For something that’s supposed to get you back to nature, you can actually buy a butt-load of new crap just for camping. You don’t need most of that crap, of course, but hey. Sixteen-person party tents and inflatable air beds and cast iron novelty cookware–what else are you going to put on your wedding registry?
You can still have lots of little gimmicky gadgets to make camping more fun and convenient without buying them from Eddie Bauer, though. Check out this list of some of my favorite DIY camping hacks, because why pay for something if you can just make it with junk that you dug out of your recycling?
1. bandanna bowl covers. Bandannas look especially nice, but you can make these out of any stash cotton fabric.
2. bed sheet hammock. Just because you don’t have a hammock doesn’t mean that you can’t have a hammock!
3. calamine lotion. I used to have no idea what was in this stuff, much less how to make it myself!
4. egg carton fire starters. These are so easy to make, consist of trash, and work better than anything you could dream of buying.
5. firewood sling. This makes the job of gathering sticks for the fire SO much easier.
6. five-gallon bucket camp seat. These things can get heavy fast, which is why we Girl Scouts stick to sit-upons, but if you’re car camping, they offer a handy seat that doubles as storage.
7. hobo stove. My kid made one of these at Girl Scout camp.
8. Mason jar match dispenser. You can do anything with a Mason jar.
9. pie iron carrying bag. I know you don’t really need special roasting sticks or pie irons, but they sure are fun. At least you’ll be able to keep them all together and contained with this upcycled bag.
11. scrap fabric teepee. Now, I wouldn’t actually GO camping with this, but backyard camping should be a golden memory for every person who had a backyard as a kid, and this teepee would be a pretty magical backyard camping abode.
12. soap pouch. This makes it so easy to have your soap at hand for showers or just washing up.
13. solar oven. Why wait until nighttime to have your s’mores?
14. walking stick. I don’t know why, but a decorated walking stick seriously makes hiking more fun.
What are YOUR favorite things to DIY for camping trips?