I love camping, probably because I started at such a young age. Give me a shelter, blanket and rolled up jacket for a pillow and I’m good to go. My wife on the other hand is not so willing to leave the comforts of home. When we first met her idea of “roughing it”, it was a weekend in the budget hotel without room service.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to spend some time in the wild without losing all the comfort of home.
Foam floor tiles – you know those colored floor tiles you see at your kid’s daycare? They make great floor covering for the tent. Not only do they get you off the hard ground but they also add insulation. Don’t worry about bulk, they are only 12″x12 but snap together to cover larger areas.
Space blanket – that emergency reflective blanket you have in your survival kit is a terrific way to keep the hot sun off your tent. Spread it over the top of the tent, or suspend it like an external fly, and the reflective surface will help keep the inside temperature comfortable without any fans.
Air mattress – The air mattress, when deflated, takes up no more space than a foam pad and provides a much larger, more comfortable sleeping area.
Homemade lantern – strap a headlamp to a fallen milk jug of water and you get a powerful, soft light more than capable of illuminating the entire tent or picnic table. It is easily portable, uses not fuel and doesn’t attract too many bugs.
Holiday lights – you know the strings of light you hang on the Christmas tree? They now make those same light that are battery operated and in a variety of colors, shapes and patterns. Hang a string or two in your tent and you have inexpensive night light for the kids.
Solar garden lights – if you want to light the path to your vehicle or the bathroom simply bring along a few solar powered garden lights. They come equipped with stakes so set up is easily. They will charge all day and automatically turn on at dusk.
Shoe organizer – hang a cheap plastic shoe organizer and you instantly have a place for all the loose items that get lost in the sleeping bag, pack etc. The pockets are large enough to accommodate a wide range of items and most will provide a dozen or so pockets. When it’s time to go home empty it, roll it up and you’re ready to move.
Clothesline and carabiners – everyone has a phone, water bottle or similar item they want close at hand. Instead of tucking it in your pack or laying it next to your sleeping bag put it up high. String the clothesline, hook a carabiner to the item and clip it to the line. Easy to find and out of the way.
The list of camping hacks others have thought of is endless. For more ideas check out this You Tube video.