25 Tips For Making Camping Easier & More Fun!

camping tips

This is one of those posts that really has no rhyme or reason to it….other than it interested me! Maybe it’s the fact that my nephew Nate just bought a camper, or maybe it’s just that time of year, but for some reason I’ve had camping on the brain and I’ve seen a few very cool ideas recently that I thought if I WERE to go camping…I would probably take advantage of!

We actually don’t do much camping…but we love being outdoors and having bonfires in the backyard. Maybe we just need to take it to the next level. I think some of these ideas might just help us do that!

 

Tips For Making Camping Easier & More Fun!

camping tips

Tacos in a Bag  -  Camping With Gus

A quick camp meal with almost no clean-up, but lots of novelty, that your kids will be talking about long after the camping trip is over.

 

 

camping tips

Reading Lamp  -  Flickr.com

A simple system that is easy on the eyes. A gallon milk jug filled with water with a headlamp pointing into the water.

 

 

camping tips 23

Campfire Cones  -  Kids Activities Blog

These “S’more Cones” are yummy and super easy to make!

 

 

camping tips

Solar-Powered Lights  -  Field and Stream

Put solar-powered garden lights near tent stakes, so you don’t trip over the lines at night.

 

 

camping tips

Camping Scavenger Hunt  -  The Creative Homemaker

A scavenger hunt list with pictures even little kids can understand.

 

 

camping tips

Campfire Orange Blueberry Muffins  -  Tasty Kitchen

An easy, fun family favorite Campfire Dessert that you throw right into the fire!

 

 

camping tips

Cordless Water Pump  -  Harriett Carter

Cordless water pump dispenses bottled water without lifting or spilling. Specially designed pump snaps onto a 5 or 6 gallon bottle.

 

 

camping tips

Clever Camp Kitchen Organizer –  Starling Travel

Use a shoe organizer to help with camp kitchen set-up.

 

 

camping tips

Orajel For Mosquito Bites  -  Thrifty Fun

Use Orajel or any toothache gel medicine to stops the itching from mosquito bites.

 

 

camping tips

Eggs In A Mason Jar  -  The Pomegranate Chronicles

Empty a dozen eggs into a mason jar for easy travel. They fit perfect in the cooler without the worry of breaking. Just pour them out as you need.

 

 

camping tips

Camping Donuts  -  Aloha Knitter

These “donuts” are made from canned biscuits. Poke a big hole in the center and fry in a skillet. Dust them liberally with sugar and cinnamon, and you have Camping Donuts!

 

 

camping tips

Keeping Your Camp Toilet Paper Fresh and DRY!  -  Alaska Outdoor Journal

Coffee cans are wonderful for keeping your “important papers” dry and ready for use under any outdoors weather condition. The plastic Folgers can has a built-in handle for easy carrying to the campground outhouse or out in the woods.

 

 

camping tips

Take The Stings Out Of Bites  -  Alaska Outdoor Journal

For any kind of bite, sting, itch or minor skin irritation, carry a Zilactin Toothache Swab. It provides instant numbing and cooling of any skin problem. Safe, clean, portable.

 

 

camping tips

Banana Boats  -  Lick My Spoon

This no-fuss dessert is absurdly easy, and sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

 

 

camping tips

Recycled PB Jar Camping Lantern  -  Made By Cynthia Rae

Turn it on and watch it flicker and glow!

 

 

camping tips

Easy Camping Pancakes  -  A Mum ‘n The Oven

When preparing to leave home, fill baggies with pancake batter, tie off the end and when you are ready, just snip the small ends to use as a piping bag and you are ready to cook!

 

 

camping tips

Tin Foil Dinners  -  Simple Bites

An ideal dinner if you don’t want to spend much time cooking, yet want to serve a meal that’s wholesome and satisfying. The best part? No dishes to wash up!

 

 

camping tips

DIY Firestarters  -  Mommy Savers

An easy DIY firestarter you can make with stuff you normally throw away.  Wad up your old dryer lint and stick it inside a toilet paper tube.

