20 Genius Family-Friendly Camping Hacks to Use This Summer

If you're taking a camping trip this Summer with your kiddos whether it be on a camping plot next to the family car, completely outdoors, or in a cabin, it can get tricky to execute this type of usually structureless trip sans stress and tantrums. To keep your trip running smoothly the entire time you're enjoying the great outdoors, these family camping hacks will help you to pack lighter, keep kids busy longer, and generally keep your whole family more comfortable throughout the duration of the trip.

Ahead, our favorite hacks for family camping trips.


Bring quick-dry clothes.

Having a bunch of quick-dry or sweat-wicking shirts and pairs of pants, shorts, and even underwear for each member of the family (especially the kids) means having to pack less because these items can be rinsed off and left out to dry to wear again.


Use microfiber towels.

Much like sweat-wicking clothes, microfiber towels dry quickly (usually within an hour of use). They’re also much thinner, making them easier to store.


Use pool noodles to mark tent lines.

Prevent any injuries as a result of tripping or getting tangled in tent lines by slipping half a pool noodle onto the bottom of the line before securing them to the ground.


Wear color-coded wristbands.

Whether it be a rubber wristband, a paper or plastic event wristband, or a hair tie, make sure every member of the family is wearing one so that in case anyone gets lost, it’s an identifier you can share with anyone around.


Slide a pool floatie into a sleeping bag or pack the air mattresses.

There’s nothing that would make a camping trip less fun than sleeping on a bed of rocks all night in a thin sleeping bag. Set your kid up with a pool floatie slipped into their sleeping bag or a small air mattress so that they get enough sleep to prevent crankiness the next day. These can also be used in the backseat of a car or in the trunk of an SUV.


Line the tent floor with your play room's foam squares.

Keep small toes from stubbing and soft soles from stepping on something sharp or hard by lining the tent floor with the same foam squares laid out in your play room.


Make toothpaste dots.

For even lighter packing, premake “toothpaste dots” with your kiddos by laying out dots of toothpaste on a piece of parchment paper a few days before your trip. Allow them to dry out, store them in a plastic baggie, and wet them on your toothbrush during your trip to get minty fresh breath.


Use a shoe organizer to store food, eating, and cooking supplies neatly.

Fill the slots with silverware, napkins, granola bars, and more, then hang it off the table when it’s in use and roll it up with a bungee cord when you don’t need it. You can also use one for toys or clothes.


Bring homemade fire-starters.

Using an empty toilet paper roll stuffed with dryer lint (and sage leaves, if you want to ward off mosquitos), you can make your own fire-starters that are super light and easy to carry.


Use Doritos as kindling.

If you’re having trouble getting your fire going, or need it to burn for a bit longer without adding another log, use Doritos as kindling (just be careful, especially with the kids around the fire!).


Pack unbreakable silicone cups.

Not only will these lightweight cups take up less space, you can slip them into the aforementioned shoe organizer easily, they won’t break when dropped on rocks or hard ground, and they’re super easy to wash because they’re so bendable.


Store toilet paper rolls in an old coffee container.

Slice into it so that the paper can roll out easily — this method will keep the soft paper nice and dry!


Create a "poop station."

If there isn't a bathroom on your campsite, use a garbage bin, a liner, and a soft pool floatie to create a commode away from home.


Save time and room by packing scrambled eggs in a water bottle.

Rather than bringing a full package of breakable eggs in your cooler, pre scramble the eggs before your trip (which means less dishes later, plus time saved). A regular water bottle will hold about ten eggs.


Build activity bags to bust boredom.

Staring out at nature and going on hikes may not be every kiddo’s cup of tea (at least for the whole trip), so come prepared with activity bags full of books, games, and coloring/craft supplies.


Store first-aid and knick knacks in a tackle box.

Keep all the essentials together and organized in a tackle box.


Attach a cork to your keys to keep them from sinking.

If you jump into the water with your keys in your pocket, ensure your family can head home from the trip by keeping your keys safe. Attaching a cork will keep your keys bobbing in the water should they come out of your pocket.


Store spices and other small ingredients in old Tic-Tac containers.

Just because you're camping doesn't mean your family needs to eat boring food — use old Tic-Tac containers to store minimal amounts of spices and other small ingredients (that way, you can throw things out to lighten your load on the way home).


Make simpler s’mores.

Instead of bringing all of the classic s’mores supplies, toast marshmallows and place them between twisted-open Oreos (saves time and a bit of the mess, but still gives you and the kids that burst of chocolatey goodness).


Use a solo cup as a speaker.

Place your phone with the kids’ favorite tunes on high-volume into a solo cup to amplify the sound for dance parties and down time.