There’s no substitute for experience when it comes to learning the tricks of campsite life. Every camper is different and over a lifetime, each camper hones their own set of skills. Nonetheless there are some camping hacks that are too good not to share. Here are some of the best camping hacks we’ve had shared with us over the last few years...
The headtorch lantern
A headtorch is an essential bit of camping kit. Whether you’re on an adventurous hiking, climbing or running trip or on a family holiday, a good headtorch is key. You can use it to traverse steep-sided paths on early morning adventures or to find the toilets at your campsite at midnight. But did you know it can also provide ambient lighting too? Strap the light to a translucent jerry can or water bottle, facing inwards, and the container will glow like a lantern. Fellow campers are likely to appreciate this ambient lighting more than the traditional blinding that happens each time you look at them with the torch strapped to your head.
Duct tape wraps
As in life, so in camping; duct tape is oh-so useful. On the campsite, it can help with all sorts of emergency repairs. It can hold together a snapped pole or cover a hole in your canvas to fix a leak. Apparently, it even makes a good blister plaster. But carrying a whole roll of duct tape, especially if you’re backpack camping or travelling by public transport, is just a pain. Instead, how about wrapping a length of tape around your water bottle? It’s sounds simple, but like lots of the best camping hacks we’ve heard of, this one is about space saving.
Pancake batter in ketchup bottles
This one is borrowed from the US where pancakes are a breakfast staple – but it’s so good we reckon campsite pancakes will be flipping everywhere here soon. Keep empty squeezy ketchup bottles for camping trips and before you set off mix up a quick batter mix and funnel it in to the bottle. When you’re ready to cook up your pancakes, you can squeeze portions of batter straight in to the frying pan as it makes a great no-mess dispenser.
Another campfire snack hack
If you’re looking for a campsite snack that doesn’t take up much room – how about a handful of popcorn kernels? If you’re not taking a pan with a lid, you can make a roomy foil bag, re-use a foil pie tin or even use a drinks can and, as soon as the campfire is going, put your popcorn ‘pan’ on the edge of the fire. Soon it’ll be popping away. It’s quick fun and kind of magic; kids will love it almost as much as marshmallows and it takes up a fraction of the space.
DIY kids’ camp bed
If you’re a dab hand with a sewing machine (or know someone who is) you can make your own camp bed out of pillowcases and pillows. Four or five pillowcases sewn together in a line along the long side makes a compartmentalised, foldable mattress. It’s easier to fill and easier to clean than a shop bought fold-out bed, a great way to recycle old pillowcases and takes up no room in storage as you can use the pillows from your beds at home.