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Five Cheap & Easy Camping Hacks

by Karen Ung
Since we backpack as well as car camp, I’m always on the lookout for ways to simplify packing while reducing pack weight and bulk. If the solution is cheap and easy, that’s even better! Here are some handy camping hacks we love and know you will too:
  1. Tired of cutlery poking holes in your stuff sacks or rolling around your kitchen bin? Make your own cutlery roll from an old tea towel and piece of ribbon. If you can’t spare a tea towel, pick one up from the Dollar Store or improvise with a thin cloth placemat. A cutlery roll is handy for picnics as well as camping trips and makes a nice gift for outdoorsy people.

    How to make a cutlery roll:
    Lay the tea towel out as below – with a long edge facing you – and fold the bottom up 2/3s of the way. Pin the left and right edges closed, then stitch the left side shut using a straight stitch. (A matching colored thread works well, but for this tutorial, I used black thread so you can see where I sewed.) When you stitch up the right side, attach a 2′ length of wide ribbon to the top of the seam. Sew along the middle of the ribbon as shown in the picture. Next, stitch vertical lines about 1.5″ apart – from left to right – to hold your cutlery. Finally, knot the ends of the ribbon so they won’t fray.
    Open Cutlery Roll: Note how and where the ribbon is attached.
    Closed Cutlery Roll – neat and tidy. Makes a nice gift.
  2. Use a disposable shower cap as a food cover to keep bugs out of your bowl.
  3. Upcycle broken crayons / candle ends, cardboard egg cartons and dryer lint to make waterproof firestarters. Instructions are available here.
  4. Rather than bringing several jars of spices, pack a spice blend in a small plastic container. We always bring a mix of sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder. It’s fantastic on steak and mushrooms as well as grilled vegetables. If you like, add parsley or paprika.
    3 Spice Blend
  5. Bread/produce bags make good emergency foot covers when footwear gets soaked. Be sure to put the bags over dry socks, then have extra socks to change into when your feet get sweaty. I did this often as a child because I didn’t have waterproof hiking boots and lived near the coast where it rains a lot.
Plastic bags = emergency foot covers
(or garbage bags – you can never have enough with kids)

Do you have a ninja camping hack you’d like to share?

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