burned mess sticking to the foil.

Turns out there are some tricks to making “hobo meals” and preparing a feast over open coals.

If you can master these, dinner can be something to look forward to – WITH NO DISHES TO WASH!

15. Hang A Bear Bag PCT-Style

I recently learned about hanging a bear bag in the PCT style – and it’s a lot easier!

With my camping partner, every second counts when we’re getting the coffee started in the morning.

So I really enjoy the speed of getting this bag both up and down from the tree.

To make it even simpler, I use a reflective cord for my bear bag to make it easier to find in the dark.

16. Add Duct Tape To Your Lighter

Everyone knows duct tape (or Gorilla Tape) can be used for just about anything.

I’ve even seen a boat made entirely of duct tape.

But making sure you always have some in your EDC kit is a little harder.

Carrying an entire roll is heavy and bulky to pack.

Wrap a couple of feet of tape around your lighter, and you will always have a bit in a pinch.

I wrap some around my water bottle, too, just in case!

17. Fix A Sticky Zipper

After a while, it seems like every zipper catches a little.

Cold-weather tent doors are the worst offenders!

But it turns out that candle wax makes an excellent zipper lubricant.

Rub on a little bit of wax, then gently heat it with a hairdryer and run the zipper back and forth.

It works like a charm!

18. Keep Down Jackets & Sleeping Bags Fluffy

There comes a time when you have to wash that down jacket.

You can do it on the gentle cycle in a front-loading washing machine, but drying it is the trick.

The down often clumps when wet and doesn’t keep its loft.

Next time, toss a couple of tennis balls in the dryer with it.

They’ll bang around and make a lot of noise.

But the constant agitation will help the down feathers separate and fluff back up!

This camping hack works great with sleeping bags too.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our Ultimate Camping Essentials Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

19. DIY Coffee Bags

The faster we get coffee handed out in the morning, the safer our camp will be.

This usually means anyone NOT drinking coffee has to wait for hot water.

Instead of brewing a whole pot of coffee, make individual coffee bags with a filter and dental floss.

This way, you can boil water in a big pot and use it for coffee, tea, and oatmeal without delay!

20. Super Easy S’mores

We discovered this new camping hack just this summer.

Instead of dealing with graham crackers and chocolate, buy some Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies (or any fudge-dipped shortbread cookies of your choice).

Quote from Skilled Survival’s Expert –

“It’s faster, easier, less messy, and in my opinion, tastes better.” – “Just In Case” Jack

Camping Hacks Final Thoughts

Whenever I head out camping, I look for tricks and tips that make my life easier.

Every small advantage adds up, from setting up camp to cooking meals or staying dry and warm in bad weather.

Whenever I overcome some challenges, I win a lighter pack, better food, and more time to relax at the campsite.

Some of these camping hacks could also be a lifesaver for you someday!

Jason K.

P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?

There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.

Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
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