by S. Easton

March 15, 2021

Planning a camping trip? Pandemic restrictions have relaxed throughout much of the country and we can almost see our way clear to having somewhat of an ‘normal’ summer. In many households across the country that means a couple of well deserved camping trips. We’ve collected some clever camping hacks to make way for a very organized camping trip, whether it be tent camping, car camping, camper, van or RV camping. First, let’s take a look at the best options to access to clean water.

Before Hacking, Pack the Water Purifier

While we’re anxious to share some cool camping hacks, let’s take a minute to review (yet again) THE most important commodity to have on any outdoor adventure. Safe drinking water is imperative whether you’re camping, hiking, backpacking. Whether you’re prepping for an ascent of Mt. Everest or out for a 4th of July weekend with friends in your local state park, setting up a well-equipped base camp is crucial to the camping experience. The most critical component of any base camp is access to clean water. Water, food, and shelter are the three things we all need when camping, but water is by far the most critical.

What if you could have a water storage system that is THREE TIMES the size of a gallon water jug, and it could continuously purify new water from ANY non-saltwater source?

Enter the AquaBrick®

Portable water filterAt Base Camp, we highly recommend the AquaBrick Water Purification System as your main source of drinking water. This packable, three-gallon HDPE container, when paired with the accompanying purification system, allows you to gather, quickly purify, and then distribute up to three gallons of water at a time. Check out 5 Reasons You Need the AquaBrick Water Purification System at Base Camp.

The AquaBrick® Water Purification System is easy to fill with any non-salt water source and have ready for drinking, hand washing or cooking chores. The container, itself, holds 3 gallons of water and using the powerful DuraFlo™ Water Filter, will purify up to 700 gallons of contaminated water, removing:

99.9999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli,

99.99% of all parasites and protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium,

and 99.99% of viruses.

So, you’ve got safe, clean water from any lake or stream running by your campsite that you can safely use for any purpose.

Gotta Portable Water Filter for Hiking?

As you trek out of camp to explore the backcountry, tuck an XStream™ Straw Water Filter in your pocket. This ultralight backpacking water filter only weighs 9 ounces, including the powerhouse Journey™ Filter it utilizes, so it won’t weigh you down. As with all Sagan Life® products, it’s been tested to remove bacteria, virus and parasites. The straw water purifier comes as a 2-foot length with a 2-foot extension – total 48” straw. No need to do a “belly flop” to access that cold, bubbling creek to quench your thirst. (Don’t forget, these two are a necessary addition to your emergency 72 hour “bug-out” bag, as well.)

straw filter for backpacking

The AquaBrick® System, coupled with an XStream™ Straw Water Filter is the dynamic duo of water purification. These two water filtration devices from Sagan Life® should cover all the bases, whether you’re camp cooking, or out backpacking, stretching those pandemic weary legs.

OK – Let’s Get Hacking

So now, since we have your clean drinking water needs covered, here’s a couple of pretty clever camping hacks that will surely lighten your packing load and make camping life more convenient:

  1. Keep matches dry in a Mason jar. Actually, any kind of a jar will work, as long as it’s water-tight. How about saving those empty Jelly/Jam or Peanut Butter jars. They’ll work just fine and you can fill them with stick matches, or even several books of matches.
  2. Store your raw scrambled eggs in a bottle. If you use coffee creamer, those empty and washed-well containers are perfect for carrying cracked eggs. Tightly capped, they’re easily tucked into the cooler or fridge. Add water or milk, salt and pepper and give them a good shake. You’ve got eggs ready for the frying pan.
  3. Keep toilet paper dry inside an empty coffee container. Great idea. Self-explanatory.
  4. Serve tacos inside a split-opened individual bag of tortilla or corn chips. Sure saves on doing dishes and the kids love it. Definitely makes serving a snap and the campers can add toppings of their choice. Just set out a carton of sour cream, a bag each of pre-shredded cheese and lettuce and a bottle of your favorite salsa. What could be easier?
  5. Store your spices in an empty tic-tac container. We probably don’t need full size spice jars in our camp pantry… unless we’re full-timers. Any small container will work; small empty pill bottles; empty sampler containers. Just be mindful of little jars before you toss them in the recycle bin. Can I use this for camping storage?
  6. Turn a shoe organizer into a kitchen tool organizer. Gotta love this! Super idea. The shoe organizer has many pockets, so using those pockets individually for spatulas, knives, forks, spoons, whisks, or whatever your favorite kitchen gadget is (don’t forget a potato peeler) keeps things neat and organized. You won’t have to do a scavenger hunt for your serving spoon.
  7. Line your camping tent floor with foam floor tiles. Even if you have to buy a few, they’re not expensive and what a great way to keep the floor dry and add another layer of insulation between you and the ground when you throw down your sleeping bag.
  8. If you’re using a charcoal bar-b-que, store some starter briquettes in an egg carton. Keep them dry for easier ignition. Or you might put the “Match Light” instant briquettes in the carton and use the regular charcoal to keep the fire going.
  9. Turn empty pill bottles into mini first aid kits. Some of the larger empty pill bottles are perfect to store some band aids, a tube of Neosporin, a couple of alcohol wipes and a few Advil or aspirin. A 2nd empty pill bottle can convert nicely into a mini emergency sewing kit by adding a needle and a spool of thread. Remember…”a stitch in time saves 9” or something like that???
  10. Foil Wrapped Dinners. My favorite method of cooking lately, even here at home, is foil-wrapped packs. What a great way to make dinner and of course, you could assemble at home, freeze and cook at camp, when they’ve safely thawed and are ready to throw on around the campfire. Securely wrap protein, (think maybe a pork chop or kielbasa sausage) quartered potato and carrot chunks and maybe some cabbage wedges. Season with salt and pepper – add some caraway seed, if you like or thyme sprigs or whatever your family enjoys and then wrap tightly. I always double wrap my dinner packets. Give them 45-60 minutes (you could put them on the grill or hot campfire ash… not directly on the flames) depending on the thickness of your protein. Open and eat. Then do the dishes. In other words, toss the foil. Delish and oh, so easy and that’s what camping is all about. Why is it that food always seems to taste better when you’re with your family around a roaring and crackling fire? Definitely S’mores for dessert.

Please follow us on Instagram @SaganLife for tips on camping in our beautiful National Parks. Each Friday we’ll highlight one of the 63 National Parks, here in the USA. I’m sure there’s one near you, just waiting for exploration. Get out there!

A special thanks to “Spaceships & Laser Beams” for some of these great camping hack ideas!