Camping Tips and Tricks

A List of Helpful Camping Tips From Real Campers

Preparing for a big camping trip can feel like a daunting task, especially if you’re a beginner.  Knowing what gear to pack, how to prepare food, where to find the best camping spots along with many other details are the things that you’ll need to consider before you head out on a camping trip.

That’s why we’ve compiled this list of camping tips and tricks from real world campers who have some great insights on how to create the most enjoyable camping experiences.  Whether you’re going to be RV camping, tent camping, or backpacking there are definitely some useful pieces of advice below.

We hope you enjoy this extensive list of different camping tips and tricks to help prepare for your next upcoming camping trip.  If you have a camping tip or trick of your own that’s improved your camping trips, we’d love for you to leave a comment below.

Browse by a specific camping tip or trick below. Click on any of these links to jump to the camping tip you want to see:

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Prepare a Coffee Camping Kit

Coffee Camping Kit

Out of all the camping tips and tricks, mine revolves around a few low-key luxuries to make your truck camping life a little easier.  One thing that I do is bring along a hand-held burr grinder and Aeropress coffee maker to make a truly amazing, fresh, delicious coffee no matter where I am.

I can just pull over at a rest area while I’m on the road, or wake up at my boondock campsite and make a cup of coffee that is as good as any overpriced hipster coffee shop, and for a fraction of the price!

Here’s a quick step-by-step:

  1. Boil some water, using a kettle pot or electric pot. (depending on what you have access to while camping)
  2. Grind your coffee beans or use pre-ground coffee.
  3. Pour the coffee grounds into the inverted Aeropress coffee maker.
  4. Pour hot water over the coffee grounds, filling the Aeropress about half way.
  5. Stir for 10-20 seconds and then top off the mix with more water, to fill the Aeropress to the top.
  6. Place the filter and the lid on the top of the Aeropress.
  7. Let your coffee steep for 2-4 minutes depending on how strong you want your coffee.
  8. Flip the Aeropress onto your coffee cup and slowly press down on the plunger.  This will start to push the coffee through the filter while collecting the grounds and filling your mug.
  9. Clean off each of the pieces and enjoy your fresh cup of coffee!

If you’d like a more in-depth walkthrough of this process, check out how I keep coffee in my daily camping routine.

Ryan | DeskToDirtBag.com

Another great way to make sure that you get your coffee fix while camping is to prepare a pot of cowboy coffee.  If you’re curious, you can read our post and learn how to make cowboy coffee.

It’s All About The Camping Gear

Camping Gear

It’s all about having dependable gear. High-quality clothing, tents, sleeping bags, cooking tools, etc can make all the difference between a good camping experience and a bad one.

Good gear may not be cheap, but it usually will last you for years if you maintain it well.  One way to get a great camping gear setup started is to prioritize a list of items that you need and purchase them one at a time according to your budget.

Once you have a basic camping gear setup that you can depend on, you can slowly add other more luxury items that will improve your camping game.

If you’re just not ready to commit to purchasing good gear, you can usually rent or borrow it from friends.  Or, look into cabin camping or glamping tents, which are now offered by many campgrounds.

Allison Laypath | TipsForFamilyTrips.com

Use a Portable Toilet and Solar Shower

Portable Solar Shower

A game changer for some people is the lack of facilities with dispersed camping. No toilets, no showers… But there are options like inexpensive portable toilets and solar showers.

You can choose to take a shovel and dig a hole for your waste, or you can actually buy a portable toilet and carry it with you, emptying it at RV stations, which you can find at some gas stations.

We have a really handy setup with a portable toilet inside its own little pop-up tent. The benefit to this is that you don’t have to dig a hole, and you leave nothing behind.  Campers leaving toilet paper and other things in the woods, and not burying their waste, is becoming more of a problem.

Carrying your own facilities ultimately helps you to leave no trace where you were camping.

Mel Lockcuff | AdventuresofMel.com

Use Sealable and Reusable Food Containers

Sealable and Reusable Food Containers

I like to leave as much packaging at home as I possibly can when I go camping. So if I’m taking some food with me, I’ll normally unwrap it before leaving and then stick the food in a resealable container I’ve got lying around the house instead.

