Common Mistakes New Campers Make? Camping is a fun and adventurous activity for many people, but if you’re new to it there are some common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid. In this article, we discuss 7 of the most common camping mistakes that beginners make so that you don’t have to learn them the hard way.
Any camper who claims never to make a mistake in their nature adventures is either telling a bit of fib or they really don’t get out there too often. No matter how many years we’ve been at it, all of us are guilty of an occasional error of judgment.
But is that such a problem? Certainly not. If we admit to the blunder, carefully think through it, and try to salvage a lesson from it, each mistake becomes a more effective learning experience than any number of trouble-free camping trips.
Common Mistakes New Campers Make
It seems to me, though, a few campground blunders crop up more frequently than others, particularly among newbies of the outdoor scene. Here are seven bloopers you should watch out for:
Mistake #01: Poor Choice of Equipment
No doubt the earliest trap of all for enthusiastic but inexperienced campers lurks among that vast array of equipment and hardware that confronts them in a well-stocked outdoor supplies store.
It’s right here where they are most vulnerable to the well-meaning but poorly informed — and usually equally inexperienced — sales assistant. Woe is you if they work on commission! You are likely to end up with expensive, inappropriate, insufficient, and unnecessary camping gear.
This is number one on our list of Mistakes New Campers Make because it simply makes the largest difference.
Solution: Start slowly. Hold off buying too much stuff until you get a feel for the outdoor lifestyle and activities that most appeal to you and your family. Read, ask, look around; maybe borrow or rent some gear at first, to see if it suits. After each trip, review your equipment options, then add (or discard) according to your needs, wants, and outdoor aspirations.
Mistake #02: A tough first trip
By leaping straight into the deep end — perhaps a week-long trip through a remote and uninhabited desert country — it is possible that you or your family may never want to go camping again. Unfamiliar equipment, seemingly hostile terrain, lack of established routines, and very little skill add up to a trip you all, quite probably, would prefer to forget.
Solution: Take your camping one step at a time, progressively developing each trip from the one before. For example, try a shake-down trip, first up, to a not-too-distant country town where there’s a commercial campground or RV park.
Next, visit national parks that offer basic facilities and amenities. Finally, venture into the real bush or further into the backblocks where higher levels of self-sufficiency are necessary. This is if you are really into the idea of off-grid experiences.
Mistake #03: Traveling too far or too fast
Many outdoor people fail to distinguish between camping and road-tripping. They spend maybe a week of their two-week camping vacation just getting to and coming from. Or they travel on such a tight driving schedule that the whole trip becomes one frantic dash from campsite to campsite. Isn’t this meant to be a holiday or a relaxing vacation?
Solution: When road-tripping, or touring, take time to see and experience the country. A good daily maximum is 200-225 miles. On the other hand, when off on a camping trip, try to spend no more than 25 percent of total holiday time traveling. Plan your route or your destination accordingly.
Mistake #04: No stand-up-height shelter
With the increased popularity of small, low-profile tents, more and more campers get caught with no other form of shelter. A two or three-person hike tent is fine for sleeping, but that’s all they’re good for. Who wants to spend a day of foul weather hunched and huddled in a space the size of a dog box. After all, no matter where you go, one day it’s going to rain. Every so often, it will come down in buckets.
Solution: As well as your sleeping accommodation, take along a large tarp or awning to string up, at head height, between trees, vehicles, poles, or whatever to provide day-to-day living space during pouring rain or blazing sun. Go for quality and sturdy construction, with sufficient room for all in your group, plus a bit of camp furniture. You can get these at the local Dollar Tree for just a buck!
Mistake #05: Unsuitable toilet arrangements
If there’s one thing that’s inevitable in the city or the countryside, it’s the need for a toilet. On unimproved campsites for a night or two, the camp shovel and a long walk are often adequate.
Yes – camp shovel. Not every campsite has flush toilets or even pit toilets. Unless you have your own portable toilet, a shovel is your friend.
But always use the shovel. There’s not much worse than finding toilet waste around the perimeter of a campsite — the hygiene implications don’t bear thinking about!
Unfortunately, this is so common I can only conclude that few campers give toilet arrangements any forethought at all.
Solution: Add a small shovel to your camping gear and take it along on every trip. For camps of four days or more, a bucket-style chemical toilet will be more convenient, but you still, eventually, need to bury it.
Indeed, in some areas, taking all forms of waste back out with you is now the only legal option, so prepare accordingly.
Ohhhh – and don’t forget the TP!
Mistake #06: No campfire preparations
A cozy campfire — where they’re allowed — is an integral part of camping’s attraction, so it’s always a surprise to witness the blundering, half-hearted attempts of many new campers.
Scrounging for damp wood, huffing, and puffing (even dousing their meager efforts with lighter fluid!) they usually finish up with more smoke and frayed tempers than flames and comfort.
Believe it or not, most campsites — particularly the popular areas — rarely provide sufficient kindling let alone dry firewood unless you buy it from them.
You are NOT allowed to bring wood in from outside that area in most campgrounds.
Tree-killing insects and diseases can lurk in or on firewood. These insects and diseases can’t move far on their own, but when people move firewood they can jump hundreds of miles. New infestations destroy our forests, property values, and cost huge sums of money to control.
Solution: Plan ahead. Find out where you can collect enough dry firewood and kindling for your first campfire in the area you will be camping.
Also, a supply of waterproof matches, newspaper, and firelighters should be packed on board where you can get to them soon after arrival. Check out our article on how to build a perfect campfire!
Tip #07 – Inadequate refrigeration
It seems to me, whoever came up with the idea to carry an icebox on roof racks or in an open trailer is a couple of cans short of a six-pack. He’s probably the same guy who buys a bag of party ice for a long weekend camping trip and wonders why the steaks are sloshing about in a cooler of bloodied water by Saturday night. Getting the most out of a cooler requires a bit of thought and careful nurturing.
It is HUGE as one of the Mistakes New Campers Make so you don’t end up with food poisoning.
Solution: If possible, use block ice. (Make your own in the freezer at home.) If party ice is your only option, choose bags that are frozen solid and leave them unbroken.
Carry more ice than you think you need. Better still, find a supplier of dry ice. Always carry and store the cooler in a shaded spot, or cover it with a heat-reflective tarp. Keep a layer of cans or watertight containers across the bottom to keep food (in containers!) out of the water.
Also – have a cooler for drinks that is separate from the cooler for your food. You tend to open the cooler for drinks a lot more often and this would keep your food cooler, for a longer period of time.
Don’t be too surprised if, in your early camping days, you bump up against a lot more mistakes than these. But take heart: each error you make eventually adds to your outdoor savvy. And although there will always be campers with more experience than you, there are even more with considerably less. Watch and learn from their mistakes, so you don’t find yourself repeating them.
Other articles you may find helpful if you like Mistakes New Campers Make:
Camping with your dog can be a great experience for both of you. As long as you’re prepared and know what to expect, it should go smoothly. If that’s not the case, then you might be in for a few surprises.
Sure, there were the occasional articles in magazines that reminded us to use pet ID tags, bring plenty of water, and take our favorite toy. But in terms of providing genuine support or bottom-line information, there was nothing out there. Since it was something that we felt was badly needed, we decided to write this article.
Tips for Camping with Your Dog
While there are numerous issues to consider while camping with dogs, these are some of the most important.
1. Make Sure that Your Dog Cant Get Lost
It’s one thing if your dog gets free in your neighborhood. It’s another when you’re at a rest stop, nine hundred miles from home. Either train your dog to come when called or make absolutely sure that they’re on a leash at all times.
If your dog does get lost (unfortunately, it happens all the time), the ability to easily identify them will become critical. For permanent identification purposes, consider tattoos or microchips.
At a minimum, make sure they wear tags that show their name, your current phone number, and the date of their last rabies vaccination.
