28 Clever Camping Tricks That Are Actually Useful

When's *your* next camping adventure?

Hannah Wong / BuzzFeed

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

1. Make a quick fire starter by filling a recycled-cardboard egg carton with match-light charcoal.

From Sew Many Ways. Get a 15.4 pound bag from Home Depot for $13.62 or six 3.1-lb bags on Amazon for $35.99.


2. Or just use a few Doritos (mixed with dried leaves) — they burn longer than the leaves, making it easier for kindling to actually catch.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

One of our writers tried this, and it really worked!

Close this modal Close this modal

3. Store your strike-anywhere matches in a small mason jar topped with a round of sandpaper.

From Craftaholics Anonymous. Get a pack of three boxes of strike-anywhere matches on Amazon for $9.30.

4. Use a pop-up hamper as the perfect campsite trash can: it takes up basically no space when packed, and expands with no effort.

From Camping Kitchen.

Get a similar hamper on Amazon for $6.99.

5. Burn a bundle of sage on the edge of your campfire to help repel mosquitos and other bugs.

I haven't tried this myself, but forums, blogs, and a few Amazon reviewers swear the scented smoke keeps the pesky bugs at bay. (Although it'd still be most effective to wear a bug spray — here's everything you need to know about mosquito repellants).

Get a pack of six sage smudge bundles on Etsy for $10 or a pack of three on Amazon for $7.49.


6. Cover your tent floor with foam tiles so you don't feel every little stick or rock that's poking up from underneath.

Well, step one is to choose a place to set up your tent that doesn't have too many sticks or rocks (or to brush them all away). Step two is this protective barrier, from A Little Campy.

Get a pack of 20 12"x12" tiles on Amazon for $22.49.

7. Zip two sleeping bags together for extra warmth and cuddles: even if your bags are slightly different brands and sizes, it should still work.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

Best for chilly nights, this was tested and approved by one of our writers.

Close this modal Close this modal

8. Stick a bar of soap in the leg of some old panty hose, secure it to a water jug, and use the contraption for an easy, refillable hand-washing station.

No, you may not eat my chips with your bugspray-covered hands. From Art Wife Needs a Life.


9. Repurpose a weekly pill organizer into an inexpensive packable spice rack.

All it takes is some sticky labels, tape, and the organizer itself. From Miss Tweedle.

Get a similar pill organizer on Amazon for $7.98.

Close this modal Close this modal

10. Pre-crack your eggs into a bottle, so day-of all you have to do is shake 'em up to scramble, then pour them into your pan.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

Plus, you won't have to worry about eggs cracking in transit. Just make sure to use a bottle (or jar) with a screw-top, so they don't leak out. This is another hack one of our writers swears by.

Close this modal Close this modal

11. Roast Starbursts over your campfire so the insides are extra gooey and the outside is a little caramelized.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

Tested and loved by one of our writers!

Get 36 single packs of Starburst on Amazon for $23.31, or a 41-ounce bag from Amazon Pantry for $5.98.

12. Pre-mix your pancake batter, and pack it in pastry bags or even an empty, washed ketchup bottle.,

Then, when it's time to cook, simply cut the ends off the bags, or open the bottle! Heart-shaped pancakes optional. From A Mum 'n' the Oven and Your Modern Family.

Get a pack of 50 pastry bags on Amazon for $6.99, and a 12-pack of similar bag clips for $6.99.

Close this modal Close this modal

13. Or fill the bags with your favorite muffin batter, and bake them inside of orange peels.

You do have to peel your orange in a particular way, but it's much easier than it looks. Find out how to make them here.


14. Send the kids on a scavenger hunt, and write the items on the outside of a paper bag, so they can collect them as they go.

Or if they're a bit older and have cell phones (or if you prefer not to pick up things from the forest), give them a list and have them take pictures of things, instead of picking them up. From The Camping Family.

Get a pack of 80 paper lunch bags on Amazon for $7.80.

