Going camping? Our family has learned a lot of camping tips over the years to make our trips more enjoyable. Whether you want to go winter camping, backcountry camping or summer camping, read on for tips that will make a huge difference in your experience!

There are few things I know for certain but, I know with absolute certainty, that family camping trips are like a magic wand for helping your family enjoy quality time, connecting you with nature, and allowing you to recharge your batteries all at the same time.

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Our family loves to go camping, and as a result, I’ve learned (and researched) a LOT of helpful camping hacks along the way.  I’m sharing these tips with you to help make your next or first camping trip feel like less work and more fun.

Essentials Camping Tips

Depending on the kind of camping you want to do, there are different things to take with you, although there are similarities between them all.

For example, winter camping will require different gear than summer camping. By the same token, tent camping will require slightly different supplies than camper camping.

Here are some DIY hacks to make sure you have everything you need (and nothing extra) on hand.

1. Stuff a Pillowcase for Tent Camping

Space is always in short supply on a camping trip; make the most of your limited space by stuffing your clothes and sweater inside a pillowcase and using THAT as your pillow.

2. Take Air Activated Warmers when Camping

You know those air-activated hand warmers you can put in your gloves to keep your hands warm? Use them in your sleeping bag (down by your feet) to keep you nice and toasty when camping somewhere chilly or cooler. Another way to keep you warm is by placing a hot water bottle near you inside the tent. 

3. Use a Camping Planner

The worst thing is forgetting something.  Promise.  Been there.  Done that. One trip we literally forgot the toilet paper!! Never again!  The $7 spent on the Camping planner is well worth it!!  Your sanity is worth it!!

Check Out These Posts for More Help On What to Take Camping:

adult sitting in a campsite with a young child

4. Camping Gear List

If you take a look at all the camping gear articles online, you’ll soon find your head spinning with a ginormous list of gear you are “supposed” to have.

Follow that up with a shopping bill that could likely pay your mortgage, and camping may suddenly seem like more trouble than it’s worth.

In my experience, you don’t really need as much stuff as many people claim that you do. Stick to the basics and you’ll have a more relaxing and enjoyable time (not stressing over everything you’re “supposed to bring”). Plus, you’ll save some money and really connect with nature – as camping was meant to do!

Here is a basic list of what you need to bring to a campsite:

  • Clothing for cold weather (pack in layers)
  • Tent and tent zippers
  • Sleeping pad or mattress (air mattress)
  • Sleeping bags or bedding and extra blankets
  • Cooking gear (cook or camp stove, grill, cooking utensils)
  • Food storage containers
  • Flashlights and battery, headlamps and lantern
  • Outdoor chairs
  • First aid kit, hand sanitizer and baby wipes
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray for bugs and insect repellent 
  • Matches or flint
  • Coleman
  • Plastic bin or trash bags to keep your dirt

Tip: For a more detailed checklist, grab our modern camping checklist. You should also take a look at this epic camping gear for kids (adult-approved)– your kids will think you are the coolest!

Want to make this trip the best trip ever? Then grab this ultimate cabin camping checklist and start checking as you get ready for the great outdoors.

collage of kids camping gear

Hacks for Tent Camping

There are two camps of people: those who prefer to camp in a hardshell camper of some type like a trailer or within RV Parks campground with better amenities like shower and bathroom, and those who prefer to pitch a tent and “rough it”.

My family (and millions of others around the world) definitely fall in the latter camp, because we feel that tent camping is camping in its purest form.

Tent camping comes with its own unique challenges and skill-sets, though. Use these tips to help make your tent camping experience even better.

5. Use Tarps for Tent Camping

Rig a tarp both above and below your tent so that you stay dry no matter what Mother Nature throws your way. They are cheap and easy to pack – and make a HUGE difference when needed. Use glow sticks to illuminate your ropes in the middle of the night.

6. Bring An Eye Mask On Your Next Camping

If you’re camping in the summer, the sun may be up long before you want to be. Pack along an eye mask to help you get the shuteye and relaxation you’re craving.

Here are some more tent camping hacks you’ll love:

Tent Camping Hacks You'll Be Thankful to Know!

Camping Food Hacks

Here are a few food camping hacks for your next trip. These are genius – I wish I had known them sooner!

7. Pack Eggs in a Bottle when Camping | Cookie Crumbs & Sawdust

What is more classic than cooking scrambled eggs in a cast-iron skillet over the morning fire? Well, maybe roasting marshmallows. ?

Now you can forget about having broken eggs all over by scrambling them ahead of time and storing them in a bottle! If you won’t want to use plastic, you can simply use a mason jar with a lid.

8. Campfire Popcorn for Camping | Delish

Popcorn is great for camping – it’s and easy to pack, easy to make (pop and sprinkle salt!), versatile food that the whole family will love.

9. Prep Your Meals at Home before Camping Day

If you want to get a little more adventurous than hotdogs, chips and Doritos with your camping meals, cut up and prep everything (especially your vegetables) at home before you leave. It will save you time with both cooking AND cleaning.

Take A Peek At More Camping Food Hacks and Ideas:

cast iron pan on a campfire

Winter Camping Tips and Tricks

Most people stick to summer camping, but winter camping can be tons of fun and a completely different type of experience!

However, if you’re new to winter camping, there are some differences from summer camping. Use these tips to help make your winter camping experience a blast.

10. Use a Double Sleeping Bag As You Go Camping

If you’re camping with someone you don’t mind sharing a sleeping bag with, do it. Double your body heat means adding extra layer of warmth.

11. Minimize Heat Loss On Your Camping

Conduction is not your friend when it comes to staying warm while winter camping. Minimize heat loss by using an insulation, closed-cell foam sleeping pad on top of your sleeping pad or mattress.

We Got Some More Tips and Tricks For You:

There’s nothing like going camping to help you relax and bring the family closer together. I hope these tips and tricks help you prepare for the ultimate memory-making camping trip!

tent set up for winter camping on the snowy ground

More Essential Camping Hacks

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Which camping hack will you try next? 

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  1. I can’t wait to use these camping hacks when we take the boys camping this summer. They are finally old enough for a camping trip!

  2. I love the idea of camping, but I am not much of a camper or survivalist, really, lol! I wish I knew more about all of that. Camping is fun, but I think it’s also important to know what to do if you get lost or have an emergency. These camping hacks are a great way for me to get started on educating myself more. Thank you!

  3. I’m needing all the camping tips I can find for an upcoming trip. These are all great ideas, I wouldn’t have thought to prep my meals ahead time but that will be a huge time and space saver!

  4. Thank you for this helpful list of camping tips. Our next trip is going to go much more smoothly and we are really excited to make campfire popcorn!

  5. It’s been so long since I’ve gone on a camping trip, so fingers crossed an opportunity will come soon. All the same, saving these camping tips so I can be extra prepared! I can vouch for the hand warmers as well– I’ve used them while working outside before and they are so awesome to have.