2. Get All of their Vaccinations Up to Date
If your dog gets into an altercation with another animal (or a person), the central issue will become their rabies shots. If you stay at a campground that has a demanding pet policy, you’ll need to verify your dog’s vaccination records.
If you cross into Canada, you’ll have to confirm that your dogs have had their shots. You get the idea.
Most state parks have a fairly strict dog policy too so this could be HUGE if you fail to do it.
3. Prepare for Fleas and Ticks
Yes, there is preventative medicine: flea prevention you can put on your dog, and even Lyme Disease vaccinations. Do NOT spray your dog with something like Deep Woods Off!
DO check your pet over after each hike to see if there are ticks to remove. Just because they can’t get Lyme’s disease after the vaccination doesn’t mean it is pleasant to be snacked on. We like to keep an adhesive lint roller handy to help pull little critters off.
4. Take Potty Breaks
Take potty breaks as soon as they happen in order to avoid accidents on the ground or tent flooring. Camping with your dog is certainly more fun with a clean tent.
5. Clean Up After Your Dog
The biggest complaint about dogs has nothing to do with their bark, their bite, or their behavior. If you pick up after your dog, you’ll be helping dog owners everywhere.
6. Learn How to Provide First Aid to Your Dog
If a medical crisis occurs while at home, you drive to your local veterinarian. But if you’re heading down a dark highway in a strange town, it will seem like a bad dream.
Although there are ways to get help while on the road, it always takes more time. In the meantime, your ability to provide competent first aid could save your dog’s life.
6. Prepare a Safe and Comfortable Place Where Your Dog Can Sleep.
Provide a warm, cozy bed with plenty of soft blankets or towels. Consider bringing along your dog’s favorite toy to provide extra comfort and security.
7. Involve Your Dog in Everything You Do
If you really want your dogs to have a good time, include them in your activities. Take them with you on long walks. Buy a cheap plastic wading pool and let them play in the water. Throw a ball. Cook them up a hamburger. If you do stuff like that, they’ll do cartwheels the next time you decide to take them camping.
It is a great way to bond with your dog as you both commune with nature. When you go camping, try everything from kayaking to hiking with them. I will let you know how the kayaking with Taz goes this summer.
8. Bring Extra Water For Your Dog
Some dogs drink more than usual in warm weather because the body works harder to cool off. Pack at least one gallon per day for each dog in the party. Don’t forget to refill your pup’s dish after he drinks from it.
9. Packing the Right Food is a Good Idea
Give them plenty to eat, but avoid foods that will cause digestive upset or excessive drooling (since this can attract bugs). Bring plenty of food to last the whole weekend (or longer, if you’ll be camping for a long period of time).
Typically dogs will do fine with dry granola bars and some of their favorite treats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while on camping trips but they should be fed at least twice a day to avoid overeating and the potential for digestive upset.
10. Prevent Pooch Boredom
Pack their favorite toy. They’ll likely be bored without it. – Spend time playing and exercising with them.
Leave the TV on in your camping spot, or bring an old radio to keep them company while you do errands and set up camp.
If they’re allowed off-leash at home, let them roam around as long as there are no hazards like barbed wire fencing
11. Dogs Need Rest Time
Dogs need rest too and it’s not much fun if they don’t get any. Camping is usually a lot longer than just an overnight camping trip so be mindful of their needs to take breaks when you can, even if that means taking turns with your camping partner.
Dogs need the same level of rest that humans do, so take care to not let your dog over-exert themselves when camping. This makes camping with your dog more fun for everyone involved.
12. Pack a Camping Crate
Bring a camping crate to keep your dog safe while you’re not supervising, and for when they need their rest in between walks or runs.
Camping crates are available at pet stores. They can make it easier to set up camp since the dog will be confined to one area of the campground.
This might be problematic if you did NOT crate train your pup.
13. Make Fido Play Nice
Dogs can be quite protective of their owners and will become aggressive if strangers get too close; this is why camping with dogs can be a lot of work.
14. Don’t be Bugged
Bugs are going to be a camping companion no matter how you slice it, so don’t worry too much about them.
Camping can mean bugs in any number of places: mosquitos while sitting around the campfire or spiders crawling up your tent walls during the night.
Make sure your pooch has taken their Heartworm meds and you are ready to deal with ticks, should you see any.
15. Call the Campgrounds Before You Go
Even if a park claims they’re pet-friendly, always call ahead to confirm their policy regarding your dogs. We’ve arrived at parks (with our two Aussie) after a long day on the road only to discover that pet-friendly meant dogs weighing under 20 pounds.
16. Plan Ahead for the Unexpected
Have a plan (for your dogs) in case of a flat tire, a serious accident, or a fire in your RV. Start with a few extra leashes, a pet carrier, and an extra fire extinguisher. Then have a fire drill to identify potential problems.
17. Learn About Your Camping Environment
The U.S. is a huge country with a vast assortment of dangerous wildlife, treacherous plants, unpredictable weather conditions, and demanding environmental challenges. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might inadvertently be putting yourself and your dog in danger.
18. Recognize and Respect the Views of Others
While some of us can’t imagine traveling without dogs, others can’t image traveling with them. If you keep your dog under control and clean up after them, you won’t give others much to grumble about.
Use common sense. If you are camping in a heavily wooded area with coyotes or other wild animals, it may be best to leave Fido at home for the weekend.
Fourth of July Camping is very popular. So popular in fact, it will be beyond crowded. Independence Day is the 4th day of July and so unlike Memorial Day or Labor Day which are always on a Monday the Fourth of July can happen on a different day of the week each year.
Even though the day may be on a Wednesday it will still bring thousands to camping sites all over the country as people get family and friends around them to celebrate one of the most momentous events in the history of our country.
Camping 4th of July Weekend
When the Fourth of July lands on a Monday or Tuesday people will often start their family camping trips on Friday night after work and celebrate together all weekend long and will continue through the holiday itself. This provides an excellent time for a close family to invite their extended family to reunite. A camping event is a great way to build family ties.
The work week ends early if the Fourth of July is on a Thursday or Friday. Families head for their camping spots knowing they don’t have to return to the work frenzy until the new work week!
Camping sites become very scarce in some of the more popular camping areas and this forces many families to travel to a new area further from the beaten path. Because of this, some families reserve campgrounds years in advance.
That is important to know if you do not like to camp with noise, crowds, and the annoying person who not only makes a mess but ignores the common courtesy of their neighbors. Being near drunk loud people is the worst if you have small kids.
Sadly, with the COVID-19 situation, there is a huge uptick in those camping rookies.
1) Find A Camp Site
You really need to plan ahead if you want to camp over the holiday weekend. There are currently more campers than campsites so you have to book early for a campsite that will be perfect for all members of your group (including pets).
We often go for a site that is on an end – so we have fewer people directly around us.
Ideas on where to look:
Private individuals with extra land including cattle farmers, ranchers, and wheat and hay growers will often lease out huge plots of land for Fourth of July camping sites and family reunions.
Landowners with property generally have relationships or common friends with the people they allow onto their property with a basic understanding that the camping groups will leave the campsites clean and in the same condition as when they arrived there. When using private land for camping it is important to maintain the trust of the owners.
If you are camping in a national forest or state-owned land you will want to do the same and keep the place nice so that your family will be able to take future camping trips there.
Follow the rules
Because some people go camping and do not take care of the land, many owners, including state and national agencies impose stricter regulations for camping in certain areas.
Those regulations affect all of us, so quickly adopt a camping policy that involves making a campsite better for the next person that will come camping after you!
2) Plan Ahead
Make sure you have everything you need in order to have an enjoyable camping experience. This includes tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, food, and water, etc.
The Fourth of July is a very festive holiday and it is easy to make a mess when having fun. However, if you think ahead and bring plenty of sturdy trash bags, you can carry out anything you brought to your site.
By following the basic “golden rule” policy you will have a wonderful Fourth of July camping trip this next year and also secure the right for all of us for many years to come.
