Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve

Camping hacks

Top 7 must-have innovations for camping

It’s bound to happen — you get halfway to your camping destination and realize you forgot something important. Or you just have to have certain items but there’s no way everything will fit into your luggage. What do you do now?

Get creative! Depending on what you might have left behind — or must pack — here are a few Macgyver tricks to know for your next camping experience.


1.      Flashlights
A good way to get around in the dark without a flashlight is to stop and the nearest dollar store and pick up a bag of glow sticks and a few clear plastic water bottles. Once you activate the glow stick, put it in the water bottle and watch the area light up around you. You can even make a ring around your tent with the glowing bottles for a makeshift nightlight.

2.      Lighters for a fire
Unless you are good at the ole rubbing-two-sticks-together method, you will need some sort of lighting mechanism to start a fire. A matchbox can get wet or torn so pack some sandpaper in your tote to light those matches. Sandpaper and a handful of matches also takes up less space in your luggage.

3.      Spices for food preparation
If you are a culinary specialist, there’s no way you are going camping for a week without real, tasty food. But unless you pack everything including the kitchen sink, how do you accomplish bringing all the items to spice things up? Try putting your favorite spices in Tic Tac tins. The tins are super tiny and fit in the smallest of crevices. Label each of them for easy finding and you’ll be adding a dash of this and a pinch of that to your food in no time.

    4.      Coffee
    If you are like me, you must have a cup of java in the mornings to get going. But if you are primitive camping with no electricity outlets, brewing up the joe might be a         challenge. Bring a French press instead of using instant coffee packets. Boil some water over a fire, pour in your coffee grounds, then pour the water over them and           press. Voila, coffee!

    5.      First aid kits
    You don’t need to be a medical professional to make a good first aid kit. Just take an old prescription bottle and put in a few Band-Aids, a small ointment packet and a       prepackaged wet wipe.

    6.      Bug repellents
    Forgot the bug spray? No worries. Just add some sage to the campfire and the pesky insects will stay away.

7.      Get the kids involved
Make camping even more fun while you set up or break down. Give your children a scavenger hunt list and they will be helping you without even realizing it. Need to build a fire or gather stuff for dinner? Make a list with things like sticks, paper towels, water, rocks, chair placements and so forth so while you are busy doing other preparations, they are, too!