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Looking for ways to making camping more comfortable without adding a lot of extra weight? We have eight ideas to make a stay in the great outdoors more comfortable.


A tarp is one of the most multi-function items you can have. You can wrap things in the tarp. You can pile a bunch of stuff it in the lift it off the ground with ropes to keep it away from critters like bears and raccoons. Lift the tarp off the ground and tie it to trees and you have a shelter. A lot of people can get out of the rain or sun under a big tarp.

Take the tarp and tie it between trees to make a screen. Pair it with a portable outdoor shower bag and you have a place to get clean in peace. Change clothes inside the hidden area of the tarp.

Got a beach nearby? A tarp can be a giant beach towel so everyone can sit down and not sit in the sand. Take two poles. Bury one side the tarp. Prop the opposite up with the poles and you have a beach lean-to.

Get a strong tarp or a really big one that can be layered and make a hammock.


Rope should be a standard item in every camper’s gear bag. Paracord is incredibly strong, lightweight and takes little room. It can be split open to access the internal cords that make the larger rope. Possibly the most versatile and useful items to keep in your backpack for the campsite.


A fire starter is a required item for a camper. Most people count on finding tinder to get a blaze starter. Take a quart-size sealable bag. Take dryer lint from the filter. Pack the lint into the back and press it flat. That gives you dry tinder and a lot of it to start several fires.




Waterproof socks. Ever get your feet wet and then have to suffer from wet shoes and socks? Well, part of that is solved.


Feed the “caf-fiend” in you with a portable collapsible coffee filter. Or if you want to get really primitive, try slung coffee. The recipe is fire, metal bucket with a handle, water, coffee grounds and a rope. Dump the coffee grounds and water in a pot. Heat it over the fire until boiling. Tie the rope to the handle and sling the bucket in a circle, hence the term “slung coffee.” Centrifugal force drives grounds into the bottom of the bucket. Dip fresh coffee from the bucket.

The bucket will meet other needs as well. Haul water for any reason. Carry around other stuff. Turn it upside down for a seat. A good bucket can cook more than coffee. Upside down over a heat source, it is a flat cooking surface.


Speaking of cooking, a roll-up grill is just the thing for cooking a few fresh fish fillets or as a support surface for other cooking gear.


Flashlights are bulky and need batteries. The bigger the light, the more batteries it needs and the more space it takes. So get an LED Survival Lantern. It collapses to take up little room. A full charge lasts for hours. Charge it while you are setting up camp, fishing, swimming or even getting to the campsite.


Bring the power with you. Portable solar panels generate enough juice to charge up small electronic devices, but take little space. With some creative thinking, the panels can be attached to a backpack so you can charge while you walk.

What do you take camping that most people don’t? Let us hear from you with your ideas on how to making camping a better experience.

John Bishop

Category Outdoor

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