7 expert-approved camping hacks you wish you'd known sooner

From turning your water bottle into a lantern to warming cold feet – here's how you can make your outdoor adventure easier

Man and woman sitting outside their tent outside in the sun
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While camping is great fun, it can also be a lot of hard work, but a few simple hacks can help save you some time and effort. That’s why we asked Wild Camping Specialist, Daniel Jones, to share his favourite camping hacks, to help make your outdoor adventure feel a little more effortless.

Whether you’re looking for a quick way to warm up your feet, have forgotten your favourite flashlight, or want to stop your water from freezing (that’s if you’re ballsy enough to brave camping in the cold), there’s a hack that will help.

1. Use a neck buff as a multi-purpose tool

Believe it or not, a neck buff can do far more useful than simply keeping you warm..."The simple neck buff can be used as a hat, to wipe your cook pot dry, help wipe condensation off the walls of your tent, and you can even wrap it around your wrist on those hot days to wipe sweat from your forehead," says Daniel. If you don't own one, you'll now probably want to.

2. Turn your water bottle into a lantern

A tent lit up in the dark

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Forgotten your camping lantern or flashlight? No stress, Dan says all you need is a clear water bottle and your phone torch. "A great way to give your tent some ambient light is to turn the light on your phone on and place the water bottle on top of it, making the water illuminate light around the tent."

3. Hold your camp pillow in place

Your pillow sliding around on your camping bed or camp mat is a one-way ticket to an uncomfortable night's sleep, which no one wants camping. But Daniel has an easy solution. "Take a t-shirt, neck buff, or any item of clothing you aren't wearing and slide it over your sleep mat and pillow, it will help prevent your pillow from sliding around."

4. Keep toes toasty with a rucksack

Man and woman in a sleeping bag

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You've probably heard the saying 'if your feet are warm, you're warm' and if your feet are still cold, even with a thick pair of hiking socks, it's time to reach for your rucksack. "Place the foot of your sleeping bag in your empty rucksack as this will add another layer over your sleeping bag, creating a little more warmth," says Daniel. "It's amazing what an extra layer can do."

5. Tip your water bottle upside down

If you're brave enough to camp in the cold, one thing you'll want to try and avoid is your water freezing. "Ice forms from the top of any water source," explains Daniel. "So, keeping the opening of your bottle at the bottom will prevent the top of your water bottle from freezing, so you can still drink it in the morning."

6. Make your own hot water bottle

A woman and man sat in a tent cheersing their flasks

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Another simple, yet effective way to keep you toasty, without the need to pack your actual hot water bottle. "On those cold nights, fill your bottle with hot water making sure it's water-tight, and place it in your sleeping bag," says Daniel. "Then, when it's time for bed, you'll have a nice warm sleeping bag, plus drinking water for when you wake up."

7. Save silica gel pouches 

Why exactly? "They're great to prevent rust in your cooking pots," says Daniel. "Pop a couple in your pot to keep it nice and dry and free of rust." If you don't have any, they can also be purchased online. 

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.