Camping is a blast – friends, family, yummy campfire food, and fun camping games. Now some will say that the only way to truly experience camping is to sleep on the ground with nothing more than a pillow and a blanket (and the blanket is also optional).
The good news is that you don’t have to rough it out to have a memorable camping experience – these tent hacks will give you the best of both worlds: being able to explore the great outdoors while also staying comfortable!
Oh, and I’m not one of those people and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I like to be able to sleep so I can enjoy all the adventures that might happen the next day. However, sleeping doesn’t come easy when there is nothing but a tarp between you and the ground (and I don’t care what they say, grass makes no noticeable difference).
So in an effort to help other campers who share this opinion of sleeping on the ground with me, we have found some great tent hacks to make your camping trip a little more comfortable.
Tent Hacks To Make Your Camping Experience Cozy
1. When Camping, Roll Your Clothes
One thing about camping is that you’re going to be around a fair bit of dirt. No need for your clean clothes to get dirty. Roll your outfits by the day, this allows you to grab all that you need for the day at one time. AND it takes up less space in your pack. This is also a useful travel hack for those of us who can’t pack light.
You can also pack your clothes in separate 2-gallon ziplock bags and label the bags by day. This is more practical for a short camping trip.
2. Bag Your Toilet Paper
When nature calls the last thing you want is rain drizzling on your toilet paper, or accidentally dropping it and it getting dirty. On your camping trip, bag your toilet paper and toothbrushes, and every other hygiene item.
Speaking of toilet paper…
3. 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!!
4. Use a Pool Float as Your Camping Sleeping Pad
SO COMFY!! If you already have a pool float, grab it for your next camping trip. We like them as they deflate so they don’t take up much space when not in use – and as an added perk, our pool float fits the back car seat in our van, meaning our twins can sleep in the van if its raining or we are having a tent issue – cause we all know that almost always happens, sometimes.
5. Create a Tent Foam Floor
Can’t get used to the hard earth under your tent? Me neither, won’t apologize for it and neither should you. Soften the floor with foam floor tiles. You won’t believe the difference it makes! This also works well for keeping mud and dirt out of your floor!
A Yoga mat also makes for a great bed. It’s less bulky and takes up way less space than a foam floor or an air mattress.
6. Create a Tent Light – Use Your Water Jug!
Fill your tent with a soft light all through the night by filling a jug with water and wrapping your headlamp around it. This will make the tent a not-so-scary place for kids – and adults – who are afraid of the dark.
7. Heat Your Sleeping Bag With a Hot Water Bottle
Always suffering cold feet at night? Fill a water bottle with hot water and put it down in your sleeping bag to keep your tootsies toasty warm. I always bring Nalgene bottles with me when camping. I prefer that brand as they are nearly indestructible and can sustain REALLY hot water without melting!! This means NO COLD FEET!!
If you have young kids, remove the bottle before they sleep – cause, well, hot water.
If you’d rather not snuggle up to a hot water bottle, pack the bottom of your sleeping bag with dry clothes. They’ll soak up any moisture at the bottom and keep your feet warm.
8. Use Kids’ Belts as Sleeping Bag Straps
Tired of wrestling your sleeping bags in your tent?? They are IMPOSSIBLE to roll back up!! After breaking our sleeping bag strap we found a solution that was even better!! Our son’s adjustable belt!!
Now our ten-year-old can make the roll himself… even if it’s not perfect, the belt goes around the roll… and then we can cinch it tight and make it back into the tight roll it needs to be!! Handy.
9. Keep a Shoe Basket In Your Tent Entrance
Who wants dirt tracked inside the tent? Eww! Keep a shoe basket near the entrance to collect those dirty shoes and keep your tent floor spic and span. We keep our bug spray and sunscreen stick in a basket too – makes them easy and within reach when needed.
This way kids have a visual reminder to spray their feet – ticks attach themselves to shoes and legs the most! Keep them safe all day with this mental hack.
10. Use Solar Lights Stakes – Outside of Your Tent!!
You know how everything is just so dark when you go camping? Put some cheap solar lights outside the tent and on the way to the bathroom area to help you find your way around instead of fumbling in the dark.
These add the perfect amount of lighting without disturbing your neighbors!
11. Make Your Tent Sparkle with Lights
Here’s another alternative for kids (and adults) who are afraid of the dark: solar-powered twinkle lights! Just don’t hang them directly over kids’ beds, as you don’t want them to knock them down and get tangled up in their sleep. I’d put them on the opposite side of the tent room, actually.
12. Here’s A Tent Hack I Wish I Knew Yesterday – Protect Tent Zippers with Wax.
Keep tent zippers from sticking by rubbing them with a wax candle. This is a hack that actually works for all zippers!! But tent zippers are especially prone to problems as they are often folded and bunched up. They are also exposed to the elements, which are not a zipper’s best friend. The last thing you want is to get to your campsite and ruin your camping experience because you were not able to open your flaps. Wax helps. Promise.
13. Hang Your Camping Gear in Your Tent
Use this gear line organizer so that you never have to dig through piles of sleeping bags and pillows to find your phone again. Added perk… Bugs!! Fun fact: Did you know that flies and other flying camping pests don’t like to fly under things that are swinging above them? If you hang this near the entrance you will find you have fewer bugs in your tent!!
14. Create a Tent Trash Can – From a Laundry Basket
Dealing with trash bags is frustrating, but this pop-up trash can using a hamper is a brilliant idea. (You may want to use a rope to tie it to something to keep it from blowing away.) But even better, you should use this same trick inside the tent to hold dirty clothes during your stay. (And be sure to put your trash and dirty clothes bags separate or in different colors. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time separating trash from your dirty clothes. Or simply wondering what happened to your camping clothes, because they’ll have been trashed, lol)
15. Stop Tripping over Tent Lines With This Cool Tent Trick
Are you always tripping over your tent lines because you don’t see them until you’re right there? Ouch!!! Mark them lines with pool noodles! Your feet will thank you. Make sure to use brightly colored pool noodles so that they’re easily seen.
16. A Tent Hack To Keep Your Tent Cool
Keep your tent from becoming unbearably hot by using a reflective blanket to deflect sunlight. It may look a bit silly but this tent hack really works! And you’d be making your science teacher SO PROUD because this is actually a bit of science in practice.
17. Use Binder Clips to Secure Tent Flaps
Tent won’t stay open? Keep your tent flaps open with binder clips. Use them to secure the rain flaps open, fasten a tarp or plastic sheeting over the top, or attach tent decorations.
By the way, you’d be amazed at what these little clips can do. Check out these binder clip tricks and see what I mean.
Keep in mind, there are very few tents that are big enough for your king-size pillow-top mattress, so no matter what you do, some sacrifices must be made.
But you don’t have to rough it completely if you don’t want to. As you’ve seen you have all sorts of ideas for improving your camping conditions so you can focus on more important things like making memories.