Camping Hacks: Repurpose Household Items For The Outdoors





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Imagine being able to make your camping experience even better by using everyday items from your own home. From turning a milk jug into a lantern to using an empty egg carton as a fire starter, there are countless ways you can repurpose household items for your next outdoor adventure. In this article, we’ll explore some creative and practical camping hacks that will not only save you money but also make your time spent in nature more enjoyable and convenient. So, grab your backpack and get ready to discover the hidden potential of everyday items in enhancing your camping experience.

Camping Hacks: Repurpose Household Items

Table of Contents

Camping Hacks: Repurpose Household Items for the Outdoors

Paper Towel Tubes: Fire Starters

When it comes to starting a fire while camping, having proper kindling is essential. That’s where paper towel tubes come in handy. These simple household items can be repurposed as effective fire starters, ensuring you can get your campfire roaring in no time.

Materials needed

To make paper towel tube fire starters, you will only need a few simple materials:

  • Paper towel tubes
  • Dryer lint or newspaper
  • Wax or paraffin

Making the fire starters

To create your fire starters, start by collecting some dryer lint or newspaper. These materials will act as the tinder for your fire. Fill each paper towel tube with the lint or crumpled newspaper, making sure to compact it tightly.

Next, melt some wax or paraffin in a double boiler or a heat-safe container over low heat. Once melted, pour the wax into the paper towel tubes, ensuring it evenly coats the lint or newspaper. Allow the wax to cool and solidify before using.

Usage tips

To use your paper towel tube fire starters, simply place them underneath your kindling and ignite them. The wax coating on the paper towel tube will act as a slow-burning fuel, providing a reliable flame to ignite your firewood. This camping hack is not only effective but also eco-friendly, as it allows you to repurpose household items that would otherwise go to waste.

Egg Cartons: Organize Small Items

When packing for a camping trip, it’s crucial to stay organized. One clever way to keep small items in order is by repurposing egg cartons. These lightweight and compact containers are ideal for organizing everything from matches to fishing hooks.

Materials needed

To use egg cartons for small item organization, you’ll need the following materials:

  • Empty egg cartons
  • Small items to organize

Preparing the egg carton

Begin by collecting empty egg cartons. Ensure they are clean and dry before use. Choose the size of the egg carton depending on the items you wish to organize.

Using the egg carton for organization

Once your egg carton is ready, simply place the small items you want to organize into the individual compartments. This method works great for items such as matches, batteries, fishing tackle, and even jewelry. The egg carton’s compartments will keep everything separate and prevent small items from getting lost or damaged in your camping gear.

Plastic Bottles: Lanterns

Creating a well-lit camping atmosphere is essential for both safety and enjoyment. Instead of buying expensive lanterns, you can repurpose plastic bottles to create your own DIY lanterns. This camping hack is not only cost-effective but also a fun and creative activity for the whole family.

Materials needed

To make plastic bottle lanterns, gather the following materials:

  • Empty plastic bottles with caps
  • LED tea lights or small battery-operated lights
  • Knife or scissors
  • String or wire for hanging

Creating the lantern

Start by ensuring your plastic bottles are clean and dry. Using a knife or scissors, carefully cut a small hole in the side of the bottle near the base. Make sure the hole is large enough to fit the LED tea light or small battery-operated light.

Next, remove the cap from the bottle and insert the LED tea light or small light through the hole you just created. Place the cap back on the bottle, securing the light inside. If desired, you can also decorate the plastic bottle with markers or paint to personalize your lantern.

Using the lantern for camping

To use your plastic bottle lanterns, simply turn on the LED tea lights or small lights and cap the bottles. These lanterns can be hung from trees, tent poles, or other secure spots using string or wire. The diffused light from the plastic bottles will create a warm and cozy ambiance at your campsite. Plus, plastic bottle lanterns are lightweight and easy to transport, making them an ideal lighting solution for camping trips.

Duct Tape: Patch Holes and Tears

No camping trip is complete without some handy duct tape. This versatile household item can be a lifesaver when it comes to repairing common camping gear and equipment. From torn tents to leaky water bottles, duct tape can fix it all.

Materials needed

To use duct tape for patching holes and tears, you’ll need the following:

  • Duct tape (various colors and sizes, if desired)

Repairing common camping gear

Whether you’re dealing with a tear in your tent, a hole in your sleeping bag, or a leaky air mattress, duct tape can provide a temporary fix until you can properly repair or replace the item. Simply cut a piece of duct tape slightly larger than the tear or hole and firmly apply it over the damaged area. Smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles for a secure seal.

Duct tape can also be used to reinforce and strengthen weak areas of your camping gear. For example, you can wrap it around tent poles to prevent them from bending or breaking, or reinforce the seams of your backpack to ensure it can withstand heavy loads.

Additional uses for duct tape

In addition to patching holes and tears, duct tape has numerous other uses in the great outdoors. It can be used to secure loose gear, create makeshift handles for pots and pans, repair broken straps or zippers, and even fashion emergency splints in case of injury. With its incredible adhesive strength and durability, duct tape is a must-have item for any camping trip.