 

 

camping tips

Toasted Starbursts  -  Life As We Know It

Sounds crazy enough that it just might be good! :-)

 

 

camping tips

Portable Camping Organizer  -  Kamp Kadi

Clamps conveniently on a table/grill or stakes in the ground. Has a Hands-Free Flex-Light, Radio/lantern holder, paper towel holder, adjustable condiment rack, movable utensil hooks, waste bag hoop, durable carry and storage bag.

 

 

camping tips

Luggable Loo  -  Little Vintage Trailer

A 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat attached to the top. Add some kitty litter in a plastic garbage bag and it makes a great portable toilet so you don’t have to go to campground bathrooms for those late night potty runs.

 

 

camping tips

Campfire Pizza  -  What’s Cooking America

Surprise your family with pizza on your camping trip! Using pre-made pizza crust that comes in a tube makes it a snap to prepare. Remember, any type of pizza that you can make at home, you can make in a Dutch Oven!

 

 

camping tips

Carry Duct Tape Minus the Bulky Roll  -  Field and Stream

Duct tape can be a lifesaver. But carrying an entire roll takes up valuable space inside a backpack—and you probably won’t need that much tape. Wrap a couple feet around a Bic lighter, so you always have a short supply inside your pocket.

 

 

camping tips 19

Another Camp Kitchen Organizer  -  Prepared Not Scared

A great way to organize EVERYTHING you will need to cook and prepare meals OUTDOORS using a tool organizer!

 

 

camping tips

Laundry Detergent Water Dispenser  -  Great Wild Outdoors

Recycle that old detergent bottle and take it camping with you as a portable hand-washing station. Perfect for kids and adults to wash up before meals.

 

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So….what do you think?  Have you been bitten by the camping bug too?

 

Almost makes you want to pack up the car, van or RV right now and hit the open road doesn’t it!?!?  Almost??  :-)

 

How do YOU make camping more fun and less stressful?

 

camping tips

 

 


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Comments

  1. Lisa B says

    When our girls were little we used to go camping almost every weekend. Since I didn’t work outside the home I would take the camper, children and the dogs up to the camp site and have everything all set up for when my husband arrived.
    I have used many of these tips, they were lifesavers at times! If I may add a couple that I have found very useful.
    For campfire starter you can also melt down old candles, pour them into lined mini muffin tins. When they harden add them to the toilet paper/dryer lint for fire starters.
    Also for bug bites you can use stick deodorant. I know this sounds crazy but it really does work!
    Great tips jillee!

  2. Jan says

    Thank you for collecting all these great ideas! Banana boats were my Girl Scout troop’s favorite for every camping trip, but I must try the muffins in an orange peel for breakfast. Those look amazing!

  3. Beth says

    We won’t be camping this year since my youngest is only for months old, but we do have a fire pit in the backyard. I can’t wait to try out some of these recipes, especially the smores in a cone!

    • Jolyn says

      What? Take your baby camping! We have taken our kids camping when they were that young and they loved it. In fact, our one son was only 10 days old when he went camping for the first time. And, yes, we were in a tent. And we loved it!

      • Melody says

        Absolutely take your baby camping! It is so awesome to be able to enjoy the things in life you enjoyed even before baby was born! They’ll sleep better too after all that fresh air.. it’s such a great beginning for children of all ages!!

    • Rhonda says

      Oh, please don’t let your baby stop you from camping. We first took our son when he was a bit older only because we don’t camp much in the winter! LOL. The fresh air is good for them! Bring the playpen, that always helps. We tent camped at first, and he slept so well (played hard during the day, I guess, LOL). My son has had his own tent since he was 13, and still loves to camp, even though he can’t get internet with his iPod. :D

      • CTY says

        We took our son camping & he was only a few months old. We too the portable crib & placed it by a window. Any time he needed out or we needed him in we just unzipped the window (kept foot traffic out of the tent). Plus he loved looking out the window at birds flying by and the leaves on trees glimmering. At night we moved the crib more toward the center–where it is warmer (just in case he wiggles out of blankets).

  4. Susan says

    Nice list! We are veteran campers in this family, and I picked up a few ideas.

