8 DIY Camping & Touring Hacks

Camping can bring out the mini Macgyver in anyone by solving problems with everyday products. When you go out into the wilderness, you will no doubt forget something at home OR you may repurpose an item into something useful.

I asked a group of avid campers about their favorite camping DIY hacks and this is what they came up with.

1. Milk Crate Storage

The humble milk crate. It almost rivals WD40 for the most useful item that man could have produced. It can be a seat, hold milk, cut a hole and it’s a toilet OR more personally, I use a milk crate to store our LPG bottle in. If anyone has tried to pack one in the back or on the roof, you will agree that it is a pain and can roll around. Some bottles are just the right size to fit in with enough room for extra BBQ/Stove components, tea towels, aluminum foil, or plastic bags.

If you do not use such a big LPG bottle, you can literally store most things in it. Then, when you need it most, pull it out of the back and everything for the kitchen is there ready to go.

2. Storing wine in a PVC pipe

This one was different and important. Safely transporting wine around Australia can be tricky. Roads in the outback can have some serious corrugations that will loosen even the tightest bolts on your car, so it is no surprise campers have gone to this extent to keep their wine inside the bottle.

The suggestion was to buy PVC pipe and lids from the hardware store and use them almost like wine sized stubby coolers (coozies in America). I thought this was a great idea. If you want to take it one step further and had a canopy with room, you could stack them like a wine rack at home with a lid – how fancy!

These PVC pipes are good for storing a whole range of things. You can store tent poles, fishing rods and more into them. Again, a very versatile solution to keeping tricky items safe and out of the way.

3. Cheezels as emergency fire starters

Lighting a fire without proper kindling can be frustrating. If you have a well-stocked pantry, then a packet of Cheezels or Burger Rings should be in it. Not only are they delicious snacks for around the campfire, but they will actually act as a good emergency fire starter.

If you are looking for something a little less delicious (I would eat them before we would need a fire), then you could keep lint from the dryer, soak it in cooking oil and keep it safe in a zip lock bag.

Then, whenever you are in a jam with damp kindling or none at all, reach into your bag of goodies for a snack and a fire starter.

4. Zero effort washing machine

There is nothing worse than dirty undies on a camping trip. You could flip them inside out but that is just gross. A little hack is using a (well) sealed bucket that fits into another bucket as a “zero effort washing machine”.

How does this work? Glad you asked. Fill the inner bucket with your washing, soap, and hot water and drive for the day. It will sit inside the sealed (larger) bucket and bounce around washing your smelly socks. Once you have reached your destination for the day, take them out, rinse and leave out to dry.

This hack is a little quirky and mostly aimed at those campers who will be touring on a regular basis, moving from site to site. Your other option is to just camp at a caravan park and use what we call an electric washing machine!!

5. Layering the cooler strategically

There is nothing worse than soggy salad or meat that has soaked all day in the water. There is an art to stacking an ice cooler (or Esky) and it is like layering a lasagna. You will want to layer as follows:

  1. Ice
  2. Drinks
  3. Ice
  4. Food IN Tupperware containers

The Tupperware containers are key to not only adding an additional layer of protection but making it easier to move and identify foods. Put all your vegetables together in one container, meats in another, and remaining when you are fishing around in ice, all you will need to do is take out the one container with everything you need, ready to go.

It is also important to regularly release the water from the bottom of the ice cooler. Water will accelerate the melting of ice, so be sure to empty it every once and awhile. Another reader actually suggested adding salt to the cooler, which we is untested in my setup and will need to re-hash. If you have used salt, please let us know and comment below.

6. Laundry detergent around tent for ants

Extreme situations ask for extreme solutions. If you are out camping and find yourself being attacked by ants, then consider placing some laundry detergent to the entrance of your tent or feet of your trailer.

This acts as a barrier around your tent as the ants do not like the detergent.

7. Foam noodles around bars / poles if you have kids

How often have you bumped your head on an awning pole? Foam pool noodles are not only great for protecting your head but make it more obvious to avoid.

These are great for those caravaners with kids who might enjoy running around and chasing. Simply place them on dangerous, high risk edges and the bright colours will help (hopefully) the kids spot them before it is too late.

Pool noodles are also very useful to have on camping/touring trips around Australia. There will be many rivers, creeks or water holes you can use them normally as a pool floaty. You never know when you will need a noodle!

8. Eggs in a plastic bottle or mason jar

Scrambled eggs are delicious but not when they are scrambled throughout your ice cooler. This is no yoke.

If you like to keep your eggs in the fridge then consider cracking them ahead of time into a plastic bottle or a mason jar. They will be easier to transport and your chances of spilling or cracking are low.

Eggs do last longer within their shells, so if you can transport them in the original cardboard carton with some extra paper towels, then you might be lucky.

At the end of the day, do not put all your eggs in one basket.

Do you have any camping tricks or hacks?

I would love to hear from you, the reader. Is there something bleeding obvious we mortal campers are failing to do that brings joy to your camping set up? Maybe it is simply cooking and vacuum sealing your food ahead of time OR a magic potion to keep the flies and mosquitoes away.

Please comment below if you have anything to add as I would love to hear from you.

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