Camping can be as simple as a bedroll thrown down next to a campfire or as complicated as a land yacht with all the bells and whistles. But no matter what your camping style is, there are plenty of little tricks to make it more comfortable. Here are 10 of our favorite camping hacks for a relaxing trip.
If you’re planning to cook outdoors, whether over the fire or on a camp stove, get organized before you leave home. A camp tote stocked with all the essentials—dish soap, fuel, spatula, cooking oil, and cutting board—keeps your gear organized and ensures you won’t forget anything.
When you’re tent camping, set up a new tent at home first. That way you’re not stumbling around in the dark trying to figure out which tent pole goes where. If you’re RV camping, practice hooking up your dump hose and leveling and backing your rig so you can spend more time relaxing and less time figuring it out on the fly.
Headlamps, lanterns, extra batteries, stakes, extra socks: these are a few of the little things that bring big comfort. And they’re also easy to leave behind by mistake.
Seriously, don’t leave these three items at home. For most minor repairs—from a torn rain fly to a loose awning—you can get through with these repair essentials. Make a list of what you need for every trip, and check it before you start the car.
There’s nothing worse than a soggy mess at the bottom of your cooler when all the ice melts. Skip that step by freezing a milk jug full of water before you leave and using that as your block of ice for the trip. When it melts, you have an extra gallon of drinking water, too.
If you’re the type of person who’s always cold, or you’re just planning on camping on a chilly night, don’t stress about being uncomfortable. Before bed, fill a water bottle with hot water. Tighten the lid securely and wrap it in a towel or t-shirt, then stash it in the bottom of your sleeping bag to get everything cozy before you crawl in.
If you’re sleeping in a sleeping bag and you’re worried about nighttime lows, wrap a fleece blanket around your shoulders before you get in. This extra layer can make a big difference in comfort.
Pre-chop and wash your fruits and veggies at home. It packs nicer in Ziplocs or Tupperware and stays dry as the ice melts in your cooler.
Old newspaper, wood shavings, dry moss: there are lots of great fire starters out there. But if you’re scrambling, grab a bag of dryer lint and an egg carton, and make your own fire starter to get your campfire roaring.
As getting outdoors grows more and more popular, finding a campsite in popular areas often requires an advance reservation. This is especially true in summer. If you’re heading to a busy area, book well ahead so you don’t have the stress of trying to find a site when all the campgrounds are full.
If you aren’t able to get a reservation for the dates you need, check in the week before to see if there are any cancellations. It’s more common than you might expect for a site to open up at the last minute. Taking the time to check can have a big payoff in fun memories made.
When you’re ready to dream up your next camping adventure, choose a site that’s good for the planet, too, when you book your stay at a Starry Night campground.