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So, you’re at your campsite and you have everything set up. The tent looks good, all staked down. The picnic table is set and ready for the next meal. The wood is stacked and ready to go for the evening. Chairs are at the ready, and maybe a hammock strung between a couple of trees. Nearly an ideal setup. And yet, you know that there are some “extra” things that would really take your tent camping setup to the next level. Those hacks that would impress other tent campers with their ingenuity.
This question was recently posed on a Facebook group that I am a part of, and the answers to this question were quite interesting! So interesting and useful, in fact, that they warranted a special blog post so that I could share them all with you. In no particular order, here are 5 tent camping hacks “by tent campers, for tent campers”.
One of the first things to come up as an answer to this hack question was floor coverings for inside the tent. Now, you might be asking, why would anyone want to have a floor covering in their tent? Well, there are a couple of reasons why they do it. First, it provides a more comfortable surface to manuever around on in the tent. Typically the ground just isn’t that soft, so to have a little bit of cushion under your feet and knees is a welcome experience. Second, it helps keep the air mattress from sliding around on the tent floor, and the same if you use just a sleeping pad. And third, if you use a cot, it helps to protect the floor from the feet of the cot, which localize the pressure of what’s on the cot into the several feet of the cot. And generally, it helps prevent rips and tears that inadvertently happen (and often at the worst time of a camping trip).
So what do they use as floor coverings in their tents? One popular option that is also fairly inexpensive is moving blankets. These are nice because they have more padding in them than a regular blanket (to protect items as they are shipped). They also can be laundered if they get dirty, and they pack up fairly small so they don’t take up a lot of room. Take a look HERE for some options on Amazon.
Another option that people use are the foam play mats that interlock to make a pad as big as you need for your tent. They are also relatively easy to cut, meaning you could make a custom size foam pad of these interlocking pieces that covers the whole floor of your tent. Bonus fun is they often come in several colors in the pack, so you’ll have a colorful floor that will be the envy of the campground! Take a look HERE for these foam play mats on Amazon.
Are we lighting up a small flower garden or what? Actually, these were a top hack from tent campers in the group. What they used them for was to stick in the ground next to the tent stakes that were for the guy ropes leading back to the tent. These are super handy at night because they help you avoid becoming tangled up in these ropes and potentially bringing down your tent. The same can be done for a screen tent you have or even just to mark the corners of a canopy. Being solar, you never have to worry about charging them or replacing batteries, and many are cheap enough that if you end up breaking one, it won’t cost you much to replace it. And they are small in size, so they won’t take up too much room. Click HERE for a list of these lights on Amazon.
So, when I first saw this, I was blown away for two reasons. First, because of the simplicity of the idea and the fact that you can move the hook around to where ever you need it in the tent. And second, because I’m surprised I didn’t think of this since we have battery operated lights that are also magnetic, giving us lights anywhere in the tent we want. Basically, you have a hook with a metal back to it, and then a strong magnet to adhere to the hook. Put the hook anywhere on the tent wall/ceiling you like, then put the magnet on the outside of the tent. Viola! You can now hang whatever you like from the hook.
And what to hang? Maybe you put one near the peak of your tent and hang a small fan from it. Or you could put a hook on the side wall and hang a small battery light. Put magnetic hooks all around the ceiling and string some battery lights for a soft light at night. The options are endless once you start thinking about all the possibilities. Check out all the magnetic hooks HERE on Amazon.
I can just hear you now. Seriously, tent pegs? This is a hack? Okay, I know, but hear me out first. This is a two-fer: an upgrade AND a hack. First the upgrade. The tent pegs/stakes that come with your tent are, at best, meant for the fairest of weather. Sure, in a light breeze they’ll do okay, but if you happen to get some strong winds from an unanticipated storm, they won’t hold. And part of the structure of the tent is the guylines that come with the tent. Tent failure will happen with these puny stakes, so do yourself a favor and upgrade them to beefier stakes, either metal or plastic. Amazon has many great options to choose from, just click HERE to check them out.
Once you have your shiny new tent stakes, you certainly don’t want to lose them. They aren’t cheap after all, so you want to make sure you always have the full complement of stakes each time you go (by the way, you DID buy at least 1 extra stake, right?). Help make it easier to find those stakes if you come up short on your count by spray painting them with a really bright, unavoidable color. Blaze orange is good, or a bright chartruese, or even a hot pink. Just something that is eye-catching and hard to miss lying on the ground. Add your initials in permanent ink on them and you’ll be sure that the stakes you find are truly yours. Click HERE for a nice assortment of spray paints on Amazon.
So, for some this may not be a hack, but for others it’s the best hack they’ve never thought of. Carabiners are so handy for things, once you start using them, you’ll wonder why you don’t have twenty of them with you at all times. Larger ones are great for clipping to the structure of canopies and hanging things from them. Might make kitchen duty easier being able to see all of your big utensils for cooking, etc. Use one to keep the play sand shovel clipped to the bucket when not in use. Clip them to ratchet straps strung between 2 trees and hang a variety of items from them (lantern, wet sandals for drying, a pet leash, etc.). They are so versatile that they should be in your gear pack for whatever you might encounter that you didn’t plan for. They will become the source for a lot of new hacks when you’re camping! Check out all the different carabiners HERE on Amazon.
Camping hacks abound, some are genius and some are…questionable. But when you have a group of tent campers together, they can’t help but share all of the cool things that they’ve discovered to make their camping that much better. These hacks are, dare I say, tried and true, as all of them had at least several people talking about how helpful they were when they go tent camping. What about you? What are some of your favorite tent camping hacks?
Got some feedback on this topic? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, send me an email or share it on social media! Happy Tent Camping!
Featured Image photo courtesy Teemu, 1/27/2019. Photo was taken from: https://www.pexels.com/@teemu-r-555088