Before shooting off those fireworks – double check the rules of that specific campsite – many will NOT allow them for the sake of pets and noise after curfew.
Best Travel Toilets for Camping? The majority of the campsites and national parks have reopened after the lockdown, but some stringent rules are nowadays.
Keeping all these in mind, it is best now to invest in a portable camping toilet. It is a necessity if you plan to camp with your family and these tend to “go” quickly – no pun intended.
5 Best Travel Toilets for Camping
If you have little kids at your camping party or have a habit of going to the loo at night, it makes sense to invest in a portable camping toilet. It has become necessary as some of the campsites have decided to close the public’s toilet facilities in the upcoming summer. So, a portable camping toilet is not a luxury anymore.
Should you get a portable camping toilet?
Imagine there is a person who is a bad sleeper, and on top of that, he has a habit of going to the washroom multiple times though out the night. It will be an arduous task for him to leave the tent, put on the shoes, and go to the toilet block, especially if your camping site isn’t close to the bathrooms.
The whole exercise would be very annoying! So, if you are going to camp with your family, then purchase a portable camping toilet. Lest you think otherwise, there are some reasons why you should seriously consider getting a portable loo:
Any of your family members frequently wake up at night to use the toilet
You are camping in an area that does not have a toilet block
For personal hygiene reasons, you want to reduce the number of times your family uses the public wash care facilities.
You have decided to camp at a site that has decided against opening up the public toilets.
How often do you need to empty a portable toilet?
Portable toilets are a common sight in camping sites, and they have become an essential part of any camping trip. One can have many reasons for opting for a portable camping toilet, but the most important thing is understanding when and how these things need to be emptied.
A standard rule is that a portable toilet is good enough to cater to a maximum of seven people over a 40-hour week. The toilets will fill up over a time of continuous use, and it would require proper maintenance that involves more than just emptying the unit.
The portable toilets have special chemicals that help to break down the waste so that the actual unit remains clean and hygienic. The chemicals need to be refilled when the toilet is emptied during the cleaning process.
Health experts suggest that portable camping toilets should be emptied at least once a week. This guideline has been given assuming that a maximum of seven people has used the toilet.
Additional use of the toilet would mean emptying the portable toilet around 2 – 3 times a week. Some of the branded portable camping toilets would have guidelines on how often they need to be emptied. The frequency of emptying the toilet unit depends on the number of people, how much food and drink is consumed, and the camping trip duration.
Can you empty a chemical toilet into a normal toilet?
There are some obvious hygiene issues in emptying a chemical toilet into a normal toilet. Still, one should be careful to note that the chemicals should not go straight into the sewerage system.
There should be an official emptying area near the campsite, but you can flush the content down a normal WC if there none. Many people are not aware that you can empty a portable toilet’s contents into the home septic tank. You can do this on an occasional basis as the total volume would be around 2 gallons only. The disinfectants in the container would be dilute and will never the tank bacteria.
Can you poop in a portable chemical toilet?
The technology behind the portable camping toilets is not difficult to follow. Almost every portable camping toilet nowadays requires you to use waste bags. One needs to set up the toilet, sit on it, do the job, and then cleanly remove the waste bag. It is as simple as that.
Our favorite bags? The Double Doodie. If you need a larger reliable, no fuss, no muss way to handle your portable toilet waste while camping, boating, hunting, or where regular facilities are not available then Reliance DOUBLE DOODIE PLUS Toilet Waste Bags with BIO-GEL is essential.
Each bag is two bags in one. The black interior bag easily fits over or under the toilet seat or bucket edge to contain the waste, the tough exterior zip lock bag with a carry handle seals the waste and ensures a tight, leak-proof seal, and reduces the chance of punctures.
Reliance Double Doodie Plus Toilet Waste Bags with BIO-GEL also work for dog waste. The bags fit perfectly with the Reliance Luggable Loo, Fold-to-Go, Tri-to-Go, and Hassock portable toilets. DOUBLE DOODIE PLUS bags with BIO-GEL may be used with a wide variety of portable toilets. Bags can be disposed of in any trash receptacle.
The Five Best Travel Toilets for Camping
The Camco Portable Travel Toilet is right up there on this list. It is an excellent toilet option for camping. The 5.3-gallon holding tank can be easily detached for emptying, and there is a separate 2.5 gallon for flushing. The system has latches in place to ensure that the tank remains firmly attached to the toilet.
Reliance Luggable Loo Portable Toilet is an inexpensive and functional toilet that has a five-gallon bucket. The toilet’s main feature is the Snap-on seat, and the toilet comes with waste bags, which makes cleaning up so easy.
The TripTips Portable Folding Toilet is easy to carry, although it will not fetch very high marks in terms of looks. The design is pretty ordinary and comes in a range of colors. Since it has a low weight, it is easy to carry on camping trips. Just place a garbage bag inside the toilet, do the thing and quickly dispose of the bag.
The Kudosale Portable Travel Toilet gives you the comfort of an actual toilet seat. It has a lightweight plastic frame that houses a 5l bucket that can be used multiple times without emptying. The striking feature of this toilet is that you can use it as a stool!
The Vingli Portable Flushing Camping Toilet is a self-contained toilet that has a flush too! The toilet has a built-in carry handle, and the product comes with a durable handy bag that can be used to carry the portable toilet. The rotating spout on the water tank helps to empty the water tank efficiently.
Why do you need to Read a Topographic Map? Unlike a simple trail map, topographic maps ideally reveal the terrain that you can expect to encounter on your trail. Topographic tools are essential tools for hikers as they can plan an entire trip with the help of a topographic map.
The map dramatically decreases your chances of any unpleasant surprises. The map includes steep mountain ascents, gently sloping valleys, and some of the fascinating points you pass by an area. The plan will give you a rough idea about the distance to reach a specific location.
How to Read a Topographic Map While Hiking
When you consult a topographic map before hiking, you can gauge the difficulty level of the hike and be prepared for potential adventures. A topographic map is one of the best tools you can have if you lose your bearings on a trail. You will need some basic understanding to utilize the vital information on the topographic maps fully.
Different forms of charts show three-dimensional landscapes that include elevations, contours, bodies of water and vegetation, and topographic features.
Why do you need a topographic map?
Simplified trail maps that include the JPEG images don’t include all that you might need on a trail. The plans don’t include any elevation data or magnetic declination and also have limited symbols.
Even if you get lost, the simplified maps won’t help you in finding your way out. A topographic map offers plenty of information not only on distance and elevation but also on vegetation and human-made structures.
Parts of a topographic map:
The contour lines ideally show elevation. They are known as bread and butter when it comes to an understanding of a topographic map. It shows the layout of the terrain and also gives clarity of maximum features. The contour lines will show the changes in elevation and lay of the land.
It will also give you an estimate of what you will be walking through and how difficult the trail will be. The contour lines connect all continuous points that share the same elevation. The elevation is changing at shorter distances when you see contour lines close together, indicating a steep slope or a cliff.
The grade is gradual when contour lines are apart. You might notice that every fifth line is thicker than the others. Contour lines help you visualize the features and shape of the terrain. After understanding the contour lines, you can point to valleys, plateaus, mountains, and depressions.
Scale is known as the relative distance of the real-life map. The scale is found in the legend. It shows the ratio of real ground inches to map inches. You can understand the details of the plan by looking at the scale. If a topographic map has a scale of 1:12000, it shows a much smaller area than a scale of 1:24000.
When you are planning a route, it is essential to know how detailed your map is. The representative plate is also included in the charts that help you visualize the distances in kilometers that are more useful than measuring your hike in inches.
The legend is essential to understand how to read a Topographic Map. It contains some vital information, including:
➢ Source data- It includes when and where the map was made. Ensure you check the map before buying, as it is essential to get some recent version possible.
➢ Scale- It means the relative distance on the map.
➢ Contour level- It means the change in elevation between the contour line.
