Get Rid of Mosquitoes and Other Bugs While Camping

Camping HacksOne of the most annoying things while camping is the presence of insects, bugs and pests.  Dealing with them can be tricky unless you know what will really work.  Try these camping hacks next time you go camping to help you repel mosquitoes and drive away the ants.


Camping Hacks for Bugs

Burn Sage

I discovered this hack while researching plants that help repel Burn Sage to Repel Mosquitoesmosquitoes.  I always have a very extreme reaction to mosquito bites and I’m constantly on the hunt for ways to keep them out of my life.  Burning a bundle of sage leaves will actually repel mosquitoes and keep them away from your campsite.  So bring some sage along with you and toss it in your campfire to ensure a bite free evening.

 

 

Johnson’s Baby Creamy Oil

Johnson's Baby Creamy OilAnother great mosquito repellent hack is to use Johnson’s Baby Creamy Oil.  It works wonders and really does repel those pesky mosquitoes.  Plus you won’t smell like traditional bug sprays.

Other oils and lotions sometimes work too, but this one is the absolute best and I always keep some in my camping kit.

 

 

 

Remove Ticks with a Cotton BallRemove Ticks with Liquid Hand Soap

Soak a cotton ball with liquid hand soap and apply it to the tick.  After a few minutes, the tick will release easily from the skin.

You can either pre-soak the cotton balls at home and store in ziploc baggies, or just bring all the ingredients with you and soak them once a tick happens to appear.

Ticks can carry lyme disease, so you might want to have the tick tested if you were exposed to it for a long period of time. After removing it, you can simply place it back in the ziploc bag until you get home.

 

 

Use Grits to Repel Ants

Now this little hack is useful not onUse Instant Grits to Repel Antsly for camping, but for any outdoor activity like picnics, kids soccer games, backyard barbecues.  Simply sprinkle Instant Grits anywhere you see ants… they will flee immediately.

The theory here is that ants basically do not like “new” or strange things being added to their environment.  Add some dry grits and they get annoyed and tend to leave.

 

 

Fill Ziploc Bags with Water

Keep flies away by hanging bags of water around your campsite.  Just fill a Ziploc style sandwich bag with water and hang it up.  Flies will avoid the area completely.

I’m sure you have probably seen this technique at restaurants or food trucks that have outdoor eating areas.  Most of the Mexican restaurants where I live that have patio seating, have these little baggies hanging around… but no flies!

 

Use Mothballs to Combat SnakesRepel Snakes

Place Mothballs around your tent and campsite to ward off most snakes.  I heard somewhere that you can use the plastic lid of water bottles to put the mothballs in so they don’t go rolling around.

Mothballs repel snakesI have to say that I have personally never tried this hack, and from what I understand there are some people that say this works and others who say it doesn’t.  Recently we’ve had about 3 different snakes hanging out near our back door, so I may try this and report back. Stay tuned for an update.

 



Leave a comment if you’ve ever tried any of these camping hacks or if you have other hacks that I didn’t mention here. I would love to hear about your hacking successes.


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How to Stay Warm in a Tent

how to stay warm in a tentIt’s that time of year when snow is falling and the air is crisp and cold. Some might say this is the perfect time to go camping, build a fire, and enjoy the weather.

However, if you have ever been camping in the winter months, you have probably wondered how to keep a tent warm in cold weather. We all love getting outside and enjoying nature when winter hits.  It’s less humid and who doesn’t love an open fire. But when you need to keep your tent warm, what do you do?

How to Stay Warm in a Tent…

 


Here are a few tricks to keep warm in a tent:

♦ Sleeping Bag how to stay warm in a tent

Opt for a zero degree sleeping bag.  This will keep you toasty and warm through almost any extreme weather scenario. I personally like the Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather Sleeping Bag. It is very affordable and will definitely keep you warm.

♦ Sleeping Pad

Try to find a closed-cell foam pad that you can place under your sleeping bag.  This will help keep warmth from escaping underneath you as you rest.  This is also a great idea because it will give you a bit more cushioning from the uneven ground and rocks.

