Tips & tricks: Camp like a pro

For as long as I can remember, I have spent a portion of my summers camping.  As a family, we would always go once right when school got out in June, and again before heading back to school in early September. The love of pitching a tent is part of who I am!

Over the years, I have learned so many different tips and tricks from my parents and other campers that make camping trips so much easier. From what to pack to meal planning, there are tricks up my sleeve for all of it.


Will I be in a tent, a camper, or a lean-to, and what I am going to need to be comfy?

I have slept a good many nights in a tent with no padding under me, and laying right on a tree root, or a rock. It makes for a painful morning. I recommend laying a yoga mat or an inflatable lake float down, then placing your sleeping bag on top. This will give you enough cushioning to get off the ground.

  • Next I consider the  weather.

I try to determine if I am going to need more layers for a chilly night or not.

If you have a cold night in the forecast, try this trick: Reflective windshield covers can act as insulation for your body. Lay one down over your cushion and put your sleeping bag or blankets over it to provide some extra insulation on a chilly Adirondack night. You can also fill a water bottle with hot water and put it in the bottom of your sleeping bag to keep your toes and legs warm.

FOOD-The Main Attraction

Mason Jar Trail Mix

When adventuring all day during a camping trip, snacks are a very important item to have in your backpack.

One of my favorites is to use an old mason jar and fill it with my favorite style of trail mix. Nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, you name it. Combine it all into your mason jar and toss it in the backpack.

Camping with kids? Have each one make their own flavor of trail mix before the trip, and you have individual snacks for everyone. 

Gluten free? Try these tried-and-liked recipes!

Popcorn in a Beer Can

Every one loves the night time snack of s'mores — but how about popcorn in a beer can?

It's simple to make and doesn't require any dirty dishes or clean up. Simply fill a beer can a quarter of the way full with popcorn kernels. Add some popcorn oil and place the can on the edge of the fire. Allow the kernels to pop until the popping slows down. Cut the beer can in half, and enjoy your nighttime campfire snack!

Breakfast Over the Fire

There is nothing better than waking up on an Adirondack morning while camping. Hearing the birds and loon calls, and the water crashing against shore is the best alarm.

Get the day started right with a great breakfast. Try this camp breakfast hack: pack a tube of cinnamon rolls, open the tin and roll each cinnamon roll around a stick. Roast them over the fire and finish them off with the icing.

Bug Hacks

Nobody likes sitting by the fire at night, constantly swatting at bugs, and being forced to tuck your pants into socks so that your ankles don't get bitten up.

  • Wrap up a bundle of sage and throw it in the fire to release a pleasant odor that keeps the annoyances away. Really! It'll keep the bugs away while acting as an air freshner. 
  • Another bug hack is the mouth-numbing Orajel medicine. Toss a little bottle into your pack when you head out camping to save yourself the itching and scratching. Just apply a dab to each bug bite and the itching should stop almost immediately. 

Fire Starters

The corks are a life saver!
The corks are a life saver!

If you are like my friends and I, and you struggle with starting a fire, pay attention to this next tip.

Making a fire starter before you go may be one of the best things you do. Using common household items, you can get the fire started quickly.

All you need for this is a few corks from wine bottles, and some rubbing alcohol. Store corks in a sealed jar filled with rubbing alcohol.

Build your usual fire with kindling and paper. Just before trying to light it toss a few corks underneath the kindling. These will catch right away and help get your fire going much faster.


Of course, the one true way to develop your own camping hacks, tips, and tricks is to try it out for yourself. I guarantee after your first trip you will already start to develop your own way of doing things developed. Come visit, and discover Adirondack camping.


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