Top 10 Camping Hacks
Brush up on your outdoor knowledge before going on your next camping trip. We have compiled our top 10 camping hacks inspired by our own experiences. Read over the list and be prepared for that upcoming wilderness adventure.
Wild West Trail’s Top 10 Camping Hacks
- Know How To Identify Poison Ivy
Still not sure what Poison Ivy looks like? Don’t worry, it’s an easy plant to identify. Poison Ivy has three leaves and during the spring and summer months, it might glisten and appear wet. This shiny look is from the urushiol residue on the plant. It’s this compound that causes the rash associated with Poison Ivy. The vines also have a distinct furry look because of the amount of vegetation growing on it. This “fur” is thousands of brown tendrils that are helping the Poison Ivy spread. In the fall months, Poison Ivy turns a bright red, making it even more distinguished.
Poison Ivy can completely cover trees but most likely, it will be growing at ground level. Survey brushy landscapes before walking through them and identify Poison Ivy before suffering from it. Wearing pants while hiking will help protect you.
- Check For Ticks
Disgusting arachnids that are unfortunately a common occurrence while camping. Luckily, ticks generally take 12-24 hours to bite, which gives you plenty of time to find them before they latch on. Make a habit of checking for ticks just before bedtime. Search your scalp, armpits, between the legs, anywhere that’s warm is potential tick habitat. If you really want to avoid ticks, take a shower or go for a swim before bed. Ticks can’t breathe underwater and full immersion will encourage them to fall off.
- Bring A Small Candle To Help Start Fires
Tired of struggling to get a fire going? No reason to pull a Survivorman and start rubbing sticks together. Instead, bring a small candle to use as a fire starter. The flame will continually burn, allowing you to add fuel without worrying about the fire going out.
Protip: Bring a lighter.
- Buy Your Paracord At The Hardware Store
Rope and more accurately, paracord is a camping necessity. However, buying your paracord from an outdoor store comes attached with a premium price. Just go to your local hardware store and have them cut how many feet you need. It’s more cost effective and there are more color options to choose from.
- Practice Throwing A Bear Hang At Home First
Camping in bear country? Tree your food every night to avoid having a bear in camp. This sounds easy and with practice, throwing a bear bag is a simple process. However, if it’s your first time, you will have problems. Avoid getting stuck in the dark trying to hang a bag and practice at home first. Within 30 minutes, you will be a pro.
- Use Parboiled Rice For Cooking
Rice is an excellent food item to bring camping. It’s delicious, high in calories, and relatively easy to cook. Your regular white rice takes 30 minutes or longer to cook which doesn’t seem like much in the kitchen but outside after a hiking 10+ miles, that 30-minute wait gets rough. Cook with parboiled rice and dinner will be ready in 5 minutes or less.
- Sleep In A Thick Pair Of Dry Socks
If you have trouble sleeping, try this camping hack. The human body circulates blood more efficiently when it’s dozing off at night. Cold feet and icy toes will prevent you from getting to sleep. Carry a pair of warm dry socks that are only used for sleeping. Not only are they super comfortable but your toes will warm up fast. This will help blood circulate more efficiently, helping you sleep faster.
- Use SPF Chapstick
Is there anything worse than chapped lips on a camping trip? Even if you have a habit of using sunblock, there is a good chance your lips were overlooked. Carry some chapstick with SPF protection and apply a few times a day.
- Use A Dry Sack For Your Sleeping Bag
Keeping your sleeping bag dry on your next camping adventure will prevent the trip from being ruined. You don’t even need to spend money on a fancy compression sack or high-end river bag. Instead, use a regular dry bag, they generally cost around $20. My 20-degree down bag fits easily inside an 8L dry bag. Keeping your sleep system dry is one of the most important camping hacks to incorporate on your next trip.
- Mosquito Head Net
BUGS! The worst part about summer camping is without a doubt, the mosquitos. They make hiking and chilling at camp miserable. Incorporating a mosquito head net into your wardrobe will save you a lot of headaches. They keep the bugs off your face and neck and let you enjoy the woods without being eaten by them.
Our Camping Hacks Roundup
Before going into the backcountry, try out some of these camping hacks that will ideally make your time in the great outdoors more enjoyable. Camping isn’t always a walk in the park but with the right amount of preparedness you can mitigate problems before they start. Be safe out there and have fun!