➢ Magnetic declination- It means the difference between fascinating truth north and north in the given area. It is essential to set up a compass before leaving for your trail as the magnetic declination varies from place to place.
➢ Color key- The color key indicates the various colors used across the map to mark vegetation. The darker shades indicate denser vegetation, while the lighter colors indicate thin vegetation.
➢ Symbol key- It indicates certain features, including rivers, pipelines, boundaries, roads, etc.
Where to get the topographic maps?
You can get topographic maps from various sources. You can get topographic maps from local government companies or specialty companies.
How to Read a Topographic Map: Orient your map
You have to use your compass and map’s north arrow to orient your map. It would be best if you placed your compass flat on the map with it pointing to the top. Then you need to rotate yourself until you see the compass’s needle pointing north.
Look for your location on the map
You have to look around to identify nearby locations or features including mountain, river, road, or spur if you have to locate those features to find your position on the map.
Read the contour lines
You have to understand the contour lines that traverse the terrain that you might be covering on your trail. Always remember closer the lines, the steeper the landscape. You can sense gradual elevation where contour lines are farther apart. The concentric circles indicate the saddles between the peaks and peaks. If you see some concentric circles with tick-marked color, it suggests the depression in the landscape color.
Identify the landscape features on the topographic map
Landscape features include saddles, spurs, summits, and reentrants determined by contour line patterns on the topographical maps.
➢ Spurs- It is a landscape feature under which the land slopes on three sides and slopes downwards, only one side. You can easily identify catalysts by looking at the contour lines on the map.
➢ Reentrants- This indicates an indentation on the mountainside. You can identify reentrants by looking at the contour lines that point against the natural mountain slope on the map.
➢ Summit- The topmost region of a mountain is known as the summit. You can identify the conference on the map by locating the contour that is an innermost line from the set of concentric contour line ranges.
➢ Practice deciphering contour lines by reading map features in a similar location- You have to visualize each similar picture and then see how the map’s contour lines represent each feature.
➢ Get out on the trail with your topographical map- One of the best methods to learn map reading is by taking the topographical map along with you on a short hiking trail. So you can practice identifying landscape features and then find them on your plan as you start hiking. You should pay close attention to the arrangement of the contour lines for each element.
Thus a topographic map is a vital tool that helps you plan a route and be prepared and know what’s ahead of you. I am sure you will be able to do it easily with time if you practice map reading regularly.
Are you looking for camping hacks that will make the camping experience so much easier for you?
We all love tips and tricks that make our lives easier – and this list of 15 gems is really a lot longer than that! Some of these babies have 10 tips inside them!
If you want to know more about how to stay warm, cool, dry, bug free, and out of the dark, then read on.
15 Awesome Camping Hacks That Work
The following camping hacks will make you a campsite professional this season. So make plans and read on….
Easy Fire Starters Camping
Camping is fun, but one needs to find an easy hack to get the fire started quickly and easily. The DIY fire starters that we talk about are not only simple but very effective. We touch on a few other campfire tips and tricks here too!
There are multiple ways to make camp coffee while you are backpacking or camping. We have talked about this before when covering what we thought were the best coffee pots. A lot of people think that a good cup of coffee cannot be brewed over a campfire; there are many methods to do so!
Camping is always fun irrespective of the temperature. But it would help if you kept certain tips in mind to keep yourself safe in the trying weather. Here are some great ways to deal with that hot weather we often find ourselves out there in.
Yup, it rains, and then we are often sitting there figuring out what we can do and how we can stay dry. A camping trip in the wet weather is quite enjoyable and not as challenging as many perceive it to be if you know how to deal with it. These are camping hacks you are going to need!
We love the littles and getting them out in nature is a great learning opportunity. Camping with toddlers can be fun, rewarding, and can become a bit chaotic if you do not keep certain tips and tricks in mind.
Bears may look good in the wild, but they aren’t really cute and fuzzy up close. Bears are always looking for things to eat so your task would be to find ways to get rid of the food smells from your campsite unless you want Ursine visitors.
You can keep all the bugs at bay in the campsite with this homemade Bug Spray. It is stronger than the commercially available mosquito repellent but free from the harsh chemicals that we want to keep off of our skin.
Amazing Board Games to Instill a Love of Nature in your Children
Board games are great for families, and the kids love them when they are camping. These are great for those rainy days or just when you want to bring everyone together around the table. They will enjoy playing them as they soak in the beauty of the nature around them.
A Dollar Tree Camping Supplies list? With the aid of the global COVID-19 pandemic, camping is up over 800%. That means a lot of people are out there, trying to have fun with their families, and probably doing it on a shoestring budget.
Not everyone can drop $40,000 on an RV and take that fully loaded baby from site to site – some are in the world of pop-up campers or even tents! Camping supplies from big-name businesses can be expensive, and it makes it hard to get into camping.
Best Camping Supplies You Can Buy At The Dollar Store
Thankfully, you don’t always need to rely on expensive supplies to get what you need. Your local dollar store has tons of excellent camping supplies to make your next outdoor trip one you’ll never forget.
We put together a handy (and extensive) list of gems you can find at your local dollar store that takes the financial bite out of the cost of that family trip to commune with nature. I have found ALL items at my local Dollar Tree store – obviously, some vary with the season, but make a few trips to DIFFERENT stores as they all tend to get different inventory.
Keep in mind that the Dollar Tree takes coupons too! That will drop the price of some of these items dramatically if they are name-brand. See their coupon policy HERE.
Aluminum Foil and/or Aluminum Pans
One of the best parts of camping is cooking over that open fire! Sadly, most campground fire pits, if they HAVE a grate, it isn’t easy for roasting those hot dogs and who knows when it was cleaned last? My hubby says “it all burns off before you pop on the food” but eww — no!
This is where that aluminum foil is your hero: just put some of it over that grate an you are ready to mock-grill. My favorite use for foil? Foil camping meals! Yum!
The pans are perfect if you don’t have that dutch oven or cast-iron skillet yet – and great for everything from food on a stick to batches of campfire beans! Breakfast casseroles, over the fire egg bakes, even as a mock dutch oven – they are worth their weight in dollar store gold.
Community picnic table? Not sure who touched that electric panel last? Not sure about that door handle on the pit toilets? These wipes come in handy for any surface that you want to disinfect before you start handling it. Very COVID-19 smart!
Sometimes you find yourself unable to get a regular camp shower. Baby wipes to the rescue for that “fresher” feeling. If they are safe enough for a baby’s privates, they should be dainty enough to the most sensitive skin, yet able to handle a tough job.
While these character mitts are beyond adorable, they come in handy for that communal camp shower- easier than a washcloth as they are designed to drip-dry. Perfect to keep in your bathroom kit!
You really can’t go wrong with batteries for a buck. I keep a small box with AA, AAA, C, and D batteries on hand. That covers pretty much everything from that handheld electronic game to the telescoping flashlight/lantern. These should be at the top of your list of Dollar Tree camping supplies.
Battery-Operated Tea Lites
No fire hazard here- but you have the fire-like glow at night. These usually come in a 2-pack and are something we make sure all little people have handy. It gives them a sense of comfort to have a little light by their head – or readily available for the dark. The illusion of control is VERY important for them.
S’mores and any other food on a stick! Weenies, veggies, you name it – the set of skewers can be reused and do not catch fire as the wooden skewers do. People always seem to forget that they are supposed to soak the wooden ones for at least an hour in the water…
These are a must if you have kids! We use a mesh bag (see below under M) to keep them in as it is easier to shake the sand out of them before they go back into your gear.
For a buck, you can usually get a 5-7 piece set that has a bucket, shovel, fork, sifter, and few shapes – a pretty incredible deal that will keep littles entertained for hours.
Even if you don’t have a birthday to celebrate – these little gems are powerful camping tools! Rubbing it on a zipper will “lubricate” it and turn it into a little person friendly operation. They are flammable and help get that campfire started!