The big benefit of this is that it means that after using the food when you’re out in the wild, you don’t have to carry any wrappers or rubbish around with you in your bag, and you can then always use the containers for something else once the food is gone.

If you’re camping somewhere where the wildlife can get a bit nosey, then you can actually get “bear-proof” containers.

They dampen the smell of the food and have all the benefits of using any other resealable container instead of carrying packaging too.  It’s a small thing which I find can prove super useful!

I highlight this camping tip and other camping tricks in my wild camping tips article.

Stuart | MuchBetterAdventures.com

Here are a few of my favorite camping hacks:

  1. Freeze a gallon jug of water to use instead of ice cubes in your cooler. It will stay frozen longer and your food won’t start floating in ice water half way through your trip. Plus, you can drink it!
  2. Crack your eggs at home and bring them in a protein shake blender bottle so you don’t have to worry about broken egg shells.
  3. Lingerie bags from the dollar store make great dunk bags for dishwashing.
  4. Dryer lint + melted wax inside an egg carton makes a great fire starter.

Kate Loweth | redtri.com

Leave It Better Than You Found It

Joshua Tree Tree Damage

Photo Credit: SmithsonianMag.com

Since Green Global Travel is all about ecotourism and responsible travel, our favorite camping tips are all about being responsible when you’re spending time in nature.

Things like following the basic “Leave No Trace” principles are very important.  Taking out everything you bring in, sticking to established paths and trails, learning and closely following all established campground rules, and keeping a respectful distance away from any wildlife you may see during your journey.

It should go without saying, but far too many people are defacing rocks and trees in our national parks (see: Joshua Tree during the last government shutdown) and causing irreparable damage to natural landmarks, wildlife, and/or themselves in the process of trying to get a selfie for the ‘gram.

So, in general, do everything you can to leave camping areas better than you found it, not worse.

Bret Love & Mary Gabbett | Green Global Travel

Pack a Bedtime Camping Kit

Camping Tip Bedtime Kit

Making sure that you can get a good night’s sleep is an often overlooked but very important part of camping.  Quality sleep can be the difference between a fun outdoor getaway and a miserable camping trip.

Do yourself a favor and pack a bedtime camping kit that will ensure that you can catch some zzz’s after enjoying the campfire.  Some essential items that I’ve included in my own sleeping kit include:

  • Sleeping Bag – An obvious addition for any camper, but be sure that you choose a sleeping bag that fits your needs.  There are lots of different types of sleeping bags out there.  Some are built for comfort, others for retaining temperature, and still others for their size and weight.
  • Sleeping Pad – For some this may seem like just an option.  For me, this is a must-have.  Again there is a range of different types of sleeping pads out there.  The best way to find one that fits your needs is by looking at the type of camping you’ll be doing.  If you’re car or tent camping you may want to utilize a thicker and heavier pad.  If you’re backpacking then a lighter air pad or closed-cell pad may be the best solution.
  • Eye Mask – In the Canadian summer, the sun doesn’t set for a long time and the sky doesn’t actually go dark until around 11 pm! An eye mask is an essential piece of camping gear for getting a good, early night’s sleep.
  • Earplugs – If you’re a light sleeper then using earplugs while camping may be a very helpful item to include in your bedtime camping kit.  These will help to block out the noises coming both from outside of your tent and your tent mate(s).
  • Bed-side light – Keeping a lantern or flashlight beside your sleeping area can be helpful for a few different reasons.  It will help you to find your way around your tent as you prepare for bedtime.  It’s crucial for midnight bathroom trips as well.  Your fellow tent mate(s) will appreciate not being tripped over while you make your way outside.

Phoebe and Matt | Littlegreybox.net

Use a Slow Cooker To Prepare Meals

Camping Tips Slow Cooker Meals

Personally, I love the outdoors, but I also love to be comfortable, so RV camping is what I prefer.

Here’s how I like to cook while I’m RV camping. Before setting out for the day, I start dinner in the slow cooker. After a day of hiking for example (and especially in cooler weather), it’s so nice to come back to the RV and sit down to a hot and hearty meal that’s ready and waiting!

Using a slow cooker to prepare your meals while camping will also make your RV smell amazing too.

You can pre-prepare the ingredients for meals like beef stew at home and take the ingredients along in ziplock bags, or think even easier–pulled pork sandwiches or sloppy joes.

