Hi, I'm Sophie, and despite living on the internet most of the time, I actually like going outside on the weekends. Here I am outdoors:
As well as the outdoors, I am also absolutely obsessed with reading about camping life hacks. So I decided go off to the English countryside to see if some popular camping life hacks actually work in real life. Here's what I found:
1. Put foam tiles on the floor of your tent for a softer surface.
Method: Put foam floor tiles on the floor of your tent.
Did it work? Yes, but we cheated. It turns out these tiles are kind of hard to find last minute. Instead we just put a regular foam camping mat and an old space blanket on the floor, which definitely seemed to keep the cold out better than the groundsheet alone.
2. The water bottle lantern hack.
Method: Stretch a headlamp around a waterbottle.
Price: Free if you already have a headlamp! If not, around £5 for a relatively cheap brand.
Did it work? YESSS. Honestly, I can't praise this enough. It really lights up the tent and stops you from blinding your companion every time you look at them, which is the main curse of head torches. Also it just looks cool.
3. Use tortilla chips as kindling.
Method: Use tortilla chips as a firestarter when you can't find any kindling.
Price: Around £1 for own brand, so definitely cheaper than firelighters.
Did it work? NOPE. Our campsite banned fires so we attempted to light them on the BBQ/a foil boat. It was extremely windy so we couldn't get them to light at all! In the end, after wasting half our matches on this hack, I just ate them. However, I have tried this before and it does work if you're not doing it in gale-force winds.
4. The washing up liquid hack.
Method: Squeeze some washing up liquid (or dish soap, for Americans) onto a sponge and put it in a resealable plastic bag before you set off for your trip.
Price: Free, assuming you have dish soap and a sponge at home.
Did it work? Yes! It's probably worth doing if you're backpacking for one night and really want to cut down on weight, as it would only last for one or two rounds of dish washing. I forgot to take a picture of it in action, but trust me, there was some serious cleaning going on.
5. Baked bananas and chocolate on a BBQ.
Method: Shove a bunch of chocolate into a banana. Wrap it in tin foil, then put it in the embers of your campfire or BBQ.
Price: Very cheap if you already have foil at home! The chocolate was 30p and the banana was 13p from Tesco.
Did it work? Yes. Delicious. I imagine you could add marshmallows/peanut butter if you wanted to make this even more wild.
Please enjoy these unflattering pictures of me eating it:
6. The camping shower.
Firstly, it wasn't nearly warm enough weather to heat up the water so we had to fill it up with hot water from the campsite taps.
Also it was 6pm and we'd completely forgotten about it, so this was kind of our fault.
Then we couldn't work out how to hang it up.
When we finally got it working the water just trickled out in a disappointing stream.
We got some really weird looks from everyone else on the campsite for doing this right outside the shower block full of functioning warm showers.
7. Freeze a water bottle and put it in your cooler.
8. The self-inflating air mattress.
Method: Invest in a cheap self-inflating air mattress instead of a regular foam rollmat for luxury campsite comfort.
Price: £15 from Tiger.
Did it work? Yes, but you have to top up the air by blowing it up with your mouth, unless you want a really flat surface. Even though it's about £10 more expensive than a regular foam rollmat, it's worth the investment if you generally find it hard to sleep on the ground.
Here they are:
9. Zip two sleeping bags together for warmth/spooning.
Method: Zip two sleeping bags together; here, my girlfriend demonstrates how easy it is to do (no, I don't make her wear BuzzFeed branded clothing all the time).
Did it work? Yes, even though they are different brands and slightly different sizes. This is one of the best hacks in my opinion, as it's much warmer and makes your mummy sleeping bag slightly less claustrophobic. Also you can spoon.
Overall, some of these hacks are definitely worth doing, and I will certainly be doing them again.
While some of these life hacks might seem like common sense, I had never thought of the head-torch lantern trick or zipping the sleeping bags together before, and it definitely improved the camping experience. The shower is definitely not worth it, unless you're going to a campsite in hot weather without bathroom facilities.
And obviously I will be eating chocolate campfire bananas for every meal now.