Skip To Content
  • lol badge

I Tested Some Easy Camping Hacks IRL And It Was Extremely Wild

Turns out you get some really weird looks for trying to set fire to Doritos.

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:

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

Ah, British summertime.

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.

A Little Campy

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFe

Method: Put foam floor tiles on the floor of your tent.

Price: £15 for 8 foam tiles from Halfords. The rollmat is £5, from Tesco. Or free if you already have a spare one.

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.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed
Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

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.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed
Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

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.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed
Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

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.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed
Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

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:

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed
Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed


6. The camping shower.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

Method: Fill up the shower with water, then leave it in the sun for 3 hours. Enjoy a hot shower in the wild.

Price: £10 from Tiger. Almost certainly not worth it.

Did it work? No. It failed us in SO MANY WAYS.

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.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

The stunning English summer weather.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

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.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

Here's my girlfriend sitting on a fence in front of some bins trying to make the bloody thing work. What a glamorous shower location.

When we finally got it working the water just trickled out in a disappointing stream.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed
Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

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.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

Method: Fill a water bottle with salt water and freeze it, instead of using ice packs.

Price: Free.

Did it work? Yes, this kept our sausages and cans of vodka cranberry nice and cool until dinner time. I have been doing this trick for years, so I just used regular water because I was too afraid that we would accidentally drink it in the night.

8. The self-inflating air mattress.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

Me watching the rollmat inflate.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

Me testing out the rollmat.

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:

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

We had to deflate the one on the left a bit because it was like a bouncy castle.

9. Zip two sleeping bags together for warmth/spooning.

Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed
Sophie Gadd / BuzzFeed

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).

Price: Free!

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.

BuzzFeed Daily

Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

Newsletter signup form