I have found the most amazing books at my Dollar Tree – for a buck! I would rather drop that in the lake than my Kindle. I try to take one book for every 4 days we are camping – for those mornings that I beat everyone awake and have a sunrise coffee moment.
As for the littles? I always had a busy box of sorts, filled with activities that were do-able for rainy days or when we had to wait for some strange thing – like to get our boat in the water. My Etsy store has a lot of printable worksheet sets for kids but your local dollar store also has coloring books and activity books! Don’t forget the colored pencils or markers (sorry but their crayons suck – get extras of those at back to school time for about a quarter).
There was that one trip that something happened and our water wasn’t potable through our camper. Bottled water saved the day for everything from drinking to whipping up that pancake mix! ALWAYS have some on hand.
Bubbles and Butterfly Nets
These are fun things for the littles – bubbles are great to blow for them to try and catch or let them blow to their heart’s content. We usually follow the “no trace left behind” concept when camping and the nets are counter to that – although I don’t recall our kid EVER catching a butterfly – even when we were helping the DNR on a monarch hunt.
Honestly? These and the cupcake carriers suck for baked goods when looking at Dollar Tree camping supplies. They are too flimsy to support them but they ARE good for your paper items like plates, napkins, etc – and can keep your disposables dry as well as help keep them from blowing away.
It is a lot easier to open canned goods as not all have the pull tabs on top. Make sure you get the one that can open beer bottles too. Just sayin’…
Some of the Dollar Tree canned foods are cheaper than what you get at the grocery store! Around Thanksgiving? Canned yams and pumpkin pie filling – for a buck! $1.79+ at the grocery stores.
You need to know your prices here – but even some of their canned veggies are 2 for a dollar. I know you might not think of canned goods are Dollar Tree camping supplies, but many do.
If you hike or are a backpacker – these babies come in SUPER handy for so many things. Multipacks are in the hardware section and can be used to hold all of your mesh bags in a tree, keep your garbage out of critter reach, anchor your dog to your campsite, etc. You get the idea!
If you put anything on a clothesline, these help KEEP them there – from towels to swimsuits.
Entertaining the kiddos? They can decorate your campsite, you can make a hopscotch set, you can take one with you hiking to mark your trail if you are in an area without marked trails.
Soooo much more than just ketchup and mustard! We love these for making pancakes – you can easily control the batter going onto the griddle.
Dawn Dish Soap
So eco-friendly that it is used on wildlife when cleaning up after an oil spill. Even if you use paper plates and plastic utensils, chances are you will need to re-use pots and pans if you are doing a lot of cooking.
Dawn is an excellent de-greaser, should you get something on your clothes and need to pre-treat until you get home!
If you don’t want to bring an entire bottle of dish soap with you, the dollar store has these handy dish brush wands that let you fill their handles up with dish soap. It can’t get much easier to wash a dish than that!
These come in white and black – it is always a surprise as to what you will actually find. You need THREE for our dish washing station set up suggestion.
Extra-long and nice and thick. These are great to have on hand, just in case there is a “leash law” at your campsite.
Dog Poo Bags
4 bundles for a buck – that is the best price I have seen anywhere and let’s face it: poo pick up is just polite. Do it.
I HATE it when sand and dirt is tracked into our camper. Wipe off those feet before you come in or leave the shoes outside!
Dry Erase Board
Some campsites are so busy that everyone does their own thing. Who is at the pool? Who grabbed the Kayak? Who went to the camp store for donuts? Who took the pooch for a walk? For a buck, you can have a camp message center to make sure all people are accounted for and easily locatable in the event of an emergency.
Fix rips and tears, fix that air mattress, fix the pool floaties, fix the kite, even use it in your first aid kit for blisters!
Dustpan and Broom
We have a pop-up and it seems that there is ALWAYS sand or dirt finding their way inside. Occasionally we have potato chips fall under the table, etc. These two tools help keep things tidy – get a dust broom if that works better than a full-sized broom!
Always have backup headphones unless you want to hear your teen’s favorite music over and over and over and over…
4 pairs AND a container to hold them. Worth it. My husband snores … but you might have those campsite neighbors that stay up until 3 AM.
These flimsy organizers are perfect for holding all the important papers that go with your camper, like specs and insurance. They are slim enough to fit between your seat and center console so you always know where it is.
First Aid Supplies
First aid supplies are absolutely essential to have an abundance of on hand for any camping trip. Fortunately, putting together a first-aid kit can be incredibly cheap, especially at the dollar store. Hands down, it is one of the Best Dollar Tree camping supplies to stock up on!
Purchase a durable plastic container, and then begin filling it up with all of the supplies you may need. Bandages, disinfectant wipes, rubbing alcohol, antibiotic ointments are all great additions to your emergency medical kit.
You can also get smaller portions of many medications such as Ibuprofen, sinus, and allergy relief medications, and stomach relief medications such as Pepto-Bismol. These are perfect because they don’t take up a lot of space in your kit.
They even have a handy travel pack that includes cotton pads, cotton swabs, and cotton balls which are always a good idea to have in any first aid kit.
As a helpful tip for your medical kit, make sure you open it up and ensure that you have everything you need before you go on a trip. Additionally, make sure that the contents of your first-aid kit aren’t expired before your next trip.
OK, these suck for comfort but work well for shower shoes. You NEVER want to be barefoot in a communal shower – that was drilled into my head when I went through basic training 400 years ago.
It does get dark and if you have to visit the camp potty in the middle of the night? These come in handy!
These are easy to help keep your teeth tidy and avoid the string-like garbage. Your dentist will praise you and that minty taste will be refreshing.
I don’t really think these work well but it can give the kids something to do, lol.
Glow sticks are incredibly useful supplies to have while camping and are incredibly cheap at the dollar store. Glow sticks have all sorts of useful purposes, aside from being handy when you need a mobile light source.
You can also use glow sticks as jewelry, which in addition to being fun, also has practical safety benefits. If your kids are running around at night, use glow sticks to keep track of them in the dark.
Glow sticks are also great for camping activities such as games as they can distinguish teams during objective-based games. You can also turn them into rings for games such as frisbee or even horseshoe style games.
If you have anyone with longer hair – you should have extras of these handy. A multi-pack for a buck means when that ONE that was packed is lost or broken then you can easily manage those long locks.
Hand Soap and/or Hand Sanitizer
Depending on where you camp the bathrooms might not be stocked or well-stocked. Having your own on hand can keep ya’ll happy and healthy! Hand sanitizer is great for those hikers, backpackers, etc who might not have a lot of spare water.
I am talking about the mesh pop-up style here and these are great for any dirty clothes! They help keep the stink down as well as the humidity. Folding flat for storage between trips, these are priceless. This is one of those Dollar Tree camping supplies that can be hard to find.
Maybe you need these to keep food in the cooler to stay frosty and maybe you want these on hand for first aid – for any sprains or strains. Bottom line? They are reusable, and only a buck.
Inflatable Arm Bands for swimming
They don’t really help keep you afloat as a viable flotation device but give a sense of security to the littles. Get a few extra packs as they are a spring seasonal and vanish quickly.
Jar openers- grippers
If you bring any food items from a jar – this might come in handy. I can food and we often bring some of my homemade treats along. Once in a while, a band is a little rusty and sticks. These make it a breeze to open.
Again, a seasonal spring item, this can be a fun item to have for camping. They take up very little space until you assemble them.
This would be my husband’s all-time favorite of the Dollar Tree camping supplies. When you have a pop-up camper this comes in handy when setting the stabilizers and the crank. Especially if you are setting up on gravel – it really saves your knees!
It’s much easier and safer to start a bonfire with a long-stem lighter than a match. Lighters are also your friend for any camp stove and a great find for Dollar Tree camping supplies.
These are a great backup to that lighter – which can run out of fuel. Make sure they stay nice and dry in either a zippy bag or airtight container.
