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10 Camping Hacks

Great Things to Add to Your Camping Checklist

Got the basic checklist items covered? By planning ahead and bringing a few extra items, you can make your campout even more fun, comfortable, and easy!

1. After-sun lotion – Have you ever attempted to get a restful night’s sleep in a tent after experiencing a sunburn?  Of course prevention via sunblock is ideal, but if you’ve ever under-applied, you probably wish you had that moisturizing and cooling gel that offers wonderful relief.  Toss a bottle into your first aid kit and it will be appreciated some day!

2. Bandana – A bandana is extremely useful for helping you stay cool on hot days.  Simply fold it into a comfortable shape, add water until damp, and loosely tie it around your neck and let the evaporation cool you off.

two people bicycling near Glacier National Park

3. Bicycles – If the terrain to your destination allows for it, take bikes along with you.  Whether on a road, trail, or open grasses, bikes make for a great experience in the natural world and allow you to see more of a campsite in less time. Don’t forget your helmet!

4. Cots – You say you love tent camping, but do you wake up with a sore body?  Try a cot!  These days, they are made lighter and are more easily transported, and they provide comfort so you won’t miss your bed at home.

5. Red flashlight – One of the greatest joys of camping is enjoying the night sky, but white lights impact our night vision and the way our eyes see the stars.  A red light, however, won’t affect your eyes nearly as much!  If you don’t have red light handy, even red cellophane wrapped around your flashlight and held in place with a rubber band can help.

6. Battery pack for handheld electronics – When spending the night outdoors, you may not have access to a power outlet to replenish that battery. Consider a portable charger to help you make it through the night. It’s tempting to separate outdoor adventures from technology, but do what is necessary for your group to feel comfortable and at home in the outdoors.

two kids camping in a tent at night

7. Solar-powered lights or battery-powered lights – A small amount of shared light added to a campsite can make folks more comfortable and even safer, if they help identify a tripping hazard, thorny vegetation, or poison ivy. These shared lights can also add to the social environment inside the tent.

8. Charcoal chimney – A chimney helps more air get to more coals, making it hotter faster—and all you need to start your cooking fire are newspaper and a match.  The days of repeatedly hosing down your coals with lighter fluid are over!

9. Garbage bags – These are so often left behind in favor of installed trash cans nearby, or you may use grocery bags in place of garbage bags.  Experience may have shown you that these weak bags don’t always live up to the job.  Bring a few true garbage bags with you so one can be disposed of each night to help prevent wildlife, like raccoons, from looking for a meal in the late hours of the night.

10. S’more additions – You’re likely familiar with traditional s’mores made of chocolate, toasted marshmallows, and graham crackers. But have you thought about expanding on the delicious tradition?  Do Reese’s peanut butter cups, apple wedges, or bananas sound interesting? Get creative and create a s’more fixins bar and let your family and friends build their own!

Adapted from "Add These Items to Your Camping Checklist" by Robert Owen