Dust off your camping gear and write down these camping hacks, they might just save you in a dire moment.
Here are 13 tips that can come in handy when you are out in the wild, facing the elements. The more you are prepared for nature, the better you will be at protecting yourself from it.
1. Know how much light you have left
If you are out in the wilderness without any concept of time, this little trick might help you know when it is time to hike back to civilization before it gets too dark and you lose your way. By raising your hand horizontally under the sun, each finger roughly represents 15 minutes you have before the sun goes down. If you are miles from your camp and you are using two fingers, time to haul it on back.
2. Junk food kindling
Use greasy chips as kindling to help start a fire if you have nothing else, especially if your wood is damp or it’s raining.
3. Keep your Altoid tins
Store just about anything in your leftover Altoid tins: matches will keep dry in it, store pain relief or any prescription drugs, and you can even store wax or deer tallow in your tin and use it as a candle.
4. Hot rocks
Before bedtime, line rocks alongside your fire. Dig out a shallow area lengthwise where you are going to bed down with the hot rocks underneath the dirt. The heat will rise and keep you from freezing.
For survival situations, use your hot rock idea by putting them into a hallowed out tree stump and add water to make soup with wild rosemary and that rabbit you just killed.
5. Sleep close together
In a cold climate, sleep as close to your camping buddies and your pets as possible. Everyone’s body heat will keep the cold at bay and keep each other warm. And while you are asleep…
6. Keep your clothes in your sleeping bag
As you sleep, your body heat will warm your clothes for the next day and when you awake, they will be nice and toasty.
7. Turn AAA batteries into AA with tin foil
This may only work for a short period of time but if your flashlight is out and you happen to have some AAA batteries lying about, take a strip of tin foil and shove it into the extra space on the negative terminal side.
8. Familiarize yourself with poisonous leaves, berries, etc.
Poison oak, ivy and sumac look different in every area. Familiarize yourself with it in your region so that you can be on the lookout while hiking. And while some berries may look appetizing, especially if you have been without food for some time, never eat one you are unfamiliar with. Berries to steer clear of are the little hard red ones on holly bushes, ink berries (leaves an ink stain on your hand when touched), and elderberries, to name a few. It’s the original wilderness hack: know your stuff.
9. Use a head lamp on a full water bottle to illuminate an area
Turn your head lamp backward, strapping it on a gallon full water bottle with the light facing inward, and you have a makeshift lamp that will illuminate your path or tent.
10. Use a tee shirt for drinking water
Soak up morning dew with your tee shirt. Wring it out into a vat for storage or into your mouth for immediate hydration.
11. Pack duct tape
If cotton is the fabric of our lives, then duct tape is the sticky silver stuff of our lives. Bring duct tape camping with you to hold together just about anything. If you cut yourself and do not have any bandages, you can butterfly the wound together with duct tape. You can fashion a sling out of it with a soft material like a shirt underneath should you throw your shoulder out hiking. And if your clothes rip or shoe breaks, well, duct tape them.
12. Re-use your water
Should you have a cooler full of ice, tilt it to where the drain drips into a bowl. You can use that water for washing up later, cleaning off fish, or if you boil it, drinking.
13. Utilize your area’s foliage
If you find yourself camping in a dry area, chances are mesquite trees are everywhere. Utilize those trees by taking the dried seed pods on their branches and crushing them up with some water. The floury substance can be made into little cakes for eating.
Nature can be a harsh if it’s not taken seriously but camping is fun when know your surroundings and are prepared. Now get packing!