Mesh Laundry Bag
SOOOO many uses for this baby. We already mention beach toys. How about as a “dunk bag” for your dishes to let them air dry? Don’t have a pop up hamper? These work for clothes too. Maybe you need something to haul all of your stuff to the communal laundry? These are fantastic!
Munchies – potato chips, cookies, etc
Pringles $1.79 at the grocery store or a buck at Dollar Tree? Everything from scooter pies to nacho chips- they have you covered for at least half the price of the grocery store. Some are name brand and some aren’t – test things before you invest in a large inventory.
OK – these are good for keeping tech vertical if it is charging, holding napkins, or even keeping things like BBQ skewers organized in a drawer or tote.
Organizing Supplies – wire racks, baskets, bins, and more
Dollar Tree camping supplies? Seriously, they have 2 different aisles of stuff to help you corral any loose item you could possibly have. From bins to covered boxes – they have your solution.
Paper or Plastic Cups, Plates, and Bowls
It can be a hassle to wash dishes at some locations. Dollar Tree sells all colors of paper and plastic products in their party section or you can hit their paper goods section and buy in larger quantities.
They also have fun plastic cups! Do you want to drink out of a unicorn or have that whimsical plastic wine glass? There are even disposable champagne glasses – it depends on how much you want to party!
One campsite we go to has themed weeks and one time we might pick up grass skirts with coconut cups… or sombreros with plastic margarita glasses.
Paper Lunch Bags
We have talked about cooking breakfast in a bag before – but these come in handy for those beach shells, souvenirs, or even sack lunches for beach day or hiking. Toss them in the fire pit to help as kindling fodder when you are done with them.
You can use these in your first aid kits if you have larger bottles of meds at home and want to make a mini kit -or if you want to make a “spice bar” for cooking! Get the 7-day pack and you have 7 openings to fill for a nice variety.
Everything seems neater and tidier when grouped together in a basket. Color-code them by personand everyone knows where THEIR dtuff is.
We have these color-coded for the bathroom items. It is easy to take to the camp shower with you if you have your soap, shampoo, bath mitt, flip-flops all together and ready to go. Everything has its place and is portable.
The dollar store has great heavy-duty plastic cutlery that can be used more than once. This is handy to have on hand when you can’t wash dishes, don’t want to wash dishes, or plan to wash dishes and reuse them.
Plastic Food Containers
Keeping your food safe and away from bugs and animals can be a real pain while camping. However, your local dollar store just might have everything you need in terms of food storage for your next campout.
We have talked about meal prep before and even packing your cooler – these gems can help if you choose to pre-cut, pre-slice, and pre-dice things before you go.
There are containers in pretty much any size – so you are literally covered in any event.
Plastic Storage Bags
We kayak and like to keep things dry, like our phones. They are great for keeping sand out of things too! When our peanut was smaller, I used these to pack entire outfits for each day – taking the guesswork out of how to dress for the day.
Need a clothesline to dry wet swimsuits and towels? Need to tie down the kayak because support is shifting on your roof rack? Need to anchor a tarp or tent with high winds or a lot of rain? Need to bear-proof your food?
This rope is worth having on hand for so many uses – it is like duct tape! Granted it isn’t paracord, but it works in a pinch.
Polyester Pot & Pan Protectors, 3-ct. Packs
Somethings that you might keep in your camping kit shift during transport. If you take real pots and pans, they can kill each other fast if they are nested inside each other without these.
Versatile little suckers here for Dollar Tree camping supplies- first of all, cut into smaller sections and then slit down one side. You now have a knife protector. Stick your knife blade inside the pool noodle and it won’t hack other things up while in transport.
You can use them on the edge of a bucket to make a camp potty.
Slice them along one side and use them to cover tent lines to make them visible. It helps prevent tripping!
Ever grabbed a hot pan off of the campfire? You need one of these! Don’t bring your good ones from home – grab a pair for a buck and keep it in your camping kit.
Best. Price. Ever. And great to have on hand if you can’t store fresh milk. Add some of that bottled water and you are ready for everything from coffee to making mac n cheese.
You never realize how many times you need to clean a little something, fix something small, or add a little medication until you don’t pack these.
These take up a lot less space than full-sized raincoats and come in handy in the event of foul weather.
Rainy Day Games and Toys
Stuck in the camper or tent? That is where the “busy box” I mentioned comes in. Make these something different than what the kids normally have access to so it seems like a fresh task. Don’t forget to add our trash panda craft kit!
The average person farts over 25 times a day – multiply that by how many people are camping with you. Enough said.
Seasonings and Spices
My favorite Dollar Tree camping supplies bargains! Everything from cinnamon to the dehydrated minced onion. For a buck. Fill those mini pill containers and keep your camp kitchen well stocked.
These work for your camp shower or RV – but aren’t that handy to haul to the communal showers. Keep all those washing essentials together.
Want to cover a plate of food to keep the bugs out? Want something to wrap those muddy shoes in to keep dirt from tracking all over your camper? Shower caps to the rescue!
If you hike, these are great protein grabs and lightweight – great for that backpack!
Solar Stake Lights
Great to have around your tent stake lines or to light up the way to the potty. Make night time easier when you really aren’t all that awake.
If you looked at our how to wash dishes article – these make for great low water wash systems.
Two words – tick checks! Roll them on your clothes, or even Fido to see if any creepy crawly stick to it! As far as Dollar Tree Camping Supplies – this one might be at the top of the list if you are leery about Lyme’s disease.
If you can’t find pool noodles for marking your tent/tarp/yurt stakes then this may be your next best option. A roll goes a long way!
You don’t think about skin cancer until you get it. And who wants to spend most of their vacation dealing with a sunburn?
Did you know that this was invented to close battlefield wounds on soldiers? Keep it in your first aid kit for quick liquid sutures.
Chlorine in a campground pool can irritate the eyes and the stuff that may be in the lake? eesh – . Protect the peepers!
Tablecloth and Clamps
While most developed campgrounds have a picnic table on each site, they usually aren’t the cleanest or smoothest tables you’ve ever eaten from
Tablecloth clamps will keep your tablecloth from flapping around or being blown away altogether in the wind.
Most people think of extra rain protection, covering firewood, or using on the beach as a mat. We found 15 ways to use a tarp when camping – see it HERE.
Tissues, Paper Towels, and Toilet Paper
As I mentioned, campground bathrooms aren’t always stocked, so it’s always a good idea to bring some back up toilet paper just in case.
Dollar Tree TP is one-ply, making it great for camp pottys.
Paper towels are handier than napkins and can help as a firestarter for that fire pit.
If you leave a dollar hammer behind, you aren’t as upset as if it was your Craftsman hammer. Pliers, wrenches, hammers, and screwdriver – the Dollar Tree has them all.
First of all, they have pretty colors and even scented bags for your garbage. You want to keep it in a bag and be able to lift it into a tree to keep critters out of it.
If you are in a state park, you may have to haul out what you bring in – so keep it bagged up until you are ready to dump it.
Didn’t get those rain ponchos? These will work in a pinch. They also help keep you a little warmer when the temperature dips – keeping your body heat in closer.
If you have a severe wet streak – use them to bag up everything for the trip home – to keep your car cleaner.
Travel Toiletry Bottles
These are super convenient for packing shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, etc., but they can also be used for kitchen items like olive oil, ketchup, and other condiments.
They fit well into that plastic shower caddy and let you repackage your bigger items at home for a thrifty take on little consumables. It is almost two bucks for each individual mini item at Target!
Rain happens. Occasionally strong winds do too – and the umbrellas can blow out. A buck umbrella is easier to lose than a thirty dollar stadium-sized one.
Utensils for cooking
Would you prefer a mini size or full-sized? There are small sets or you can get quality ones for a buck each. I LOVE my handy dandy hamburger chopper! Pampered Chef sells it for $15 !!