    We keep all of our camping equipment in large totes, organized by function – we have one that houses “kitchen” stuff, one with tents & sleep pads, stakes, and hammer, one with sleeping bags, blankets, and towels, one with miscellaneous (lighter fluid, medicinals, games, headlamps, lanterns, small tools & tape, batteries, etc.). They store easily in the garage, and when we decide to go camping, it’s grab and go – just pack food & clothes. When we return, we reorganize and restock our ready-totes so when the urge strikes next time it’s no big thing to hit the road. I’ll have to see if there’s room in the tent tote for solar stakes!

    I also pre-cook any ground beef I might need so I don’t have to deal with draining grease, but leave the rest of my meat frozen to help keep the cooler cold – dinner is whatever has thawed first.

    • Mindy says

      Susan,

      Once you pre-cook your ground beef, put it back in the freezer and it can help keep the cooler cold too! Love the idea to keep everything in totes. Personally, I don’t like to camp, but my boys love it.

  5. Jocelyn says

    I am really looking forward to the summer camping season. I love the hand washing station idea. My must have for camping is to brew coffee at home and put in in the cooler. Then my husband and I can have a quick cup of coffee while we get the fire going for breakfast.

  6. Kate T says

    My son has been in scouting for a long time – he’s an Eagle scout now – and we’re heading up to the Poconos in a few weeks for a zip-lining trip. The boys will be camping (while us girls are nestled snugly into the nearest hotel), and your ideas couldn’t come at a better time. I LOVE the bic lighter/duct tape gizmo…I am going to make one for my car!

    One of our go-to tricks is to fill a spray bottle with Listerine (the amber kind) and spray the site before pitching the tent. It really does keep away the majority of mosquitoes.

    Thanks again for sharing such fun – and useful – tips!

  7. Gail says

    When I was young and even when I was your age camping was fun. Now my idea of roughing it is having to walk up or down one flight to get to the ice machine…no, wait! I don’t do “up” stairs well…now it’s “all the way to the end of the hall?”

  8. says

    I’m starting to feel the itch for sure! The weather had been really nice here lately, and my father-in-law gave us a new tent for Christmas. Some of these (the milk carton lantern) I’ve seen before and have pinned for later reference, but some were new to me!

    One challenge we’ve also got is that we have a one year old. There’s a camping high chair that folds up like a regular camping chair… but it’s a tad expensive for the use we’ll get out of it. I’m going to attempt to make my own with vinyl and velcro attached to a regular camping chair I bought on sale.

  9. Jolyn says

    Love the ideas – thanks for sharing!!

    We have used the laundry detergent wash station for years, with an addition. We take an old pair of knee high nylons and put a bar of soap in the toe, then tie it to the handle. When washing your hands, just rub the soap through the nylon and wah-lah! Suds! And your soap doesn’t get dropped into the dirt below! And, the soap you use doesn’t need to be a full bar – instead, use the leftover pieces that are too small to use in your shower anymore. Put a few small pieces in the nylons and you’re set to go.

    Another idea – Ever had a plastic hanger break in the middle of the bottom? Well, use that break to slide on a roll of paper towels to hang from a nearby tree or table and you’ve got yourself a useful paper towel holder. Perfect near your cook station or your wash station.

    Can’t wait to go camping!

    • Susan says

      Love the soap in a nylon tip – thanks! We already use a 3-gallon Coleman water jug perched on the edge of the table or a log for “running” water, but what a great idea for soap!

  10. Holly says

    Great collection of camping tips. Not sure about the cat litter garbage can porta-potty — do people really use this type of thing ?!? However, I love the classics such as the campfire banana boats!

    • Sherry says

      Holly, people “of a certain age” don’t have canteen-size bladders like our younger counterparts. This necessitates several night-time trips to the… well, you know. :) Seems like a great solution to me!