♦ Dry Socks While Sleeping

Before you go to bed, change your socks to a fresh dry pair.  Even if you don’t think you have been sweating in them, change them out.  Even the slightest bit of moisture can become extremely cold in the middle of the night. Consider doubling up on the socks as well.  Another extra layer never hurts.

♦ Wear a knit Cap

While you should wear a skull cap or some time of hat during the day to keep warm, you should also consider wearing a knit cap while you sleep.  30% of our body heat escapes from our head. Wearing a cap will keep you warmer.

♦  Hand Warmers

Pack a few hand warmers so that you can snuggle up with them at night.  Inside your sleeping bag, they will help trap the heat close to your body. You can also use them while hiking or hanging around the campsite during the day.  This will keep you warm and keep your core temp from dropping too low.

♦ Tent Heaters

Propane tent heaters are excellent for taking the chill out of a tent.  However, do not run the heater all night long.  Simply turn it on before you decide to retire for the night in order to warm up the tent.  Turn it off when you decide to actually go to sleep. You can turn it on again in the morning to warm up before getting out of bed.

how to stay warm in a tentPropane Tent Heaters

♦  Heat up Rocks

Take several large rocks and heat them up by the fire.  Allow them to cool down a bit and then wrap them in towels.  Place in your sleeping bag or stack them in the middle of the tent to allow them to radiate heat all night long.

♦ Hot Water Bottles

Use hot water bottles to snuggle up to in your sleeping bag.  This will keep you warm throughout the night.  If you do not have an actual hot water bottle, you can use a heat-proof water container.  Consider tossing it in the bottom of your sleeping bag near your feet to keep toasty warm.

♦ Candle Lanterns

Use candle lanterns to give off light but also radiate a bit of heat.  They won’t give off as much heat as an actual heater, but you would be surprised how much warmth they can give off. Every little bit helps right?

Hot Drink before Going to Bed

This is an easy one… before turning in for the night, have a nice hot drink by the fire.  This will warm you up from the inside which will get you started especially if you implement some of the other tent warming tricks listed above.  Try a nice hot chocolate (add whiskey for an adult version) or you could even warm up milk for a good night sleep.


Final Thoughts and Comments

For more cold weather camping tips, check out my previous post.  Comment down below if you have any other proven ways to warm up a tent.  Let me know your personal winter weather camping experiences as well. Tis the season! Stay warm my friends!!!

 


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Cold Weather Camping Tips – When Winter Hits

Camping in cold weather can be invigorating and fun.  I personally enjoy escaping the heat of summer and jumping in to fall and winter.  I mean what’s better than a chilly night around the campfire?

As the temperature starts to drop and the cold starts slowly creeping in , we begin thinking about getting outside and enjoying all that nature has to offer. There are less bugs and frankly less people out in the the cold weather, which makes camping a great activity.  Winter camping can be cold, but it does not have to be miserable.  As long as you are prepared with the correct winter camping gear and tricks, you will have an extremely enjoyable time.

Cold Weather Camping Tips

While winter camping in Texas (or elsewhere in the country), can seem extreme at times, it shouldn’t deter you from enjoying the outdoors.  Here are a few cold weather camping tips to help you stay warm, dry and comfortable on your winter camping trip.


Sleep with Your Boots Cold Weather Camping tips

Place your boots or boot liners in the bottom of your sleeping bag to keep them warm.  There is nothing worse than waking up and having to put on frozen boots. Your body heat will help keep them at an ideal temperature throughout the night.


Pee Bottles

The need to urinate during the night is always a nuisance, but when the weather turns cold, it is even more brutal.  If you have to pee, it’s best to go ahead and let it out. The best thing is to have a well-marked pee bottle handy so you don’t have to venture out into the cold weather to relieve yourself.  There are even funnel devices for women that are a lifesaver in these situations.


Dress for the Weather

Layers are your best friend in the winter camping season.  Layer up in order to stay warm but also have the option of discarding clothing if you begin to sweat throughout the day. Polyester thermal underwear is a great option or breathable fleece. Try to avoid cotton socks… the best thing is wool or polyester. Pack a scarf or neck gaiter to keep your core warm.


Good Sleeping Pad

Try to choose a closed cell foam pad or a sleeping pad with an R value of 4 or more. Believe it or not, a good sleeping pad placed under your sleeping bag will keep you several degrees warmer.


