Barbecues, campfire stories, starry skies: camping can be a special experience. However, when we’re left with the bare essentials, it can sometimes seem impossible to conquer the Great Outdoors without splashing the cash. Fear not.
We’ve compiled some of the best camping hacks, so you can dine like a king and sleep sound throughout your trip. Here’s how to master Mother Nature.
1. Foam floor
A hard floor can be enough turn the nose of the most discerning camper. Ensure a sound sleep by using foam floor tiles for a softer, more comfortable tent floor. Like the foam floor used in pre-schools, this will allow you to walk around without hurting your feet on rocks or other debris. It’s also great for kids! Want to save the pennies? Try using a yoga mat.
2. Instant lantern
Taking a full-size lamp camping can be a bit of a pain, not to mention a tad labouring. Instead, point a head lamp into a jug of water for an instant lantern. If you have a sizeable plastic bottle, you can strap a headlight to the side of it – the glare from the light spreads throughout the tent.
3. Campfire cones
Fancy something different to finish off meal-time on your trip? Try a campfire cone. Pack an ice cream cone full of your favourite treats (marshmallow, chocolate drops and strawberries work really well!), wrap the whole thing in tin foil, and leave over a campfire for a few minutes. De-li-cious! You can also try with popcorn kernels.
4. Space saving toilet paper
When it comes to packing the car before you head off on an adventure, it can pay to pack light. With everyday essentials like toilet roll, try removing the cardboard tube. Once removed, you can flatten the paper and wrap in a plastic bag. Pull the paper through the hole and, hey presto, you have a box of tissues!
5. Fire starters
When the rain pours, it’s not just our clothes that can get wet through. Toiletries, utensils, food: it can all suffer at the hands of the great British weather. To make sure that fire lighters don’t get destroyed before you’ve even had chance to set up the barbeque, try dipping cotton pads into wax to create portable fire starters. Just place under some wood and light, simple.
Bugs can really put some people off camping, but there are some really quick ways to ensure you’re left in peace once you’ve pitched your tent; one of which is tossing sage onto a campfire. The billowing smoke gives off a smell which bugs find unpleasant, but is fortunately pleasant to humans. Other common herbs like lemon balm and lavender also discourage mosquitos and other flying critters from invading your living space.
7. Seasoning straws
If you like to liven up your food, taking a wide-array of seasoning away with you can prove to be a challenge. Try using plastic straws for light storage. Seal one end of the straw with the help of a cigarette lighter, fill with your favourite seasoning and then seal off the other end.
8. Fire into electricity
If gadgets are your thing, you’ll love this next hack. You can now use your campfire as fuel to charge your mobile phone. The company that produce this gadget is called, BioLight. This genius invention allows campers to power their devices while they eat, creating a smokeless flame. It may come at a cost, but you’ll definitely be the coolest camper around.
9. Easy eggs
While a good old fry-up is essential if you’re out on a camping trip, things can sometimes turn a little messy. Instead, try pre-scrambling a pack of eggs before you leave for your trip and pour into a re-sealable plastic bottle. Then you can just add to a pan without spilling any of the good stuff. No more treading on egg shells…
10. Tidy toilet paper
Here’s another tidy tip when it comes to toilet paper. Keep your toilet paper from getting wet or squashed by putting it in a cylindrical tin – such as a coffee can with a re-sealable lid. Then cut a small slit in the side of the tin, so you can pull the paper out. It will also save it from the rain, should you accidentally leave it outside.
11. Compass watch
The common compass: a genius invention that has stood the test of time – but isn’t really essential if you’re just looking for a couple of days of solitude. If your inquisitive nature does get the better of you, there’s another way that you can find out which way you’re facing. Hold a wrist watch with 12 o’clock pointing left, then move your arm so that the hour hand points at the sun. The spot halfway between the hour hand and the 12 is south. Clever, hey!
Which is your favourite camping hack? Is there any that we’ve missed? Share your thoughts with the Haven team by using the comment box below. We’ll test them out next time we pack the tent!