Backcountry Camping Hacks

hWhen you’re in the backcountry, you sometimes have to engineer your own solutions to problems, or think outside the box when it comes to efficiency and comfort. Today, we’ll take a look at some ways you can take it upon yourself to ensure your gear, site, and overall experience on the trail go smoothly this season.

Let’s face it, sometimes batteries die, your lantern is broken, or you just plain forget. You don’t have to work in the dark, though, when you want light in the tent. You can make a makeshift lantern by wrapping a head lamp around a jug of water with the light facing inward. Turning the lamp on will cause the jug to glow, illuminating the interior of your tent.

A quality tarp can be a lifesaver on the trail, but those grommets can wear down quickly. You can avoid this when you’re hanging a tarp by raising the main line through the grommets and putting a small, thick stick in the loop to help secure it without wearing out the grommets.

Minimalists will sacrifice some of the more luxurious items in favor of saving precious inches of space, even when it comes to hygiene. It’s the woods, so fresh breath isn’t necessarily vital, but you can still maximize your packing space while making sure your breath and teeth are clean. Instead of bringing toothpaste and a brush, bring along dried dots of toothpaste instead. A few days before your trip, put chocolate chip-sized dots of toothpaste on a plate and sprinkle them with baking soda. They should be dry by the time of your trip, and then you can put them in a baggie and chew one when you need to clean your teeth.

For many people, relentless bugs are a big problem. However, you can make your site bug-free without using a bunch of chemical sprays by tossing some sage into your campfire. Not only will the burning sage keep the bugs away, but it also makes for a nice aroma around the fire.

On that same note, another pest that can quickly ruin your fun are ticks. The big problem for many, though, is not knowing how to remove them. One way you can remove a tick is to soak a cotton ball in liquid hand soap and then place it on the tick for about 20 seconds. The tick will attach itself to the cotton ball instead of your skin, and then you can safely remove it.

Where cooking is concerned, it’s well-known that a solid selection of spices can make most food taste exponentially better. You can’t exactly shove a spice rack into your pack, though. If you do want to bring plenty of seasonings, but want to save space, you can use plastic straws for light and compact storage. Use a lighter to seal one end of the straw, then fill it with seasonings, and use the lighter to seal off the other end. Backpacks that feature pencil compartments are great with these little spice packets.

Finally, if you’re a coffee drinker, instead of bringing a whole can of coffee grounds, you can make instant coffee bags with just coffee filters and dental floss. Put a scoop of grounds in each coffee filter, and then tie them up with the floss. Add this bag to boiling water just like you would a teabag, and you have instant coffee on the trail. From one coffee-holic to another; you’re welcome.

Keep the tips we’ve covered today in mind to make for smooth, space-saving trips this season. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment on your own and find your own unique shortcuts to make your trail life easier and more enjoyable!