Warm up Batteries Before Use

In colder weather, batteries tend to not work as well. Try warming them up in your hands or sleeping bag before using them.  Sometimes what you think is a bad battery is really just a cold battery.


Start Fire Immediately  Cold weather Camping tips

Before you do anything else at the campsite, you should start a fire.  When it’s cold outside, you tend to get cold before you realize it and if you don’t already have a fire going, you will have to endure the freezing temps while waiting to get it started.  However, if you start a fire right away, you can take small breaks and warm up as you set up your camp.  Work smarter, not harder.


Fireproof OuterWear

Winter camping always requires a fire, so be sure that your outerwear/jackets are fireproof. Stray embers can ignite a jacket or piece of clothing and completely ruin your camping trip. Wool is a great fabric to use.


Winter Cap

30% of your body heat escapes through your head, so while camping in the winter, you will want to cover your head with a good quality winter cap.  This will ultimately keep you warmer and keep more of your body heat in.


Extra Hats and Gloves

It’s always a good idea to have a few extra necessities.  This includes gloves and hats.  When it’s cold outside, and you are cooking or fishing or playing in the snow, hats and gloves can become wet.  Having an extra pair will keep you warm while you wait for the wet ones to dry out.


Use Vaseline

Vaseline is a great way to keep your exposed skin protected.  Here in Texas, there are only a few places that get that extreme, but it’s still a great trick. Simply rub vaseline on exposed skin like the ears, nose and hands.  This will protect against windburn and frostbite.


Bring Extra Fuel for Cooking

Whether you are camping in summer or camping in winter, it’s ALWAYS a good idea to bring a little extra fuel for cooking.  But in winter, cooking times actually take longer because of the cold weather.  Having extra fuel will ensure that you can cook every single meal you have planned.


Use Wooden or Plastic Utensils/Not Metal

Metal cooking utensils will actually make your food cooler and thus increase the cooking time.  Not to mention the fact that metal gets cold to the touch and is super unpleasant when you are trying to keep warm.  Try using wooden or plastic as much as possible.


Clothes in Sleeping Bag

When you retire for the night, place your clothes for the next day in your sleeping bag with you.  This will keep them toasty warm and will make it easier to get ready for the next day.  There is nothing worse than waking up and having to put on freezing cold clothes.  Make it easy on yourself.


Hot Water Bottle

Heat up water and put it in a heat-proof water bottle or in a traditional water bottle.  Place this in the sleeping bag with you to stay warm while you sleep.  It worked in the old days before electricity or heated homes, so it’ll work for you.


Stay Dry

The best tip for camping in cold weather is to stay dry.  The minute you get wet, you are in a world of hurt.  Choose waterproof clothing and moisture wicking fabric.  If you start to sweat, change out your clothes for dry ones as soon as possible, especially before going to bed.


Increase Calories

It is suggested that you consume at least 4,500 calories for winter backpacking. So even if you are simply camping (not hiking or backpacking) you will want to increase your calories.  This will help you keep warm.


Get Moving

During the day, go for a walk around the campgrounds or do more chores around camp in order to stay warm.  The more you move, the more you will warm up.

Before going to sleep for the night, try doing jumping Cold Weather Camping Tipsjacks, jogging in place, or a few pushups to warm up a bit.  Just make sure you don’t start sweating, which could lead to wet clothes and ultimately make you colder.


Final Thoughts

Camping in the winter can be a great experience if you are prepared and know how to stay warm and dry. Take the time to pack extra clothes, gloves, and fuel.  When you are comfortable, you will enjoy the scenery and beauty that nature has to offer in the winter.

Comment down below if you have other tips or tricks that have helped you make the most of camping in colder weather.

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Transporting Eggs to the Campsite

What is the Best Way to Transport Eggs to the Campsite?transport eggs

Bacon and eggs sizzling in a cast iron pan over the campfire is one of the best ways to start your morning while camping.  But how do you transport eggs safely?  It doesn’t have to be tricky.

This simple camping hack can make it easy for you to enjoy a hearty breakfast next time you venture out and set up camp.