Also, to make cleanup much easier, you can use slow cooker liners after you finish eating your homecooked meal.

Teresa Britton | MomsWhoSave.com

Prepare For Inclement Weather

Even with all the outside fun to be had with camping, there will be inclement weather.  Depending on how well you prepare for those down times, will make all the difference.

Having a plan b for your camping activities during your trip is a very smart thing to do.  Plan ahead by bringing a pack of playing cards, a board game, coloring and activity books.

If kids have some hands-on-things to do, the rain could actually be a good thing and everyone can have a little downtime for rest and relaxation.

Christine Gaudreau | NewEnglandMomma.com

Prepare for all types of weather conditions, regardless of what the weather reports may say.  While you’re camping, the weather can seem to change surprisingly fast. It can be sunny and warm one moment and rainy and overcast in the next.

The rule to stick to here is, it’s better to have it and not need it, rather than need it and not have it.  This can apply to everything from packing extra clothing such as warm socks, underwear or an extra jacket, to camping supplies such as fire starter in case of a downpour.

By planning ahead for all types of weather conditions, a day that was meant for a sunny mountain hike doesn’t have to be ruined by a cold front.

Just throw on those extra layers that you packed and hit the trails!

John | GuyCounseling.com

Choose The Right Type Of Hammock and Other Hammock Safety Tips

Woman hanging in Hammock while camping

Tip #1: Choose the right type of hammock

When people picture hammock camping, many picture themselves swaying lazily on a traditional rope hammock. No. Just no. That type of hammock is great for an afternoon nap or for setting up by the pool or in your backyard.

Most hammock experts recommend getting a hammock that is 4′ longer than your body height so you can flat lay for sleeping. So if you’re 6″ tall, you’d want a hammock that’s 10″ long.

Why the extra length? The ends of a hammock hang at an angle so you can’t use the full length of fabric. So, the extra 4 feet of fabric gives you enough length to get a fairly “flat lay” for sleeping when you’re stretched out. Longer hammocks also make it possible to stretch out diagonally in a hammock, which is perfect for side sleepers who prefer a flat surface.

If you try camping with the wrong type of hammock, you’re in for an extremely uncomfortable experience. These hammocks don’t spread weight evenly. By creating a flatter surface area, the hammock looks more inviting, but if you’ve spent a minute on one you were probably victim to a sudden swing that threw you to the ground.

Keep in mind hammocks not long enough you will sleep in a banana shape, which can lead to hyper-extended knees and lead to Knee pain. This is why shorter length hammocks are best used for seats or lounging, rather than camping.

It is advised that you rather choose from the wide array of camping hammocks that are certain to give you a much more comfortable night’s sleep.

Tip#2: Straps or Cords

Many hammocks come with a rope or paracord as part of their suspension system. These cords dig into the bark of the tree and cause unnecessary stress to the living organism you’re using to hold you up through the night.

A more conscientious choice would be a strap or webbing. They don’t cause damage and the distribute the weight more efficiently and are therefore more effective than your average run of the mill rope or paracord.

Tip#3: Safety

As with any type of outdoors activity, you are responsible for your own safety. Keep in mind to check your gear before you head out. You don’t want to jump into your hammock then fall to the ground thanks to a tear you never saw beforehand. Rule of thumb, don’t hang your hammock higher than you’re willing to fall. Make sure that the ground underneath your hammock is clear from any injury causing objects such as rocks just in case you do fall.

Don’t suspend your hammock on a sapling since they bend easily and avoid dead trees since they will break under the pressure. As a rule of thumb, if both your hands can fit around the trunk of the tree, it is too small and will not handle your weight.

Now look up, check the canopy for sections of dead branches nicknamed widow makers. These branches can come tumbling down at the slightest hint of wind or movement. Be especially mind full of snow and ice in the winter since these add weight to these killer branches and can cause them to fall during the night.

You may also find those tips on a website we own: https://www.everestactivegear.com/

Raechelle | OurBeautifulPlanet.org

Utilize Location Apps To Find Great Camping Spots

Off all the camping tips and tricks, the best car camping hack we know is to utilize apps to help you secure the best locations.

