The weather is warmer and it’s time to head into the great outdoors. Whether you are camping, hiking or just hanging out, you can impress friends and family and make your life easier by using these simple hacks.
1. Make Your Own Lantern
If you forgot to bring a lantern on your trip, or you don’t want to invest the money in one, fill an empty gallon jug with water and shine a flashlight through it. The water refracts the light and allows you to see what you’re doing even in the pitch black of night.
2. Toilet Paper Hack
If you’re going on a longer hike, such as on the Appalachian Trail, you may need to put your used toilet paper in plastic zip-top bags rather than burning it on the trail. To reduce any odors, sprinkle baking soda in the plastic bags before heading out on your trip. You should also carry a larger plastic baggie to place the smaller baggies back in.
3. Light up Chips
If you can’t get a fire to light due to damp or green wood, pull out a bag of corn or potato chips and use that as kindling. Because the chips have grease in them, they tend to light on fire more easily, allowing you to get the fire going before you add logs of wood.
4. Natural Mosquito Repellent
One of the banes of camping is those pesky bloodsucking mosquitoes that come out just as you are enjoying a ghost story around the campfire. However, insect repellent with harsh chemicals isn’t always the best option, especially if you have young children in the group. Fortunately, you can repel mosquitoes naturally by burning sage in your campfire. You can grow your own sage or purchase at the grocery store. You’ll want a thick dried bundle to simmer in the fire.
5. Waterproof Electronics
Perhaps your camping and hiking trip has turned into a wet, nasty weekend. One thing you’ll want to do is waterproof any electronics. Fortunately, you can use plastic storage bags to protect your devices. Ideally, they would be seals with a zip top, but if they don’t have that feature, you can also tuck them around your mobile devices and seal with duct tape.
6. Blister Treatment
Speaking of duct tape, if you get a blister while hiking, tear off a piece of duct tape and place it tightly over the blister. First, clean the area with an alcohol wipe. Put skin adhesive around the area to help the tape stick better. Add a piece of moleskin, then stretch a piece of duct tape over the blister to keep it from getting worse.
7. Softer Tent Floor
If you don’t like sleeping on the hard ground, you can make the tent floor softer by purchasing interlocking foam floor tiles and placing them on the floor of the tent for a softer place to sleep. It also creates a fun, colorful play surface for your kids or to play a card game on a rainy day.
Hacks Make Camping and Hiking Fun
Using simple hacks makes camping and hiking more fun than struggling through your time in the outdoors. Whether you are a hardcore hiker, climbing to the highest peaks, or you just want a fun weekend camping with family or friends, these hacks will make life easier. You’ll be the hero of the group and get a chance to show off your survival skills.
Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington