With the start of peak camping season just weeks away, millions of Americans and their families will soon be flocking to the country’s numerous campgrounds and camping resorts en masse. Camping might just be one of the most popular activities for the American family — in 2013, we spent a combined 516.6 million days camping!
And while camping in tents is certainly the most popular way to go camping — 86% of campers choose to sleep in a tent when camping — many people struggle with the concept of “roughing it.” But with a little ingenuity and creativity, you can make any camping trip a little easier, breezier and more comfortable.
Here’s a look at three of our favorite “life hacks” to use during your next camping trip:
Bring a homemade fire-starter kit
No camping trip is complete without sitting around a roaring campfire and roasting some marshmallows to make s’mores, especially when campers bring their friends along on their trips 70% of the time. But starting a fire from scratch isn’t exactly easy for those unequipped with wilderness survival skills. To easily start a campfire anywhere you go, soak some cotton balls in a pill jar of petroleum jelly. Whenever you need to start a fire, simply take one of these cotton balls out and light a match.
Baking soda: the magic ingredient
Baking soda has a huge number of surprising uses, especially while you and your family are camping in tents. You can use baking soda to brush your teeth, soothe upset stomachs, relieve minor burns, as a deodorant, absorb moisture, and myriad other uses. Bring baking soda on your next camping trip — you’re guaranteed to use it at least once.
Keep the bugs away naturally
If you’re concerned about the chemicals of store-bought bug repellents but can’t stand the thought of letting yourself fall victim to mosquitoes and ticks, simply mix 1 part tree oil and 2 parts water in a plastic spray bottle. You’ve just created a natural, effective bug repellent.