The great outdoors is in fact great. It provides food, fresh air and a chance to unplug from technology and reconnect with nature. Sometimes, though, the great outdoors isn’t so great, turning your fun overnight hiking trip or weekend camping trip into a rough, wet, tiring experience. Here are 8 camping survival tips and tricks to make your experience a little more manageable and enjoyable.
- Make fishhooks from a zipper or tab from an aluminum can.
Whether you’ve lost, broken, run out of or forgot to pack fishhooks, don’t fear. You can make one using a zipper or the tab off an aluminum can. Simply break off the loop on one side, pull it out to a 90-degree angle and then sharpen the exposed tip on a rock until it becomes a sharp point.
- Use an aluminum can as a stove.
You can use a soda pop or beer can when you need a portable camping stove. First, you need to use your knife to cut a capital shaped I into one side of the can, with a vertical cut and a horizontal cut at the bottom and top. Next, you peel open the “window” you just created, place your fire starters inside the can and then light it for your very own portable, windproof cooking stove.
- Use loose strands from your socks as fire starters.
If you or someone with you happens to be wearing cotton or wool socks, you can use any loose strands from said socks as fire starters if you can’t find any other fire-starting materials.
Just take your shoes off, pluck the strands from each sock and make a flammable tinder pile. Once you have your little pile, set it where you want your fire and throw a few sparks on it to start your needed fire.
- Dry your boots out faster with fire-heated rocks.
Wet feet are the worst. Whenever your boots get wet, don’t just sit them by the campfire. That method takes way too long to thoroughly dry them out. Instead, gather up two or four large and dry non-porous rocks and place them on the edge of your campfire. Once the rocks are really hot, carefully place them into your shoes. Don’t use your hands unless you have thick gloves on, and really it’s best to use sticks or some kind of kitchen utensil to remove the rocks from the fire and place them in your shoes. This method may seem wacky, but it works at a quicker pace to thoroughly dry wet shoes from the inside and outside.
- Use tarp to make an emergency rain shelter.
Never leave for an overnight camping trip without a tarp, even if the weather forecast says no rain. Storms can hit out of nowhere and ruin your night in the great outdoors. A tarp makes a great shelter against unexpected rain. Create your emergency rain shelter by staking one corner of the tarp facing the wind. Next, prop a pole up under the opposite corner, and then tie a strong line from the top of the pole to a ground stake. Next you want to tightly pull the remaining two corners and stake them into the ground. The end result is a half-pyramid shape rain shelter that provides good water drainage, can stand up against strong winds and keeps you dry.
- Utilize a shower curtain to keep the floor of your tent dry overnight.
If you don’t have enough tarps but have an old shower curtain at home, fold it up and bring it with you. Unfold it and place it underneath your tent to keep your tent’s floor dry (as well as you and your sleeping bag) during the night and early morning. In the morning, you can throw it out or lay it out in the sun to dry so you can reuse it later that night.
- Keep pesky bugs away by throwing a stick of sage into your campfire.
It doesn’t matter how much you love nature—no one loves being eaten by mosquitos or having bugs flying around them and their food. If you forgot bug spray or ever run out, you can still keep those pesky bugs away from your campsite. Just find a stick of sage and throw it into your campfire. Bugs don’t like the sage scent that emits from your fire, making it an effective and natural way to keep bugs away.
- Always pack the right camping supplies.
Last on our list, and arguably the most important, is to bring along essential camping supplies, including a knife, warm sleeping bag, energy-boosting snacks, extra water, extra clothes, first aid kit, a compass and an emergency shelter. These supplies can literally be a lifesaver. You may not end up using every item you pack, but it’s always better to be prepared for every worst-case camping scenario.