Even the most experienced hikers can find themselves in less than ideal situations. Enter: camping hacks.
From predictable challenges to serious predicaments, knowing how to use supplies you already have for different purposes may make all the difference.
In the event you find yourself in a tricky spot, here are 9 hiking and camping hacks that will help you resolve everything from the unpleasant to the urgent.
For those a little less rugged and a little less willing to go the leaf route. Take an empty plastic coffee can, cut a slit vertically down the side, put your tissue inside, and replace the lid. Thread the tissue through the can to keep it dry and out of the reach of bugs and dirt.
The quickest and most reliable camping hack for starting a fire? An empty paper towel roll filled with dryer lint. Pack both to avoid a fire struggle after rain, and to maximize nights where dry wood may be limited.
Forget the lotion and ice packs. Orajel stops the itch of mosquito bites instantly, is easy to pack, and light to carry.
If you’ve settled in for a meal at camp or on the trail, all you need to keep the flies away is a gallon-sized Ziplock bag and some water. Fill the bag with water and hang it from a tree. No more flies.
If you’re camping by a riverbed, you’ve got all the coal support you’ll need with this camping hack. Before starting your fire, fill the firebed with rocks from the river. The flames will heat the rocks, keeping your existing coals hot longer, and providing a backup supply in case you run out.
Running out of clean drinking water can put immense risk on the rest of the journey, especially if you’re exploring a hot, desert area where temperatures reach triple digits regularly. Carry an empty gallon jug with you and don’t discard it, even if your water supply runs out. Fill the jug with river water and place it in direct sunlight for eight hours. If the water temperature exceeds 100 degrees for that time, it’s safe for drinking. If you forget every other camping hack you know, remember this one.
Duct tape can only help on a camping trip, and it happens to be the center of one essential camping hack. Instead of adding the weight of the entire roll to your pack, and to save space, wrap the tape around a lighter instead. Less than an inch of tape extending from the body of the lighter is more than five feet of adhesive.
Waterproof First Aid.
Fill an empty pill bottle with Band-Aids and matches to keep them dry. One of the best outdoor tips I’ve ever received.wq
Most of us take at least one pair of heavy cargo pants on long hiking or camping trips. And as it turns out, they’re great for more than just scratch protection. If you find yourself needing to cross a deep river, remove your cargo pants, and tie tight knots at the end of each leg. Roll them starting at the waist moving toward the ankles, then dip them in water. The pants will fill with air and can be used as a flotation device. (Be sure to pack thick cargos, as light ones will absorb fluid.)