17 Hacks That’ll Change Everything about Camping with Kids

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When it comes to pitching a tent in the woods, throw in a few 10 and under campers, and it’s a whole new bag of tricks. There are all sorts of head-scratching issues: puzzling sleep situations, food prep problems, and dealing with So. Much. Gear. Thankfully, with these clever camping hacks, fresh air adventures with your pint-sized explorers can be relaxing and fun (we swear!). Scroll down to see them all.

A Little Campy

Make Way for Baby

Create an instantly baby-friendly floor by laying down a set of foam tiles. Your little one's knees will thank you.

Up Your S'mores Game

Whether you swap out the chocolate bars for peanut butter cups or you use this brilliant idea above, you need to bring some s'more along with you. Here are some of our favorite ways to make your s'mores next-level delicious. 

Sallye Ander

Stop Bug Bites

Keeping the bugs at bay is a top priority when it comes to camping. No one wants to spend the trip scratching itchy bites! That's why a "No-Bite-Me" bug cream is the way to go. With 18 essential oils and a formula that is safe for both people and pets, the bugs will have nothing on you. Check out Sallye Ander to get a deet-free version that works for preventing bites and soothing existing ones.

We also love the Bug Bite Thing when you catch a bite right after it has happened. Suck out all the bad stuff and you'll be a happy camper. Bonus: This fun item is also great for splinter removal! 

Matador

Pack Tiny Towels

This microfiber towel not only fits in the palm of your hand, but it's quick-drying and super absorbent, too, which makes for easy cleanup. You can throw it in your pocket or clip it to your day pack. Here's a great version for under $20.  

Stack Your Spices

Use small, stackable plastic containers for spices. That way, you won’t have to drag your entire rack along for the trip. Or better yet, go green and reuse some Tic Tac containers! 

Edward Virvel via Unsplash

Bring Duct Tape

If there’s one thing that can get you out of the woods, it’s duct tape. Use it as an emergency band-aid, tent patch, flashlight holder and much more.

Life Made Sweeter

Power Up!

Make a batch (or two) of energy bites. They’re compact, full of protein that’ll keep little bellies full while out hiking, and most of them don’t require refrigeration. Need a little inspiration? Check out our favorite recipes here.

Bring Your Own Shade

There's nothing that derails a camping trip faster than hot, tired kids. Pack a pop-up sun canopy like this one or go DIY and string a tarp between your car and a tree. 

RoseMarie Massaro Home Confetti

Use Your Six-Pack

After stashing your bottles in the ice chest, save that six-pack holder to use as a utensil organizer. It folds up and packs away with ease, and you can even get crafty and cover with a fun pattern to add a little decor to your campsite. Find the tutorial over at Home Confetti.

Marco Horvat via Unsplash

Tell Bugs to Buzz Off

Toss a little bundle of sage into the campfire. It’ll keep the mosquitos at bay.

Instructables

Get Creative at the Campfire

Wrap crescent rolls around a barkless Y-shaped stick and cooking it over a fire. Big kids will love to get in on this "baking" action, too. Head over to Instructables to find out more.

My Honey's Place

Make Clean Up Easy

Make single-use soap leaves by running a vegetable peeler along a bar of antibacterial soap. Bonus: In a pinch, you can also rub one of the soap leaves on a mosquito bite to relieve the itchiness.

Starling Travel

Stay Organized

Save yourself serious kitchen hassle by stashing the family's camping must-haves in a shoe organizer.

Brian Green

Protect Your Gear (and Little Fingers)

You can create a safe place to store tent stakes with a single piece of cardboard. Head over to Brian Green for the details. 

Home Talk

Keep TP Dry

Simply slip a roll into an empty and clean coffee can with a lid. It's so genius—we can't believe we didn't think of this first.

The Qi Ranger

An Old Go-To Snack is Now Your Go-To Fire Starter

Research shows that the chemicals in the Doritos flavor powder teamed with the oils in the chips creates the perfect combo for combustion.

Instant Coffee That Doesn't Taste Like Your Parent's Folgers

Chances are once the sun rises, you'll be desperate for some caffeine, and stat. No Starbucks or coffee maker? No problem! Pack along single-serve pouches of Waka Coffee. This freeze-dried instant coffee is made of 100% high-quality Arabica beans, sourced from Columbia and packaged in California (translation: it tastes great). 

No time to order? No problem! You can also DIY your own coffee packets and all you need is hot water to get your morning going. 

—Kate Loweth, Gabby Cullen & Ayren Jackson-Cannady

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