  11. Rhonda says

    We love to camp! Because I love to camp, I want to enjoy it as much as possible, so I do a lot of food prep before, as I want to enjoy the experience, and not get stuck in the “kitchen”!
    I pre-mix, pre-chop, and pre-package and pre-cook almost everything I can!
    Always spaghetti one night, as I make a huge batch of sauce a week or two before, and FOOD SAVER and freeze. It can feed many guests too. I don’t worry about it melting and it helps keep everything else cold. All I have to do is boil water.
    Veggies are diced, sliced, chopped and bagged.
    Potatoes are diced into small squares and par boiled. 1/2 are scooped out to cool and bag, and the rest are cooked all the way through to make potato salad. The par boiled ones are used to make “country” potatoes with the diced peppers and onions for breakfast in the mornings. (and yes, I am going to try the eggs in a jar. much easier to differentiate between uncooked and hard boiled!)
    Oh, and a French Press makes the BEST coffee while camping. All you have to do is boil the water and pour. Easy for the hubby and kiddo to do, as no one talks to Mama until she’s had her coffee!

    • says

      We LOVE camping. Another quick way to make coffee is buy the simple funnel shaped plastic coffee filter holder at most any grocery store. Line it with the filter, put your ground coffee in it, and pour the hot water over the coffee grounds. The plastic holder only costs about $3 and is lightweight, portable, and makes a good cup of coffee. Simple.
      We also keep totes packed and ready to go in the garage.
      Crocs are great shower shoes and sitting around the campfire shoes. Again, lightweight and multi-purpose.
      Keep a bucket of water under the picnic table to drop your dishes in – they have soaked and easy to clean when you get ready to wash.
      Take plenty of small trash bags for daily trash, dirty clothes, etc.
      Get a harmonica and ‘play’ at learning. Its fun even if you don’t know how to play and you can make some ‘music’ for entertainment by the camp fire (the fire channel).
      Use a simple string of Christmas lights at camp. They put out plenty of light and do not disturb neighboring campers.
      Take a screen room. Place it over your picnic table. It is great for getting away from bugs and bad weather. Makes a much better camping experience if you happen to be camping when bugs are biting or rainy or windy weather.

  12. says

    I read your blog all the time, and I was perusing this article and saw the donuts. I thought, “hmmm, that picture looks familiar”, and then I realized that you had linked to my blog! Hahaha, it was like being “discovered” on star search, lol!

    As always, this is a fabulous post you’ve assembled!

  13. says

    Wow! I can’t wait to try these new ideas! We always take a large group camping every year and we tried several of these ideas last year and they were a big hit! Can’t wait to the new things I saw on your list! I am really interested in the PB light. AND totally love the toolbag Kitchen organizer! :) So many other things too…Thanks for sharing!

  14. COMET says

    We have done camping forever but not so much now.

    The Porta Potty has many variations on it and some use an outdoor shower type surround to make it more private. There are several types of liners sold for containment. Diaper “beads” the wet-holding material from disposables can also be used–buy cheap ones the liners etc are not going to touch any babys butt here!

    This is not only good for middle of the night trips but for those bathrooms that are not really clean–and for little kids it is a Mom saver! Also for those side of the road needs.

    You can buy several variations of the lid etc or go creative and just adapt one from the store. Also–most of these buckets are avail free or nearly so keep an eye out.

    And–the height on these is too low for some adults- So some have made a wooden box to go under it–just make sure you have some sort of cleats or edge molding so the bucket does NOT slide!!!!

    And yes it is very real-and very handy!

  15. Jules says

    We LOVE to camp. We live in Wisconsin and our campground this year opened up middle of April. This year is alittle different, cold to start out with!!! We had our truck unloaded and looked out the window and it was snowing to beat the band!!!
    I agree with having food all ready to go, cut up, that all you have to do is wrap in tinfoil for the campfire. Don’t forget about your breakfast boil in a bag. Scrambled eggs and whatever you want to add..drop in boiling water and boil until done, so easy and every persons bag can have whatever they want in it!
    Also got to try this…take a caramel on a stick, heat over fire until soft, then sandwich between 2 ritz crackers….sweet and salty OMG!!!
    We are big on outside games, bean bag toss, ladder toss, washer toss, and this year we have added a new one, large wooden dice for yard yahtzee!!! So can’t wait!!! Or old games like OPERATION..try doing that one after you have had a few drinks, makes for a fun filled evening!!
    oh one more…we have solar lights that do the mission imposible red light design.You try to go through the lights with out being hit and setting off the imaginary alarms..that one also gets tricky the more you drink!!!
    Go camping it will have wonderful memories that last forever!!!!!!

