We could make a list of 1,000 average tips for camping, about what to eat, what to bring, what to wear, how to pack, ect. But you’re rad, you already know these things and you don’t need any soccer mom tips about how to roast starbursts over a fire. So we decided to make a small list with just the best. So here they are, the Top 5 Pro Camping Tips.
5. Hand Sanitizer to Start a Fire
I usually carry some hand sanitizer with me on trips. It’s pretty small, lightweight and is really useful. It’s nice to wash your hands with after an amazing nature poop and I use it to clean my feet at night too. There’s a lot of camping hack sites saying Doritos can start a fire, but I’ve never tried that because I’ve never brought Doritos with me on a backpacking trip. Using a little bit of hand sanitizer is a much easier way to start a fire. But try as you might, no mater how much a mountain man you are, there’s been at least one time you had a hard time getting it raging. Hand sanitizer is about 90% alcohol so it burns really well, but don’t try and drink it, that’s what Pat’s Backcountry Beers are for.
Freeze water bottles for your cooler to keep your food and beer cold. Ditch the old blue ice packs and bags of ice that are just going to melt and get thrown away. Instead freeze some water bottles and then you’ll have cold water too. Even for daytrips I’ll freeze bottles for a day of hiking or mountain biking. I think there’s a science behind drinking cold water; it doesn’t hydrate you as much as water at room temperature but I’ll drink way more water if it’s colder and it feels so much more refreshing. Wow, now I just sound like Bobby Boucher from The Waterboy. Anyways, if you’re on a longer trip and need to keep stuff colder than just a few days, refill your bottles with ice from a soda fountain. Most places will give you free ice. In the picture above we poured the ice from the bag into some water bottles.
Google satellite view is an awesome way to plan your trip. I screen shot a bunch of landmarks and potential campsites with my phone. Even when you don’t have service, the location sometimes works on your phone. For rock climbing long multipitch routes I’ll take pictures of the guide book so I can leave that in the car and go a little bit lighter. It’s way easier to take a peek at your phone than to whip out a guide book 200 feet up. Remember to take a picture of the approach and descent as well as the route description. For most backpacking trips you should still bring a normal paper map, but your phone is an awesome tool you should take advantage of in the backcountry.
For really cold nights boil some water and pour it in a Nalgene bottle and then put the bottle in a sock and then throw it in your sleeping bag. It can preheat your bag so when you climb in its all nice and toasty. It will also keep you warmer for most of the night. Make two, one for your feet and one to snuggle with. Dogs love this trick too.
If you’re car camping you don’t need to stay at an actual campsite and pay $40 per night. Most places have dispersed camping which means you can camp for free almost anywhere in the forest. Like a backpacking trip you can stop wherever you want and stay the night, but you can do the same thing car camping. You won’t get the same amenities, but who needs a stinking bathroom anyways. BLM land is usually free to camp at too. Even national parks have wilderness permits where you can hike 5 minutes from the road and set up tent for the night for free. Just make sure you check the rules at the area you plan to stay at.
Now get out and enjoy the great outdoors and put these tips to use. You’ll be more comfortable and have more money for a longer adventure or better beer. Click here to learn more about our Brew Concentrate and Carbonator Bottles.