15. Keep all your camp kitchen items in order with a pocket shoe organizer.

Maggie Barnett / /

Hang it from a couple bungee cords, and you're in business: dish towels, utensils, and even your miniature spice cabinet could all find a home here. From Pinterest user Maggie Barnett and Starling Travel.

Get a similar organizer (with 24 pockets) on Amazon for $7.97.


16. Or you can go all-out to turn the back of one car (assuming you have multiples!) into an incredibly well-stocked camp pantry using sets of plastic drawers.

From Mountain Campingz.

Get a medium-size chest of plastic drawers on Amazon for $24.99+ and two sets of three drawers for $28.65.

17. And if you're worried about bugs, hang up an oversized mosquito net to easily keep them out.

Get something similar on Amazon for $19.45.

18. You can also drape mosquito netting around an outdoor canopy so you can eat at a picnic table without being accosted by flies.

As long as you lower the sides of the net well before you open the food, of course! From an Amazon reviewer. Get the same mosquito netting on Amazon for $19.45.


19. Try ~walking tacos~ for dinner one night: all it takes is a few small bags of fritos, some taco meat, and whatever toppings your heart desires.

Christy Denney /

And it makes basically no dishes! You could also top 'em with (hot!) canned chili, onions, and cheese for an easy Frito Pie. Get the recipe on The Girl Who Ate Everything, and browse more camping food hacks.

Close this modal Close this modal

20. Set up solar-powered lamps around camp so you can actually see where you're going after it gets dark.,

To set them on a picnic table (or another place where they can't stake in the ground) just flip an empty flower pot upside-down. From Starling Travel and Creekline House.

Get a set of 12 lamps for $23.99 on Amazon.

Close this modal Close this modal

21. Hang battery-powered fairy lights in your tent to create a soft, warm glow.

Sophie Gadd/BuzzFeed

You can still see and chat, without the brighter lights from your flashlight or headlamp. From one of our writers who tested it out.

Get a string of 30 battery-powered, multicolor lights on Amazon for $11.99.

22. Strap your headlamp to your water bottle to make a cozy glowing lantern.

From REI's blog.

23. Pack your cooler in cake/onion/parfait-like ~layers~, starting at the bottom with big jugs of frozen water.

Then pack plenty of ice around everything else, of course. And to get maximum usefulness out of your cooler, pre-chill it for a few hours before you pack it by filling it with ice and water (and shutting the lid), then pouring that out. From Dish Dish.


24. Use Command Strips to attach a ziplock bag to the inside of your cooler's lid, and fill it with small essentials.

And use the Velcro-like picture-hanging strips to attach something removable, like the bottle of hand sanitizer. From One Good Thing by Jillee.

Get the Command Poster-Hanging Strips (for the plastic bag) for $5.25, and the Picture-Hanging Strips for $7.71, both on Amazon.

25. And if you really want to keep your cooler as cold as possible, cover it with an extra layer of DIY reflective insulation.

From Diana Rambles. It uses foil insulation, which you can get on Amazon for $19.54, and reflective silver duct tape.


26. Tie six pieces of pre-split wood together to make a Swedish Fire Torch when it's too wet outside to get a regular fire going.

It's also useful for times when you get to camp and want to get cooking basically immediately. Read more about it and how to get it going at Fresh Off The Grid.

27. If your tent or sleeping bag's zippers are sticking, rub the edge of a candle on them to make 'em good as new.

From REI's blog.

28. Cut sections of pool noodles to make tent lines more visible, so people stop tripping over 'em.

From Heartland America on Pinterest.

Get pool noodles at your local store, or a pack of four on Amazon for $18.88.


Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!

Allison Krausman / BuzzFeed
Share on Facebook Share on Facebook Share Share on Twitter Share on Twitter Share More More

More entertainment, shopping, and quizzes in the BuzzFeed app!

Unable to load comments. Try reloading this page or viewing the full site. Pop out
Show more Expand