 


Stop The Mess – Keep It Simple & Clean

No one likes a mess and eggs can easily cause a huge mess when backpacking or camping.  So how do you safely get eggs to your campsite in order for you to enjoy a hearty breakfast?  The answer is simple really… break them ahead of time.  Let’s be real, you don’t need the shells right?  So why bring them along?

When prepping for a camping trip at home, simply crack the eggs you’ll be needing into a jar or container.  I personally use a mason jar because of it’s tight fitting lid. But you can use anything from plastic containers to washed out Coffee Mate dispensers.

transport eggs

If you need the eggs to be intact (not scrambled), just crack them one at a time into the container and avoid shaking.  The eggs will naturally stay separate and the yolks will stay intact.  You can slowly pour out one egg at a time when needed.


Keep Things Separate – Yolks & Whites, That is!

If a recipe calls for just the yolks or just the whites, you can easily separate them at this point.  Just pour the egg into your hand and allow the whites to pass through your fingers and into a bowl, catching the yolk in your palm.  This method takes a bit of skill and may be more advanced than most people want to deal with.  The key is to slowly pour them out.  If you get in a hurry, you will release too many eggs and they are virtually impossible to recover.

transport eggs


Shake It Up

The easy way is to shake up the amount of eggs you need for a recipe or to feed your crew scrambled eggs in the morning.  Then just transfer to a skillet when it comes time to cook.

You transport eggscan even make markings on the container indicating how many eggs are at what level.  This would be useful if you need 3 eggs for a recipe but want to save the rest for a different meal. Mark the edge with lines up the side of the jar and number them according to how many eggs are in there at that line level. A Sharpie pen works best for this.  It won’t be an exact science, but it gets the job done.

 


Don’t Be Afraid of the Egg

So next time you go camping, pack some eggs (the easy way) and never have to worry about them cracking while in transit.  Don’t rely on those egg cartons to keep your precious protein safe.

 

transport eggs

 

Check out my Recipes Page for Delicious Ideas


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Camping in the Heat

While most of us have become accustomed to life in the A/C… there are times when such luxury is not available… camping and hiking for example.  So how do you beat the heat and stay cool when enjoying the outdoors or at your campsite?

Stay Hydrated  –  Drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid cola drinks and caffeine as they act as a diuretic.

Take plenty of water with you if you are hiking and will be away from the campsite for any amount of time. I love to use a hydration bladder when I’m mountain biking or hiking. I have a Camelbak I purchased years ago.

One other tip… Start drinking water as soon as you get up in the morning… don’t wait til you start to get hot or thirsty.

Pack Light  –  Light weight and light colored clothing will help keep you cool…. no dark colors or heavy pants.  Also, pack a lighter nylon sleeping bag or a top sheet to cover up with at night.


Consider investing in a buff that can be worn to help wick away moisture and protect you from UV rays.  Buffs also help regulate your body temperature.  Orvis makes great buffs in a variety of colors and patterns.

 

Find Shade  –  Try to set up camp in shaded areas or bring a tarp to create your own shade. Pop up canopies are also a quick and easy way to produce shade and they can be moved around as the sun direction changes throughout the day.

Limit Activity in Hottest Part of Day  –  Plan your hikes or biking excursions for early morning or late enough in the evening when the heat from the sun is not at it’s height.  Try to stay in the shade during the hot afternoon (usually between noon and 3pm).

 


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Camping Checklist

Be sure you bring exactly what you need the next time you go camping. Having a camping gear checklist can keep you on track to a enjoying the great outdoors.Camping Checklist

Shelter

___Tent
___Front door mat or blanket
___Rain Tarp
___Tent Footprint/ground tarp
___Extra tent stakes
___Extra cord/rope
___Small broom and dust pan

Bedding

___Sleeping Bags
___Pillows
___Sheets
___Blankets
___Cot or Air Mattress
___Air Pump
___Patches for air mattress repair

Bath & Body

___Towels
___Soap/Shampoo
___Deodorant
___Toothbrush & paste
___Razor
___Hair Brush
___Feminine products
___Flip Flops for shower
___Toilet Paper
___Shower kit bag…   Dorm Shower Caddy – All Black – by Saltwater Canvas

