Many of these solutions serve a variety of purposes, making them better than traditional, and often pricier, camping gear.
Rope Instead of a Clothing Rack1 of 9
Rope is valuable to campers for a number of reasons, one of which is its ability to act as a clothing rack. This camping hack is especially useful when you camp in the rain or near a body of water.
Other uses: hang a hammock, support a shelter, tow a heavy item
Tarp Instead of a Rainfly2 of 9
Even with a waterproof tent, it's important to shelter your sleeping area. Any amount of water inside can dampen clothing and gear, and make sleeping uncomfortable. If a rainfly doesn't come with your tent, or your current one is no longer useful, a tarp is a worthy replacement.
Other uses: makeshift shelter, tent footprint, pet shelter
Multi-Tool Instead of a Tool Set3 of 9
Don't lug an expensive tool set around. Instead, invest in a Swiss Army knife. Just one pocket knife has all the tools you might need, minus a hammer—use a rock—and it's easy to carry on a hike or backpacking trip.
Other uses: food prep, wine opener, wood whittler
Campsite Picnic Table Instead of Chairs4 of 9
Camping chairs are difficult to pack and cumbersome to carry around. Instead, rely on what you can find at the campsite. If there isn't a picnic table, look for a large rock or a stump.
Other uses: table, storage, wind blocker
Topo Map and Compass Instead of a GPS5 of 9
A topographic map and compass are two of the most important tools for campers, especially when you're in a remote area where GPS signal is low or non-existent. Some might even consider this camping hack a necessary skill. Learn the basics of map and compass before your next camping trip. With this map you can find trails and assess elevation.
Other uses: share coordinates for easy locating
Old Quilts and Sheets Instead of a Sleeping Bag6 of 9
Sleeping bags can be expensive; add a sleeping mat or air mattress and the cost skyrockets. Instead, use old quilts and sheets from home. Pair these with a sleeping pad to make a comfortable and warm sleeping area. Remember, winter camping does require a specific cold temperature sleeping bag and gear.
Other uses: shelter, picnic blanket, decoration
Coffee Pouches Instead of an Instant Coffee Packet7 of 9
Instant coffee rarely tastes good, and it's pricey to boot. Instead, package your favorite coffee in small pouches with coffee filters. Drop your pouch into a hot cup of water, let it sit for five minutes and drink up.
Other uses: kills odor, repels ants, spice rub
Frozen Gallons of Water Instead of Ice8 of 9
Buying bags of ice can get expensive. Instead, freeze gallons of water, each one about three-quarters full, and put them in your cooler. While you may need to supplement with ice eventually, this camping hack will cut down on what you need to buy.
Other uses: water bottle, DIY lantern, shaker