  16. Theresa says

    First we use almost all of these tips and they are WONDERFUL time/space savers, I did get a few new tricks and will be using them soon!

    2nd to the mom of the little one – never to early to start them camping! We started with my son when he was 4 mo old in a tent (thank god for the pack n play!) and my daughter was a nov baby so she was 6 mo, and we had progressed to a pop up!

    They are life long campers now! Make memories, don’t make it work!

  17. Debbie Howard says

    Oh Emm Gee!! Great ideas. We horse camp and these are super duper for us. We can ride and come back to some dinner. Love it! I also love the water dispenser and the water lanterns. So nice to have light in dark places. Potty idea! brilliant! I hate trying to “find” the potty in the dark…. I always have to go in the night! LOL TMI!!

    Thank you! I’d love a printable version of this!

  18. STACEY says

    Please don’t take bananas camping, as they attract mosquitoes. It sweetens your blood and they can smell it…..also, I would pack my eggs in a ziploc bag and lay it on top of items in cooler. It takes less room, no chance of breakage and you just throw away the bag (no cleaning of jar or toting back home)….As always, love your site and all the info is so useful. Especially love all the input from the comments. Have gleaned much more info as well………..Stacey

  19. Tara says

    Thank You Jillee!!

    This morning I woke up with camping on the brain as well. I renewed our tags for our camper and I plan on using several of these great ideas. I love the batter in the pastry bags. I’ve used this at home as well for busy weekends.

  20. Tonya says

    Love the solar lights idea! As for the pancakes though, I use coffee creamer containers, fill them half full with mix (complete, of course) and when I’m ready to cook them, I add the water and shake. Less waste and helps to relieve some of the guilt from all of the creamer containers that I’ve thrown away throughout the year.

  21. says

    Great tips…thanks.
    One of my favorite things I made was taking a pair of old jeans and cutting them off at the knee and sewing them closed at the bottom and running a hem with ribbon at the top…enclose your weinee sticks and cinch up the ribbon. Best (and cutest, as we decorated ours) safest tote ever.

  22. Paula says

    We took our children camping when they were babies too, and we used a cardboard box that was the appropriate size for the child to make a great portable crib. Pad it however you wish

  23. CTY says

    Been camping for years & years. Love to see new ideas.
    Men don’t read this.
    Here’s one trick that will raise Mom’s to Goddess level (just in case the family thinks you touched down to Earth). Sorry for leaving the guys out–but all Mom’s know that you always have an ace up your sleeve!
    Campfire activity. Place an egg in a paper cup and fill with water (yes it must be paper & not wax coated). Make sure the egg is generously covered with water & place it in the fire so it won’t spill. You can hard boil (or soft boil) the egg this way. Here’s what happens: Water boils at 212 degrees, paper burns at 451-ish degrees. As the water boils away the area of the cup not holding water will burn down to the water line–but not beyond that. Cook 5 min for hard boiled, 3 min for soft boiled.

    Something else we did was outline our campsite with American flags so they everyone can find it easily–especially at night.

  24. Sherylin says

    You know. That shoe holder idea for kitchen stuff is good enough that for a small kitchenette I think it could be very helpful :)
    Seeing as a tiny kitchen is stuck for space, going vertical like that could be cool :)

    Thanks for ALL of the wonderful ideas

    Sherylin :)

  25. Lillian says

    Neat! Some of these look super fun. I might make some peanut-butter-jar lanterns with the kids – we have loads of those little LED votives around. If you used masking tape to stick on shadow shapes onto the wax paper inside, you could probably change them around as much as you wanted to.