Cooking

___Ice Chests…  Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler, Green
___Camp Stove
___Fuel or Propane for Stove
___Matches
___Campfire Grill
___Fire Starter
___Firewood or Charcoal
___Pots and Pans
___Coffee Pot
___Potholders
___Cooking Utensils (spatula, spoons, knife, tongs)
___Dutch oven
___Plates and Bowls
___Drinking cups
___Silverware
___Tablecloth
___Measuring cups
___Mixing Bowls
___Cutting Board
___Aluminum Foil
___Paper Towels
___Food Storage Containers
___Can Opener
___Cooking Oil or Spray
___Dish Soap
___Dish pan
___Dish Scrubber
___Trash Bags
___Ziploc Bags
___Seasonings & Condiments
___Plastic Collapsible Wine Glass…  GSI Outdoors 79305 Wine Glass

Miscellaneous Items

___Camp Chairs
___Hammock
___Folding Table…  Coleman Pack-Away 4-In-1 Table
___Lantern
___Batteries
___Sunscreen
___Bug repellant
___Feminine Products
___Camera
___Backpack
___Axe or hatchet
___First aid kit (see list below)
___Flashlights
___Fishing gear
___Fishing license
___Rope, cord, clothes line
___Deck of Cards
___Cell Phone Chargers
___Bikes
___Shade Canopy
___Laundry Bag
___Rain Gear
___Extra Towels
___Pocket Knife
___Small Shovel…  Wenzel Tri-Fold Shovel
___Scissors

First Aid Kit   or try OUTDOOR FIRST AID KIT 201 PC FOR CAMPING

___Antiseptic Wipes
___Cotton Swabs
___Bandages (assorted sizes)
___Roll Bandages
___Butterfly Bandages
___Adhesive Tape
___Tweezers
___Scissors
___Nail Clippers
___Sterile Compresses
___Bottle of Water
___Thermometer
___Antacids (Tums, etc)
___Antibiotic Cream
___Alcohol
___Hydrogen Peroxide
___Aspirin
___Snake Bite Kit
___Aloe or sunburn lotion
___Personal Medications
___Heat/cold packs
___Gloves
___Road Flares
___Poison Ivy cream

 


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The Importance of Meal Planning

Knowing what you will be eating and preparing while at the campsite is just as important as planning what gear you will be bringing. Having a planned meal schedule will help you make sure you have accounted for every meal before you even leave the house. There is nothing worse than finding out on day 5 of a camping trip that you only brought and planned enough for 4 days.

Just like a camping checklist, a meal schedule will force you to look at how many days/meals you need to plan for. Once you have a schedule figured out (like the one below), you can then create a meal plan and a grocery list and check items off as you go.

Meal_PlanTake into account any activities you might be doing while camping when making your schedule. For instance, if you are going on a trail hike, you might want to pack your lunch with you and stop for a relaxing picnic on the trail.  In the example above, I have it planned for wednesday, but obviously if you wake up on tuesday and decide you need to hit the trail, then you can adjust the schedule.  The point is to have it “planned” so that you prepare and bring along the appropriate type meal (in this case a packable lightweight meal).

Also, be sure you have at least one bad weather meal planned. Hopefully you won’t have to use it, but if you have done much camping you know that weather does not always cooperate. Make it something easy that doesn’t need to be cooked in case of rain. MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) are a great alternative.  I always have a few in my camp pantry just in case.

Finally, plan quick easy meals for while you are packing up camp at the end of your trip and for when you are setting up camp once you get there. You don’t want to have a complicated meal right after you’ve spent an hour or two setting up camp.


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Firestarters that work

What are some of the best ways to start a fire? Try some of these tested firestarter techniques and never be without a campfire again!

1.  Dixie cup filled with dryer lint and wax.

2. Paraffin soaked cardboard – cut cardboard into strips (about 1 inch wide), soak in paraffin and store in zip top bag.

3. Use a wad of dryer lint and a trick birthday candle.  I keep a container near my dryer so I collect the dryer lint after every cycle.

4.  Dryer lint soaked in rubbing alcohol…. store in small container like an old prescription bottle.

5.  Egg Cartons filled with wax.

Of course, if you rather just purchase a trusty firestarter, might I suggest adding a magnesium firestarter to your equipment.

Camping Firestarter

 


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