13 Camping hacks to make roughing it a little easier – CNET

Camping can be even more fun when you get rid of the small annoyances that come with it. Here are some tips to make your trip the best it can be.

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Keep feet warm

Keep your tootsies warm by filling an aluminum water bottle with warm water, then sticking it in the bottom of your sleeping bag. Mmm, toasty. 

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Open a beer with no tools

No need to pack a bottle opener for your beer. Place the edge of the cap on the corner of a picnic table and hold the bottle at an angle. Hit the center of the bottle with the your other hand. Bam! You’ve got an open bottle and no wasted space in your pack. Here are nine more ways to open a beer bottle.

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Use Google Maps offline

Before you leave, open Google Maps, go to the menu, tap on Offline Maps and choose Select Your Own Map. Download a map of the area where you’ll be camping. Then, even if you don’t have service, you’ll still have a map in case of emergencies. 

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Clean your grill

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Cooler mess

The problem with using bags of ice to keep your food cool is that it melts and leaves a soggy mess.

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Organized cooler

A less messy solution is to freeze a couple jugs of water to keep your cooler cool. There won’t be a watery swamp at the bottom of your cooler and you can drink the water when it defrosts. 

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Get your Netflix on

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Download a survival manual

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Single serve coffee bags

Making coffee at your campsite is a snap with these coffee bags. Before you leave, put one tablespoon of coffee grounds in a coffee filter and tie it with a twist tie or dental floss. Store the bags in a plastic storage baggie.

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Tasty coffee

When you want a mug of joe, plop a bag into your cup, fill the cup with hot water and wait a few minutes (wait longer for a stronger brew). You’ll have a great cup of coffee and no mess. 

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Is this poison ivy?

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Or is this poison ivy?

What about this one? In the wilderness the wrong answer can leave you miserable. 

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Identify plants

A plant identification app will solve the mystery. I use Pl@ntNet by the PlantNetProject, but Plantsnap is another good identification app. With both, you take a photo of the plant and the app searches its database to find and identify it. 

By the way, the second photo was the real poison ivy. 

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DIY fire starter

To make starting grills or campfires easier, stuff a toilet paper tube with dryer lint and wrap it in newspaper. Twist the ends, then throw it in your backpack. 

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Start that fire

To get things going, place your fire starter in the middle of the charcoal or a pile of twigs and light the ends of the roll.

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Fend off bug bites

If mosquitoes look at you like a tasty morsel (I feel you!), take a B1 supplement before you leave the tent. I tried this trick in Texas — where the mosquitoes are huge and numerous — and I didn’t get one bite.

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Homemade air conditioner

Stay cool even in the hottest of locations with a homemade battery-powered AC unit.

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Tools to make your DIY air conditioner

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Find the zipper

If you’ve ever tried to find the zipper on your tent after a late-night bathroom trip, then you’ll appreciate this tip. Make the zipper easier to find by looping a zip tie through the hole. 

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