Whisks, bamboo spoons, slotted spoons, tongs, and so much more to choose from!
Sometimes there are tasks you don’t really want to do but they have to get done – like dumping septic or greywater. Heck, I even wear these when washing dishes!
On a hot summer day, a water gun fight can be awesome. May I suggest getting a few super soakers and ganging up on Dad – but not letting him have anything bigger than a pea-shooter?
It is good to have a custom colored water bottle for everyone to reuse. It is more eco-friendly than 16 ounce water bottles and a great reminder to hydrate!
Do you need to call kids back to camp for a meal or maybe pack one for emergencies when your voice is going out? Cheaper by far than over a camping supply store! Test it out to make sure it works!
X – I got Nothing.
Y – I got Nothing.
Ziploc Style Bags
So many uses – from marinating meat for your skewer meal to hauling that homemade trail mix on your hike. Need to keep that phone or camera dry in the kayak? Bam! Covered! Use smaller ones to keep matches dry, hold items in your first aid kit, or even corral markers and colored pencils for the busy box.
Camping does not have to be nearly as expensive as it is made out to be. There is a lot of supplies you can get at the dollar store, and plenty of items that can be used for camping. With these tips under your belt, your entire family can have the ultimate thrifty camping adventure for pennies on the dollar.
How do you wash dishes while camping? Times have changed a lot since I was a Girl Scout and had my own set of dishes with a dunk bag! With the Leave No Trace principle that we are all working on, the last thing we really want to do is to dribble chemicals over our dishes and shake them around in a river, lake, or stream.
Not only is that harmful to the environment and local critters, but you are also risking illness yourself with potential water bacteria. Now, if you HAVE those dunk bags – hang on to them! We will show you how to still use them without hurting the environment or endangering yourself.
Easiest Way to Wash Dishes While Camping
What do you need?
First of all, a camping wash basin. Actually, three of them. Check out your local Dollar Store – I found just the perfect size – for a buck each. You will also need hot water, clean water for rinsing, biodegradable dish soap, and a Tablespoon of bleach.
Is Dawn dish soap safe to wash dishes while camping?
Yes. According to the International Bird Rescue Research Center, Dawn effectively removes grease but does not cause harm to the skin of the birds. It’s also biodegradable and contains no phosphates.
That being said, even biodegradable dish soaps can cause environmental problems if not disposed of properly. With camping up about 800% in 2020, there are a lot of people who could be damaging the river life. Water is precious to all life. Simple, easy-to-follow advice helps ensure that rivers, lakes, and oceans receive high levels of protection.
How to dispose of dishwater when camping
The Leave No Trace website gives you all the info on how to dump that greywater safely. Just a few simple steps and the knowledge of how far away to be from a water source will keep your campsite safe from both critters and illness.
How can I dry my dishes without a dish rack?
Unless you plan to bring EVERYTHING but the kitchen sink with you camping, this is good to know. Not everyone has the latest model RV so they are forced to pack a little bit lighter. For us? We have a pop-up so too much weight can be an issue.
You have a few options if you don’t want a collapsible dish rack. The dollar stores have dish drying mats. You need to make sure to take it in the house and wash / dry it between camping trips. Some trips find you in more humid conditions so your mat may not ever really dry during your trip.
If you suspect that mold has started to grow, pop it in a tub and add white vinegar or lemon juice to the water to act as a mold remover. as you scrub it, inspect it for mold and other remaining stains. Then just toss it into your washer with the rest of your laundry.
The other option is a lot easier, and takes less space up in your portable camp kitchen: dunk bags. After your dishes have been washed, they go in the dunk bags and are hung up to air dry!
The towels can pick up bacteria on peoples’ hands and on unclean dishes. When left wet, the towel becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, and the next time you use it to dry dishes, it transfers the bacteria to your dishes.
I certainly don’t want to get sick while out in nature – do you? I mean, that is the reason most of us have been camping over the last year – to avoid getting sick by avoiding large crowds.
Can you use bleach to wash dishes?
A lot of people ask this and the answer: yes. It’s part of the 3-step process for safe cleaning of your kitchen ware. If you have ever worked in a restaurant that had a low temp dish machine or the machine was down for a bit, you have this ingrained in your head. You wash, rinse, then disinfect.
Bleach is a strong and effective disinfectant. Its active ingredient, sodium hypochlorite, denatures protein in micro-organisms and is therefore effective in killing bacteria, fungus and viruses. Household bleach works quickly and is widely available at a low cost – as I said, you can even find it at the local dollar store.
Your DIY camping dishwashing station
There is no need to get a fancy dishwashing station from a camping store or Amazon. Unless you really want to drop $140 or so, then feel free. I already mentioned what you need: 3 bins from the dollar store, some biodegradable dish soap, and a little bleach. If you choose to use Dawn, both that and bleach area available a the local dollar store too – for a whopping total of five bucks.
Here is the technique for properly washing dishes using three pans. The first pan contains hot, biodegradable soapy water; the second contains clean water for rinsing; and the third contains a sanitizing solution: one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water.
Start by scraping left-over food off the dishes into the trash. Then wash the dishes in the first pan, rinses them in the second, and places the dishes in dunk bags for the final, two-minute sterilizing rinse. The dunk bags are then hung by clothespins on the clothesline to air dry.
Another method to wash dishes without running water is dish washing wipes. The wipes work well for scrubbing and cleaning dishes but the dishes still need to be rinsed. A handy way to rinse the dishes is with a spray bottle filled with plain water.
We found dish washing wipes HERE. They also talk about using a weed sprayer on your dishes – but PLEASE make sure you use one that is ONLY for your camping needs. The last thing you want to do is to add harmful chemicals to your dishes that make your family sick. Ekk!
We also found this great video showing how to wash dishes with VERY little water:
That should have you covered with ideas for how to Wash Dishes While Camping. You don’t need expensive stations or fancy items! With a little planning and just five or six bucks at your local dollar store, you should be all set.
Camping Food Hacks? Let’s face it – food is almost as an important part of the camping experience as the location and tent. As long as you plan to enjoy nature instead of hunting out the local restaurants, we should have you covered in our camping cooking guide.
Camping Cuisine varies per person or family
The type of food that you eat while camping is totally dependent upon the type of storage you have for your food. If you have an RV, you can store and prepare meals that aren’t much different from home. But if you only have access to a cooler, a campfire, and maybe a grill, then everything is different. These Camping Food Hacks will try to help you cover all the bases.
OK, not a Camping Food Hacks, but important. Can you keep cold food cold and hot food hot? If not, then you may want to opt for safer raw food ingredients like salad and fruit, along with canned items.
One way to do it is to eat well the first night (something like steak and potatoes cooked over the fire), and then the latter days eat more canned food since food in a cooler will only last as long as you have ice. We did write about this before: How do You Keep Your Food Cold When Camping Without a Fridge?
Prep before You Go
HUGE on the lists of camping food hacks! However you decide to do it, always prep everything before you go. Get all the prep for each meal and snack out of the way because it’ll be a lot easier to pack and store this way. Plus, it’ll make fixing it a breeze. You don’t want to spend all your vacation cooking and cleaning, so make it easy for yourself.
How do you plan food for camping?
If you’ve been camping before, then you know how difficult it can be to make healthy eating choices when camping. The desire to just pull out hot dogs and nuke them in the microwave or roast them over the fire on a stick can be difficult to ignore.
However, just because you’re in the great outdoors doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice healthy eating choices for convenience. Here are a few tips on how you can still meal plan for a camping trip.
Camping Food Hacks: Breakfast Burritos
For those who love to start their day with a hot meal, then you can easily meal prep breakfast burritos before you leave for your camping trip. All you need to do is cook your ingredients like scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, bacon, and peppers.
Then you simply wrap them in a tortilla, add whatever ingredients you desire for further flavor, and then wrap the entire burrito in tin foil. These should be kept in a freezer or fridge until it’s time to cook them again. At breakfast time, simply throw them on the fire inside of their tin foil to heat it up.