  26. Amanda says

    I have to vouch for the roasted Starbursts – We’ve been doing that for years and they’re AMAZING! The outside gets slightly crunchy while the middle is warm and gooey. Read the instructions on the blog she linked to. Definitely something everyone needs to try!

  27. Maegan D says

    My family and I love to go camping. I am definitely going to use some of these ideas next time we go! Thank you so much for the inspiration! I have tried so many things since following you and have loved ALL of them! :) <3 God Bless!

  28. judith says

    Love the idea about the solar lights around tent stakes. They would be great at home for anything in the yard that is a potential tripping hazard. They also would make your camping site easier to find in the dark. Thanks.

  29. says

    Love the roundup of ideas! Some new, clever ones I haven’t seen, and as we’ve just started taking family camping trips, I’ll be sure to keep these in mind! It was actually the camping artwork that captured my attention on Pinterest, though. Who is the artist of that painting?

  30. Lisa says

    We only recently started tent camping and we just love it. I found that with each trip, we were bringing more and more gear. I shop at too many flea markets and always find cool camping things! I have to admit that less is more, so we are bringing less now. Many folks talk about keeping their camping gear ready to go in large plastic storage totes. That’s just too bulky for my midsized car. So, I use a variety of sturdy bags, like the reuseable ones you get at the grocery store. You can use them for most anything, they’re easy to carry, and they can’t get too heavy to lift, like an overfull tote can. Easy to pack in the car, just like groceries! My local dollar store carries really nice, large, sturdy mesh bags that I use to carry sleeping bags/blankets, pillows, and other such soft, bulky items.

    • d says

      I agree. Less is more (most of the time). Part of the fun of camping is getting by with out all the conveniences of home.

      Those 20 gallon totes are way too bulky and way too easy to load up with junk. Duffel bags and pillow cases are the way to go for storage.

    • Ashley B. says

      I would go the safe route and say NO! 1, there is no telling if you’ll get 100% of the soap residue out of it and some soaps have things in them that can make you VERY sick if ingested. 2, The plastics used in detergent bottles were never meant to be food safe. They could leech chemicals into the water over the long term and, again, make you VERY sick.

    • Ashley B. says

      After thinking a minute, I think storing some water for hygiene purposes would be a good idea. Keeping yourself clean is one way to keep morale up in a bad situation. As long as you don’t use the water for brushing your teeth and you were just washing your hands/sponging off with it I think it could be stored in a WELL cleaned detergent bottle.

      • Carol says

        Really like the detergent jug idea! There is a paint that adheres to plastic, flat black would let you have hot water. Maybe a few more jugs for hot showers.

        Maybe paint a large heavy plastic juice/tea jug black and use for teeth, face, hot dishwater, etc.

        Plan on a solo camping/fishing trip in a few weeks, going to try many of these great tips.

Trackbacks

  1. […] This requires an empty gallon of water and a standard headlamp.  In order to construct it, simply point the headlamp into the jug and secure it around the perimeter of the container.  This will provide ambient light for your camp out.  The headlamp lantern allows you to see much more than originally possible.  img source […]

  2. […] This requires an empty gallon of water and a standard headlamp.  In order to construct it, simply point the headlamp into the jug and secure it around the perimeter of the container.  This will provide ambient light for your camp out.  The headlamp lantern allows you to see much more than originally possible.  img source […]

  3. […] This requires an empty gallon of water and a standard headlamp.  In order to construct it, simply point the headlamp into the jug and secure it around the perimeter of the container.  This will provide ambient light for your camp out.  The headlamp lantern allows you to see much more than originally possible.  img source […]

  4. […] This requires an empty gallon of water and a standard headlamp.  In order to construct it, simply point the headlamp into the jug and secure it around the perimeter of the container.  This will provide ambient light for your camp out.  The headlamp lantern allows you to see much more than originally possible.  img source […]

  5. […] This requires an empty gallon of water and a standard headlamp.  In order to construct it, simply point the headlamp into the jug and secure it around the perimeter of the container.  This will provide ambient light for your camp out.  The headlamp lantern allows you to see much more than originally possible.  img source […]

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