We write about many tips on how to find free car camping locations, but phone apps are our favorite for location scouting. This is because with many apps, you can download information offline and have access to information even in the remotest of campsites.

Highlights include:

iOverlander

iOverlander is a public map and forum that let’s campers review sites and verify their amenities.

Public Lands App

Public Lands App is for the more adventurous travelers who want to know exactly who owns what backcountry land, and if it’s acceptable for car camping.

Google Maps

Google Maps is another staple, where you can verify campsites by their satellite view, and download offline maps for easy navigation without service.

Emily Mandagie | TheMandagies.com

Our best tip for a great camping trip definitely would be to pick the right camping spot.

We do a lot of wildcamping and if you don’t find the right place you’re going to have a terrible nights sleep regardless of how comfortable your tent, sleeping bag, camping mat combo is.

Uneven floor, not sheltered from sun, animals near by, near a road etc. all things to avoid for all tent-based camping trips.

Spend the time finding the perfect spot and you’ll have a great camping experience!

Josh and Sarah | VeggieVagabonds.com

Use a Tight-Sealing Cool Box

Yeti Camping Cooler

Photo Credit: Yeti.com

My top tip for a harmonious camping trip is to get yourself a really good, tight-sealing cool box.

Being able to have chilled food a few days into your trip can make a real difference, both to your wellbeing and your wallet (no need to just eat out every night!).

Once you’ve chosen a good one, “season” it for a week before your trip – keep putting and replacing cool-packs in there, to bring the overall temperature down.

This lowers the overall temperature and means it’ll stay cooler for longer. Finally, and if you have the space, a frozen (plastic) milk bottle or two can make a great ice pack, and has the bonus of being drinkable once it has defrosted!

Henry Elliss | TheMediocreDad.com

When Camping With Kids, Stick To A Schedule

Camping with Kids

Many people think that camping with babies and toddlers is crazy talk. Is it extra work? Sure. Does it always go smoothly or as planned? NOPE! Can it still be enjoyable and can life-long memories be made? Absolutely!

One of my biggest tips to camping with babies and toddlers is to stick to as much of your normal “schedule” and “routine” as possible.

Sometimes, that’s incredibly tough when you are in the outdoors or busy with activities. But since toddlers thrive off of predictability, sticking to things like general nap and night times, snack times, etc can make a huge difference in having a great camping trip vs running ragged and tired.

And when all else fails…go with the flow and remember they are young once and you are setting the stage for a lifetime of outdoor appreciation!

LeAnna | WellTraveledNebraskan.com

Save Camping For The Winter Season

Winter Camping

One camping tip that I discovered recently is to go camping in the winter time instead of the spring or summer! The crowds substantially diminish so there are usually way more options for you to find a great camping spot.  You can find a much more of that alone-in-nature experience as well!

This tip works especially well in the warmer states like California, Nevada, or Arizone, where there’s much more of a mild climate during the winter seaons, so you won’t have to deal with too many specific gear needs.

LastMinuteGear.com

Maintain a Collaborative Packing List

Camping Packing List

Camping Tip #1

There’s nothing worse than forgetting something (or having a pal forget something they’re on the hook for) because you can’t just turn around for home and scoop it in a few minutes. So don’t just wing it, make a packing list and know you’re covered.

I would definitely recommend utilizing our ‘Pack This – Trip Packing List‘ app for creating a collaborative packing list ahead of your camping trips.  You can easily prepare your entire camping packing list by itemizing what gear you’ll need and tagging fellow travelers with what to pack so everyone is on the same page.

Making sure that you have everything you need for your trip can make the difference between an unforgetable camping experience and a waste of a getaway weekend.

Camping Tip #2

What’s the #1 item on my packing list for every camping trip? Hands down a killer headlamp. Have both hands free when needed, which is pretty much all the time, and make life so much easier around the campsite.

You can use a headlamp for late night bathroom breaks, navigating your way around a dark camp site, or simply use it for reading before bed.  This is THE most used piece of gear that I use when I camp.  Don’t leave home without it!

Dane Homenick | JournoHQ.com

We hope this list of camping tips and tricks gave you some great ways to prepare for your own camping trip! If you have a camping tip or trick of your own that’s improved your outdoor adventures, we’d love for you to leave a comment below.

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