You can even make pancakes while out camping! All you need to do at home is prepare the batter. You can either make it yourself from scratch or simply mix together the store version. Once the batter is prepared, you just have to store it in a plastic squeeze-bottle or even a plastic baggie. Once breakfast time arrives, you can just squeeze the batter onto a pan and cook the pancakes over the open fire.
It’s difficult to go wrong with chili. Not only is it a favorite meal for many but it also freezes quite well. That makes it the perfect choice for campers. You can easily cook the chili at home. Then store it in a container and freeze it until it’s time to cook. Again, cooking it can be easily done over the fire.
This is an easy recipe to cook in bulk. So, if your family doesn’t mind eating the same meal for a few days, then this could be all you need for your dinners. Bring along a few extra ingredients to top off your chili in order to make it fresh and exciting.
Foil Pack Meals are always easy! You can cook them over any heat source, they are self contained, and a complete meal in one easy to eat out of package.
I want to share one important tip if you are preparing for a camping trip: do not assemble the foil packs in advance. Things like potatoes don’t age well if you cut them a few days in advance, even if you freeze them.
You are better off bringing all the ingredients with you, having most veggies pre-cut, and then assembling the foil packs just before you grill. We have a great list for you to pick from here: 40 Great Hobo Packets for Camping.
Think about Where You’ll Be Cooking
Another thing to think about is where you’ll be cooking. If it’s a hike from your sleeping site due to the rules and regulations of the area, consider how you’ll tote everything there and back. This is where sandwiches and protein bars come in handy. If you are big into hiking, this would be a great video to check out:
Are you cooking on a camp stove? In your RV? Over a fire pit? Then you really can’t go wrong with Cast Iron Pans.
Why You Need a Cast Iron Skillet
If you are new to cooking or just looking to upgrade your cooking skills, the equipment you use is crucial. This includes getting some top-quality pans and definitely having at least one cast-iron skillet in your culinary arsenal. Here are some things to know about cast iron skillets and why you should start using them.
It is a Lifelong Investment
Cast iron skillets are unique in that they can last a lifetime or longer. They might cost a little more, but you are getting a pan that you should never have to replace. If you find one at a garage sale or antique sale, buy it!
If your grandmother passed a set down to you, definitely accept them. These will work just as well as when the cast iron skillet was new. In fact, there is really no reason to buy one new since you can probably find one secondhand and it will be amazing quality.
Your Food Will Taste Better
There is no doubt about it; food cooked in a cast-iron skillet just tastes better. This is a very high-quality type of pan where the more you cook on it, the more it gets seasoned.
When you do that, everything else that gets cooked in it gets those unique flavors, and it brings out the natural flavor of foods so much better. Try cooking fish or meat in your cast iron next time and see if you notice a difference in how it tastes.
They Are Naturally Non-Stick
When you “season” a cast-iron skillet properly, it becomes non-stick naturally, and therefore you don’t need to grease it or use oil spray before cooking something in it. When you are using less oil, not only do you not change the flavor of your meal, but you also keep it a little lighter. Nothing wrong with that!
It is Much More Versatile
There is a lot you can do with a cast-iron skillet, not just in what food you can cook in it, but where it can be used. They actually work great with any type of heat, even bringing it camping with you and cooking food right over a fire.
You can start cooking your meal on the stove, then transfer the cast-iron to the oven. It works great for desserts in addition to main dishes, veggies, and so much more. We actually have 25 Camping Cast Iron Skillet Recipes put together for you!
Why is this in our list of Camping Food Hacks? It IS important to know how to care for that awesome pan – here is a great video for the right way to clean it:
Probably the most important of all when looking at camping food hacks: When something can go wrong, it will. While a campsite might advertise that they have gas for gas grills, what if they’re out and there is no one to call? What if your camper fridge breaks? You don’t want to have to cancel your trip due to starvation. If you are wondering what is the best food to take camping?
Consider packing potatoes, bread, peanut butter, and canned items that are easy to cook and prepare regardless of the situation.
When looking at meals for camping, skewers can be your friend! The best part aboutCampfire Food on a Stickis that the food can be cut and bagged before the trip – even with the marinade, so all you would do at the campsite is pop them on skewers and toss them on your hot grill.
Keep It Light and Easy
No one wants to spend their vacation cooking and cleaning. If they did, they’d likely prefer to stay home to do that because it’s easier with all the conveniences.
It’s just a short time, so you don’t have to worry about perfect nutrition every day. An apple and a peanut butter sandwich taste delicious when you’re hungry from having fun. We keep it simple in this article as well as giving you an upgrade option: What Should Be In Every Camper’s Cooler.
Last, but not least, don’t forget the marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate. No camping trip is complete without s’mores. I love the s’more cones that Tasty has in this video:
Remember, it’s all about having fun and providing your family with an experience of togetherness that they will carry with them throughout their lives.
Like our Camping FOod Hacks? Try These Other articles:
Camping and backpacking for a few days and nights can make a hiker dirty. Certain rituals to stay clean have been used and are known to work when you are looking at Good Hygiene When Camping.
Enjoying the outdoors doesn’t mean being dirty. Backpackers and campers can stay clean enough to be healthy. Certain fungi and illnesses can occur when not keeping good hygiene.
How to Keep Good Hygiene When Camping
Essential Ways to Stay Clean
Good Hygiene When Camping really isn’t that difficult. Showers are usually not available when camping or backpacking, so there are a few basic ways to stay clean.
Removing shoes and socks at least once a day will allow feet to breathe. Keeping shoes on could cause a foot fungus known as “athlete’s foot” to flare. This could occur due to feet being in a warm and moist area like a shoe for an extended time. Changing your socks every day is also a way to avoid athlete’s foot.
Keeping toenails clipped flat instead of rounded will avoid toes and toenails to become jammed in shoes.
Using mouthwash will kill bacteria that are grown in the mouth when not brushing for long periods. Some mouthwash, such as Listerine, is also known to act as a mosquito repellent.
Cleaning wipes or biodegradable soap will ensure body cleanliness.
Bringing plenty of clean underwear and feminine wipes for women will decrease the possibility of private infections.
Biodegradable toilet paper is needed when nature calls. Using leaves and other natural materials could cause severe infections or diseases.
How to Relieve One’s Self in a Clean Way
First, find out what the local area managers recommend for hygiene practices that will do the least amount of damage to the environment. In particular, national, state, and provincial parks sometimes have guidelines as well as strategically located, maintained outhouses, positioned to minimize the damage to the surrounding land and water.
Susceptible areas (e.g., alpine meadows) call for extremely low-impact behavior, including carrying all waste out of the area. Check with local park and area managers for information.
Here are some suggestions for unregulated areas that are not particularly sensitive to the impact of backpacking and camping.
Unlike most mammals, humans do not need to mark their territory by urinating. Urinating can attract wild animals such as bears and mountain lions.
Urinate or waste your feces at least three hundred feet away from the campsite and far away from the water source.
Urinating on a rock is best because when the sun dries it up, salt is left on the rock for Deer and other wild animals to enjoy.
Feces need to be dumped in a hole and buried to ensure wild animals to stay away from the camp.
Using biodegradable toilet paper is best. To keep odor away, the biodegradable toilet paper needs to be buried after use.
Moist wipes for use after relieving yourself will guarantee cleanliness and freshness.
More Tips to Ensure Freshness
When coming across a cold and clear creek, strip down to undergarments and lie in the water to cool off the body and clean out closed areas such as the underarms. Wetting hair will dispose of the grease that forms from the scalp.
Biodegradable soaps for the hair and body are sold and are the only types to be used in natural waters. Certain chemicals in regular soaps can kill wildlife.
Staying clean is very important, especially when out in the wild and exposed to a different environment. The above steps and remedies will keep one fresh and able to enjoy the outdoors.