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, 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:
Food Camping Tips and Tricks
Family Camping Tips and Tricks
Camping Gear Tips and Tricks
Camping Prep Tips and Tricks
Prepare a 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! Keeping a dependable thermos in your camp gear is a must so you can keep your homemade coffee hot and fresh for hours.
Here’s a quick step-by-step:
- Boil some water, using a kettle pot or electric pot. (depending on what you have access to while camping)
- Grind your coffee beans or use pre-ground coffee.
- Pour the coffee grounds into the inverted Aeropress coffee maker.
- Pour hot water over the coffee grounds, filling the Aeropress about halfway.
- Stir for 10-20 seconds and then top off the mix with more water, to fill the Aeropress to the top.
- Place the filter and the lid on the top of the Aeropress.
- Let your coffee steep for 2-4 minutes depending on how strong you want your coffee.
- 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.
- Clean off each of the pieces and enjoy your fresh cup of coffee!
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
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
As a camping lover, I have several camping tips that I use when I go to sleep outdoors.
I usually prefer wild camping for its tranquility and wonderful views, but those tips are also applicable to camping on the prepared campsites. The most important part is to get your camping equipment right.
Majority of your camping experience will depend on the camping gear that you have. This doesn’t mean that you need to spend all your money on fancy gadgets. Quite the opposite. Make sure that the fundamental parts of your camping gear are well chosen.
Focus on a strong tent, that is waterproof, with a good grounding system to withstand strong winds. You also want to have enough room inside for your whole party. Depending on how you are planning to get to the campsite (walking or driving), you can also look at the weight and the size of the packed tent for easier carrying.
Don’t forget to check how easy/difficult it is to pitch the tent. After a whole day of hiking, the last thing you want is to spend an hour pitching the tent and trying to figure out complicated nods. Apart from that, choose a good sleeping bag and a comfortable mat.
Remember to test all your gear before departing for the camping trip to avoid disaster. Happy camping!
Aga | WorlderingAround.com
Use a Portable Toilet and 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 set up 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
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!
Stuart | MuchBetterAdventures.com
Here are a few of my favorite camping hacks:
- 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!
- 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.
- Lingerie bags from the dollar store make great dunk bags for dishwashing.
- Dryer lint + melted wax inside an egg carton makes a great fire starter.
Kate Loweth | redtri.com
Leave It Better Than You Found It
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
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 tentmate(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
On cold nights, a great way to stay warm is to create your own warm pack. An easy way to do this is to boil water by the fire and carefully pour it into a your water bottle. Then wrap the bottle with a shirt to prevent burning, and place it in the bottom of your sleeping bag to keep you warm througout the night.
Brody | WiseFoodStorage.com
Bringing a camping pillow is worth it! I can’t tell you how many times I thought about bringing one and told myself, “Ah I won’t need it, it’ll just take up space that I need for food and gear.” Then after a day of hiking, biking, or kayaking I lay my exhausted body down on my very flat sleeping pad and regret everything. I end up very stiff in the morning! For the times I truly don’t have space for a camping pillow, I take my sleeping-bag bag or tent bag and stuff my clothes in it to make a pillow. It holds shape better than a pile of rolled-up clothes and nicely supports the neck and noggin.
Shannon McGowan | Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine
Use a Slow Cooker To Prepare 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 “Freezer Meals” For Your Camping Trip
Freezer meals are amazing for camping trips! The reason? First off your options are pretty much endless. Some of the best freezer meal options are homemade soup or chili, breakfast burritos, a precooked protein with vegetables or premade frozen smoothie mixes.
Depending on what you prepare you’ll either be able to heat up your meal around the fire with a skillet, using a propane grill or using your RV’s microwave.
You’ll also need less ice in the cooler and most of the prep work is done at home so you can bring less cooking utensils and have more time for fun.
Samantha Reddy | HikeitBaby.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. As a result, your camping trip could have more rest and relaxation than you planned for.
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
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 the 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 distribute the weight more efficiently and are therefore more effective than your average run of the mill rope or paracord.
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
Hammock Camping In The Cold
When you’re camping using a hammock in the cold be sure to stay bone dry. Also, don’t wear too many layers while in your hammock, as you’ll likely overheat, sweat, and freeze. My advice is to take off your outer layer before climbing in your hammock.
Car Hammock Camping
There’s a better option than sleeping in your car while you’re taking a long road trip. Bring along your trusty hammock during those long drives so you can strap it up between a tree and your vehicle for extra convenience and comfort. This will allow you to stretch out while you sleep and avoid a stiff neck the next morning.
Watch Your Hammock’s Height
Something a lot of new hammock users don’t think about is the height they set up their hammocks. Never hang your hammock higher than you’re willing to fall. This one is better learned the easy way than the hard way for obvious reasons. One thing is for sure, you’ll only make the mistake of setting up your hammock too high off the ground once.
Paul | HammockUniverse.com
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.
iOverlander is a public map and forum that lets 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 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 wild camping 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 the sun, animals nearby, near a road, etc. all things to avoid for all tent-based camping trips.
Spend time finding the perfect spot and you’ll have a great camping experience!
Josh and Sarah | VeggieVagabonds.com
Use a Tight-Sealing Cool Box
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 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
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
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 Arizona, where there’s much more of a mild climate during the winter season, so you won’t have to deal with too many specific gear needs.
Maintain a Collaborative 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 unforgettable 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 campsite, 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
Summer Camping Tips and Tricks
Summer camping comes with some benefits when it comes to gear weight, but also comes with the responsibility to take care of your health in the same way as you do for winter camping.
For camping in the summertime, make sure that you use a tent that is light but durable and can transform into a waterproof one. You need protection from the sun and good ventilation due to high temperatures, but sometimes strong rainfall happens.
Use sleeping bags that are suitable for high temperatures. In the night time, the temperature can drastically change, and you need to be warm. Such gear has ventilation areas to help you adjust the sleeping bag temperature that is built up from your body heat.
Have proper water storage containers as you will need plenty of water in the summertime.
If you travel with pets, then make sure they do have their needs covered in the same way.
Chris | AGreekAdventure.com
Camping Tips and Tricks For a Young Family
Morgan from Mommy Convos married a hunter and when her family goes camping- it’s dragging their tent trailer through the mountains camping off grid and in the dirt- and lots of it! Many worry that taking a family camping is difficult- and to be honest it can be! With the right mindset and planning ahead for almost every need those kiddies might have- the weekend in the great outdoors is not only fun but can be relaxing too! Here are Morgan’s top 5 camping hacks for an enjoyable camping experience as a family.
1.) Create a “”I’m board”” box. Fill one container- maybe more- of: card games, colored pencils, coloring books, play dough, books, loose Lego pieces, bubbles, cars, monster trucks and snacks! This busy body box is also perfect for when it rains and you have to stay inside for a few hours.
2.) Kids picnic table. The perfect compact table where the kiddies can sit for meals or craft time during the day is perfect!
3.) Keep things clean(er) by: 1.) staking a tarp around the entrance of your trailer. 2. Using a storage tote to store camping items and keeping thing organized, but can also be used as a tub for washing the messy kids later that night.
4.) Outdoor games. Bring a frisbee, soccer ball or a football. My little kids love digging in the dirt so we bring sand toys that work as dirt toys and dinosaurs.
5.) Glow sticks and headlamps! My kids love wearing glow necklaces or bracelets- easier to spot kids when it gets dark. And head lamps so kids can see where they are going!
For more helpful tips and tricks on camping as a young family head to our blog post here! Have a fantastic experience!
Morgan Dewey | MommyConvos.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, we’d love for you to leave a comment below.
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