Shower Caps: Waterproof Shoe Covers

When camping in wet or muddy conditions, keeping your shoes dry is a challenge. However, with a simple household item like shower caps, you can easily protect your footwear from the elements. These waterproof shoe covers are a convenient and practical camping hack.

Materials needed

To use shower caps as waterproof shoe covers, gather the following materials:

  • Shower caps (disposable or reusable)
  • Shoes or boots

Covering shoes with shower caps

Before heading out into inclement weather, slip the shower caps over your shoes or boots. The elastic bands on the shower caps will help keep them securely in place, providing a barrier against moisture and mud.

Benefits and practicality

Using shower caps as waterproof shoe covers has several advantages. Not only do they keep your shoes dry, but they also prevent them from getting dirty. This can be especially handy when camping in muddy or sandy areas, as you won’t have to spend time cleaning your shoes after each outing.

Another benefit of using shower caps is their portability and disposability. They take up minimal space in your camping gear and can be easily replaced or discarded if they become damaged or soiled.

Overall, shower caps are a cost-effective and efficient solution for keeping your feet dry and shoes clean while camping in wet conditions.

Trash Bags: Emergency Ponchos

Weather can be unpredictable, even during the most carefully planned camping trips. To ensure you stay dry during an unexpected downpour, repurposing trash bags as emergency ponchos is a smart and practical camping hack.

Materials needed

To create a makeshift poncho from a trash bag, you’ll need the following:

  • Large trash bags
  • Scissors

Creating a makeshift poncho

Start by cutting a hole in the center of the bottom of the trash bag. This will serve as the opening for your head when wearing the poncho. Next, make a vertical cut from the bottom of the trash bag up to the hole you just created. This cut will create an opening for your body.

To make armholes, simply cut two horizontal slits on either side of the trash bag. The size of the armholes will depend on your preference and comfort level.

Once you have created the necessary openings, your emergency poncho is ready to use.

Emergency use and precautions

Using a trash bag as an emergency poncho can provide temporary protection from rain or wet conditions. However, it’s important to remember that trash bags are not designed for prolonged or heavy rain exposure. They may tear or become less effective over time, so it’s essential to seek proper shelter when available.

In addition, trash bags may not be breathable, leading to perspiration and discomfort. Use them sparingly and only in emergency situations where other rain gear is not available.

Aluminum Foil: Cooking and Grilling

When it comes to cooking and grilling while camping, aluminum foil is an essential item. This versatile household product can be used in a variety of ways to prepare delicious meals in the great outdoors.

Materials needed

To use aluminum foil for cooking and grilling, gather the following materials:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Food to cook or grill
  • Fire or camping stove (for cooking)

Cooking and grilling techniques

Aluminum foil is perfect for creating foil packets, which can be used to cook a wide range of foods. Simply place your desired ingredients onto a sheet of aluminum foil, season them to your liking, and fold the foil into a tight packet. Ensure the packet is sealed properly to prevent any leaking.

These foil packets can be placed directly onto hot coals or a camping stove for cooking. The foil acts as a barrier, trapping heat and steam, allowing your food to cook evenly and retain its moisture and flavor. Foil packets are particularly useful for cooking vegetables, fish, and even desserts like campfire banana boats.

In addition to foil packets, aluminum foil can also be used to line grills or cooking surfaces, preventing food from sticking and making clean-up a breeze.

Cleaning and disposal

One of the greatest advantages of using aluminum foil for cooking and grilling is its convenience when it comes to clean-up. After use, simply discard the foil, making sure to leave no trace behind. Aluminum foil is lightweight and easy to pack, making it a practical and efficient choice for outdoor cooking.

Tic Tac Containers: Spice Storage

Adding flavor to your camping meals can elevate your outdoor dining experience. However, carrying bulky spice containers can be impractical. Thankfully, repurposing Tic Tac containers as spice storage provides a compact and lightweight solution.

Materials needed

To use Tic Tac containers for spice storage, you’ll only need a few simple materials:

  • Empty Tic Tac containers
  • Spices of your choice

Preparing the containers

Before repurposing your Tic Tac containers, ensure they are clean and free from any residual odor. Rinse them thoroughly with soap and water, and allow them to dry completely.

Once the containers are ready, fill them with your favorite spices or seasonings. Common options to consider include salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, and cinnamon. The small size of the Tic Tac containers makes them ideal for storing just the right amount of spices for your camping meals.

Organizing and storing spices

By repurposing Tic Tac containers as spice storage, you can easily keep your spices organized and readily accessible. Label each container with the name of the spice inside to avoid confusion. The compact size of these containers allows you to bring multiple spices without taking up much space in your camping gear.

Whether you’re cooking over an open fire, using a camping stove, or grilling outdoors, having your favorite spices on hand will enhance the flavor of your meals and make your camping experience even more enjoyable.


When it comes to camping, being resourceful and making the most of what you have on hand is essential. By repurposing household items, you can enhance your camping experience while saving money and reducing waste. From using paper towel tubes as fire starters to repurposing Tic Tac containers for spice storage, these camping hacks will help you stay organized, comfortable, and well-fed during your outdoor adventures. So, next time you’re packing for a camping trip, think outside the box and give these household items a new lease on life in the great outdoors. Happy camping!

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