10 Car Camping Tips That Are Actually Useful, or Please Do Not Camp With Foam Puzzle Pieces

Car campingIf you search “camping tips”, chances are you will be disappointed with the results. Most of the articles you find out there that promise to have life-changing “camping hacks”, or “must try camping tricks” are, well, silly. You don’t need to put your toilet paper in a giant coffee canister, and lining your tent with foam puzzle pieces isn’t so much a great camping tip as an impractical and silly waste of time, space, and money. Here are 10 car camping tips that are actually useful.

Invest in a 5 gallon bucket. A bucket might not be the most elegant piece of camping equipment, but it may be one of the most useful and most versatile. A big bucket can be used for organization and watertight storage, you can use it as a camp stool, and it can also be used it to carry fire wood.

Do bring toilet paper, but don’t worry about the coffee can. Even if you’re camping at a campground with maintained facilities, you shouldn’t bank on the fact that restrooms will be stocked with toilet paper. If you’re worried about keeping your toilet paper dry, just store it in a sandwich bag. Don’t waltz around the campground with a giant coffee can and a tail of TP trailing in the wind. You will look like a real stooge.

Conserve your camping stove fuel canisters. Cooking over a campfire is the most fuel-efficient method, but there are other ways to keep your fuel canisters full. Creating a barrier to block the wind and using your stove on a lower setting can immediately increase the fuel efficiency of your camp stove. Heat your water with rice or pasta already in the pot rather than waiting for it to boil. Once the water has boiled, simply turn off your stove and cover your pot. Also try warming up your fuel canisters before using them by stuffing them in your jacket. For more info check out this blog post from MSR.

Learn how to baton firewood. If you can’t find kindling, you can make your own with this technique. By using a long, sturdy, full-tang blade and a sturdy branch, or “baton”, you can create smaller pieces of wood from larger logs to get your fire going.

When you’re camping in cold weather, sleep with your next day’s clothes in your sleeping bag. This will keep them warm and toasty when chilly mornings can discourage you from wanting to wake up and change clothes.

Never build your campfire close to your tent. The wind can blow sparks, or an ember can jump from the fire pit and burn a whole in your tent. Know which way the wind is blowing and make sure you set up your tent a good distance from your fire.

Forget the foam puzzle pieces; get a sleeping pad. Not only is a sleeping pad going to be more comfortable, but it can also be used for backpacking as well as car camping. If you will never ever in your entire life go backpacking, just get an air mattress. Do not buy dozens of foam puzzle pieces and scatter them about your tent.

Here’s a secret camping tip. Set up your tent…correctly. You might be surprised how many people pitch their tents and skip securing it in place. Sure, it’s not windy now, but if you don’t stake your tent down properly, you could end up losing it. It takes 5 minutes and very little effort, which is a better alternative to buying a new tent.

Prepare your food before heading out to camp. If you like the challenge and the process of cooking food outdoors, by all means go for it. However, cooking or at least preparing your food at home before car camping is a much easier approach. This is especially true when dealing with raw meat. You can chop vegetables, prepare spice blends, and cook meat at home, making it easier to prepare your meals while camping.

Have the right gear. This doesn’t just apply to the foam puzzle pieces. You need to make sure you have the right camping equipment, whatever it may be. Of course, the “right” camping equipment will vary from person to person. Some folks will get by just fine with a bucket as a camp stool, while other needs a more comfortable camp chair. Some people can sleep in 32 degree weather with a 35 degree sleeping bag, while others need a 15 or 20 degree sleeping bag. Stop by the store, and we will help you find the camping equipment that’s right for you!

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